Courage to Connect New Jersey started its presentation last week at Pohatcong Township Elementary School by citing an 1895 New York Times article discussing the municipal consolidation of the Oranges.
“The Oranges must be made one city so that all our public departments may be better and more economically managed,” Courage to Connect New Jersey Executive Director Gina Genovese said, quoting a city physician from the article. “It is only selfishness that keeps us apart.” “We have to find out if in 2012 if it is only selfishness that keeps us apart,” Genovese told the audience of roughly 20 people, including local officials, residents and emergency squad members. Courage to Connect New Jersey is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that goes around the state educating the public about municipal consolidation. The three-year-old organization delivered a similar presentation at the end of October in Pohatcong Township. Genovese did most of the talking at the lecture last week as co-founder Wendy McCahill took on the tedious task of showing the audience 566 placards representing New Jersey’s municipalities from the highest to lowest in population. McCahill then stacked a majority of the placards against a wall, leaving a handful on the table because the pile had reached the ceiling. “The thing that’s ironic about these 566 towns is that they do 80 percent of the same thing,” she said. “Is there a better way to administer the business of these 566 towns?”
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