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"There is a better, more intelligent, and less expensive way to provide local services, and we have it in our collective power to bring about changes for the better."

Alan J. Karcher,
Multiple Municipal Madness

Common Questions

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Why consolidate now?
New Jersey is verging on bankruptcy. municipal staffs have been reduced to bare bones to adapt to the reduced state funding and mandated budget caps. Additional cuts to local state aid will tighten revenue streams. municipalities will need to further reduce services, cut staff and hours of operation. They are resorting to borrowing to finance operating costs but the bond ratings of municipalities have been lowered creating increased costs for borrowing funds. The redundancy of municipal structures is costly and inefficient. The pension costs alone are growing exponentially. The results are a 250 percent property tax increase over the past ten years. When will we be proactive about addressing the state and local distress? Consolidation allows New Jersey to create stronger, less redundant municipalities.

What would a consolidated, or “connected,” municipality look like?
Woodbridge Township (population 99,585) is the model of a successful municipality. There are ten distinct “communities” in Woodbridge – Avenel, Colonia, fords, Hopelawn, Iselin, Keasbey, menlo Park Terrace, Port Reading, Sewaren, and Woodbridge Proper – but all are governed by a single municipal structure. Unlike most other communities in New Jersey, which incorporated as their own towns in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, these ten places remained a single township. As a result, today Woodbridge is able to provide superior services to its residents at a lower cost than smaller, surrounding municipalities. (For more, see pages 30-33.)

Will my town lose its name or identity?
No. The Woodbridge model shows how each community still retains its own name and identity although there is one government. Another example is Short Hills, with a distinct residential and business community but it is governed through Millburn. There are over 300 identifiable “towns” in the state that a known by a name different than that of their government.

How much money will I save?
The cost of running a municipality will be spread out across a larger tax base and services will be delivered more efficiently through economies of scale. Larger municipalities have better leverage in contract negotiations and purchasing. They will have the ability to eliminate many contracted services and bring them in house for reduced cost. The sale of unneeded properties will result in lower operating costs, shifting properties to the tax base and generating funds for debt reduction or capital expenditures.
A recent study done by Summit Collaborative Advisors, LLC, determined that it costs forty percent less to run the Township of Woodbridge than the cost to operate ten separate towns equal in size to the communities in Woodbridge. Another study determined that the school system also costs forty percent less per student than a smaller school system. Woodbridge Township provides professional administration and superior services for this reduced cost. They have in-house special education, a municipal ice rink, local garbage collection, detectives on duty 24/7, an Information Technology staff that saves millions in IT costs, a full-time grant writer that brings in federal dollars, an economic development director that encourages job growth and smart development in the town, and a full-time mayor.

Mayors and Councils don’t cost any real money, yet you want to get rid of these hard-working public servants. Where are the real savings?
The real savings come from the elimination of redundant positions that are required for each town. This includes township administrators, clerks, tax assessors, CFOs, inspectors, attorneys, and DPW management.  For example, one administrator can just as easily serve a community of 4,000 or 40,000 but, in the larger town, the cost is covered by ten times the number of residents. mayors and councils/committees would come from a larger pool of qualified people. Dual office holding would be impossible to justify. Mayors for all communities would be elected rather than appointed by their committee providing better representation and accountability to the public. The new model also gives mayors and councils/committees more leverage with the state and contract negotiations.

Won’t your plan reduce municipal services?
By consolidating municipalities, there will be more funds available to continue municipal services that are now being eliminated due to the current economic conditions.

Why have there been so few successful mergers in New Jersey?
Every time a merger has been proposed, the experts talk amongst themselves and never present to the public from their place of understanding. When the public gets involved they only see the loss of community and are swayed by the nay-sayers and rumor mongers. No one has ever listened to the fears of the public and properly addressed them. Courage to Connect NJ wants to get the public informed enough to be excited about the opportunity of casting their vote to save New Jersey.

Should the state mandate consolidation?
Absolutely not. State mandates do not educate the public and will not change the public’s perception of municipal mergers. The state has already created the legislation that will allow towns to consolidate. Any further state action should provide education rather than coercion and punishment for communities that do not have a full understanding of the issue. This restructuring of the state can only work with the knowledge and support of the majority of the voters.

PUBLIC SAFETY CONSOLIDATIONS
Answers to these questions were provided by Les Adams, President of Public Safety Solutions, Inc.

Can municipal public safety agencies be merged?
Yes. Two or more municipalities may choose to consolidate police, fire, emergency medical and/or dispatch agencies/departments, for example. Experience from successful public safety mergers has shown that regionalizing fire agencies allows communities to lower expenses (by reducing operating costs, salaries, and wages) and increase revenue (by selling excess facilities and vehicles).  In addition, regionalized agencies can improve services by reducing emergency response times, improving safety, and expanding coverage.

Have public safety agency mergers been successful in the past?
Yes. There are many examples of successful public safety agency consolidations. Two are particularly notable and took place in Hudson County in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1998, the mayors of North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken, West New York and Guttenberg commissioned a study by a nationally recognized management consulting firm to develop a feasibility study and plan to regionalize municipal fire departments. On January 11, 1999, the North Hudson Regional fire and Rescue (NHRFR) was created and began providing fire services, as the third largest fire services delivery agency in New Jersey.

The NHRFR serves 195,000 residents and 50,000 commuters in the 10 square miles around the Lincoln Tunnel. The NHRfR was established under the New Jersey Consolidated municipal Service Act. It is administered by an autonomous governing body known as the “joint meeting,” comprised of a management committee of 5 members; one appointed by the governing body of each of the five participating towns.

The management committee oversees the administration of the NHRFR fire department through two co-directors and a fire Chief. According to NHRFR officials, in its first year of operations the new organization reportedly saved approximately $3 million by eliminating two fire stations, a number of chiefs and other positions. The average property tax bill in the five towns was reduced by about $400.

Ten years later, a review of the NHRfR indicated savings and region-wide services delivery improvements in a number of key areas, including:

  1. A single, integrated administration and command structure;
  2. An area-wide fire prevention program;
  3. A progressive fire and rescue training programs;
  4. A marine division and new boat service implemented;
  5. A state-of-the-art firefighter safety programs;
  6. A new headquarters station built; and,
  7. Life-saving progressive rescue and special services.

These fire services delivery accomplishments would likely not have been possible through the original five separate small fire agencies.

A second example of a successful public safety consolidation in the Hudson County area is the North Hudson Regional Communications Center (NHRCC). The Center was initially implemented in 1981 to provide emergency fire dispatch services to the five townships and their fire departments—currently the NHRFR. The NHRCC is a model agency and has now successfully provided emergency fire dispatch services to the five participating towns for more than 30 years. The NHRCC is now a part of the NHRFR and its management committee provides oversight.

Are fire district mergers possible?
Yes. Even though they are not part of a municipality, two or more fire districts may and have successfully been consolidated into one fire district or municipal fire agency. Such a consolidation is illustrated by the Cherry Hill fire district merger.

What is the cause of New Jersey’s high property taxes?

Aberdeen Absecon Alexandria
Allamuchy Allendale Allenhurst
Allentown Alloway Alpha
Alpine Andover Borough Andover Township
Asbury Park Atlantic City Atlantic Highlands
Audubon Audubon Park Avalon
Avon-By-The-Sea Barnegat Barnegat Light
Barrington Bass River Bay Head
Bayonne Beach Haven Beachwood
Bedminster Belleville Bellmawr
Belmar Belvidere Bergenfield
Berkeley Berkeley Heights Berlin Borough
Berlin Township Bernards Bernardsville
Bethlehem Beverly Blairstown
Bloomfield Bloomingdale Bloomsbury
Bogota Boonton Town Boonton Township
Bordentown City Bordentown Township Burlington
Bound Brook Bradley Beach Branchburg
Branchville Brick Bridgeton
Bridgewater Brielle Brigantine
Brooklawn Buena Buena Vista
Burlington City Burlington Township Burlington
Butler Byram Caldwell Borough
Califon Camden Cape May
Cape May Point Carlstadt Carneys Point
Carteret Cedar Grove Chatham Borough
Chatham Township Cherry Hill Chesilhurst
Chester Borough Chester Township Chesterfield
Cinnaminson City Of Orange Clark
Clayton Clementon Cliffside Park
Clifton Clinton Town Clinton Township
Closter Bergen Collingswood Colts Neck
Commercial Corbin City Cranbury
Cranford Cresskill Deal
Deerfield Delanco Delaware
Delran Demarest Dennis
Denville Deptford Dover (Morris)
Dover (Ocean) Downe Dumont
Dunellen Eagleswood East Amwell
Eastampton Eatontown Edgewater
Edgewater Park Edison Egg Harbor
Egg Harbor City Elizabeth Elk
Elmer Salem Elmwood Park Elsinboro
Emerson Englewood Englewood Cliffs
Englishtown Essex Fells Estell Manor
Evesham Ewing Fair Haven
Fair Lawn Fairfield  (Cumb) Fairfield (Essex)
Fairview Fanwood Far Hills
Farmingdale Fieldsboro Flemington
Florence Florham Park Folsom
Fort Lee Frankford Franklin (Glou)
Franklin (Hunt) Franklin (Som) Franklin (Suss)
Franklin (Warr) Franklin Lakes Fredon
Freehold Borough Freehold Township Frelinghuysen
Frenchtown Galloway Garfield
Garwood Gibbsboro Glassboro
Glen Gardner Glen Ridge Glen Rock
Gloucester City Gloucester Township Green
Green Brook Greenwich (Cumb) Greenwich (Glou)
Greenwich (Warr) Guttenberg Hackensack
Hackettstown Haddon Haddon Heights
Haddonfield Hainesport Haledon
Hamburg Hamilton (Atl) Hamilton (Mer)
Hammonton Hampton (Hunt) Hampton  (Suss)
Hanover Harding Hardwick
Hardyston Harmony Harrington Park
Harrison  (Glou) Harrison (Hud) Harvey Cedars
Hasbrouck Heights Haworth Hawthorne
Hazlet Helmetta High Bridge
Highland Park Highlands Hightstown
Hillsborough Hillsdale Hillside
Hi-Nella Hoboken Ho-Ho-Kus
Holland Holmdel Hopatcong
Hope Hopewell Hopewell Borough
Hopewell Township Howell Hudson
Independence Interlaken Irvington
Island Heights Jackson Jamesburg
Jefferson Jersey City Keansburg
Kearny Kenilworth Keyport
Kingwood Kinnelon Knowlton
Lacey Lafayette Lakehurst
Lakewood Lambertville Laurel Springs
Lavallette Lawnside Lawrence (Cumb)
Lawrence (Mer) Lebanon Borough Lebanon Township
Leonia Liberty Lincoln Park
Linden Lindenwold Linwood
Little Egg Harbor Little Falls Little Ferry
Little Silver Livingston Loch Arbour
Lodi Logan Long Beach
Long Branch Long Hill Longport
Lopatcong Lower Lower Alloways
Creek Lumberton Lyndhurst
Madison Magnolia Mahwah
Manalapan Manasquan Manchester
Mannington Mansfield (Bur) Mansfield  (Warr)
Mantoloking Mantua Manville
Maple Shade Maplewood Margate City
Marlboro Matawan Maurice River
Maywood Medford Medford Lakes
Mendham Borough Mendham Township Merchantville
Metuchen Middle Middlesex
Middletown Midland Park Milford
Millburn Millstone (Mon) Millstone  (Som)
Milltown Millville Mine Hill
Monmouth Beach Monroe (Glou) Monroe (Mid)
Montague Montclair Montgomery
Montvale Montville Moonachie
Moorestown Morris Morris Plains
Morristown Mount Arlington Mount Ephraim
Mount Holly Mount Laurel Mount Olive
Mountain Lakes Mountainside Mullica
National Park Neptune Neptune City
Netcong New Brunswick New Hanover
New Milford New Providence Newark
Newfield Newton North Arlington
North Bergen North Brunswick North Caldwell
North Haledon North Hanover North Plainfield
North Wildwood Northfield Northvale
Norwood Nutley Oakland
Oaklyn Borough Ocean (Mon) Ocean (Ocean)
Ocean City Ocean Gate Oceanport
Ogdensburg Old Bridge Old Tappan
Oldmans Oradell Oxford
Palisades Park Palmyra
Paramus Park Ridge Parsippany-Troy Hills
Passaic Paterson Paulsboro
Peapack & Gladstone Pemberton Borough Pemberton Township
Pennington Penns Grove Pennsauken
Pennsville Pequannock Perth Amboy
Phillipsburg Pilesgrove Pine Beach
Pine Hill Pine Valley Piscataway
Pitman Pittsgrove Plainfield
Plainsboro Pleasantville Plumsted
Pohatcong Point Pleasant Point Pleasant Beach
Pompton Lakes Port Republic Princeton Borough
Princeton Township Prospect Park Quinton
Rahway Ramsey Randolph
Raritan Raritan Readington
Red Bank Ridgefield Ridgefield Park
Ridgewood Ringwood River Edge
River Vale Riverdale Riverside
Riverton Rochelle Park Rockaway Borough
Rockaway Township Rockleigh Rocky Hill
Roosevelt Roseland Roselle
Roselle Park Roxbury Rumson
Runnemede Rutherford Saddle Brook
Saddle River Salem Sandyston
Sayreville Scotch Plains Sea Bright
Sea Girt Sea Isle City Seaside Heights
Seaside Park Secaucus Shamong
Shiloh Ship Bottom Shrewsbury Borough
Shrewsbury Township Somerdale Somers Point
Somerville South Amboy South Belmar
South Bound Brook Somerset South Brunswick
South Hackensack South Harrison South Plainfield
South River South Toms River Southampton
Sparta Spotswood Spring Lake Boro
Spring Lake Heights Springfield (Burl) Springfield (Union)
Stafford Stanhope Stillwater
Stockton Stone Harbor Stow Creek
Stratford Summit Surf City
Sussex Swedesboro Tabernacle
Tavistock Teaneck Tenafly
Teterboro Tewksbury Tinton Falls
Totowa Trenton Tuckerton Ocean
Union  (Hunt) Union (Union) Union Beach
Union City Upper Upper Deerfield
Upper Freehold Upper Pittsgrove Upper Saddle River
Ventnor City Vernon Verona
Victory Gardens Village Of South Orange
Vineland Voorhees Waldwick
Wall Wallington Walpack
Wanaque Wantage Warren
Washington  (Berg) Washington  (Bur) Washington  (Glou)
Washington  (Mer) Washington  (Mor) Washington Borough
(Warr) Washington Township (Warr)
Watchung Waterford Wayne
Weehawken Wenonah West Amwell
West Caldwell West Cape May West Deptford
West Long Branch West Milford West New York
West Orange West Paterson West Wildwood
West Windsor Westampton Westfield
Westville Westwood Weymouth
Wharton White Wildwood
Wildwood Crest Willingboro Winfield
Winslow Woodbine Woodbridge
Woodbury Woodbury Heights Woodcliff Lake
Woodland Woodlynne Wood-Ridge
Woodstown Woolwich Wrightstown
Wyckoff


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Chad Goerner interview on NJTV:




Gina shares insights on NJTV:




Princeton's new Mayor Liz Lempert addresses the community:

Mayor Liz Lempert Video (click image to watch on nj.com; video is below slideshow)


Princeton Township Mayor Chad Goerner featured on NJTV:




Executive Director of CtoCNJ Discusses Consolidation on NJTV:

NJToday
(click image to watch on PBS.org)


WMBC Introduces CtoCNJ:




WMBC Continues the Conversation:




CtoCNJ on NJN:




Gina on NJN:




Fox News 29 in Cinnaminson:




CNBC in Woodbridge:




Gina's "Can NJ Connect?" video:




Abbott and Costello take a humorous look at what we don’t know about our own communities: