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Quotes

"The pressure for consolidation begins when residents begin to recognize a problem with the current municipal structure, either because of rising taxes, lowering quality of services, or growing environmental problems."

Home Rule

Gina Genovese op-ed piece on NewJerseyNewsroom.com

It is widely anticipated that Gov. Chris Christie’s first budget message, to be delivered on March 16, will show the harsh reality of New Jersey’s bleak financial outlook. No one is expected to be spared.

Immediately following the Governor’s address, every media outlet in the state will be hit with a barrage of letters from local lawmakers and special interest groups. Outraged and furious, these writers will all have very legitimate reasons as to why cuts in state funding will have dire effects on the most fragile New Jerseyans.

I sympathize with these individuals. As a former mayor in Morris County, I’ve spent a lot of time speaking with constituents about the hard decisions that have to be made. I know first-hand the strains that come from deciding which worthwhile organizations should receive a limited amount of government aid and the consequences when that money doesn’t come.

As New Jersey slogs through this impossible budget year, the solution for the state’s chronic budget crisis will become glaringly evident: The only way in which we can control spending is by greatly reducing the number of municipalities in the state.

Continue reading the full article on newjerseynewsroom.com

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Courage to Connect NJ on CNBC

Gina Genovese, the executive director of Courage to Connect NJ was interviewed on CNBC during a segment New Jersey’s problem of too many towns, too many school districts, too many fire departments, and not enough dollars to go around.

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Tax caps not working

In the Sunday 3/7/10  Star Ledger article “Blowing the lid off cap on taxes”, Sen. Sweeeny stated “…lower taxes can’t come with the amount of government we have.”   Our legislature has instituted caps to try to keep our property taxes from rising.  But these caps are not working.  The structure of 566 separate municipal governments across the state is no longer affordable.  Two-thirds of the state budget is sent back to our towns.  If we had fewer local governments, that money would go much further.  Fortunately, we, the people can petition to join multiple towns under one government.  Then we can vote to make New Jersey a place in which we can continue to afford to live.

Star Ledger article:

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/03/nj_municipalities_raise_taxes_1.html

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Courage to Connect interview with Hall Institute

Gina Genovese in interviewed by Rich Lee on the Hall Institute of Public Policy – New Jersey about New Jersey multiplicity of municipalities.

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Towns that merge should think big

Read the article as it originally appeared in The Daily Record

By Gina Genovese

The restructuring of the 566 municipalities in New Jersey has been discussed for more than 40 years. Residents have been told the way to save property taxes was to merge two adjoining towns.

After considerable research, I’m convinced that plan will not work. To achieve true economies of scale, our lawmakers and the community at-large must consider merging between five and 10 towns instead of two.

Last November, the Sussex and Wantage voters were correct in voting down the merger of their two towns. This merger would have created a town of 12,000 residents. The savings were not significant enough to justify the transition to one, streamlined government. Continue reading

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Town consolidation is the only option for New Jersey’s future

Read this op-ed as it originally appeared on newjerseynewsroom.com

By Gina Genovese

The restructuring of the 566 municipalities in New Jersey has been discussed for more than 40 years. Residents were told the way to save property taxes was to merge two adjoining towns.

After considerable research, I’m convinced that plan will not work. To achieve true economies of scale, our lawmakers and the community at-large must consider merging between five and 10 towns instead of two.

Last November, the Sussex and Wantage voters were correct in voting down the merger of their two towns. This merger would have created a town of 12,000 residents. The savings were not significant enough to justify the transition to one, streamlined government. Continue reading

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Shared services and furloughs only preserve the status quo

 On January 10, three articles appeared in The Star-Ledger about towns using fuloughs and shared services to survive the fiscal crisis facing New Jersey’s municipalities.

Furloughs begin for 120 employees as Rockaway Twp. sees $330K savings

Shared services is 2010 theme for Somerville

Mine Hill has new council, old problems

These actions only preserve the status quo.  We now have an opportunity to finally create a sustainable structure in this state.  Attempts to consolidate municipalities have failed because we have not educated the people and have never proposed connecting more than two towns.

Why not connect 5-10 municipalities for significant savings?  Most communities in NJ have fewer than 3,000 households supporting their entire administrative structure.  One administration could easily support 15,000 households and save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This bold idea suggests that each community retains its name and identity but shares a municipal government.  A ballot initiative with 5-10 towns connecting gives individual towns the ability to opt out of the savings but the issue still moves forward for the towns with the courage to move in this direction. 

Our organization is dedicated to a grassroots effort through educating the public with videos and town meetings.  We can be proactive about our future.  Have the courage to connect.

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What’s In a Name?

This past election a merger between Sussex and Wantage was on the ballot.  Sussex voted it down 3 to 1 although they had the most to gain.  Loss of town identity and control were the major roadblocks, trumping the immediate $400 plus in property tax savings.  Ironically, the community of Iselin is known more around the world than any other town in NJ and it is a part of Woodbridge Township and not incorporated on its own.  Iselin is known simply as Iselin.  Courage to Connect NJ proposes combining local governments without changing any community names.   Why should Sussex or Wantage, or any other communities, have their name changed at all?

This question needs to be answered if NJ has any hope of moving forward.

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The Governor’s Race and Courage to Connect NJ

I contacted the three main gubernatorial candidates about the concept introduced by Courage To Connect NJ.  Although this may be the best way to reduce property taxes in NJ, none of them seem to have the courage to discuss this option since I received no responses.  We’ll try again after Tuesday’s election.

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News & Videos


Visit CTCNJ on YouTube


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: