Opinion: Historic consolidation of Princetons is worth celebrating as official merger nears
Many said that it couldn’t be done. But one year ago, something historic happened: Princeton Borough and Princeton Township residents voted for the first large municipal consolidation in New Jersey in more than 100 years.
While moving from 566 to 565 municipalities in New Jersey on Jan. 1, 2013, may not sound like a big deal, the savings and promise that consolidation holds for Princeton and, ultimately, for New Jersey, is worth celebrating.
We have set a path to savings that exceed our consolidation commission’s estimate for 2013 and beyond. In addition, we have uncovered areas of savings that we did not focus on during the study process — from our operating budgets, employee benefits and cost avoidance through more efficient use of joint real estate.
Consolidation may not be the solution for all municipalities, but it is certainly worth considering for some. It has the potential to create a more sustainable budget that can survive under the state’s 2 percent municipal budget cap without drastically reducing a surplus or cutting valuable services. The savings projected for Princeton for 2013 are at least 40 percent greater than the original estimate ($2.26 million vs. $1.61 million) made by the Joint Shared Services and Consolidation Commission (JSSCC), the body that studied the consolidation.
Click here to continue reading this article.