The Transition Task Force published a draft of its final report on Monday as the process of preparing Princeton Borough and Princeton Township to merge on Jan. 1, 2013, approaches its last stages.
The TTF, a group of community members and representatives from the municipalities’ governments, has worked over the past year to make sure consolidation runs as smoothly as possible. Voters in both the Borough and Township decided to consolidate their governments and form a single Princeton in November 2011. The vote came after a yearlong study by the Consolidation Study Commission, which published a report predicting consolidation of the two communities would save about $3.3 million per year, representing about 5 percent of the combined municipal budget. The TTF’s work revealed the municipality may realize some of its savings on policing a year earlier than expected. The Consolidation Study Commission originally endorsed a plan to reduce personnel costs in the local police force by gradually scaling back the number of sworn officers from 60 in 2013 to 56 in 2014 and finally to 51 in 2015. Instead, the TTF found there were already four vacancies on the police force this year, meaning the headcount is already down to 56. No officer has been asked to retire early, according to Joseph Stefko, the president and chief executive officer of the Center for Governmental Research, a nonprofit government consulting organization contracted by the Borough and Township to aid in the transition. The TTF recommended the new town council review the needs and services of the police force sometime in mid-2013 to determine if the original projected headcount reductions will be carried out according to the original plan.