The residents of the Princetons have the opportunity to make history in New Jersey on Nov. 8 when they vote, once again, on the issue of consolidating Princeton Borough and Princeton Township.
The Princetons can become a model for the state, showing municipalities how to consolidate, from the earliest planning stages through implementation of a completed merger. They are poised to forever be known in New Jersey for their leadership and courage to connect. These towns have been at it a long time. Through their previous three attempts at consolidation, laws have been changed, and new policies have been created to address the residents’ concerns. These efforts have supported the growing municipal consolidation movement in New Jersey. Just last week, Gov. Chris Christie threw his support behind municipal consolidation efforts, by proposing the state invest in helping towns merge, spreading the costs over five years with the state offering to pay for the first year’s expenses. The Princeton Consolidation Commission has recommended consolidation. It based its decision on a comprehensive consolidation study that estimated the initial average savings would range from $200 to $240 per household. The savings are expected to increase to $400-$500 over the next three years as redundant staff positions are combined, and extra assets are sold or re-utilized. A merged Princeton would continually be finding new ways in which to save money and better serve its residents, while taxpayers throughout the rest of the state face up to a 2 percent tax increase each year, with little opportunity for improving services and local infrastructure. But will Princeton voters choose to lower their taxes by coming together, or continue to see their taxes rise as two separate entities?