Scotch Plains and Fanwood residents are making their mark on New Jersey's history. Never before have the citizens in two adjacent towns petitioned the state to study the benefits of municipal consolidation. With petitions completed and submitted to both towns, this is democracy at its best.
In the past year, there have been enormous strides toward consolidation in New Jersey, as residents are tired of wasting money on redundant government. Citizens in Merchantville petitioned and successfully created a study commission, working with the mayor of Cherry Hill. Earlier this month, residents of the Princetons voted to merge their towns, with the support of the local mayors and governing bodies.
Scotch Plains and Fanwood would be the first communities in which the residents - not the elected governments - are taking the steps toward consolidation. Residents in Fanwood and Scotch Plains created a group called "Courage to Reconnect," and led a petition drive in both towns to form a study commission.
Courage to Reconnect is a leader in the consolidation movement. It is a leader in making New Jersey sustainable. It is using state law to mobilize local residents into controlling their own destiny.
The citizens who spearheaded the petition and all those who signed it should be applauded for their visionary leadership. They are taking the steps to see what a consolidated Scotch Plains and Fanwood would look like, and if it is the right move for the towns.
While Scotch Plains and Fanwood are the first to complete this citizen-run petition drive, they are not the last. Courage to Connect New Jersey, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, is now guiding nine other groups around the state in seven counties. Most if not all will be starting the petition process in January.
This is an amazing time for taxpayers in New Jersey to take control of how their tax dollars are used and to identify efficiencies that benefit them. The residents of Scotch Plains and Fanwood should be lauded as leaders in this effort.