Why merging small N.J. towns makes economic sense, says former gubernatorial candidate

By Tom MacDonald  –  WHYY
Jun 25, 2018, 8:05am

A push to consolidate some smaller towns and boroughs in New Jersey could be gaining traction, but it’s been years since the rare event of a merger.

One proposal calls for forcing towns with fewer than 5,000 residents to merge with a neighboring one. Gina Genovese, executive director of Courage to Connect NJ, said it makes economic sense.

“In New Jersey, we have 565 separate administrative structures performing 80 percent of the same services or more,” she said. “The redundancy is why our taxes are higher than most in the nation.”

Genovese ran for governor last year as an independent, largely on this issue.

Princeton Township and Borough merged in 2013, and four school districts merged a year after that. Without a state mandate and financial support, Genovese said, further mergers will be difficult to achieve.

While lawmakers are discussing the issue, “they need to do more than talk,” she said. “They need to get involved with Roxbury and Mount Arlington, where taxpayers have spent five years of their life to get a study that shows significant savings [from consolidation]. New Jersey has to make some bold moves.”

Go to whyy.org for some of the towns that could be merged based on their size.


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