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"Imagine a web woven by a spider on LSD and you might see a frightening similarity to the map showing the jurisdictional outlines of our 566 municipalities in NJ. Present the current facts and statistics of the situation to a systems analyst and you can expect howls of laughter. Given a free hand to reconstruct and reconfigure the present map, no one would attempt to justify a replication of the existing system."

Alan J. Karcher,
Multiple Municipal Madness

Long Hill’s former mayor is a lone voice for municipal consolidation

LONG HILL — In the world of cutting municipal costs, shared services are the prevailing darlings of local politicians.

That’s not nearly enough, says Gina Genovese.

The former mayor of Long Hill Township and one-time Democratic candidate for State Senate is the executive director of Courage to Connect NJ, an organization that advocates municipal consolidation. It’s not a new concept in New Jersey, but Genovese has a vision of a grassroots effort to effect large-scale consolidation, calling for groups of five to 10 municipalities to join together in an effort to reduce property taxes and improve services.

“If you were a business owner, you would not have 566 offices around New Jersey offering the same service,” Genovese said.

Genovese began considering consolidation during her tenure as mayor in 2006, when Long Hill and Bernards townships merged their police communications departments.

“At the end of the day, there was very small savings,” she said. “(Shared services) is taking a complicated structure and making it more complicated…You’re not taking the largest part of a municipal budget and addressing that.”

Read the full article in The Star-Ledger


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