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Poll: Would Your Support a Municipal Merger?

State Senate approved a municipal merger bill last week.

Two weeks ago the state Senate unanimously passed Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman’s bill to remove financial impediments hindering towns from merging.

“The passage of this bill brings a positive message to New Jersey’s overburdened property taxpayers that there is a bipartisan commitment in the legislature to lower our nation-high property taxes,” said Bateman, R-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Sussex. “We must provide our ample number of local governments with any possible measures to encourage money saving shared services and mergers.”

Senator Bateman’s legislation allows merging towns to adopt resolutions to use emergency financing and state funds over five years for any one-time consolidation expenses, involving land acquisition, moving, records and uniform costs. It would immediately assist Princeton Township and Borough, in Bateman’s 16th District, on their road to a merger that could set an example for other municipalities. It eliminates immediate financial detriments and burdens associated with consolidation.

Bateman and his 16th District Assembly colleagues originally introduced similar bill S-3146 last session and S-910 in January, before Senator Robert Gordon (D-38) introduced his copy, S-1114.

S-1114 was passed and amended this session by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee in order to allow municipalities to exempt merger costs from the 2-percent levy cap. It now awaits Assembly action.

“I urge my Assembly colleagues to move this government efficiency measure, so we can ease the burden on governments willing to provide their taxpayers with long overdue property tax relief by eliminating waste and duplicative services.”

How do you feel about this new law? Take our poll and let us know.

Moist Cake June 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM
If you wanted shared services, move to Nassau or Suffolk county LI and see first hand how it is working.
roberta sonenfeld June 15, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Municipal mergers are the only way to significantly impact expenses and increase the efficiency of municipal services. Merging municipalities also holds the promise of increasing the quality of services. In the 1890s, Bergen County had 14 regional structures that subsequently ballooned into 70 separate municipalities each generally having their own infrastructue and adminsitrative supports. Now Bergen County has more local government per square mile than ANY other state in the US and more than Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Hawaii combined. Approximately 68 police chiefs, 76 school superintendents, 70borough clerks, etc etc. merging towns does not mean having to lose your town identity, it can be a merger of the administrative structures. As Alan Karcher, an author and expert in this area once said...."it is impossible to defend the present system that legitimizes municipalities the size of Bill Gates' living room."
roberta sonenfeld June 15, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Actually, Moist Cake, there are tons of examples right now in Bergen County of sharing services......
Dennis Martinez June 15, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I'm sure that certain services could be shared and others would be best left as is. Likewise, that would apply to School Districts and Municipalities on a case by case basis. I'm guessing that an unbiased feasibility study, if such a thing is possible in NJ, would determine where there are potential areas of savings without a major impact on the residents.
roberta sonenfeld June 15, 2012 at 03:24 PM
There are already municipalities that share high schools.....the other thing to be aware of is that municipalities of 50000 people are eligible for Federal Community Development Dollars which hardly any municipalities in NJ have access to.
Harlan Consider June 16, 2012 at 03:02 PM
In theory, such mergers would be the way to go. However, you have to take into consideration all the politics that would go along with it. Municipal jobs are a part of the political repayment system, as well as all the nepotism that we've all come to expect. The end result would most likely be the same costs and lower service quality.
J.C. Lee June 17, 2012 at 01:13 AM
I agree, but most likely we would pay more and get less!

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