Bill aims to merge NJ towns - even when they aren't neighbors


Ten years ago this month, a state law was enacted encouraging more municipal consolidations as a method for saving money and reducing property taxes.

In the decade since, there’s been just one merger – the combining of Princeton borough and township.

Now a less ambitious update to the effort is on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk. It seeks to clarify some of the rules and tools though does include a few wrinkles – such as allowing towns to merge that are near each other but aren’t directly neighbors.

Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, D-Monmouth, said it would be a big change to allow towns that aren’t attached to consolidate. They would have to be within a reasonable distance from each other and in the same county.

“We’re trying to do all that we can to give an option to a town to make that happen. And ultimately who has the final say is the residents that live in that town because they would have to vote on it,” said Houghtaling.

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