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.