Merger talk stirs emotions in some small New Jersey towns

There's been off and on talk for years in New Jersey about consolidating some smaller towns to rein in costs.

David Madden
July 06, 2018 - 8:58 pm
New Jersey
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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (KYW Newsradio) -- There's been off and on talk for years in New Jersey about consolidating some smaller towns to rein in costs. Several experts in the field have been involved in floating ideas about that and a lot of ideas have been bandied about.
    
One that's gotten some media attention surrounds the concept of forcing towns with less than 5,000 residents to merge with a neighbor.
     
Marc Pfeiffer is an expert in local government administration at Rutgers University, and it's safe to say he's against any such mandate.
    
"There's never been any evidence of what is a right size for a most efficient municipality because every municipality has a different population mix, it has a different property value mix and different service needs and lots of other decisions go into those things," Pfeiffer told KYW Newsradio.
    
In fact, some small towns operate at a lower cost and residents are fine with that. 
    
He hopes Senate President Steve Sweeney, who's worked on promoting shared services between towns, continues to push that concept. 
    
"All municipalities should regularly be looking for opportunities to share services with their neighbors as either providers or receivers based on their own needs and strengths." Pfeiffer added.
    
Sweeney heads up that task force, which is expected to release formal recommendations in about a month.