Monday, August 3, 2015

A merger of Princetons

A borough and a township slowly become one

A merger of Princetons

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Amid all the talk of mergers in New Jersey, it’s worth revisiting the tale of the two Princetons, which I wrote a column about last November.

The closely connected Mercer County municipalities are set to become one later this year, and as NJ Spotlight reports, the process is exhaustive, and not inexpensive.

Members of a Transition Task Force have met 38 times (!) in the last eight weeks to develop a plan for  combining the separate departments and staffs of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township into the   municipal operations of a new borough. The cost of the process is about $120,000 -- including $37,500 from a state grant -- while the overall savings of  a merger is projected at $3.16 million.

Selection of a name -- Princeton -- appears to have been among the easier tasks.

"It’s very very much about … a very public, transparent process," task force chairman Mark Freda tells  Spotlight, which also quotes Bernie Miller, a Princeton Township committeeman and member of the commission, as saying "community engagement” has been essential.

This is a refreshing contrast to the lack of engagement by anyone, other than a closed-door handful of pols and their pals, in the Chris Christie's scheme to merge Rutgers-Camden and Rowan universities. Which, according to the governor, has an even more ambitious, albeit, preliminary timetable -- July 1 -- than the Princeton process.

Meanwhile, the Cherry Hill-Merchantville merger process seems to have slowed to a crawl.

Inquirer Columnist
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Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

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