From the Daily Record:
A recent poll says residents are not as enamored with their home towns as some think.
A Quinnipiac University poll asked residents if they would support merging school districts and municipalities to lower property towns. Some 73 percent said yes. Only 22 percent said no.
That response does not surprise us. Of course, a majority of New Jersey residents probably would agree to just about anything if the offer was accompanied by the words, “reducing property taxes.”
Notwithstanding, the results are interesting.
It is true that merging some towns and school districts is not going to solve the state’s property tax crisis. No one should think that. But merging jurisdictions and eliminating high-paid public jobs, and the benefits that go with them, would help.
Most of those who like home rule are those doing the ruling. That is why we do not see mergers.
Just about every recent governor has talked about reducing the more than 1,100 combined school districts and municipalities in New Jersey, but the talk does not go very far.
The record is clear. With rare exception, towns are not going to combine themselves. (One exception may be the Chesters in Morris County where a merger is being considered.) Before that, the last municipality to voluntarily “go out of business” was Pahaquarry in Warren County. The town had fewer than 50 full-time residents and most of it was parkland.