From the Philly Inquirer:
In a state known for its small municipalities, the smallest of the small are two Camden County boroughs that don’t have enough residents between them to fill a school bus.
Tavistock (population 8) and Pine Valley (population 19) are historic relics, golf clubs posing as towns. Each has a mayor and borough commissioners, a clerk, solicitor, tax assessor, tax collector and school district, though neither has any schools. Pine Valley even has a police force of seven.
New Jersey, home of the nation’s highest property taxes, is contemplating consolidating some of its 566 municipalities, 616 school districts and 486 local authorities to try to save money. Gov. Corzine has urged voluntary mergers and service-sharing, while some legislators are calling for mandatory consolidations.
The issue returns to center stage in Trenton today as the Senate is scheduled to consider a bill to establish a commission to recommend which local governments should be consolidated.
Twenty-six municipalities in New Jersey have fewer than 1,000 residents and an additional 49 have fewer than 2,000 residents. (After Tavistock and Pine Valley, the smallest municipality is Walpack Township in Sussex County, with 35 people, followed closely by Teterboro in Bergen County, an industrial community adjacent to Teterboro Airport, with 50 residents.)
In South Jersey, some of the other smallest municipalities are Cape May Point (241 residents) and West Wildwood (448) in Cape May County; Fieldsboro (522), Washington Township (621) and Wrightstown (748) in Burlington County; Hi-Nella (1,029) and Audubon Park (1,102) in Camden County; and Newfield (1,616) in Gloucester County.
The towns are so small they often have trouble finding enough candidates to run for school board or borough council, and most of their school districts exist only to send students to out-of-town schools. But they are as protective of their domains as any metropolis.