Two N.J. consolidations in ’13 may pave way for more municipal, school mergers

For the first time, the number of municipalities and school districts in New Jersey was reduced in 2013.

The leader of a group that encourages consolidation is hopeful that will be a new trend.

Princeton Township and Princeton Borough merged in January, and voters in Hunterdon County agreed in September to fold four school districts into one.

Gina Genovese, executive director of Courage to Connect New Jersey, said she expects the cap on property tax increases will encourage more towns and school districts to combine in the next year or two.

“Towns with the 2 percent cap and school systems are really starting to feel its effect after a couple of years,” said Genovese. “So I feel that they are going to be willing to look into this as a place to save money for taxpayers. And not only that. but strengthen our towns and our school systems.”

The state Assembly has not acted on legislation passed by the Senate in November that would withhold state aid from towns that don’t enact recommended consolidation plans.

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