Christie Encourages Small Jesey Towns to Merge [AUDIO]
For years we've been hearing how Jersey taxpayers could save money - if some of the state's 566 municipalities would consolidate.
Governor Christie is pushing a plan to make it happen.
He's announced the Department of Community affairs will provide towns that merge with grants totaling 20 percent of their consolidation costs, "cause the savings they'll make in the long haul are much, much larger - with one combined police force, one public library, one department of public works…one Mayor, one set of Council people - one police Chief, not two, you know they get pretty expensive, most of these police Chiefs make more than I do."
He says merging smaller towns makes a lot of sense, "but the one thing I don't want to do is have me make that decision from Trenton- I don't want some bureaucrat sitting in the Department of Community Affairs deciding which towns are supposed to merge - cause I can guarantee you this- we will probably screw it up…cause I don't know - I don't know what's best - so what I want to do is provide incentives to those people to consider doing it, and then have the local people decide- put it on the ballot like you should."
Christie adds if proposals do make it onto the ballot - and are then voted down - his message to the people in those municipalities will be "don't complain to me anymore about your property taxes - cause you made the choice - that you didn't want to get these savings…we have 566 municipalities in the state - in a small state like this, and that can become very expensive…what we're going to try to do is incentivize those towns to either share services or to merge completely."
He also says "if it turns out that towns don't react to the incentives, then we may have to think about some more drastic measures, but I'd like to see if we can incentivize them to do it on their own."
The Governor adds Princeton Township and Princeton Borough have a question on the ballot next week on whether to consolidate- and he's hoping they will vote to form a partnership - which will encourage other towns to follow suit.