By Victoria K. Sicaras
Some say it was a long time coming. In November, more than a century after New Jersey's Princeton Borough seceded from Princeton Township over a school tax dispute, residents voted to bring the governments back together effective Jan. 1, 2013. The new Princeton will serve a combined population of roughly 29,000.
The move makes sense. The borough is completely surrounded by the township. Residents reached a resolution long ago about the 1894 tax dispute and combined schools. Today, the two communities share more than a dozen public services, including animal control and fire. Nevertheless, it took four tries since 1953 to get voters to approve a merger.
Even with shared services, the effort will encounter headaches. The onetime cost of the consolidation, as estimated by a joint commission, is $1.7 million. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reportedly offered to pay 20%. As the two Princetons become one, police, public works, and other departments will have to be merged, with some anticipated layoffs to remove redundancies.