George Amick of the Trenton Times has a good piece today depicting the playground politics underway between Assemblyman Reed Gusciora of Princeton Borough and the New Jersey League of Municipalities, which represents N.J.’s 566 towns, cities, and boroughs. He writes,
To the League…home rule is holy writ, and Gusciora has disrespected home rule by sponsoring bills that would consolidate a bunch of towns without bothering to ask the towns’ permission.
Last month, Gusciora introduced a bill called A3490, which would combine Mantoloking, Lavellette, Seaside Heights and Seaside Park into one municipality and the six units of Long Beach Island into another municipality. Amick says no way this will pass, but it’s noteworthy that Gusciora’s even trying. Here’s why the odds are long:
Any merger that LUARC proposes will have to be approved by the Legislature and by a referendum in the affected towns to take effect. The supporters of home rule made sure of that. But, for the first time, such proposals will be backed by a comprehensive statewide study that will show how reducing New Jersey’s abundance of local governments will save money without sacrificing acceptable levels of service. Home rule could face its most serious challenge yet.
Good for Gusciora. At least someone’s talking about it.