There's a new commission meeting in Trenton as part of Governor Corzine's plan to urge municipalities across the state to consolidate. Their mission is to come up with strategies, incentives, carrots and sticks - anything that will get New Jersey's 500 plus towns to merge operations.
There is no doubt that we have too many municipalities. H0me-rule is one thing, but this is ridiculous. Three hundred years ago the state was made up of several large townships and some small villages and cities. The trend over the past 200 years has been for new municipalities to be calved from old ones - a trend that continued right through the last century.
Hillsborough is a good case study. Our township was once united with Montgomery - if you can believe that - and known as the Westering Precinct of Somerset County. After Montgomery was separated, Hillsborough was a large 59 square mile farming community with several small villages - the most important one being Millstone, which served as the County Seat in the 1700s. By the late 19th century, Millstone broke away to form its own municipality.
In 1929, seventeen years after the Johns-Manville company opened its huge asbestos factory in the northeast corner of Hillsborough, the Manville village residents had had enough, and also broke with Hillsborough.
What should Hillsborough's position be with regard to town mergers? Should we lay low and see what happens? Should we proactively look to merge with one or both of our former territories?
Let me know what YOU think!