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Poll: Will Chatham Follow Princeton's Example and Merge?

The borough's mayor-elect is against the idea, while the Chatham Township Committee is in favor.

On Tuesday, Chatham residents had only one municipal question to consider: whether or not to approve sports betting in New Jersey. Residents in Princeton Township and Princeton Borough had another issue to vote on that Chatham residents can relate to: whether or not to merge the two towns into one.

The measure passed by a 3-to-2 margin and will go into effect on 2013, opening the door for other bordering towns (or "doughnut towns," as The Star Ledger calls towns where one is completely surrounded by another) to likewise consider a merger.

In Chatham Borough, this issue was discussed — but hardly debated — in the League of Women Voters' last month. The four candidates present all supported keeping the borough independent from other districts, saying they had spoken with very few, if any, residents who favored the notion. In the debate, said the borough is "surrounded by towns that are a lot larger than us, and any merger between us would mean that we are a junior partner."

Readers also commented on Mayor-Elect Bruce Harris' candidate video and on a , both also published in October.

When the Chatham Township Committee met Thursday night, Committee Member Bailey Brower, Jr. congratulated the Princetons on the merger vote and said it set a mandate for the Chathams. Other committee members, as well as members of the public, spoke up in favor of merging the towns, but said they have not felt the same enthusiasm from the borough. In the words of Committee Member Kevin Tubbs, "it takes two to tango."

The two towns share a recreation department and a library and school system. They also share a municipal court, along with Madison and Harding. Both have their own governing committees (the borough has six voting council members and one mayor who has a tie-breaking vote, and the township has five voting committee members with a mayor chosen by the committee), their own administrators, police departments, public works departments, garbage and recycling collection contracts and water and sewer systems.

What do you think? Vote in the poll below, and give us your comments.

KenD November 13, 2011 at 02:33 PM
MayorG, I was simply making a joke. As a user of the schools, rec dept and library I do feel that we are one community. I guess that was my point. As to whether there should be a merger. Frankly, I don't know. I have not done the things you recommend above. On the surface it seems to make sense but without a full analysis as you suggest one cannot make a decision. Perhaps a joint committee with some authority to conduct a feasibility study (ie, spend limited money) would make sense. I agree, it has to add up to a lot more than going to one rec director. Just the water and sewer issues alone could prove overly problematic.
Scott November 13, 2011 at 03:02 PM
Mayor G and Ken - I was being sarcastic, sorry. I've always identified myself as a resident of Chatham never adding the distinction of Township or Boro. If the poll response to the idea of merging the Township and Boro is any indication of the sentiment among Township and Boro residents, the councils should conduct a feasibility study but it won't happen until they are pushed to do so.
Kiko Hernandez-Monoli November 13, 2011 at 03:43 PM
It would be, because the cross line between towns it so STUPID! You could live 3/4 in the Borough and 1/4 in the Township! So lame! But anyway, the Township needs sidewalks unlike the Borough, the Borough is WAY better.
Frank November 14, 2011 at 11:17 AM
Both towns need sidewalks, esecially on Fairmont Ave and both town committee are obivious to this and other needs. Both municipal gov'ts should fix the many problems that will are beggining to make both communities less desirable to the under 35 population and for starters those problems include a lack of sidewalks, lack of SAFE bike paths, lack of dog parks, and just a general lack of a community- a problem which would start to get better with these social and safety amenities- that exist in most communities outside of our very backwards part of New Jersey.
Joe November 17, 2011 at 03:26 PM
No use discussing without the data to evaluate the cost savings. My understanding from the last go-round is that the cost-savings are small (and since there are usually unforeseen costs, it probably means the towns would lose money by merging).

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