Bill to ease town-consolidation study passes out of committee

TRENTON – The state Senate Committee on Community and Urban Affairs passed without argument a bill by state Sen. Robert Gordon (D-Fairlawn) and Sen. James Beach (D-Camden) that would enable voters seeking municipality consolidation and/or shared services to petition the Department of Community Affairs.

“We realize there are not a lot of mayors and local elected officials ready to give up their posts and so we included in this provision citizen-led efforts,” Gordon told the committee. “We allowed citizens to circulate petitions and submit them to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA).”

Gordon noted that the DCA recently rejected on a technicality a submission by a citizens group requesting a consolidation study commission on behalf of Merchantville and Cherry Hill.

“The DCA rejected the consolidation because of a technicality,” Gordon said. “What my bill does is clarify the point that when there is an application (containing both) citizens petitions and a resolution from the municipality,” the two can be blended. 

The bill passed out of committee, 3-0.

Bill to ease town-consolidation study passes out of committee