TRENTON – A citizens group has submitted an application to the state to set up a commission to study the possible merger of the Union County municipalities of Scotch Plains and Fanwood.
The group, Courage to Reconnection Scotch Plains/Fanwood, submitted the petition to the Local Finance Board on Wednesday.
Creating a study commission is the first step in the often-lengthy process of getting towns to merge.
The two Union County towns are similar in demographics.
“We believe that consolidation will benefit the citizens of both municipalities by stabilizing property taxes, providing residents with more efficient and effective municipal services, and increasing property values,” the application’s executive summary said.
The reconnect reference is included because both municipalities were actually one whole town until 1895.
In the past years, a handful of towns have formed committees to study the pros and cons of mergers, including Chester and Chester Township in Morris County, and Cherry Hill and Merchantville in Camden County.
Last November, voters in both Princeton Borough and Princeton Township approved merging the two Mercer County municipalities.
The group’s leader, Fred Lange, a Scotch Plains resident, believes there is tremendous support for the towns to unite.
“Initially, I went door to door to have our petitions signed,” Lange said in a statement. “Ninety-two percent of the people in Fanwood and 98 percent of the people in Scotch Plains with whom I spoke supported what I was doing. This is really a citizen-driven initiative. We’re the ones who want to study a consolidation by an overwhelming majority.”