Here’s a couple of other relevant tidbits from the Ghost of Journalism Past as the State DOE makes a concerted effort to slink by home rule fanatics by overturning local school district control through state mandates.
From the New York Times back in March:
Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s latest budget proposes cutting $190 million in aid to municipalities, with the sharpest reductions aimed at towns with fewer than 10,000 people, an effort to get some of them to consider consolidation.
About 180 of those small towns stand to lose all their aid, while others will see their funding slashed by half. More than 300 mayors and other local leaders gathered in Trenton recently to complain loudly and passionately about the cuts, in what is most likely the opening act of a months-long battle with the governor, who told them the idea of small-town governments may soon be a thing of the past.
In a video message to the mayors, the governor said New Jersey’s 566 municipalities, 616 school districts, 486 local authorities and 186 fire districts or companies are too expensive in today’s grim budget reality.
“The size of government, and often home rule, is hurting taxpayers and raising their cost of living,” Mr. Corzine said.
And whistling even further back, from February’s Star-Ledger:
Gov. Jon Corzine’s proposed budget drastically reduces municipal aid to the 323 towns of less than 10,000 residents, but offers them a share of $32 million in grants to help them consolidate with other towns or share services.
Towns with populations of less than 5,000 would receive no state property tax relief aid and those between 5,000 and 10,000 people would see their aid cut in half.
“The effort is to make them more efficient and move toward consolidation,” Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Joseph Doria said. “The incentives are we have the grants for shared services and working toward consolidation. That’s the carrot. The stick is not receiving the aid.”
And here’s a piece from the Washington Post worth reading in full. Here’s the link. Money quote:
Corzine, who presided over mergers and acquisitions as chairman of Goldman Sachs, is telling hundreds of New Jersey’s smallest towns and boroughs that they are too small to exist. Multiple layers of government are financially wasteful, he says, and the littlest towns and boroughs need to merge with their bigger neighbors to achieve economies of scale.
Corzine’s incentive — more like a hammer — is a threatened cutoff of state aid. Under the governor’s proposed budget, the state’s 323 towns with populations of fewer than 10,000 people would face drastic cuts if they do not consolidate. Towns with populations between 5,000 and 10,000 people would see their aid sliced in half. Those with more than 10,000 would have their aid frozen at 2007 levels. And those such as Moonachie, with fewer than 5,000 people, would get zero state funding. Zilch….
“We’re not a town; we’re a home town,” said Edward G. Campbell III, the mayor of Gibbsboro, with 2,500 people and 840 homes on 2.2 square miles. “Home rule is deeply rooted in New Jersey.”