PRINCETON, N.J. (CBS) – With Camden County talking about a consolidated police department (see related story) and Cherry Hill and Merchantville, NJ talking merger of services (related story), the granddaddy of failed consolidations in New Jersey is up for another vote in November.

Princeton, NJ has been a both township and a borough since 1894, when they split over the issue of school taxes.  The schools have since reunited, but the municipalities have not.

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Now, there’s a November referendum to get the borough and the township operating as a single unit.  But similar efforts have failed before.

Norman Glickman, a public policy professor at both Rutgers and the University of Pennsylvania (and a merger proponent) thinks the reason that prior referenda have fallen short is an exaggerated sense of home rule.

“This is such a small state,” he says.  “It has 566 townships and 600 school districts, and in a better world — or at least a more efficient world — those numbers could be cut in half.”

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One major worry of opponents is loss of the borough’s “identity” if swallowed by the township that surrounds it.

The merger might, however, save $3 million a year.

Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio 1060

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