New Jersey Town Mergers Are Losing Support, Poll Shows

Merging New Jersey towns, a step taken by Princeton Borough and Princeton Township to help combat the highest property taxes in the U.S., has lost support under Republican Governor Chris Christie, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

Just 45 percent of New Jersey adults support combining their municipality’s government with that of a neighboring community, down from 54 percent in March 2010, two months into Christie’s first term. Opposition has risen to 46 percent, up eight points, according to results released today.

“This decline in support may be partially a result of the smaller property-tax increases seen over the last few years,” David Redlawsk, director of the poll, said in a statement.

The Princetons, which shared their name with the Ivy League university, were the only municipalities to accept Christie’s offer of state help to pay some one-time merger costs. With voter approval, the municipalities started operating as Princeton Borough in 2013. Its first budget was 5 percent less than the towns spent separately, and the new government workforce dropped 9 percent.

The telephone poll of 816 adults, from March 31 to April 6, had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

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