After decades of debate, two New Jersey municipalities, Princeton Borough and Princeton Township, finally merged Tuesday.
The merger reduced the number of municipalities in New Jersey by one to 565 in a state where local control is a fetish. The state has some towns so small that more than half the adults hold municipal office.
The new Princeton held its first municipal meeting on New Year's Day, The Trentonian reported. A new mayor, Liz Lempert, and six new members of the municipal council were sworn in, and the council members picked slips of paper from a top hat to determine whether they would serve one-, two- or three-year terms.
More than 100 people attended the meeting, which was preceded by a celebratory reception.
While the two Princetons already shared many services, including schools, working out the details for the remainder is expected to take time and to cost at least $2 million, KYW-TV in Philadelphia said. The state has agreed to shoulder part of the cost.
In the long run, having a single police department, department of public works and other services is expected to save many millions of dollars.
A merger had been proposed several times before and rejected by voters, most recently in 1996.