Tension ran high in the second hearing of a potential consolidation study as Fanwood residents questioned the petition process and voiced concerns about the grassroots organization that submitted an application for consolidation between the borough and Scotch Plains.
The hearing, which was held as per requirement of the application, ran more than two hours as more than 70 people filled a room at 200 Forest Road to discuss whether or not consolidation would help or hinder Fanwood.
The hearing was mediated by Assistant Director of Local Government Services Christopher Vaz who attempted to organize a meeting filled with outbursts. The meeting was led by a panel made up of members of Courage to ReConnect Scotch Plains-Fanwood, the state branch, and Princeton Mayor Chad Goerner, who recently consolidated his township with Princeton Borough.
Any comment in support of consolidation — of which there were few — were met with skepticism as residents asked if Fanwood’s interests were considered in the petition process, and why the borough would begin consolidation while it is currently in negotiations with Scotch Plains for shared services for the police department to save costs.
But Gina Genovese of Courage to ReConnect reiterated several times throughout the meeting that the hearing was purely to discuss the option of a consolidation study — a $50,000 to $75,000 report that would be funded through ReConnect’s Scotch Plains-Fanwood chapter. Consolidation would not be up for vote until a thorough investigation.
“We are not forcing consolidation,” she said. “It should be organic.”
Continue reading this article in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Patch