Call for Applicants – Municipal Study Commission

Courage to Reconnect Scotch Plains and Fanwood has received approval from the state Local Finance Board to form a commission to study consolidation of the two municipalities. Four members of the 10 member commission are to be appointed by Courage to Reconnect, two from Scotch Plains and two from Fanwood. If you are interested in serving on the study commission, please send a cover letter explaining your interest, ability to satisfy the time commitment and your resume to: Courage To Reconnect Scotch Plains and Fanwood PO Box 481 Scotch Plains, NJ 07076 Or email spfreconnect@gmail.com.

Please anticipate your service will be estimated at 6 months, with one night meeting anticipated each week.

Download the flyer here

Click here to learn more about the Municipal Study Consolidation Commission

Backers of Scotch Plains-Fanwood merger take key step forward

A resident-driven effort to study a merger between Scotch Plains and Fanwood cleared a major hurdle Wednesday when the state Department of Community Affairs’ Local Finance Board granted it approval to form a study commission, but the group’s organizer said there’s still a long road to travel before the towns are consolidated.

“Some people want to do things quickly, and other people don’t,” said Fred Lange, of Scotch Plains, who spearheaded the formation of the group called Courage to Re-Connect. “We’re getting a lot of leads now for independent consultants to do the study, but we still need to appoint commissioners from both towns to move forward — and to do that, we’ll have to have a meeting with the two mayors to discuss what they’re going to do.”

Lange said 10 commissioners — five from each town, with four appointed by the mayors and councils of Scotch Plains and Fanwood — will oversee the municipal consolidation study, which will build on a state-funded shared services examination of the towns that was completed in 2010.

“Some things were left out of the shared services study because the people behind it weren’t concerned about the things that have to be tackled under consolidation … like the debt of the towns,” Lange said. “If the debt of one town is much larger than the other, then we’ll have to include in our study an assessment of unequal taxes or a fee or a charge of some kind.”

Gina Genovese, executive director of Courage to Connect New Jersey, a nonprofit that educates residents about consolidation, said the towns’ possession of the shared services study — which estimated Scotch Plains and Fanwood residents would save a total of $2 million in taxes by sharing 11 municipal services like police and fire protection — will help them find an independent consultant to complete the consolidation study, since “the idea is, they’ll already have 11 other studies to work off of.”

This article originally appeared in NJBiz. To continue reading this article, click here

Finance Board Approves Consolidation Study

This article originally appeared in the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Patch. Read the full article here 

The Local Finance Board in Trenton approved the application to study the consolidation of Scotch Plains and Fanwood on Wednesday afternoon.

Gina Genovese, Executive Director of Courage to Re-Connect, said this is a great day for taxpayers in New Jersey.

Members of the Finance Board, Mayor Mahr and attorney were present at the meeting.

To move forward, citizens will appoint two commisioners, one from each town.

Additionally each town’s council will choose a commissioner for the board. Then each four person group from each town will choose a fifth person for their group.

In total, their will be 10 commisioners from both towns. The study will be completed over the next three years.

The movement for this study has been completely driven by citizens. Genovese hopes this will save tax dollars for citizens and improve services.

Read more about the consolidation, in the Patch article, “Local Finance Board Hears Consolidation Study Commission Application

Check scotchplains.patch.com for more updates on this story.

The state Local Finance Board unanimously approved the formation of New Jersey’s first-ever municipal consolidation commission for Scotch Plains and Fanwood. Congratulations to Fred Lange, the founder of SP-F Reconnect, for his remarkable grassroots efforts. Scotch Plains and Fanwood are truly making history!

We are scheduled to appear before the Local Finance Board on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012 at 11:15 a.m. We are the last ones on the agenda. Location: Conference Room #129/235A  101 South Broad St., Trenton

Sept. 12 Hearing

The Local Finance Board is scheduled to continue hearing the application for a municipal consolidation study for Scotch Plains and Fanwood on Sept. 12 at the state Department of Community Affairs building in Trenton.

Scotch Plains activist believes key to lower taxes is merger with Fanwood

This article originally appeared in The Star-Ledger

SCOTCH PLAINS — Fred Lange, a grandfather and amateur magician, was just enjoying his retirement.

Really. The Scotch Plains man, who’s pushing 80 but could pass for a lot younger, was living out his days with his wife, Doris, and paying no mind to local politics.

But that all changed a few years ago with a simple idea. What if, he wondered after hearing a presentation on the topic, his town merged with neighboring Fanwood? What if communities across the state did the same?

That could drive down property taxes and attract new companies to the Garden State, he surmised.

“This would be great for New Jersey — to be able to have more manufacturing, more business,” he said.

With that, he went from observer to activist. Now he’s the front man for a citizen-driven movement to consolidate the two towns, and his push is irritating some people along the way — even politicians who respect his ultimate goal of tax relief.

Lange, with guidance from a group called Courage to Connect New Jersey, rounded up about 30 volunteers and spent months collecting the signatures of voters from both towns. With more than 1,000 names, he was able to harness a 2007 state law and force a series of public hearings on the topic of consolidation. The last was held Monday.

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