Consolidation of Doughnut Hole Municipalities on the Table

Consolidate all "doughnut municipalities" and "doughnut-hole municipalities" within 10 years--that's the synopsis of a bill introduced last week by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (District 15 - Mercer County).  The bill proposes that municipalities such as Metuchen and Edison merge without the need of approval from either one.  Assemblyman Gusciora does not provide any concrete evidence as to how these consolidations would benefit the municipalities or the state. Rather, there is just a vague reference to saving money with economies of scale.  The word is that this bill has no chance of passing; Assemblyman Gusciora has tried to pass similar legislation in the past without success.  We are trying to get a comment from someone closer to the situation and will update when we do.

In the meantime, you can e-mail Assemblyman Gusciora at and let him know what you think of the bill.  You can also e-mail our representatives, Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan at and Assemblyman Peter Barnes at  

Metuchen had to deal with consolidation discussions a few years ago when the state floated the idea of combining certain school districts, Metuchen and Edison being one pair.  That idea never really got off the ground thanks in part to the efforts of a group of mayors from smaller towns, including former Mayor O'Brien, and an ardent mass of families who came out against the idea in town meetings.


I live in Edison and consolidation affects us too, you are not alone in this fight. Yes, Edison has it’s own problems and is already one of the biggest municipalities in the state. I believe that Edison and Metuchen have different tax rates, so I am sure we will all be reassessed and be forced to pay more in taxes and we all get less. Who needs or wants that? I love the small town charm of Metuchen; it’s like a jewel in the middle of Edison and keeps our property values up. We shop and eat and love Main Street just like you do. Please don’t think the residents of Edison want to swallow you up like the big, bad wolf. If we all stand united and jointly fight this thing we can win hands down.

You know, I am not going to lose too much sleep over Assemblyman Gusciora. As I understand it. No one in the blob (Trenton) is really interested in what he thinks on the matter right now due to a) election b) reactions from first go around that proved a lot nastier than everyone thought.

It looks like Gusciora is a lone wolf on this one. You know, the thought of forcing anything to do anything on enfranchisement smacks of the "old country" and why we all left. I can tell you we fought a war over it right here.

I am happy to say the roots in my family in New Jersey go back over 200 years now and yeah I even moved back.

The real issue is the future. I moved to Metuchen after 14 years in Washington because I perceived a) a tight knit open minded community that possesses b)an efficient form of government. I was raised in other smaller Jersey communities the Deal & Spring Lake areas. So I know small communities.

I know this--I ain't voting for any merger that fails to spell out in graphic detail for me the exact cost savings. No one and I mean no one that I ever heard speak on the subject including Gusciora can spell out where the exact saving are located. All, I ever heard is that it could or should save money based in sharing of greater revenue. In other words a theory.

Why, well friends, if you subsrcibe to effiency do not look at Edison. Their government clearly spent or mismanaged massive sums of revenue taken in on a grand scale. Both past and current. Read the paper. The well is just about run dry and sad part most do not know it over there. The massive size of Edison's personnel roster speaks reams and volumes to government failure. Further their government argues over issue that comes up on a one party council? Edison disfunctionality recently saw a limitation of resident participation in their meetings by limiting time allowed to speak. I personally think that actions like that force our state to soft peddled merger talks.

Lastly, I will only vote for a merger when both towns agree that as part of a global merger that a general election is called in which all seats are up for election. In other words we start over with new terms. Does anyone think Edison is up to that task? To tell you the truth, I am more interested in hearing about that.

I was just made aware of this bill today. I could not agree more with Justin's comments. We must provide a strong, unified front on the consolidation issue. The discussion of consolidation has been ongoing for many years, yet, no one has been able to show the financial benefits of such actions. it will be interesting to see where this bill lands.

For some reason you can't link to individual pages on the legislature's web site. If you go to their main page and scroll down under Legislative Schedule and click on Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee, you can see it says "Discussion Only" for this bill. Whatever that means.

linkie no workie

They one thing that might be good to look at is consolidation of purchases and supplies. For example, if we buy oil to heat our schools, and Edison buys oil to heat their schools, we might get a better deal or both towns by consolidating our purchasing power.

There are some situations where consolidation of certain services or purchases can help all towns involved

The people you should really be congratulating are the women who went and spoke at the public meetings held by Senator Smith's Consolidation Committee in 2006.

Metuchen was one of the only towns that had citizens show up at multiple meetings around the state and protest the prospect of consolidation.

Of course mayors are going to protest consolidation - they don't want to lose their jobs.

Having regular citizens out there saying "hands off my town" is much more compelling.

If you were paying attention to what is going on in Edison you would not think consolidation was a good idea.

Only pass on information if the bill has a chance of passing. I am tired of politicians screaming fire (Bloomberg, Corzine, GWB, Obama) just to get their faces in the news or their agenda's forwarded.

Worry about our budget, were I the Gov. and I heard Metuchen couldn't keep their books straight, I would start to think that consolidation was the right idea.

I would also think that the firing of an auditor after a bad report should be looked into.

The less tight our ship, the more chance someone in Trenton will think they can do a better job.

Thanks for the article. I want the residents to know that while I don't speak for the Mayor or the entire Council I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that there will be a strong, united front by your elected officials against such forced action by the State. Mayor O'Brien was a very strong vocal leader in opposition to this kind of action when he was in office and I recall that Mayor Vahalla was equally strong in opposition and concern during the Candidate's debate in 2007. Tom predicted that while we had "won" the first battle that the fight was not over. This bill is evidence that he was exactly correct. I am all for seeking opportunity to share services where it makes sense amongst municipal entities including our own Board of Education but I will fight and fight very, very hard to preserve and protect the Borough of Metuchen as we know it. If I receive any additional information on this bill, I will be sure to pass it along.

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Recent Comments

  • CinC: I live in Edison and consolidation affects us too, you read more
  • Darryl Schaefer: You know, I am not going to lose too much read more
  • Mark Paradis: I was just made aware of this bill today. I read more
  • Anonymous: For some reason you can't link to individual pages on read more
  • Anonymous: linkie no workie read more
  • Anonymous: They one thing that might be good to look at read more
  • Anonymous: It's being discussed today: read more
  • Anonymous: The people you should really be congratulating are the women read more
  • Anonymous: If you were paying attention to what is going on read more
  • Anonymous: Only pass on information if the bill has a chance read more

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