SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ - The Fanwood-Scotch Plains Consolidation Study Commission agreed to disband in a unanimous vote during its monthly meeting at Evergreen Elementary School on Wednesday evening. Lack of financial support from the state of New Jersey was cited as the principal reason of the Commission’s separation.

“We did not receive enough funding to form a study to decide whether or not we should consolidate towns,” said Fred E. Lange, who led the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Consolidation Study Commission. “I think that the state of New Jersey could have done more; they have provided funds for similar studies in the past.”

The commission was initially formed to oversee a prospective study by an independent contractor to evaluate the benefits and costs of consolidating Fanwood and Scotch Plains into one municipality. Ideally, the study would have analyzed whether consolidation would have benefited the two communities with the ultimate goal of taking a position and advancing it to a question as a ballot referendum.

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Lange, who started the commission in June 2013, explained that consolidating the towns might be more economical and efficient, but an independent study would have to be conducted to confirm that before moving forward.

"I believe we have a missed opportunity with the disbanding of the Consolidation Commission, which sought to investigate potential cost savings for residents of both communities. I am committed to looking at ways that shared services could possible save money for the taxpayers of our township," said Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover.

Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr was equally disappointed.

"The state of New Jersey, particularly the Local Government Finance Board, went out of its way in 2012 to embrace the first ever citizens-driven consolidation commission initiative led by Mr. Lange. Then, when the real work needed to begin, they provided little, if any, real resources or creativity to help produce a report  that would have been shared with both communities," Mahr said. "They could have taken a more hands on approach, especially when they realized the commission was struggling to hire consultants to help."
 

"I am hopeful that these residents will now work with Fanwood and Scotch Plains governing bodies as we look to ‎advance significant shared services in the coming year," Mahr added.