The Researchers Digest: May New Jersey studies municipal consolidation; free presP in New York City; Governmental Research Association renews activity, publishes proceedings.
P O P U L A R interest in municipal con- solidations in New Jersey has re-
cently taken on renewed life, reports William Miller of the Princeton Local Government Survey. A report on A Consolidation of the Municipalities of Passaic and Clifton, New Jersey, re- leased in February under the joint spon- sorship of the Princeton Survey and the Department of Governmental Research of the N e w Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, is the first of a series of spot studies planned to test the possi- bilities of action under a 1939 law which was originally prepared by the survey. A second such study, to deal with adjust- ments in Bridgewater Township, Som- erset County, will soon be completed.
As a result of the new law, known as the Local Units Permissive Con- solidation Act, relates Mr. Miller, there is now available a simple, defi- nite and practical method whereby two or morg: municipalities in the same county may consolidate.
Mr. Miller continues: There never has been much local sentiment for con- solidations-in fact the tendency has been quite the contrary, so that over the past forty years there have been only three consolidations with one hun- dred eighty-one separations. While the causes for this development are far more subtle than defects of legislation, it is clear that prior t o the enactment of the new law, existing provisions, en- acted in 1917 and 1923, contained de- fects which seriously impaired the chances of success for any consolida- tion movement.
Both of the old laws provided for a vote on the question before a plan of consolidation had been worked out. They also dealt inflexibly with the treatment of contracts, debts and li- abilities of the consolidating munici- palities, although these matters require the utmost flexibility of treatment be- fore a workable plan can be agreed upon. The 1917 law left no choice as to the framework of government for the new municipality, and required the acceptance of the charter and ordi- nances of the largest in population-a device well calculated to foster that feeling of being swallowed up. The 1923 law merely provided that the new municipality must be a city. The Local Units Permissive Consolidation Law remedies all of these defects and repeals the 1917 and 1923 legislation.
Report Merely Analyzes
The Passaic-Clifton report neither recommends nor condemns consolida- tion. It only purports to analyze the values and set the problems. The an- swer must come from the communities themselves.
Significantly, however, the report points out that the two communities naturally supplement each other-Pas- saic with the prestige of a long and successful industrial development, and Clifton with successful industrial de- velopment as well as new space for both residential and industrial expansion. I n the long run, consolidation of Clifton and Passaic, it is reported, would point
322 NATIONAL MUNICIPAL REVIEW [May
toward economic advantages which would normally accrue to the sixth largest city in the state. Further- more, there would probably be a wider range of public services, the elimina- tion of costly rivalries and duplicated capital jnvestments which normally attend competitive growth, and assur- ance of future developments in accord with a unified city plan adapted to the expanding needs of the Passaic-Clifton area.
Would Increase Taxes For consolidation, Passaic must be
willing to share in the future capital improvements of the present Clifton area-probably a considerable burden because of Passaics comparatively corn- plete capital program and Cliftons capital needs over the next ten years; to permit equal political participation with the Clifton area in the govern- ment of the new municipality; to place the government of the new muni- cipality under civil service-as in Clifton at present; to encourage in- dustrial and residential expansion in the present Clifton area. Clifton must agree to face increased governmental cost payments for the new municipal- ity. This would mean increased valua- tions or a higher tax rate. It also must be ready to pay a larger share of state and county taxes than is now required; to consider merging police and firemens pension funds in the in- terest of a unified and solvent fund for the new municipality; to encourage the normal growth of trade centers in the present Passaic area.
Such matters as these can be con- sidered, adjusted, and compromised if necessary by a joint committee, which is provided for under the new
consolidation law. The people may then vote for or against consolidation on the specific bases worked out by the com- mittee. An intelligent appreciation of all the factors involved is being stimu- lated by the cooperation of the local press.
Newspapers and a Budget Free Press: for what? inquires
New York Citys Institute for Public Service in a blistering indictment of the newspapers of the worlds greatest city. The Institutes April 10 bulletin details the treatment given to the mayors ex- ecutive budget for 1940-41 by twelve daily newspapers, pointing out that one paper gave the Soviet budget two and one-half times the space devoted to the city budget; that one paper gave to a love kiss a three-column head and three times the space given the budget ; that one paper gave a style queen and a reinstated lawyer twenty-five inches, to sixteen on the budget.
The institute points out also signifi- cant budget items which were entirely ignored by all the newspapers. All twelve, it is charged, accepted the miscue from the mayors message and called the total $581,000,000 when $687,000,000 was the total budget in the summary received with his mes- sage.
Governmental Research and Citten Control
Publication of the Governmental Re- search Bulletin of the Governmental Research Association has been resumed, now under the editorship of Laurence Michelmore at the GRAs new head- quarters in Detroit. The issue of March 1940 is the first since that of September- October 1939.
Coincidentally, the proceedings of the twenty-eighth conference of the GRA, which took place in Princeton last September, have been issued. As Dr. W. E. Mosher, chairman of the or- ganizations executive committee, ex- plains in his foreword, the conference was built around three leading ideas: (1) redefinition of the objectives of the GRA, with emphasis upon the impor- tance of citizen interest and citizen sup- port; (2) the proposal that a national organization should be set up which would appeal to those primarily inter- ested in research, administration, and progressive measures for bringing about improvement through the application of scientific principles; and (3) considera- tion of recent important advances in one or another aspect of administra- tion.
Papers by many of the great names of governmental research are given in full or digested. The proceedings have been titled Governmental Research and Citizen Control of Government.
Research Bureau Reports Received
Consolidation A CONSOLIDATION OF THE
MUNICIPALITIES OF PASSAIC AND CLIFTON, NEW JERSEY. Princeton Local Government Survey, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. February 15, 1940. 24 pp.
- Cost of Government
Cost of Government in Canada- Provincial Government. Citizens Re- search Institute of Canada, Canadian
MUNICIPAL F I N A N C E S I N
PROVEMENT. (Supplement to Re- search Bulletin No. 109). New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, Newark, N. J. 17 pp.
NEW JERSEY-A RECORD OF IM-
Debt LOCATION A N D RELATIVE
BURDEN OF LOCAL DEBT. Prince- ton Survey of New Jersey Finance, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. February 1, 1940. 4 pp.
Governmental Research GOVERNMENTAL RESEARCH
ERNMENT. Governmental Research Association, Detroit, Michigan. Janu- ary, 1940. 168 pp.
AND CITIZEN CONTROL OF GOV-
Liquor STATE LIQUOR CONTROL AD-
MINISTRATION-A STATUTORY ANALYSIS. By Dorothy Campbell Culver and Jack E. Thomas. Bureau of Public Administration, University of California, Berkeley, February 15, 1940. 80 PP. -
Motor Vehicles To Reduce Motor-Vehicle Accidents.
Bureau of Municipal Research, Phila- delphia, Citizens Business, March 19, 1940. 3 pp.
Free Press: For What? Institute for Public Service, New York City, 1940. 4 PP. -
Planning State Planning. Citizens Bureau of
Governmental Research, Inc., of New York State, Bulletin, Number G-14.
19401 THE RESEARCHERS DIGEST: MAY 323
Taxation, April 8, 1940. 4 pp. 2 PP.
324 NATIONAL MUNICIPAL REVIEW
Population Trends POPULATION GROWTH AND
UNEMPLOYMENT. By V. B. Stan- bery. Western Governmental Research Association, Berkeley, Governmental Research Notes, December-March, 1939-40. 10 pp.
- Public WeZfnre
State Assistance for Child Welfare in Boston. Boston Municipal Research Bureau, Bulletin, March 30, 1940. 4 PP.
Our Poor Relief System (?). The Cincinnati Bureau of Governmental Re- search, Inc., The Public Pime, Febru- ary 29, 1940. 4 pp.
Volume and Cost of Relief, 1939. Rochester Bureau of Municipal Re- search, Inc., Municipal Research, March 1940. 1 p,
Schools Resolutions of Board of Trustees on
School Matters. Civic Research Insti- tute, Kaitsas City Pttblic Affairs, March 21, 1940. 5 pp.
The Pressing School Problem in New York State. Citizens Bureau of Gov- ernmental Research, Inc., of New York State, Bulletin, Number G-13. 2 pp.
Should the Legislature Investigate School Finances? Citizens Bureau of Governmental Research, Inc., of New York State, BzrIZef