In his book “New Jersey’s Municipal Madness”, Alan Karcher looks at how and why the boundaries of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities were drawn. Sometimes there were economic considerations. Some times political. Sometimes personal agendas.
Railroad lines, need for new alcohol licenses, new roads, new school districts sometimes compelled one town to split off from a larger township.
So, we are left with 566 local governments, with much duplication of services. Home rule is and can be very expensive.
So, there is a solution: Merge communities.
And the communities do already try to engage in “shared services”. Some nearby each other have tried to merge. Some quite far apart have shared responsibilities and resources---Regional Contribution Agreements with regard to COAH requirements, for example.
So, maybe some of the towns far apart may attempt mergers. And merging would require new names for the entities.
For example, if Wayne in Passaic County and Newton in Sussex County merged, the town could be called Wayne-Newton. The residents will certainly chant "Danke Shoen" for that plan!
If Nutley merged with Roxbury and Asbury Park, the new municipality could be called Nuts & Berries. Or if Alexandria Township in Hunterdon came together with Great Meadows Township in Warren County, the new town might be called Alexander the Great.
Or merge Great Gorge in Sussex, with any of the many Washington Townships in New Jersey, and with Bridgewater you’d get the town of Gorge Washington Bridge.
Or perhaps Atlantic City with Ocean City, and you get Atlantic-Ocean.
If East Amwell, West New York, North Plainfield, and South Bound Brook could get together, their residents would live in East-West-North-South, NJ. Whew! That’s quite a trip!
The merger of Hillsdale, Mt. Airy, and Clinton might rankle their resident Republicans just a tad ---they could merge in to Hil-Airy-Clinton. That might help her campaign even more!
Hamburg in Sussex County, could merge with Egg Harbor City and Little Egg Harbor Township to form the great breakfast community of Ham & Eggs. Yum!
If they care to, Cherry Hill in Camden County can get together with Pittstown in Hunterdon, to form Cherry-Pitts. Not the most attractive name, but it might save them some money.
If Alpha Township in Warren, and Bates Mill in Camden can come together, they could call the new town Alpha-Bates. Good spellers could move there.
Some towns might merge with some, and then reform with others. For example, Applegarth in Middlesex County, could merge with both West Orange and East Orange, and Bound Brook----and form the dual communities of Apples & Oranges, AND Garth-Brooks. Unless that would be out of ‘bounds’.
For those New Jersey resident who like to be everywhere at the same time----Middletown Township in Monmouth could merge with Lower Township and Upper Township [both in Cape May County] to form Upper-Middle-Lower Township.
For a town with a real European flavor, Frenchtown could merge with Englishtown, and form...well, you know.
If you like the the Beatles, Paulsboro in Gloucester, could merge with Ringoes in Hunterdon, Great Gorge, and Johnstown from Pennsylvania to form Paul-John-Gorge & Ringo. But that would require going across a state line.
And if Ho-Ho-Kus and Hoboken merged----it would make Santa's job that much easier, when he visits the new town of Ho-Ho-Ho.
I am sure there are other possibilities.