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njstein t1_jad5ae7 wrote

How do we create a group to start actually organizing and gaining support for municipal merging in order to cut redundant administrative costs? I'm down to take the initiative to make a discord to get things started before we discover our objectives and goal and vote for actual leadership.

I made a discord server - Pop in if you're interested in advocating for this. Gonna need people for creating graphics and informational postings, and also people to do the research on the benefits of merging municipalities. We don't need towns that are barely a square mile paying out millions of dollars into the salaries of administrators, police chiefs, and school supervisors when an entire grade is 12 students.

I believe this could be a bipartisan issue that we can all get behind to help make our municipalities more efficient and less wasteful in tax spending. I only ask those that join be polite and respectful towards all people and stay focused on the topic. First steps would be to start raising awareness and trying to get more people on board to lighten the workload of volunteers.


grr5000 t1_jadaz7r wrote

Yes! We need to merge some of these municipalities


VeterinarianCapable9 t1_jaexkge wrote

The hardest thing to do in Jersey is to get neighboring municipalities to commit to shared services. It's not the governments. Most of the smart towns have been doing this where they can for years. It's the residents and their sense of identity/loyalty/hate.


I_post_rarely t1_jadkq22 wrote

You need to prove that this would actually help. What are the costs associated with the merging (studies, signs, permits, etc.)? What & how many job(s) would be eliminated? How much will be “saved” when the process is complete? Would levels of service be maintained/improved/decreased?

if we save $10M on administrative costs per year (a number I completely made up, equivalent to eliminating 50 superintendent type positions) & evenly distribute that to the (slightly less than) 4M houses in NJ each household would save about $3/year. So, to offset this current increase of $200 per household we would need to save over $500M/year. Is there that much municipality bloat? I don’t know. If you have hard numbers that show we can save $1B a year that might help you gain support.

(Maybe this data already exists, I didn’t google. Would love to see a real analysis of this)


njstein t1_jadm1ry wrote

Yeah, this is what I'd like to see happen with this first brainstorming group. Figuring out the numbers to get some hard data on that so we can help present such things in a much more clear and concise manner complete with attached research. That's a lot of work for a single individual which is why I'm trying to solicit together a group for assisting with research efforts and getting out to present this information. There's over 550+ municipalities in NJ, each with their own police department, and a full boat of town staffing positions.


MrFrode t1_jadrvxy wrote

Schools. Schools are by far the largest expense that hits local taxes, often 50+%.

Merging or having shared service agreements for police and fire is nice but unless and until people are willing to have large shared school district with 4 or more municipalities taxes will never go down.


jiffyparkinglot t1_jadvnxt wrote

I am sure not all people will not want their schools merged with their neighboring towns. People paid a premium to buy homes with good schools and probably don’t mind paying extra in property taxes to continue that benefit.


storm2k t1_jae8g71 wrote

it depends. i live in bedminster. the school here is great, but we could just as easily be part of somerset hills regional and still have our actual school and have our kids go to bernards hs in the normal way and not on a send-receive which costs more money.


Kind-Designer-5763 t1_jae96ls wrote

Good for you, but half the state would not get that deal, they might merge with the crap district

property taxes are the cover charge for what gets in and what stays out

sorry, not sorry


Mm2789 t1_jad8foc wrote

Yep paying like 11k and somehow my town doesn’t offer free kindergarten and only has recycling twice per month


carregaldosal t1_jadgcy4 wrote

Makes you wonder what they use all the property tax money on.


lost_in_life_34 t1_jadq60i wrote

if it's anything like long island then 20%-25% is local town and county taxes and the rest school taxes. For nassau I looked up a home one time and they had the exact breakdown of all the taxes line by line a homeowner pays


SleepyHobo t1_jadqja4 wrote

On average over half of your town's property taxes go to the municipality's schools.


sweetbldnjesus t1_jaezv2f wrote

My town pays a few million dollars to bus kids to private schools when the town is so small they don’t offer bussing to public school kids. I believe Christie passed that law but don’t quote me in that.


bostonbro5 t1_jadubzf wrote

They dont. Half of the property taxes go to the local Abbott district


[deleted] t1_jae74i1 wrote



cadet311 t1_jaeefva wrote

The SDA districts get approximately 50% of the state education budget. The other 500 or so get the other half. Should we support education in lower income areas? Yes, but not to the extravagance that we currently are.

“Pick what you want, the state is paying for it” is a phrase that’s been heard in some of these districts. As a result, I know someone who had a VERY nice office chair.


bostonbro5 t1_jaenwm9 wrote

Lmao now I'm a techbro and a racist? Amazing. Are you claiming that my property taxes aren't going to a county school fund that is primarily dispersed in an Abbot district(or w/e its called)? Are my property tax documents that I receive stating otherwise incorrect?


arthurnewt t1_jaeb5fj wrote

That’s not true


bostonbro5 t1_jaeoj09 wrote

It is true according to my property tax documents that I get. Half of the school tax is sent to the county and redistributed to one town


MassiveStomach t1_jadsdgc wrote

my town only offers half day for free, you gotta pay for full day

but, our recycling is down by the county (morris) not the town, not sure if yours is as well


nycnola t1_jaeyu9j wrote

Need to have less little townships and towns to spend less on admin/overhead.


SD-777 t1_jadepn2 wrote

Yep my town just had their re-evaluations done and my house went up, no joke, 60%. Of course they are basing this on prices at the complete top of the crazy real estate market we recently went through. I called to ask for a re-evaluation and they stuck to their guns so I ended up hiring an attorney to fight it. Yeah I feel bad in some ways as my kids utilize the schools and I know all that stuff runs on property taxes, but at the same time I feel like my house's value is grossly inflated for the tax revenue.


carregaldosal t1_jadh75z wrote

What’s there to feel bad about? Your town has probably raised your property taxes every year you’ve owned your home.

Inflation has been a problem for well over a year now and they still raised your property taxes.


ukcats12 t1_jadpztf wrote

> Yep my town just had their re-evaluations done and my house went up, no joke, 60%

When they do a town wide reassessment the tax rate doesn't stay the same though. The value of your house might have gone up, but the tax rate is then cut to compensate. The town's tax revenue will stay approximately the same. Your taxes might go up, but certainly not by 60%.


SD-777 t1_jadz0m3 wrote

Yeah the tax rate went down, but it will slowly climb back up as it's done every year. Even with the rate going down my yearly property taxes still went up significantly.


lost_in_life_34 t1_jadptkq wrote

north NJ the homes are still selling for over asking


SD-777 t1_jadytcu wrote

They are, but they've cooled down some since hitting peaks last year.


storm2k t1_jaeamiw wrote

and it will continue because no one wants to ever do any of the things that would make the taxes actually go down:

  • consolidate municipal governments, police services (ideally to a county level), school districts (each tiny little town does not need it's own k-8 and then pay extra for send-receive to another district's high school), and others. it can't just be one of these things, it has to be all. you need to have fewer mayors, councils, administrative staff, and having police forces at higher levels would better spread out the cost of salaries for cops.

  • more tax sources than just the property tax. other places in the country get pieces of the sales tax to fund municipal budgets. can't do that in nj. doesn't help all towns evenly (would be more of a boon for places with big downtowns and shopping) but it would also encourage such development.

  • modify or kill the fucking farm exemption thing. it's basically an exploited joke at this point. every single rich person who has a small apiary or grows a few christmas trees on their property and thus pays way less in taxes is more that everyone else has to pay to make up the difference. budgets are what they are. either raise the money level high enough where it helps actual farmers but can't be as easily exploited or kill it and replace it with something more useful.

but given that we live and die by our precious home rule in this state, none of this will ever happen, so we all just keep getting stuck paying more for property taxes every year.


NiceDakNoRomo t1_jae8kbu wrote

The cop pensions. The governor pension. Like wtf.


Spectre_Loudy t1_jadup5s wrote

Good thing homeowners in some of the wealthiest towns still pay a lower percentage than most. Can we please tax the fuck out of wealthy vacation homes not even owned by people in the state?


ansky201 t1_jadwvqu wrote

The people that own these homes are still paying property tax to the town even if they are not residing there all year.


Spectre_Loudy t1_jady9j0 wrote

Yeah I'm saying make them pay more anyway, since they don't reside there and keep homes out of the market for people who would otherwise live there.


falcon0159 t1_jaevdfd wrote

My taxes went up 4.5%. $600. I live in a town with shitty schools. Why am I paying $14k/yr? I get that it goes to schools, but the schools should be good then, that's the argument I never understood. Obviously there are towns with really good schools, but many towns have bad schools and a majority of towns have mediocre schools. I don't think anyone here can make the argument that Newark, Irvington, Passaic, Paterson, etc. have good schools. But they still have high property taxes.


TheFraudAccountant t1_jacshkk wrote

Would love to only pay 9K a year for housing.


hyperstationjr t1_jacu3ge wrote

Seriously, that would be such a nice reduction versus what I’m paying now.

And the thing is I don’t live in a super high-cost house, or even that well-off a neighborhood. I bought a house I could afford in a nice area with good schools for a family, and I’m paying a lot for it.

If incorporating my doughnut hole sized town into the doughnut we already share a school system with means lower taxes, let’s get merging.


peter-doubt t1_jactwry wrote

Add a mortgage to the taxes.. you easily double, probably triple and possibly quadruple that in NJ.. now add maintenance


TheFraudAccountant t1_jacvfe8 wrote

Yeah, if you took out a mortgage right now sure. Not if you took one out or refinanced in the last two years. Do you think maintenance and mortgage isn't added to what renter's pay plus more?


beowulf92 t1_jadajjb wrote

Property values go up, taxes go up even if the percentage stayed the same or went down if values went up enough. Build more dense and affordable housing, bring property values down as unpopular as it'll be, build the commerical uses necessary to sustain that dense housing where it's possible to lessen the burden on 100% resident funded taxes. Everywhere needs to consolidate government services and get over this fascination that we need 560+ individual service providers for everything facet of government. Madison, Morris, Florham, and Chatham I believe all have a joint court system and split the cost rather than each paying its own entire court system. Police can certainly cover multiple municipalities outside of cities and large townships. Many school districts can get consolidated to get rid of administrative bloat and all those leech superintendents. Rural communities that refuse to build denser and mixed-use areas for good reasons in many cases better get on the consolidation train if they want taxes to go down. People are going to be laid off and property values are going to come down, but that's how you'll create sustaining tax decreases across the board imo.


pixel_of_moral_decay t1_jadi8j2 wrote

Density doesn’t really decrease property taxes. A backyard costs nothing for a city. If anything it saves them money since less demand on parks and open space (you need so many trees per sq mile).

Density actually increases taxes since you need to upgrade some pretty expensive infrastructure to account for it. New sewers with increased capacity, water mains etc.

People are the problem. Especially the ones who have kids. People who use government resources, shit in sewers, attend schools, use roads (either driving or having packages delivered) etc.

Free condoms and birth control would lower property taxes. Free vasectomies would lower property taxes. Those are meaningful things towns and the state could enact now to make a difference. Ideally anyone who didn’t want to have kids wouldn’t pay a penny on that quest. We’d all ultimately save money.

Adult communities are also a good way to lower property taxes, they pay property tax, but the shriveled up genitals don’t put kids in schools.


Ilovemytowm t1_jaezq9m wrote

Yep that's the typical ignorant response. Just build high density housing everywhere you look.... like New Jersey already is in full of high density housing, cities and warehouses. Like we don't clear cut enough forest s. And the more high density housing you build the more schools you need the more taxes go up. It makes my eyes bleed reading ignorant s*** like that in a post about why our taxes so high... Oh because of schools. Why not have the whole damn state look like one big Walmart parking lot with every single bit of green space annihilated for high density housing.


beowulf92 t1_jadr7xa wrote

People are definitely part of the problem. Adult communities could certainly help too, but without a consistent aging population to continually move in to keep those communities filled, there's now just excess housing stock limited by age that's going to inflate property values, because we didn't build enough housing for everyone, and there's fewer people paying taxes on the necessary budget for the municipality, so taxes across the board will need to rise to make up that difference. The average birth rate continues to fall, so that situation is going to happen sooner or later no matter what, unless there's a massive influx of elderly people relocating to the state, but they typically do the opposite and leave here.

People having fewer kids means people moving into communities aren't having the same strain on schools as they used to. But the more people that move in, the more people that can be taxed to pay for the increase in services. When the density being thrown up is nothing but hundreds and hundreds of units of rentals, yes that hurts in the long run, but increase the density of tax paying citizens in addition to rentals, attract non-residential uses in close proximity that can serve them, and those too get taxed to reduce the tax burden on residents. Infrastructure costs will drastically scale down for the greater the population they are being built/improved for.

Free birth control and vasectomies etc. is definitely an interesting idea that could help some areas of the country/world that don't have the educational infrastructure to sustain the growth. Not this state though I'd argue. We don't have wild rates of unexpected pregnancies driving population growth, and we luckily have ample access to family planning resources including abortions, pills, etc when necessary for an accidental pregnancy. I understand your thought process, but it wouldn't do anything for our state.

Home Rule and awfully managed land use and zoning decisions are what need to change. Anything people based will fail once the demographics it was based on change. A systematic overhaul of how growth/development/redevelopment occurs and adapts to changing demographics here is very much needed for long-term change here.

Thanks for the convo! Always good to hear differing opinions.


pixel_of_moral_decay t1_jadsa3a wrote

People aren’t part of the problem, they are the problem. That’s not really debatable. It’s math. Town budgets are public and you can see what services cost how much money. All services are for people, not land outside of the fire department (which is technically split).

Ideally property tax would be based on how many people in the property rather than it’s value, since that’s how much of a tax burden that property is. Someone with an acre of woods is technically saving the town money on open space they’d otherwise purchase. Someone with a kid just cost the town thousands.

Meanwhile a dozen townhouses don’t even come close to covering their burden.

Taxing people, while unpopular is the solution to property tax. It would also effectively be a carbon tax since people = carbon.


Kind-Designer-5763 t1_jaeayim wrote

Sure boomer, cause your group never uses any services, like EMS when someone takes a fall or has chest pains, or a stroke, or maybe leaves the burner on the stove on and gets the fire department to pay them a little visit.

You don't like taxes move to Florida, somebody paid the taxes to put your kids through school, I bet you weren't bitching and moaning then, or if you didn't have kids, well someone paid for you, show a little gratitude, or at the very least, move out.


pixel_of_moral_decay t1_jaebth8 wrote

Those are all services that scale by the number of people in an area (density). Not size of property.

Your proving my point. Big brain you got there.


climbhigher420 t1_jadc5sd wrote

The state should start selling cannabis at state cannabis farms and we could all have low taxes. They could also use the money from not arresting people for cannabis anymore. Also use the money from all those public employee benefit cuts from Chris Christie. They could also tax the millionaires so working people aren’t subsidizing their mansions and elite schools. These things could all happen but it would sound like socialism to the average citizen.


jiffyparkinglot t1_jadw1bn wrote

Has anyone played SimCity? If you haven’t, give it a shot and see how hard it is to get the perfect balance. It’s hard not to increase taxes and give the town all it wants. Great game


lost_in_life_34 t1_jadtrd1 wrote

if you want to control property tax growth then tell your lawmakers to pass incentives to build more office space in the state so that people stay in the state to work instead of going to NYC and the state losing out on that tax revenue


ansky201 t1_jadwg95 wrote

Too late for that. Most people don't commute to offices anymore. There is already an over abundance of vacant office space. I was driving through Livingston a couple weeks ago and they had heavy machinery literally knocking down an office building.


mrsctb t1_jaea1uw wrote

Record high of $9,490? LOL mine went up BY THAT MUCH last year. Bringing the grand total to just a hair under $25,000


MrFrode t1_jadrj77 wrote

$9,490? Hahahahahahahhahahahahahahahha



Double that I'd still be paying less than I am now.


weaselpoopcoffee1 t1_jaeq5ji wrote

Just got my new mortgage bill and went up a little over 100 bucks due to taxes going up as well as insurance. Sucks.


Cool_Cartographer631 t1_jaezy04 wrote

Pretty insane considering the size and amount of pot holes I encounter every few feet


aden_feifdom t1_jacykc4 wrote

it’s worth every penny for the schools


Careful-Explorer-503 t1_jad3oyw wrote

Just did some quick googling- NJ is number 1 in the US for education, no. 2 is Massachusetts with an average prop tax of $5,600. 3 is Florida with an average prop tax of $1752. Again just some quick googling and I’m not sure how accurate it all is but if it is right then maybe the education isn’t the justification we think it is.


Nexis4Jersey t1_jado9f2 wrote

I doubt Florida is number 3 for education..


Careful-Explorer-503 t1_jadyh2j wrote



Nexis4Jersey t1_jae0d73 wrote

Florida has some of the worst schools in the country , they're notoriously overcrowded...teachers paided horribly and graduation rates are some of the lowest in the US.


Careful-Explorer-503 t1_jae7ewd wrote

I’m trying to to find something to substantiate your claim and I’m coming up a little short. But I do see bad schools in states with otherwise great schools, especially in Massachusetts. I see that Florida is in the top 20 for graduation rates in the country. And I’d say teachers are not paid what they deserve in any state. I’ll add that teacher pay has been a long contested issue in NJ, so hard to point the finger from where we stand (NJ).


[deleted] t1_jae8bdg wrote



Careful-Explorer-503 t1_jaee1hl wrote

Well it’s easy enough to google yourself but I can see you’re more interested in arguing politics than finding the truth.


YawnTractor_1756 t1_jadglio wrote

Is it, though?

There are 21% of people under 18 in NJ which amounts to 1.85 million students.

Average tax bill is almost 10k, 2 households pay $20k per year on average. Take away police and fire and roads, and schools are getting around $15k per year from 2 households.

$15k/year is enough for an entry-level private school. 2 households should basically be providing enough through taxes for a single student private school per year.

There are 3.3 million households in NJ, the state as a whole should be collecting enough to pay entry-level private-school education for ~1.6 million students, or 85% of all students in NJ.

Do 85% of NJ public school students get entry-level private-school education? And if not, is it really worth every penny?


SleepyHobo t1_jadqzpw wrote

Only great for people who already own a home and want/have kids. The education you love so much costs so much money that the kids being educated won't even be able to afford to buy a home in the state they were taught in.


PracticableSolution t1_jae6r8m wrote

Then leave. Last I checked, NJ was still growing. So either cope with the fact that while expensive, it’s a popular arrangement, or shut up and get out.


uplandsrep t1_jad2pts wrote

If it means that the teachers have all the supplies, support and benefits they need/deserve to be excellent educators than why would I resent this simple solidarity, happy teachers bring out the most in their students!


themagicalpanda t1_jad4b5d wrote

>If it means that the teachers have all the supplies, support and benefits...

does this include pay? because imo the biggest concern is that new educators arent entering the field and young educators are leaving the field because the pay is atrocious with the amount of shit that teachers put up with.