Election Notes: Princetons to Become One; Ninety Six Year-Old Dry Spell Comes to An End in Moorestown

Sports betting was the only statewide ballot question. But there were a couple of local ballot questions that were approved Tuesday which were historic.

Princeton Borough and Princeton Township Will Merge

In New Jersey, where there are 566 municipalities, the road to consolidation is fraught with peril. Beginning in 2013, that number will be reduced by one. After 60 years and 3 attempts, the tale of two Princetons will come to an end and become one town. On Tuesday, voters approved a measure to consolidate into one municipality in an effort to reign in property taxes.

Princeton Borough is one of the state’s many “doughnut hole” towns that are under increasing pressure to merge with the larger municipalities that surround them.

Members of both the pro- and anti- consolidation groups, Preserve Our Historic Borough and Princetons Unite!, respectively, campaigned to engage and sway voters.

Now that the proposal has passed, will other sets of towns look to the Princetons as a model for consolidation?

Some observers say the merger may not be a sign of things to come. Although there may be savings, the two towns already have many shared services, including a library, planning board, and a school district that has long been regionalized.

Going forward, 2012 will be a transition year. A transition team, whose members will be chosen by the governing bodies of both the Borough and Township, will be tasked with laying the groundwork for combining the two towns

Moorestown OKs Liquor Sales

It’s legal to drink in Moorestown. But the Burlington County town has had a ban on alcohol sales for nearly a century. On Tuesday, voters in Moorestown decided to lift the ban. However, it’s not a complete reversal. In order to get served, customers will have to go to the mall. The proposal, which passed 60 percent to 40 percent, will allow liquor sales at full-service mall restaurants only. The group that owns the Moorestown Mall led the effort to overturn the ban.

Moorestown is one of several “dry” towns in New Jersey. Voters there had previously rejected proposals to allow alcohol sales three times — most recently in 2007.