Scotch Plains Republicans Comment on Approval of Consolidation Study
Thursday, September 13, 2012 • 10:06pm
SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ - Mayor Mary DePaola and Councilman Ed Saridaki spoke today on the news that the Local Finance Board in Trenton acted to allow a merger study to move forward for the possible consolidation of Scotch Plains and the Borough of Fanwood.
“We acknowledge the decision of the Finance Board and the actions of the Courage to Reconnect group thus far. The Scotch Plains Township Council will not be an impediment to this process and will in fact appoint a member to the study commission. Ultimately, if the process moves forward it will be the voters of both Scotch Plains and Fanwood that have the final say on the matter. We see no reason to stand in the way of letting the voters be heard if this gets to a referendum,” Mayor DePaola said. She continued, “In my mind, the biggest concern right now on this matter is how this study commission will be funded. While I cannot speak for our government colleagues in Fanwood, their comments and actions thus far appear to indicate that the chance of the Borough offering up taxpayer dollars to fund such a study is remote. If that is the case, it is equally remote that Scotch Plains taxpayers will be asked to foot the entire cost.”
Councilman Saridaki added, “While the prospect of a full consolidation is intriguing, right now The Scotch Plains Township Council is focused on moving forward with a consolidation of the Scotch Plains and Fanwood Police Departments. We have bi-partisan support on our Council and are hopeful that the final details will be worked out with our colleagues in Fanwood so the police consolidation can be ready to implement in the near future. As representatives of our citizens we needed to answer two threshold questions before we could approve such a consolidation. First, will our residents continue to be served and protected by an outstanding police force? And second, will there be a justifiable and significant savings for our taxpayers. We believe the answer to both questions is yes.”
Mayor DePaola said, “We have assurance from our Police Chief Brian Mahoney that he believes our citizens will be well served in a consolidated police department. We feel that Chief Mahoney will be a strong and respected leader in such a department. We understand that there could be concern from our department members that somehow their jobs will be in immediate jeopardy should a consolidation happen. There should be no such concern as full consolidation will be accomplished over several years and force numbers will be reduced mainly through anticipated retirements”. DePaola concluded, “Right now, we call on our colleagues in Fanwood to come the table to put the finishing touches on an initiative that makes sense and will be a tax savings for our residents.”
Coming Tomorrow: Comments from Mayor Mahr of Fanwood