It’s official. Really, it is this time. The consolidated Princeton will be called Princeton, New Jersey.
Even though the form of government will be the borough form, the word “borough” does not need to be included in the official name, Princeton Township Lawyer Ed Schmierer told officials at a joint Borough and Township meeting tonight.
Schmierer said he, the Borough lawyer, the transition task force lawyer and a representative from the state Department of Community Affairs met today to discuss the issue.
“We’ve all come to the conclusion that under the state’s municipal consolidation act, the law is silent on what the new government should call itself if it becomes consolidated,” Schmierer said. “We’re probably the first major municipality to be consolidated in a hundred years. No one really dwelled on the issue of what the new municipality should be called…But we can find direction elsewhere. That direction begins and ends by taking a look at what the voters voted on when they voted to create a consolidated Princeton…The consolidation and shared services study commission wrote what was on the ballot.”
Based on the ballot question voters approved, lawyers unanimously agreed today that the new municipality will be called “Princeton, New Jersey, governed under the borough form of government.”
Normally under state statute, the official name of a municipality includes the form of government. The state has created a new municipal classification for Princeton called “other,” Schmierer said. Documents, a logo and other items can simply say “Princeton, New Jersey.”
“We should stay close to what voters voted on,” Schmierer said. “We don’t see any real compelling or legal reason to change that…The new governing body, if it wants to be known as the Borough of Princeton because we are under the borough form of government, can place a referendum on the ballot if it feels compelled to change the name.”
The issue came up last week at the Borough Council meeting, where Mayor Yina More noted that lawyers had conflicting opinions on what the official name should be. Some lawyers and officials thought the official name had to include the borough designation, while others through it did not. Moore and some other leaders wanted advice from state officials on the issue.
Contacted by Planet Princeton last week, Department of Community Affairs spokeswoman Lisa Ryan said the state was going to take a neutral position on the issue. “We have no comment on their internal naming dispute,” Ryan wrote in an email.