Borough (New Jersey)

Borough (New Jersey)

Borough (New Jersey)

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A borough (sometimes abbreviated Boro on road signs) in the context of New Jersey local government refers to one of five types and one of eleven forms of municipal government.

Though it is now the most common form of government in New Jersey, by 1875 only 17 boroughs had been created, all by special acts of the legislature. These original boroughs were subdivisions of townships, established by state charter; Elizabeth was the first, established by royal charter in 1740, within the now defunct Elizabeth Township. About half of them had been dissolved, or changed into other forms of government - often cities. In 1875, a constitutional amendment prohibited such local or special legislation.

The Borough Act of 1878 allowed any township (or portion thereof) with a land area of no more than four square miles and a population not exceeding 5,000, to establish itself as an independent borough through a petition and referendum process on a self-executing basis. As enacted, a borough would be governed by an elected mayor (serving a one-year term) and a six-member council (elected to staggered three-year terms). The mayor would preside at council meetings, but had no vote except to break ties.

In 1894, the Legislature passed an act requiring each township to have a single school district....
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