Municipal Government Structure
Since 1976, the Hamilton Township Municipal Government has been operating as a Strong Mayor/Council form of government, also known as Plan E of the New Jersey Faulkner Act.
The Municipal Government's responsibilities include, but are not limited to, providing for:
- The health, welfare and recreational needs of the citizens of Hamilton Township
- Public safety (Police)
- Planning and Zoning regulations
- Sanitation (garbage collection and sanitary sewer service)
- The assessment and collection of property taxes (by New Jersey State Law, the Municipal Government collects taxes that are levied by separate governmental entities, such as the Hamilton Township Public School District, Hamilton's Independent Fire Districts and the Mercer County Government, as well as the Mercer County Open Space Tax)
- The maintenance, repair, and snow removal on local township roads (not all roads within Hamilton Township are under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Government)
The voting-age citizens of Hamilton Township elect their Municipal Government representatives in odd-year elections (except special elections to fill unexpired terms of office) held in November (on Election Day).
Voters in Hamilton Township directly elect a full-time Mayor, as well as the five members of the Township Council.
Typically, Municipal Government elections take place every two years (barring special elections) through an alternating election cycle in which voters elect a Mayor and two Council members during a November election and then, two years later, elect three additional Council members (also during a November election).
Executive Branch (Mayor)
The Mayor of Hamilton Township assumes the executive responsibilities of the Municipal Government, including the management of the daily operations of the Municipal Government. The Mayor has the authority to appoint (with the advice and consent of the Township Council) or dismiss department heads (Directors). The Mayor also proposes an annual Municipal Budget, in accordance with State guidelines and deadlines, that must be approved by the Township Council. The Mayor of Hamilton Township also serves as the Director of Public Safety.
Legislative Branch (Council)
The Hamilton Township Council assumes the legislative responsibilities of the Municipal Government and is comprised of five directly elected members. Under New Jersey State Law (the Faulkner Act), the Township Council can only legally act as an entire body, during public meetings. Upon receiving the Mayor's annually proposed Municipal Budget, the Township Council must officially introduce and, after review and budget hearings, votes to approve a Municipal Budget, in accordance with State guidelines and deadlines.
The Hamilton Township Public Library operates through property taxes that are collected from Hamilton taxpayers, with a minimum funding formula that the State Government sets for all libraries across New Jersey. Although it is a municipal library (not a part of the Mercer County Library System), its governance is conducted by an independent and autonomous Library Board of Trustees, which are appointed by the Mayor, with the advice and consent of the Township Council. The Hamilton Township Public Library's daily operations are managed by a Library Director.
Public School District
The Hamilton Township Public School District is a separate and independent government that is not under the jurisdiction, nor control, of the Municipal Government. Voters directly elect nine members to the Board of Education during the November elections.
Currently, Hamilton residents receive drinking water from either Trenton Water (the City of Trenton's Public Water Utility) or Aqua New Jersey (a private, regulated company). Both entities are not under the jurisdiction, nor control, of the Municipal Government. Both of these entities are regulated by the State of New Jersey.
Hamilton residents also receive home electric and/or gas service delivered by Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G), which is a private, regulated company. As such, PSE&G is not under the jurisdiction, nor control, of the Municipal Government. Rather, this private company is regulated by the State of New Jersey. Also due to State of New Jersey electric and gas regulations, residents have the ability to purchase their electric and gas supplies directly from private supply companies (even though the electricity and gas are still delivered by PSE&G).
Finally, the majority of Hamilton residents receive sanitary sewer service from the Hamilton Township Department of Water Pollution Control (Hamilton Township's Public Sewer Utility). A minority of Hamilton residents rely upon private septic tank service.