Washington is a borough in Warren County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 6,461, reflecting a decline of 251 (-3.7%) from the 6,712 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 238 (+3.7%) from the 6,474 counted in the 1990 Census. Washington is part of the Lehigh Valley metropolitan area.
Washington was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 20, 1868, from portions of Washington Township. The borough was named for George Washington, one of more than ten communities statewide named for the first president. The Borough of Washington is surrounded by Washington Township, which is one of five municipalities in the state of New Jersey with the name "Washington Township".
The borough had the 26th-highest property tax rate in New Jersey, with an equalized rate of 4.206% in 2020, compared to 2.967% in the county as a whole and a statewide average of 2.279%.
Washington Borough separated from Washington Township as of February 20, 1868. The community grew during the 19th century as a result of the transportation routes that ran through or near the borough. The Morris Canal ran along the north end of town and two rail lines of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad crossed within the borough. Intersecting in the center of the borough are two major roadways, which today are Route 31 and Route 57. The borough was ultimately named for the "Washington House", a tavern built by Revolutionary War Col. William McCullough in 1811 that was later destroyed by fire in 1869.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the borough became a mecca of musical instruments manufacturers, the manufacture of organs in particular. A bustling downtown developed around these businesses. Many of the Victorian style houses in the borough, as well as Taylor Street School and Warren Hills Middle School (formerly Washington High School) were built during this period.
The advent of the automobile brought Washington closer to both the Lehigh Valley and New York City. In the years following World War II, the population increased, and there were many new houses and apartment complexes built. A portion of the Downtown area was devastated by a major fire in 1962. Education at the Middle and High School level was regionalized in 1968, and a new elementary school was also built (Memorial School).
The 1990s saw a population boom in Warren County, which continues today, as high real estate prices and property taxes in New Jersey's northeastern counties push buyers to look further west. Although the borough itself does not have much room to grow, it has benefited from the growth of the nearby townships. Efforts are underway to revitalize the downtown with new residential and retail properties.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.97 square miles (5.10 km2), including 1.97 square miles (5.09 km2) of land and <0.01 square miles (0.01 km2) of water (0.15%).
The borough of Washington is completely surrounded by Washington Township, making it part of 21 pairs of "doughnut towns" in the state, where one municipality entirely surrounds another.
Pohatcong Mountain is a ridge, approximately long, in the Appalachian Mountains that extends from west Phillipsburg northeast approximately to Washington. Upper Pohatcong Mountain extends northeast of Washington approximately to the vicinity of Hackettstown. The two ridges are sometimes called "Pohatcong Mountain" collectively.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $57,468 (with a margin of error of +/- $7,449) and the median family income was $68,510 (+/- $11,488). Males had a median income of $53,654 (+/- $13,162) versus $41,755 (+/- $12,531) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $30,554 (+/- $5,374). About 8.1% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 6,712 people, 2,724 households, and 1,686 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,429.9 people per square mile (1,322.2/km2). There were 2,876 housing units at an average density of 1,469.6 per square mile (566.5/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 91.45% White, 3.89% African American, 0.12% Native American, 1.45% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.61% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.17% of the population.
There were 2,724 households, out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.5% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the borough the population was spread out, with 26.5% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 33.8% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.0 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $47,000, and the median income for a family was $61,379. Males had a median income of $41,436 versus $31,880 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $23,166. About 5.0% of families and 5.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.5% of those under age 18 and 3.3% of those age 65 or over.
Arts and culture
Notable annual events include Washington Celebrates America, which takes place every July 4; Warren Arts and Craft Beer Festival, held every year in April; and Festival in the Borough, which takes place every September.
Washington operates within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Council-Manager form of municipal government. The borough is one of 71 municipalities (of the 565) statewide that use this form of government. The governing body is comprised of the Mayor and the six-member Borough Council, all of whom are elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general elections. The mayor and members of the borough council are elected to four-year terms on a staggered basis, with either two seats (plus the mayor) or four seats coming up for election in even-numbered years. The council selects a borough manager who is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the municipality.
, the borough's Mayor, Republican David Higgins, whose term of office was scheduled to end December 31, 2024, has resigned and the position will remain vacant until the November 2022 election. Members of the Borough Council are Deputy mayor Ethel Conry (D, 2022), Louann M. Cox (R, 2024), Chelsea Duchemin (D, 2022), Michael Heinrich (R, 2024), Josephine Noone (D, 2022), Dewayne Keith Norris (R, 2022) and Sonia Ron (D, 2022).
In January 2022, the Borough Council appointed Sonia Ron to fill the seat expiring in December 2022 that had been held by Chelsea Duchemin.
Following the resignation of Mayor David Higgins in December 2021, the Borough Council voted the following month to leave the position vacant until the November 2022 general election, when voters will choose a candidate to serve the balance of the term of office through December 2024.
In January 2017, Paul Jones was selected on an interim basis to fill the seat expiring in December 2018 that became vacant when David Higgins took office as mayor. Dewayne Keith Norris was elected in November 2017 to fill the vacant seat for the remainder of the term of office. A month later, the borough was informed that Norris had faced a number of criminal charges in previous decades including having been sentenced in 1994 to serve 45 days in jail on a misdemeanor larceny charge. The council passed a symbolic no confidence vote by a 4-2 margin, though Norris indicated that he was unwilling to resign from office.
Kristine Henry, who had served as Washington's clerk and borough manager, was sentenced in January 2018 to seven years in jail, lost her ability to work in a public job and was required to repay $97,000 she had stolen from the borough after writing a series of checks payable to herself from 2011 to 2016.
Federal, state and county representation
Washington Borough is located in the 5th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 23rd state legislative district.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 3,790 registered voters in Washington, of which 736 (19.4% vs. 21.5% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 1,136 (30.0% vs. 35.3%) were registered as Republicans and 1,917 (50.6% vs. 43.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There was one voter registered to another party. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 58.7% (vs. 62.3% in Warren County) were registered to vote, including 77.1% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 81.5% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 1,160 votes (48.5% vs. 56.0% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 1,158 votes (48.4% vs. 40.8%) and other candidates with 41 votes (1.7% vs. 1.7%), among the 2,391 ballots cast by the borough's 3,863 registered voters, for a turnout of 61.9% (vs. 66.7% in Warren County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 1,256 votes (48.1% vs. 41.4% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1,249 votes (47.9% vs. 55.2%) and other candidates with 43 votes (1.6% vs. 1.6%), among the 2,609 ballots cast by the borough's 3,730 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.9% (vs. 73.4% in Warren County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 1,477 votes (58.1% vs. 61.0% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 1,021 votes (40.2% vs. 37.2%) and other candidates with 29 votes (1.1% vs. 1.3%), among the 2,540 ballots cast by the borough's 3,518 registered voters, for a turnout of 72.2% (vs. 76.3% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 67.7% of the vote (880 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 30.2% (392 votes), and other candidates with 2.1% (27 votes), among the 1,325 ballots cast by the borough's 4,012 registered voters (26 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 33.0%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 960 votes (57.6% vs. 61.3% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 482 votes (28.9% vs. 25.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 167 votes (10.0% vs. 9.8%) and other candidates with 22 votes (1.3% vs. 1.5%), among the 1,666 ballots cast by the borough's 3,646 registered voters, yielding a 45.7% turnout (vs. 49.6% in the county).
Students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade attend the schools of the Washington Borough Public Schools. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of two schools, had an enrollment of 481 students and 44.6 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 10.8:1. Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are
Taylor Street School with 188 students in grades PreK - 2 and
Memorial School with 293 students in grades 3 - 6.
Students in public school for seventh through twelfth grades attend the Warren Hills Regional School District, which serves students from Washington Borough, along with those from Franklin Township, Mansfield Township and Washington Township, as well as students from Oxford Township (for 9-12 only, attending on a tuition basis). Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are
Warren Hills Regional Middle School located in Washington Borough with 542 students in grades 7-8 and
Warren Hills Regional High School located in Washington Township with 1,205 students in grades 9-12. Seats on the high school district's nine-member board of education are allocated to the constituent municipalities based on population, with two seats allocated to Washington Borough.
Students from the borough and from all of Warren County are eligible to attend Ridge and Valley Charter School in Frelinghuysen Township (for grades K-8) or Warren County Technical School in Washington borough (for 9-12), with special education services provided by local districts supplemented throughout the county by the Warren County Special Services School District in Oxford Township (for PreK-12).
, the borough had a total of of roadways, of which were maintained by the municipality, by Warren County and by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
The main highways serving Washington are New Jersey Route 31 and New Jersey Route 57. Route 31 travels north–south, while Route 57 is oriented east–west.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Washington include:
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Washington, NJ, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. Township-6t4ab-c4u-75d-ef78-iy9