Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 14
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
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Borough Capital Budget Spending in 2011 Including Pool Is Anticipated at $5.7 Million

Dilshanie Perera

Borough Council reviewed this year’s proposed capital budget plan at its meeting last week. With the original capital request by department heads totaling $6.1 million, Borough staff suggested a budget and spending plan of $5.7 million this year.

The capital plan for 2011 encompasses new construction, including the $2 million financing of the Borough’s share of the Community Park Pool project, as well as $2.2 million for road and sewer projects, $667,000 for fire and police department items, $290,000 for technology and building upgrades from the Princeton Public Library, and $615,000 for other vehicles, equipment, building repairs, and grounds items, according to Administrator Bob Bruschi.

“The entire spending plan does work into our debt management plan,” Mr. Bruschi assured Council, noting that before any decisions would be made regarding the capital expenditures, the individual requests would be further reviewed by committees before coming back to Council with recommendations.

The Sewer Operating Committee requested that some money be set aside for departmental vehicles, the replacement of which had been deferred for the past two years, as well as maintenance to existing sewer lines. A few complete road reconstructions and resurfacings are scheduled for this year in the Borough, and equipment for the fire, police, and public works departments is also requested.

“I want to emphasize how much mileage we get out of our vehicles,” Mr. Bruschi said, lauding the three Borough mechanics who tend to the police fleet, municipal vehicles, and diesel trucks, and pointing out that some vehicle replacements were long overdue.

The public library capital budget will be discussed between the joint finance committee of the Borough and Township. The Borough Administration is also requesting technology upgrades, as well as outdoor spatial improvements vis-a-vis sidewalks and street furniture.

Emphasizing that “we are not committing to any project,” Mr. Bruschi presented the Borough with a provisional budgetary outlook over the next six years. “Some of them may be placeholders for a dream that’s coming on line,” he noted, urging the municipality to consider the long term capital spending plan.

Councilman David Goldfarb asked staff to further consider police vehicles. “We have the ability to capitalize on SUVs,” he explained because they can be listed under either the operating or capital budget of the police departments. “I’m concerned we’re buying more than necessary because we can capitalize on them.”

The requested capital allowance for the Spring Street Parking Garage drew some scrutiny from members of Council. At $68,000, most of the monies would go toward machinery and software upgrades.

Councilman Roger Martindell suggested fully automating the garage or looking into meters, and Mr. Bruschi responded that such a move would run contrary to the philosophy of having the garage be a safe haven. Nonetheless, he said he would investigate those options.

Jenny Crumiller, also of Borough Council, added, “I agree with Roger 100 percent. I don’t think we should throw any more money at that flawed system. I also think we should look at meters.”

The public hearing and introduction of the 2011 municipal budget will take place on Tuesday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall. It is open to the public.

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