Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 16
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
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Cahill, Cox, and Kalmbach Elected; Budget Passes

Ellen Gilbert

Voters in the Township and Borough approved the Princeton Regional Board of Education’s $74,140,915 budget in yesterday’s election. In the Township, Mia Cahill, who ran unopposed for the single available Township seat, was reelected with 1,121 votes. Winners for the two Borough openings were Rebecca Cox, who was re-elected with 393 votes, and first-time candidate Charles Kalmbach, with 333 votes. Dudley Sipprelle received 278 votes. All three winners will be serving three-year terms.

In the Township 1,066 voted for the budget, with 356 voting against it. Borough voters endorsed the budget 381 to 253.

The $57,922,997 tax levy that will now be imposed to support the 2009-2010 budget was based on property values with a sizable, but unavoidable disparity in tax burdens between the two Princetons. Township residents will pay a 0.65-cent increase, from $1.699 to $1.706 per $100 of the assessed value of their homes. Thus the owner of a home assessed at the Township average of $431,108 will pay $29 more in school taxes in 2009 than in 2008. In the Borough, the budget will result in a 7.69-cent increase from 1.965 to 2.037 per $100 of assessed value, meaning that the owner of a home assessed at the Borough average of $351,761 will pay $269 more in school taxes in 2009. Even if there was a zero increase in this year’s school budget, Borough residents would still see a $213 increase in school taxes for 2009. The uneven tax load between the Borough and the Township is the result of differences in the assessed values of houses, as well as a tax formula which shifts the burden from one municipality to the other every three years.

This year’s increase, a 1.68 percent increase over last year’s budget, which actually translates as a 0.69 percent increase with the retirement of a 20-year old bond, is considerably less than the state-allowed maximum of four percent.

The budget includes $1.3 million of cuts in salaries for personnel, as well as cuts in out-of-district tuition costs for special education, district-wide reductions in transportation costs, supplies, and resources, and maintaining health care costs for district employees at a flat level. Twelve full-time jobs will be cut, including two faculty positions and 10 support positions. During the several public presentations of the budget in the preceding months, Ms. Wilson emphasized that the Board’s goal in preparing the budget was to be sensitive to residents’ economic concerns while maintaining opportunities for student learning.

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