Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 33
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
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Consolidation Commission Elects Lahnston as Chair, Draws Up RFP for Study

Dilshanie Perera

The Joint Consolidation and Shared Services Commission of Princeton Borough and Township held its first open public meeting last week, electing Borough resident Anton Lahnston as chair and Township resident Valerie Haynes as deputy chair.

Meetings of the Joint Commission will be held on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Township Hall, with the exception of November, when it will be held on the 17th. Members of the public are invited to attend.

The group is tasked with analyzing the viability of full municipal consolidation, as well as the effects of combining certain departments such as police and public works. To do so, they will hire a consultant to assist in data-gathering, fact-finding, and analysis, with a full report and implementation strategy to be submitted to the body and in turn to the municipalities and citizens.

It is likely that a question about either full consolidation or increased shared services will be put to voters on the ballot in November 2011.

Three volunteer residents and two elected officials from each Princeton comprise the commission, in addition to Administrators Bob Bruschi and Jim Pascale, and Eugene McCarthy from the State’s Department of Community Affairs.

The Township is represented by Carol Golden, Ms. Haynes, Bill Metro, Mayor Bernie Miller and Deputy Mayor Chad Goerner, while the Borough appointees are Ryan Lilienthal, Mr. Lahnston, M. Patrick Simon, Mayor Mildred Trotman, and Councilman David Goldfarb. Alice Small is the alternate citizen representative for the Borough.

The meeting laid out the ground rules for the commission’s operation; for instance, a quorum was defined as having at least three voting representatives from each municipality present.

Mr. Goldfarb suggested that “we need to maintain a high level of competence throughout this process … any action cannot be taken unless it is supported by a majority of those people present from each municipality.”

“We as a group should strive toward consensus,” Mr. Simon added.

Most of the meeting was spent finishing a request for proposals (RFP) that will be publicly issued to consultants to garner responses and prices for completing the consolidation and shared services study. The report and implementation strategy based on findings is due within six months of the award of the contract.

The next meeting of the Joint Consolidation and Shared Services Study Commission is on Wednesday, August 25, at 7 p.m. in the Township Municipal Complex. The commission’s budget is the likely subject up for discussion.

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