Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 1
Happy New Year!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
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Borough Council Anticipates Issues for the Year Ahead

Dilshanie Perera

The annual Reorganization Meeting of the Borough on Sunday saw the swearing in of Jenny Crumiller and Kevin Wilkes for three-year terms on Council, as well as the reappointment of Andrew Koontz as Council President. Remarks by Mayor Mildred Trotman highlighted achievements of the previous year and looked ahead to the challenges of 2010.

Additionally, Daniel L. Tomalin was sworn in as Chief of the Princeton Fire Department, with Roy James and William Mooney appointed as Deputy Chief and Assistant Chief, respectively. All three will serve two-year terms.

Ms. Crumiller said that the Borough’s finances and municipal consolidation were at the top of her agenda in the upcoming year, while Mr. Wilkes noted that improvements to the downtown central business district and reinforcing social services were two major areas of focus.

Regarding the downtown, Mr. Wilkes suggested strategies to enhance mass transit and the Dinky corridor and observed that new solutions to parking congestion must be sought. “Mid-block sites” like the space bounded by Nassau, Witherspoon, Tulane, and Spring Streets, “need our attention and design focus,” he added.

Congratulating the Princeton Merchants Association and Hometown Princeton for their achievements over the past year, Mr. Wilkes said that he wants to do “everything we can to help those groups flourish.”

“It is time to reinforce our social net and help weave together stronger supports for those who find themselves in need,” Mr. Wilkes added, suggesting a combined health and human services commission, the expansion of the summer youth employment program, and a broadened discussion of civil rights within the community.

Acknowledging that “2009 was a very rough year,” Mr. Koontz wanted to “highlight the important silver lining,” namely, the low bid prices the Borough was able to secure for its capital projects.

“The renovation of Harrison Street Park was predicted to be $800,000, but will be completed for just over $500,000,” Mr. Koontz said, adding that the cost of the reconstruction of Mercer Street is also significantly lower than expected. “It is time now to take a fresh look at our capital and debt management plans,” he said.

Major capital projects include expansions and renovations of the Community Park Pool, the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad facility, the Witherspoon Street Firehouse, Valley Road School, and other parks projects, Mr. Koontz noted.

Mayor Trotman thanked those who helped Borough operations through their work or by volunteering their time over the past year, and acknowledged the elected officials in the audience, including Representative Rush Holt, State Senator Shirley Turner, State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Mercer County Freeholders Anthony Carabelli, Pat Colavita, John Cimino, and Dan Benson, and County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello.

“We had to make more difficult decisions in 2009 than I can recall in any of the previous 25 years I have served as an elected official here in Princeton Borough,” Ms. Trotman acknowledged in her annual address.

Adopting a zero percent tax increase, completing the revaluation process, adding an Associate Member category at the Fire Department to allow University staff to serve as volunteers, authorizing a consolidation study, opening the five new affordable housing units at 100-104 Leigh Avenue, extending the FreeB jitney’s service during the holidays, and appointing David Dudeck as the new Chief of Police were included among the past year’s highlights mentioned by the Mayor.

In 2010, “we will continue to set policy that we feel is in the best interest of Princeton Borough,” Ms. Trotman asserted, adding, “We will continue to keep the tax rate as low as possible while delivering services in a responsible manner.” In addition, grants and other funding sources would be sought to help offset the tax burden on Borough citizens, she said.

Ms. Trotman also looks for work to begin on the expansion of the Nassau Inn during the first quarter of the year; expects to receive the report from the Joint Consolidation Study Commission with its recommendations; and anticipates the continuation of discussions with Princeton University regarding the Arts and Transit Neighborhood.

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