Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 29
 
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
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Municipal Government, Not University, Responsible for Town’s Soaring Taxes

JOSHUA LEINSDORF
Forester Drive

Property Owners Are Urged to Be Heard at Borough’s July 22 Budget Meeting

PATRICIA D. TAPPAN
Linden Lane

Current, Future Exhibits Recommended at Historical Society of Princeton

SHIRLEY A. SATTERFIELD
Quarry Street


Municipal Government, Not University, Responsible for Town’s Soaring Taxes

To the Editor:

Princeton Borough and Township pay the lowest overall tax rates, as a proportion of market value, of any of Mercer County’s thirteen municipalities.

While Princeton Borough pays the lowest school taxes with the exception of Trenton, an Abbott District receiving most of its school money from the state, the Borough’s municipal rate is the fifth highest.

The downtown development has been a financial disaster for the Borough. Taxes are being used to subsidize private, profit-making housing with rents of up to $3,500 per month. Now that gas is over $4 a gallon, the garage will probably never return a net profit.

Taxpayers are paying for public assets that the borough council is privatizing. Parking was banned on Moore Street near the high school. Now, the schools must pay the borough for parking permits. School employees survey the parking lots and when they find “unauthorized vehicles” they call the Borough, which sends a parking enforcement officer to ticket the miscreant.

Out-of-town parents attending after-school student sporting events, or residents attending back-to-school nights, now get ticketed for parking violations near the school. While taxpayers pay for the roads they cannot use, they also pay for the parking permits, the personnel to enforce the restrictions, and, if they are unlucky enough, parking tickets too. This is why municipal taxes are soaring.

Finally, the Borough Council refused to help build a sidewalk when Snowden Lane was rebuilt by the Township. Without that sidewalk, which the Township provided, taxpayers would have been on the hook for school busing costs of $850 per year per student for kids who live within a 15 minute walk of the high school, middle school, and elementary school.

Municipal taxes are high in Princeton because of the incompetence and mismanagement of the governing body, including the County Executive, not because Princeton University is not paying its fair share.

JOSHUA LEINSDORF
Forester Drive

Property Owners Are Urged to Be Heard at Borough’s July 22 Budget Meeting

To The Editor:

I applaud Dudley Sipprelle’s letter to the editor (Town Topics, July 9) and support his thoughts and recommendations completely.

As a senior citizen and longtime tax-paying property owner in Princeton Borough, I know his remarks “hit home” with most of us.

I urge all Princeton Borough property owners to attend the budget meeting on July 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall, and to let our voices be heard by our elected officials.

PATRICIA D. TAPPAN
Linden Lane

Current, Future Exhibits Recommended at Historical Society of Princeton

To the Editor:

In the July 2 edition of the Town Topics there was an informative article by Ellen Gilbert about the “Princeton in the 1930s” exhibit at the Historical Society of Princeton. The Curator, Eileen Morales, has given enlightening tours of this exhibit and gave those who took the tours an opportunity to give their remembrances and experiences during that era in Princeton. Thanks to Eileen and the staff and board members of the Historical Society, it is one of many exhibits, tours, and lectures that are offered to Princeton residents, school children, and visitors.

There is one point in the article that needs to be clarified. When mentioning Christine Moore Howell, a colored beautician who owned a beauty parlor on Spring Street, and Burnett Griggs, an entrepreneur who for 42 years owned the Imperial Restaurant on the corner of Hulfish and Witherspoon Streets, it stated that Mr. Griggs was white. He was a colored man who owned that restaurant and the property. The parking lot at Hulfish and Witherspoon is named “Griggs Corner.” He also owned the land that is known as “Griggs Farm.” His wife, Ruth Griggs, taught first grade at the Witherspoon School for Colored Children and continued to teach both colored and white children in the Borough of Princeton when the two elementary schools were integrated in 1948.

The next exhibit at the Historical Society will be “Stand Up, Speak Out!” about the many voices for voting rights in Princeton and the nation. Residents should make it a point to join the Historical Society of Princeton to learn about Princeton, New Jersey history, and the contributions of Princeton residents past and present; and to attend lectures and events, take a tour, or read about the town.

SHIRLEY A. SATTERFIELD
Quarry Street

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