Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 13
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
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Proposed Township Budget Approved; First Zero Percent Tax Increase Since 1976

Ellen Gilbert

At its Monday evening meeting, Princeton Township Committee approved an ordinance introducing a $36.6 million budget for the calendar year 2011. The new budget represents a zero percent increase in taxes, and, according to Administrator Jim Pascale, “no reduction in services.”

“I’m delighted to present this budget,” observed Mr. Pascale, noting that it was the first time during his tenure, which began in 1976, that there is no proposed tax increase nor a reduction of services.

With a recent Princeton University “Fair Share” contribution of $500,000 for this year, the Township was actually able to reduce taxes by $427,689. Mr. Pascale expressed the hope that ongoing conversations with the University would result in regular annual payments from them in future years.

Appropriations over which the Township has no control, reported Mr. Pascale and Chief Financial Officer Kathy Monzo in their presentation, include $308,029 for debt services; $306,063 for pensions, and $127,942 for police salaries.

Non-union employees will be subject to a salary freeze for the second year in a row. Numbers that remain to be reconciled include the Township’s share for joint services (e.g., the library) with the Borough.

Township Committee members acknowledged the help of the Citizens’ Finance Committee in preparing the budget. “It will be a challenge going forward,” observed the group’s co-chair Scott Sillars, who counseled the Township to continue to be vigilant about money.

There will be a Public Hearing on the Budget on Monday, April 25.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Township Committee approved a bond ordinance making a supplemental appropriation of $2,053,500 for the installation of a new pool. As he did at the ordinance introduction, Mr. Pascale explained that this was a “housekeeping” detail that would enable the Township to carry out its bookkeeping responsibilities for pool bills, and that the Borough will be passing a similar appropriation.

Following up on a work session held two weeks ago, the Committee also approved the introduction of an ordinance appropriating the aggregate amount of $3,166,000, and authorizing the issuance of $2,189,200 bonds or notes, for public works projects. These include, according to Township Engineer Bob Kiser, a collaborative project with Montgomery Township to improve Cherry Valley Road; improvements to Grover Avenue and Roper Road; and work on Battle Road West and Battle Road Circle. The appropriation would also include $300,000 for paving costs and $226,000 for the purchase of public works equipment. In response to Committee member Bernie Miller’s question about recent work done on Grover Avenue, Mr. Kiser explained that, in response to serious potholes, the street had received a temporary layer of pavement several years ago. Now, however, it is time to complete sewer and water main work there.

A public hearing on this ordinance will be held on April 11.

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