Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 41
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
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Borough Council Votes Unanimously to Fund Consolidation Budget

Dilshanie Perera

A vote on whether to fund the Consolidation and Joint Services Study Commission budget passed unanimously at a meeting of Borough Council last week.

The requested budget for the joint commission totals $120,274. Funding is coming from both the Borough and Township, as well as a state grant of $37,500.

Up for discussion was whether to split the difference of $82,774, with the Borough and Township each paying 50 percent, or whether to divide the sum on the basis of ratables, with the Borough paying one third and the Township paying two thirds.

Based on a previous meeting by the joint finance committees, Council agreed to divide the cost of funding the consolidation study commission 50-50. Each municipal share is $41,387.

The 50-50 split is conditional, explained Councilman David Goldfarb, and is predicated on combining some shared services sooner, rather than later. For instance, the Tax Assessor’s office would be moved to the Township Municipal Complex, whereas the Fire Inspection Office would be moved to the Borough. These changes would be incurred to streamline citizen’s use and experience of the departments and to “increase efficiency.”

“The two finance committees and the two administrators feel like this can be done,” Mr. Goldfarb said. “It is a step in the right direction.”

“This also opens the door for more shared services,” Councilman Roger Martindell pointed out.

Council President Andrew Koontz called the divvying up of the budget and the collaboration a “middle ground that is best for everybody.” Mr. Goldfarb admitted, “To be perfectly honest, I would have insisted on the 2 to 1 split, but I did not prevail in that discussion.”

The budget, of which $76,000 will go to the study’s consultant, is being approved unanimously by all members of the Consolidation and Joint Services Study Commission. Other expenditures include clerical and legal support, printing, postage, advertising, and a few contingencies, should additional services be needed.

The commission unanimously voted to appoint the Center for Governmental Research, Inc. as the consultant for the study during a special meeting at the end of September. The study is expected to be completed in six months.

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