November 28, 2012

Lempert Outlines Future Goals To Princeton Merchants Association

If Princeton merchants have their way, the newly consolidated government will include a commission devoted to the business community. Mayor-elect Liz Lempert, who attended a meeting of the Princeton Merchants Association Tuesday morning, told the audience that she was open to that idea, which was suggested by a member of the organization.

The meeting was held at Princeton Public Library’s Community Room. Invited to talk about her future plans regarding the business community, Ms. Lempert listed strong communication, sustainability, and solving traffic problems as some of her major concerns.

“I would really like to focus on having great communication,” she said. “The website should be improved, and I’ve been looking at websites from other towns to see how we can do it better. I’d like us to become more sustainable. We don’t have easy recycling downtown, and I want to work on that, as well as energy efficiency. I want to address the long-standing problems of traffic and parking in the Borough. Whether we use satellite parking or shuttles, I don’t know yet. But it’s something I want to look at.”

Tere Villamil, the owner of La Jolie Salon & Spa, commented that Borough businesses often lose employees to stores in malls because of the high cost of parking in downtown Princeton.

Members also heard reports from Linda Mather and Scott Sillars, members of the Transition Task Force, about how the process of consolidation is progressing. Ms. Mather said that movement in the Borough and Township municipal buildings and some changes in infrastructure are results already in place. Mr. Sillars, who is vice-chair of the Task Force, said that the biggest changes are in administration, finance, public safety, public works, and the clerk’s office.

Praising consolidation, he added, “The change in efficiency and operations in government is going to be magnificent. We saw during Hurricane Sandy how Public Works and the police worked together — magnificently.”

Ms. Lempert encouraged PMA members to attend the goal-setting meetings, open to the public, that she is planning to hold at dates to be announced. The new government is “a window” allowing things that didn’t happen to become things that do happen. “There is a real opportunity to make change,” she said.

Carly Meyer, president of the PMA, said, “We get it and we’re here to play ball.”