In an emotional ceremony, Princeton police officers and members of the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad (PFARS) were officially recognized Monday evening for saving the life of Barbara Ritz, who went into cardiac arrest while dining at Mediterra restaurant on April 5. After Mayor Liz Lempert read a proclamation at the meeting of Princeton Council in Witherspoon Hall, Ms. Ritz hugged each of the eight first responders who arrived at the restaurant and sprang into action after she suddenly became unresponsive during a dinner with her family.
Honored were Sergeant Joann Malta, Corporal Marla Montague, Patrol Officers Stephen Lattin and Michael Schubert of the Princeton Police, and PFARS members Jay Padulchick, Henry Pannell, David Feiner, and Roy Xiao. Called to the restaurant when Ms. Ritz lost consciousness, they arrived to find her lying on the floor, unresponsive and without a pulse. Applying CPR and electric shocks, they restored her pulse and breathing. She is now recovering.
“It was like the presence of God walked into the restaurant,” recalled Ms. Ritz’s sister-in-law Donna Ritz, addressing the officers and PFARS members at the presentation. “You were so under control. You brought grace under fire with you Й. It is because of you that we have had more celebrations with my sister-in-law: Easter, Mother’s Day, and the rest of the celebrations of the year. We will always be grateful.”
There were several other topics on the Council’s agenda at the meeting, including work sessions on resolutions regarding a Conflict of Interest policy for the town and the Transco Pipeline project, which the Williams Company wants to install on the environmentally sensitive Princeton Ridge. An update on the municipal budget and a presentation on the need for a $1.7 storage facility for public works vehicles were also included.
The Council adopted the Conflict of Interest policy and then referred it back to the personnel committee to review the best mechanism for providing the opinion on conflict. There was discussion over whether the municipal attorney, an outside counsel, or a local ethics board should be utilized. The personnel committee will come back to Council at a future date with a recommendation.
The Council also passed a resolution that the Princeton Environmental Commission adopted on May 10 regarding the Transco pipeline project. The resolution asks that a full Environmental Impact Statement be carried out and that health and safety issues are fully considered. The Williams company plans to file its proposal with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in September. The issue will come up again on the agenda toward the end of summer when Council meets to consider whether the town should become an official intervenor or an interested party.
During the budget update by Scott Sillars of the Citizens Finance Advisory Committee, Council members were told that a further lowering of the tax rate is possible if the State of New Jersey reimburses the town for 20 percent of the costs of the transition to consolidation. The additional municipal tax rate decrease would be one percent, due to a surplus in funds.
Some members of Council cautioned that the State’s promise of reimbursement is still in question. “We’re counting on the funds from the state,” said Patrick Simon. “If they don’t provide them, we’re taking more from surplus than planning.”
The town has been waiting to hear a final verdict from the State on whether it will fulfill its promise, made earlier this year, to pay the portion of consolidation costs. Adoption of the municipal budget has been scheduled for May 28. But if the town decides to go forward with the additional tax reduction, then the budget will need to be reintroduced at that meeting and adoption would be pushed into June.