January 2, 2014

Out With the Old In With the New For Annual Meeting

When Princeton Council gathers for its annual reorganization meeting this Thursday evening, Mayor Liz Lempert will reflect on the first year of a consolidated Princeton while voicing her hopes for year number two.

This first official gathering of the year begins at 5:30 p.m. following a reception for members of the municipal staff. “Our reorganization meeting will be held one year and one day after we officially consolidated,” Ms. Lempert said in an email. “It’s an opportunity to look back over the course of the year and reflect on what we’ve accomplished and take stock of what still lies ahead.”

One accolade Ms. Lempert is likely to mention is a “Winner of the Year” citation in the political journal Politifax from December 18, 2013. Princeton was named as one of eight winners: “The Township and the Borough completed their amalgamation with a minimum of strife and a considerable tax savings for their citizens,” the citation reads.

The meeting will include such business-as-usual tasks as the naming of agreements for professional services, the swearing in of incumbent Council members Jenny Crumiller and Patrick Simon for new terms, and the naming of the Council president, which Ms. Lempert said she assumes will be current President Bernie Miller.

The mayor will also deliver a talk, the main points of which she outlined in her email.

“I’m proud of our record — we lowered municipal taxes, shrank the budget, extended residential trash pick up, and added dedicated traffic and safe neighborhood units to our police force,” she said. “We put a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan in place, and are better prepared to deal with major weather events, extended power outages, and other crises.”

Consolidation “jolted us out of autopilot and forced us to re-examine how we do business,” she continued. “This year saw us adopt a new personnel manual and a new conflict of interest policy. We adopted a police ordinance and lay the groundwork for accreditation of the new department. We negotiated a new three year contract with the police union. And we adopted an ordinance to harmonize salaries.”

Ms. Lempert also mentioned some new traditions, “including having the president of Princeton University, Chris Eisgruber, come speak with Council about shared goals and developing a relationship of respect for working out disagreements.” Mr. Eisgruber attended a Council meeting last month and voiced his interest in returning next year.

At Council’s final meeting of 2013 last week, several resolutions were introduced. A supplemental agreement with The Rodgers Group, the consulting firm that recently released its study on the Princeton Police Department, was voted on, not to exceed $2,000. The Council also voted to approve a resolution to supplement a three-year Strategic Technology Plan, not to exceed $20,000.