May 8, 2019

Princeton Business Owners Support Michelle Pirone Lambros

To the Editor:

As we lose yet another small business, Pins and Needles, in our downtown, it’s time to ask: Why isn’t Princeton Council doing more to support local merchants? Small businesses create more than 60 percent of all new jobs in the U.S. economy, and a vital business community is the backbone of any local economy. The unique flavor of our town has always been marked by the small businesses that give Princeton character. They provide that live-shop-work-play lifestyle that sets Princeton apart from so many towns. They attract out-of-town shoppers. And they employ residents.

Municipal government works best when it works together with business: to set goals, solve problems, and work to attract, keep, and grow the local economy. Princeton is no different from other towns. It needs this same type of support, yet over the past decade or so this connectivity has been eroding.

We support the election of Michelle Pirone Lambros to Princeton Council because she is the only candidate who reaches out to the business community and is actively working to address our needs and help solve the problems we face. She sees the importance of the business sector and has concrete ideas on how to solve the myriad issues we face today.  With growing competition from big box and the internet, we must be more open and flexible to new ways to do business, and to diversify our retail offerings.

She is working on the Economic Development Committee.  She advocates for solving the parking meter problem by lowering rates, improving communication on the technology, giving a bonus for using the APP, and extending the grace period. In addition to working out solutions for the parking meters, she advocates for more downtown parking.

She sees the value in having a greater variety of uses for new types of businesses and she advocates for making changes that will make opening a new business easier, such as eliminating the cumbersome, expensive, and time consuming permitting process in favor of a more streamlined process with lower fees.  Creating a welcome kit for new businesses, and working on better way finding and signage would help visitors find parking, help calm traffic concerns, and highlight centers of commerce.

Exploring partnerships with the University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and reaching out to state-wide programs for new business innovation and small business loans are also priorities for Michelle.

Some of these initiatives are new ideas, others have been discussed and are being worked on in the EDC, and what Michelle would do is to champion and drive these initiatives to get them done expeditiously.

Not everyone on Council needs to have the same skill set or vision for Princeton. A healthy mix of aptitudes means a stronger, more diverse government. Michelle has the business community in mind and often looks to be a resource for new ideas for innovation and expansion as well as streamlining costly and cumbersome permitting to help the small business community thrive.

Finally, Michelle understands that investing and growing our business sector means revenue from commercial taxes which offsets the burden on residential property taxes.  Today, commercial taxes represent roughly 20 percent of all tax revenue, or approximately $60 million per year.  A decline in this revenue would have to be made up in residential taxes, and an increase in this revenue with additional business growth, would offset the huge tax burden on our residents.

Investing in economic development just makes good economic sense for our community.

We support Michelle Pirone Lambros as the only candidate with an eye on the business sector and economic development for our community.

Andrew Mangone & John Roberto

Bob Hillier
Studio Hillier

Hank Siegel
Hamilton Jewelers

John Procaccini
Trattoria Procaccini & PJs Pancakes

Raoul, Carlo, and Anthony Momo
Terra Momo Restaurant Group

Anthony Kanterakis
Local Greek

Mark Tamasi
Tamasi Shell

Joy Chen
Joy Cards

Beth Censits
Princeton Consignment

Josh Zinder

James Herring
Herring Properties

Ellen Kogan
Tranquility Den