October 28, 2020

Council Approves Posts For Open Space Manager, Human Services Coordinator

By Anne Levin

At its meeting Monday, Princeton Council voted in favor of ordinances establishing the positions of open space manager and human services outreach coordinator.

Members of Council and the public expressed support for the newly created posts, which have been discussed for years.

“I am here because more than 10 years ago I read an article in Town Topics that said because of budget cuts, the only person who spoke Spanish at Human Services was being laid off,” said Councilwoman Leticia Fraga. “So I volunteered. And here we are. I am so excited to move forward. It took a pandemic to make this happen, but Human Services will finally get the support they need.”

Councilwoman Mia Sacks commented, “It has also been about 10 years that the town has tried to create an open space manager position, so I am glad that the two can finally come in.”

Mayor Liz Lempert asked that the public spread the word about the new posts. “We’d love to get qualified applicants for these positions from the community,” she said. “Please help us because recruiting is most successful when you have a wide net.”

The positions will be posted on the municipal website at princetonnj.gov.

Lempert opened the meeting with a request that families consider non-traditional ways to celebrate Halloween this year. She has received numerous emails from residents worried that, because of the pandemic, trick-or-treating is not safe.

“There are a few areas of town that see lots of trick-or-treaters. We’re not going to see that this year,” she said. “We’re asking everyone to rethink their Halloween plans. Those who do go out, try to keep it hyper-local. If you’re handing out candy, we’re encouraging people to not use a bowl. A lot of people aren’t really interested in participating this year. Just turn your porch lights off.”

Chief Financial Officer Sandy Webb gave a report on the town’s 11th Best Practices Inventory, which is done by the state. There were 60 questions on this year’s inventory, 29 of which receive a score. “If you score really low, you have a chance you will not collect all of your state aid,” she said. “We have done well every year. This year we’ll continue on that path, so we’ll collect all of our state aid.”

Council voted to pass a bond ordinance appropriating $1,720,000 for capital improvements including roof repairs at Witherspoon Hall and replacement of two dump trucks.

The governing body also voted in favor of three resolutions for preliminary design services toward improvements on Rosedale Road. The town’s engineering department has received a $1 million federal grant for the project, which will help make it safer for students to bike and walk to Johnson Park Elementary School.  It also represents a key trail connection between the Johnson trolley path and then across Rosedale Road to Greenwood Meadows and the Stony Brook Trail.

Sacks said she wondered if this would primarily benefit the children that attend Johnson Park Elementary School. Municipal Engineer Deanna Stockton said it benefits the entire community because it is a central spot in the entire bike mobility system.

“This is a process with many steps and layers and many approval processes along the way,” she said. “But we’re very excited about it.”

An ordinance introduction to create an affordable housing zone, originally scheduled for this meeting, was rescheduled and will be the subject of a special meeting to be held Monday, November 2. Also moved to that date is a resolution for a settlement agreement with 375 Terhune LLC, a property across from Thanet Road, and the municipality of Princeton.