To the Editor:
The recent Council decision to pay for sidewalk building and repair was a nice benefit for those in large properties without pre-existing sidewalks. In other words, significantly skewed toward properties in the former Township. This decision was no doubt a response to complaints from those in that part of town, who had not had sidewalks before. They already had gained another freebie following consolidation of the town: garbage collection.
The former Borough has had sidewalks, on both sides of the street, for a long time. There are few streets where a brand-new sidewalk will be needed. We have paid for 50 percent of their cost and repair over the years. On my street, we had to pay one more time just a few years ago when the street was redone.
By contrast, in another area, a previously existing service has been significantly cut back. Council has been told for some years about the continuing need for year-round brush pickup, especially for residents with dense old-growth trees and small plots — notably the former Borough. Council has not taken action on our request not to cut this pre-existing service. The town instead suggested we deal with it ourselves in ways that are impractical (compost it — branches don’t compost), or environmentally undesirable (each resident drive it themselves to Lawrenceville).
Instead, incredibly, our town is now aggressively spending money for enforcement of brush “violations” and to actually fine us for them. A more constructive approach, not taken, would have been to restore periodic pickups of brush, or perhaps to provide the recently available compost collection service at no charge. The latter can cope with moderate amounts of brush.
Punish the Borough, fine its residents, reward the Township. Is this what consolidation means?
I wonder how Council can institute a new provision to finance sidewalks, but cannot “afford” restoration of the brush pickup service we had and still need.
Yes, there have been some accomplishments and benefits from consolidation. The oft-repeated claim that there has been no loss of services is not one of them. Nor, it seems, is equitable treatment.
This letter has also been sent to our mayor and Council.