Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 40
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
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Consolidation Commission Chooses CGR for Next Six Months of Municipal Analysis

Dilshanie Perera

A high level of comfort, responsiveness to the main concerns of the commission, and the proposed community outreach component were all cited as reasons to select the Center for Governmental Research (CGR) as the consultant for the Consolidation and Joint Services Study. The commission voted unanimously in a special meeting last week to award the contract to CGR subject to availability of funds. Chairman Anton Lahnston was absent.

The requested budget for the commission was $119,174. Approximately $75,000 will go toward payment for the consultant, though additional support services could increase that budget element by up to $7,500. The commission approved the budget unanimously during its meeting. Currently, the Borough and the Township have a state grant of $37,500 to put toward the consolidation study. The municipalities must make up the difference from their own funds.

New Jersey State Department of Community Affairs Representative Eugene McCarthy characterized the numbers as fair based on his prior experience. “You’ve asked for a lot, and you’re getting good value for your money.”

Borough Administrator Robert Bruschi called the budget flexible, adding that “it is conservative enough, but is not going to handcuff you. The last thing you want is to get two-thirds of the way through this thing and not be able to finish it.”

Township Administrator James Pascale will manage the commission’s budget and report to Mr. Lahnston.

Noting that “this study is more complex than previous consolidation studies … communication regarding what we’re doing is going to be a more challenging task,” Township Mayor Bernie Miller called the website that CGR was proposing “helpful” in including more community voices in the discussion.

The consultant also plans to have a community-wide meeting in the very beginning stages of its study, which is due to be complete in its entirety within six months.

The final contract will be voted on during the commission’s public meeting at 7 p.m. on October 27 in Township Hall. A specific date, time, and location for the community-wide meeting will be published when announced.

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