July 27, 2022

Council to Return to In Person, But Zoom Remains an Option

By Anne Levin

Starting on Monday, September 12, Princeton Council will be back to the pre-pandemic practice of meeting in person. The governing body adopted a resolution at its Monday, July 25 meeting, making it official.

While attending via Zoom will still be an option, Council made it clear that because internet connections sometimes fail, the only way to guarantee participation in a meeting is to show up at Witherspoon Hall. A bit later in the meeting, as if on cue, the connection went down for a few minutes.

Meetings will be noticed for gathering in person, but the technology to meet virtually will be available. Should there be a rise in COVID-19 cases, the meetings would switch back to being held virtually. “It has been part of the process of thinking that through,” said Mayor Mark Freda. “We had a trial run-through, and everything looked and sounded good. So we hope to be able to accommodate those who wish to be in person, or those who want to watch from home.”

Council voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance appropriating $388,000 to pay for replacement of the cooling tower and circulator motors at Princeton Public Library. The specific wording appropriates that amount and authorizes the issuance “of $368,600 in bonds or notes of Princeton to finance part of the cost thereof.” 

Councilman David Cohen praised the library’s engineer for providing a thorough study of operational and maintenance costs. Councilman Leighton Newlin agreed. “The cost is necessary and the all the homework has been done to assure we have made the right decision in a meaningful way,” he said.

Councilwoman Mia Sacks added, “It’s helpful when our community partners provide information we can share with the public. It’s a large expenditure, but we should feel comfortable that we understand what it’s for.”

Resolutions for grants from the New Jersey Department of Transportation totaling about $2.4 million were adopted, for the Alexander Street-Dickinson Street-University Place Municipal Aid Project, the Cherry Hill Road Shared Use Pathway Project, and the Terhune Road Safe Streets to Transit Project.

Another resolution was adopted authorizing the purchase of eight recycled rubber speed cushions for traffic calming on Edgehill Street and Hibben Road, not to exceed the cost of $13, 728. The cushions are temporary. “If they work, we will do something to make them more permanent,” said Assistant Municipal Engineer Jim Purcell, who noted that the same thing has been done on John Street. “We will monitor the situation and determine whether or not we have to take a more permanent action in the future.”

Council voted for a resolution to authorize submission of the 2022 Community Development Block Grant Program and Annual Action Plan, allowing broadband access for low- and moderate-income households. Councilwoman Eve Niedergang and others on the governing body praised Mark Leckington of Leckington Advisors for his assistance in the effort.

Special proclamations honoring Keith Wood, retiring after 25 years with the town’s Sewer Operations Department; and Sergeant Thomas Murray, retiring after 31 years with the Princeton Police Department and 19 years heading the Traffic Safety Bureau, were read.

Council holds its next public meeting on Monday, August 8.