Planet Princeton

Op-Ed: Borough Better Without Consolidation

By David Goldfarb

Having served on the Borough Council for 21 years and on the Consolidation and Shared Services Study Commission for the past 15 months, I question the reasoning behind the commission’s recommendation to consolidate.

Should we consolidate to save taxes?  Borough residents would save more by sharing police services than by following the commission’s plan to consolidate.  In either case, the total projected savings would reduce Borough property tax bills by less than one-and-a-half percent; that reduction would come only after several years of transition.

Should we consolidate to eliminate squabbling?  Disagreements between the borough and the township kept the public library downtown and produced a less expensive and more attractive design for the community pool complex.

Should we consolidate because we’re all the same?  Most Borough residents paid more for smaller homes because they place a higher value on living near the center of town than most of their counterparts in the township.  The Township has more than twice as many voters as the Borough.  Who is more likely to be sensitive to the issues that affect the success of the downtown?

Should we consolidate to improve the delivery of services?  The commission claims that the services now delivered to borough residents would be maintained in a consolidated community but only garbage pickup would be extended to the former township.  How would elected officials in a consolidated Princeton explain to residents that brush is picked up every two weeks on Westcott Road but only four times a year on Brookstone Drive?  Services must either be extended at a higher cost or reduced for current Borough residents.

Please vote “No” on November 8.  I believe that the entire town will be better without consolidation.  I am confident that the Borough will be better without it.

David Goldfarb is a member of the Princeton Borough Council and the Consolidation and Shared Services Study Commission.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Henry Singer

    I am disappointed with Mr. Goldfarbs post on several points, but I will comment on just one:

    “Most Borough residents paid more for smaller homes because they place a higher value on living near the center of town than most of their counterparts in the township.  The Township has more than twice as many voters as the Borough.  Who is more likely to be sensitive to the issues that affect the success of the downtown?”

    We moved to Princeton in 2001 when the property markets were very tight. Living close to town was high on our list of priorities, but alas there were not any homes available. In the end we compromised and purchased a home a bit further out. My walk to town takes longer, but at least we are in Princeton.

    I don’t believe that he can presume to make a claim about how I, others in the community, place a value on the downtown. Speaking for myself, I love the downtown. I can be found there on most days, often several times a day. I want to preserve and protect it as much as anyone.

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