Planet Princeton

Op-Ed: Princeton Boundaries Useless and Expensive

By Roger Martindell

After 22 years of public service to Princeton Borough, I can best serve the borough by voting on November 8 to eliminate the council office I hold, marking my ballot YES for consolidation. I urge borough voters to do the same.  Here’s why.

There’s no question that consolidation will produce a less expensive and more effective local government for those who now live or pay taxes in the Borough.

There’s no question that consolidation will avoid the delay and dysfunction in coordinating two municipal governments and numerous shared agencies, each with its own agenda.

There’s no question that one Princeton municipal government will have more negotiating power with third parties, including Princeton University, other towns, the county and state.

With consolidation, the approximately 23,000 non-university residents of the community can have as much access to their elected representatives as Borough residents now have; but the contact will yield better results than are produced currently by divided government.

With consolidation, the community has an opportunity to restructure how it funds and delivers a wide array of services, including especially police and public works, better providing for present Borough residents.

The case against consolidation is framed by fear of change.

Yes, change is challenging, but it is also natural to social evolution.  Spurning the opportunities afforded by consolidation will condemn us to the absurdities of life well described in:

  • The Sneetches, by Dr. Seuss, in which a group of cats without stars on their belly envy cats with stars, setting off a lunatic, expensive competition for cat “star” status;
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, in which the at-odds kings of Dictionopolis and Digitopolis cannot resolve their dysfunction except through the return of two exiled princesses, Rhyme and Reason; and
  • Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift, in which the Lilliputians suffer generations of strife between those who open boiled eggs on the big end and those who do so at the small end.

Dear fellow borough residents, identification with our historic municipality is admirable.  But today it’s appropriate that we acknowledge the community we have become.

Let’s not assume ourselves to be “special” simply because we could choose to stand apart from our Township family, friends, and colleagues, divided by an arbitrary municipal boundary.

That boundary is both useless and expensive.

Let’s recognize ourselves for who we are, as we are: one community.

We live consolidated.  Let’s vote consolidated.

 Roger Martindell is a member of the Princeton Borough Council.

 

 

 

 

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.

  • Consolidation will produce a MORE EXPENSIVE government. Service organilzations, like municipal governments, don’t have the economies of scale that one finds in manufacturing and large-scale utitiles, like cable tv. The Commission’s report bears this out. More than half of the savings come from a 20% reduction in patrol squad officers and a reduction of up to 50% in dispatchers. This is a decline in service, not an efficiency.

    Many disagree that a combined Princeton will have more power vis a vis the university. The time and discussion required to deal with two municipalities slows down the university’s development projects and allows for more community input.

  • Consolidation will produce a MORE EXPENSIVE government. Service organilzations, like municipal governments, don’t have the economies of scale that manufacturing and large-scale utitiles, like cable tv. The Commission’s report bears this out. More than half of the savings come from a 20% reduction in patrol squad officers and a reduction of up to 50% in dispatchers. This is a decline in service, not an efficiency.

    Many disagree that a combined Princeton will have more power vis a vis the university. The time and discussion required to deal with two municipalities slows down the university’s development projects and allows for more community input.

  • Leighton Newlin

    Keep making sense Roger…keep making sense…Dr. Seuss! WoW!

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