Borough Council Introduces Budget with No Tax Increase

For the fourth year in a row, the governing body of Princeton Borough is slated to adopt a budget that does not increase municipal property taxes.

The Borough Council unanimously voted Tuesday night to introduce a preliminary budget of $26.2 million for 2012. The proposed tax levy is $10.3 million.The preliminary budget assumes that municipal aid from the state will remain flat.

The public hearing and adoption of the budget are both scheduled for April 10.

Council members also reviewed goals for the remainder of 2012 as the Borough and Township move towards their 2013 merger.

Trash and leaf management topped some council members’ list of issues. The Borough also has several planning related issues to deal with this year, including the downtown hospital site, East Nassau Street (the area surrounding the former Olive May’s grocery), transit issues outlined in a so-called memorandum of understanding with Princeton University, the creation of a potential special improvement district, and the preservation of the Dinky train.

“We possibly have more planning issues to work out this year than any other year,” Borough Administrator Bob Bruschi said.

Councilwoman Barbara Trelstad asked what the status of the  Western Section Historic District proposal is. Officials said the Borough’s historic preservation review committee is expected to make a recommendation soon regarding whether part of the Western Section should be designated a historic district. The neighborhood is split on the issue.

Officials also said the streetscape along Nassau Street could possibly be improved this year. Councilman Kevin Wilkes suggested the Borough should also look at helping improve the streetscape along Witherspoon Street.

“With the number of properties being flipped, vacant properties, and properties under renovation, the streetscape there looks far worse than along Nassau. There is no coherency,” Wilkes said.  “We need to get developers working in the neighborhood participate, but we need to take the lead come up with design standards and get various players to participate in joint meetings to identify some of the needs. It might be an easier lift than Nassau Street because of the amount of construction.”