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Princeton Council Approves 2016 Budget That Includes Tax Increase

The governing body for Princeton approved a $62 million municipal budget Monday night that includes a tax levy of $33.2 million, a $1.2 million increase over 2015.

A large chunk of the budget, $10.1 million, is for debt service. The amount the town owes this year for borrowing money increased 2.5 percent over last year.

The municipal tax rate for 2016 is about 48 cents per $100 of assessed property value. A homeowner with a property assessed at the 2016 town average of $810,000 would pay about $3,900 in municipal property taxes for 2016.

Officials needed to cut about $150,000 for the budget. They couldn’t agree on cutting any programs or services to balance the budget. Mayor Liz Lempert said at the meeting that the finance committee and administration identified spending cuts that eliminated the need for another $150,000 tax levy increase. But Councilwoman Jo Butler said only two things were cut from the proposed budget. The town postponed the purchase of a new police car and a new hire for the town’s sewer operating committee, she said. The rest of the “cuts” came from changing projections for spending.

“We don’t need to spend money we thought we’d need to spend,” Councilman Patrick Simon said. “We also canceled some unexpended balances.”

Longtime Councilman Bernie Miller then said the town needs to manage its spending in the future.

“We’ve got to work hard moving forward on managing expenditures, finding ways to save money, and getting our bang for our buck,” Miller said as he and the rest of the council members voted to approve a tax increase for the second year in a row.

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.

  • FreshAir

    We all see the pattern you mention. They cannot do math and are not from here… they think DC & Cali are better. and want to change Princeton.. and Jenny isn’t “Jenny from the block” I live on. Her friends are happy though.

  • Sandra J. Bierman

    Well, to be honest, sometimes I vote for myself. I do trust Jenny and Anne N. I don’t see other options and the seats have to be filled, if the others two do not convince me, I will give my vote to the ones that I trust. It is difficult because it seems that there is a division and the vote is usually 3 vs 3 and comes the mayor to break the tie and she always side with the same 3 so pretty much what is done is what the mayor wants. It is a no brainer and it is frustrating. Now, the good think is that there is another candidate for mayor and who knows, when it is time to break the tie, at least not necessarily will be that he sides with the same 3…if he wins.

  • FreshAir

    Right. So, I’m curious as to why residents are voting for the same people over again. Einstein, one of our of most intelligent citizens, would reminds us… Insanity is doing the same thing over & over again while expecting a different result.

  • Sandra J. Bierman

    About responding to citizens’ needs, we are still waiting for a call back from Animal Control, they say they respond in 48 hrs ( the must be soooooooooooo busy?); however, one wonders if their hours are 60 minutes because it has been already 3 weeks. No accountability, they can’t even return a phone call, give an explanation, imagine if they need to show up.

  • FreshAir

    Consolidation isn’t complete. We are in limbo… a very expensive, growing limbo.

  • FreshAir

    So true…but accountability was needed, because staff in the municipality weren’t responding to needs expressed by citizens. ACCESS PRINCETON is a great paid babysitter. Sad that we recently needed to increase, not decrease the size of this function..but then, our government is expanding pre-consolidation, so more babysitters are needed.

  • FreshAir

    It’s wisest to look at who on Council voted to increase our debt, by adding services that aren’t mandated & frills, before two towns are fully consolidated into one. Hopefully, you will seek the truth before voting.

  • Sandra J. Bierman

    So, they did not cut on anything? My votes are for Jenny Crumiller and Anne Neumann for the 2 council seats. I am not sure of the other two candidates. Jenny has a proven record as a listener and also questions stuff, a quality that Jo Butler and Patrick Simon also share and that is not liked by her colleagues. Anne Neumann is the other person that we need to question and fight….I can’t explain why but I perceive the other two candidates as too conciliatory, and it seems that more than one battle need to be fought and I only see Anne and Jenny doing that, together with Jo now that Patrick is leaving.

  • Princeton Rez

    How about getting rid of Access Princeton, which is a total waste of money, and not giving certain employees large salary hikes? Just to name a few things…

  • Jim Jenson

    All of those to-be Council members who want Princeton to be “more affordable” . . .

    Here’s your chance to suggest where the municipality should cut spending. Anywhere? Anyone?

    Less military spending? Fewer subsidies to corporations? Keep posturing.

    I thought so.

  • Boro Res

    Simon is the only one who tried to control spending. Time to make some tough cuts people because consolidation is not saving anything.

  • Show Up!

    Hello Governor Christie. Did you hear about the status, three years hence, of “the promise of consolidation”? Looks like you are now fully qualified to lead Mr. Trump’s transition team.

  • Princeton Rez

    Yes, and gotta love Bernie Miller’s empty platitudes as he makes no tough decisions and votes to raise taxes.

  • Robert Dana

    I’m confused. I thought taxes were supposed to go down post consolidation.

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