Princeton Council approves consultant contracts and police equipment purchase, rejects lone bid for proposed community WiFi project

The Princeton Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve three agreements for consultants, voted to approve more than $100,000 in police equipment, and rejected the lone bid for the proposed community WiFi project.

Allison Mueller, who was Mayor Mark Freda’s campaign communications manager during his mayoral campaign, will be paid up to $36,000 this year to produce the mayor and council newsletters. Mueller will be paid $75 an hour. Access Princeton, a town communications department, will still distribute the newsletters. Fred Williams, a retired police officer who was hired last year for $80,000 per year to handle press inquiries and other public relations, will still handle those tasks.

The council also voted to approve a professional services agreement with planner Carlos Rodrigues, who is a Princeton resident and member of the local nonprofit Princeton Future. He has been hired to do a preliminary investigation into whether the Princeton Shopping Center area should be declared an area in need of redevelopment. The study area includes Terhune Road, North Harrison Street, and Clearview Avenue. Some, but not all of the properties, are privately-owned. Rodrigues submitted a proposal on Jan. 12. The agreement to provide planning services to the planning board is for up to a year. He will be paid a flat fee of $12,000.

The Red Bank firm Heyer, Gruel & Associates will be paid $30,000 to do a preliminary investigation into whether the Maple Terrace site on Franklin Avenue should be declared an area in need of redevelopment. The firm will work on the redevelopment of the Franklin Avenue affordable housing project. The project will include a redevelopment study, followed by the preparation of a redevelopment plan if the area meets the criteria for an area in need of redevelopment.

Princeton’s police department will receive $108,351 in new mobile data terminal equipment from a company called Island Tech Services. The purchase was also approved by the council Tuesday night. The base price for the “rugged” tablet terminals is $3,352 each. Police Chief Chris Morgan said in a memo to the council that the old mobile data terminals were not capable of being updated to work with the police department’s new camera system that is being installed in police vehicles.

The council rejected the lone bid for a proposed community WiFi project to provide Internet access to some affordable housing developments in town. The lone bid was from Andrena, an Internet service startup company founded by a Princeton resident. Administrator Marc Dashield said the company was not registered under New Jersey’s Public Works Contractor Registration Act at the time of bidding, so the bid had to be tossed out. Asked at the council meeting why only one company submitted a bid for the project, Dashield said there was a quick turnaround time for bids to be submitted, and that the deadline was during the holidays.

After some debate, the council also voted to have three alternates on the town’s affordable housing board. Council members debated whether the one added position should be an alternate or a full voting member. The board previously had two alternates.


  1. Why is a retired police officer handling the communications for the town? Isn’t this double dipping? Doesn’t he already collect a pension as retired?

  2. Why does the company have to be registered this way to win the bid? This looks like bid-rigging. If the company is registered as a business in the state of NJ and was the only bidder why did they throw the bid out? Is this even legal to throw the bid out this way? Never heard of this rule that a company cannot be awarded a contract or bid bc of this particular registration issue… Let’s not pretend that this was open bidding and call this what it was.. bid -rigging…

  3. The police just suck money … all the money to the police? Why do they need all this tech to just do decent community policing?

  4. Double dipping and then an ally being paid $75 hour for pulling together a newsletter. Going rate is much lower. 10 hours a week is $750 a week for that. Nice gig if you can get it. Sheesh.

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