2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2011.

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Consolidation passes 1397 to 891; central Boro votes AGAINST 53%

Tony Lunn writes,  “The “core” of the borough voted against consolidation. The further away from the residential center of town,  the more people voted for consolidation. The effect is dramatic  (unofficial vote counts, without absentees*):

District Vote Area
4, 5, 6 53% against (338 for, 387 against) Close-packed residential: tree streets, Jefferson/Moore, John/Witherspoon
3, 7, 8, 9 35% against(721 for, 379 against) Western section (west of Bayard Lane) and the “eastern” section (mostly east of Harrison)
1,2 26% against(179 for, 62 against) Mostly University students and faculty
Township, all districts 15% against 3542 for, 604 against)  The Township is 16.25 square miles around the 1.9 sm Boro

The outer regions (Township) badly want consolidation (85% in favor), the innermost regions (central Boro districts) do not (53% against). That’s a huge difference.

‘We’re all the same’? Not with regard to our views on the town’s future. The newspapers completely miss this. So do our governing bodies.”

*Spreadsheet with unofficial election results (without absentee).

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District voting map shows central Boro AGAINST with university and outer districts FOR

Note: The percentages on the district voting map are calculated as a percentage of total votes and thus do not add  up to 100 %.  Some people voted but chose not to vote on the consolidation question.   For instance in the true downtown, District 1, only 86% of those who voted chose to vote for or against consolidation.  The percentages in the post above this one, Consolidation passes 1397 to 891; central Boro votes AGAINST 53%, were calculated as the percentage of total consolidation votes (either yes or no) which makes the percentages somewhat higher.

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Einstein on consolidation

it’s a fake

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Fiscally healthy Boro and Township can reduce budgets on their own, says Freeholder Koontz


In just a few days, voters in Princeton Borough and Princeton Township will decide
whether or not we shed our common border and become a single municipality.  As a Borough voter, I’ll be voting too, and to make a long story short, I’ll be voting “No.”

I was a Borough Council member when this latest consolidation effort got
underway, and although I voted to support the consolidation study, I was a
vocal “skeptic” of consolidation.  I felt then that the issue of consolidation is highly emotionally charged and deeply controversial, and whenever it’s under consideration it distracts us from other pressing issues.  I felt that many of the
taxpayer savings promised by consolidation could just as well be achieved
through other means, such as through increased shared services between the
Borough and Township (or with the county or with any number of other nearby
municipalities for that matter).  I feared that no useful discussion of these options would take place as long as the “Big C” was on the table.  My fears, I think, proved correct.

A lot of folks have questioned the projected cost savings of consolidation as
presented by the Consolidation Study Commission.  I consider a number of the members of the commission to be my friends, and I think they did their level best to arrive at
reasonable estimates.  But their cost savings rest on one basic assumption:  that some
as yet unknown body of elected officials, the Mayor and Council of (united)
Princeton, would follow their tough, cost-cutting recommendations to the letter.  To me, that’s a pretty shaky assumption.

The focus on cost-cutting, to me, distracts from a much more basic question:  why
consolidate now?
 Is something terribly wrong with our two towns that only a consolidation can remedy?  I don’t think so.  Both towns are fiscally healthy and perfectly
capable of reducing municipal budgets without consolidation.  Speaking for my hometown, the Borough, we have safe neighborhoods, access to mass transportation, and a vibrant, walkable downtown.  The Borough didn’t arrive at this place by chance, but through the many years of solving our problems as a community, a community that was in control of its own municipal destiny.  The Borough works, just as the Township works, and I think the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies here.  To me, consolidation is a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist.

Finally, Princeton Borough is my home and it’s just the right size for me.  I’m not ready to “trade up” to a bigger place just yet!

Andrew Koontz

Mercer County Freeholder Andrew Koontz

will be voting AGAINST consolidation

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Commission recommends patrol squad officer reduction of 20%; overall force reduction 15%

The Commission has recommended that the total combined police force be reduced from 60 to 51 (a 15% decrease) over a three-year period.  As part of this overall reduction the patrol squads will be reduced from a current total (Boro plus Township) of 10 down to 8 (a 20% decrease).

From the Commission’s Baseline report: “The patrol division is the Township’s 24/7 coverage unit. One of the four squads of officers (a sergeant, corporal and three patrol officers) is on duty each shift. (p. 37). … The Borough’s patrol squads are deployed in parallel fashion to those in the Township. The department relies on the standard Pittman schedule to run two 12-hour squads each day ..”  (p. 40). Traffic officers, community service officers and accreditation officers are not part of the patrol squads. Boro sergeants are regularly out on the streets.

Org charts for Princeton and Township police (Baseline Report, pp. 42 and 44). See four patrol squads of 5 officers each for each municipality below, for a total of 10 officers on shift.

Under a consolidated combined force (with 51 sworn officers), each patrol squad shift would have eight officers. Options Report, p. 42.

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Star Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine likes donuts with holes in them and Princeton Boro too!

Paul Mulshine writes about the lack of press attention to those who oppose consolidation.

“‘We are never taken seriously by the press,’ said the leader of a group of Princeton residents called Preserve Our Historic Borough. ‘When I do talk to the press, they don’t quote me. I talked to a reporter for an hour and 15 minutes, and he didn’t print a word.’ …

The reason no one wants to listen to Warren is that she is on the wrong side of an issue on which all right-thinking people agree — from our Republican governor to the most liberal Democrat in the Legislature. That is the belief that there are too many small towns in New Jersey. …

To proponents, it’s a no-brainer. When you merge two towns into one, you can save a lot of money by eliminating duplicative services. Property taxes will fall.

That’s the theory. But the opponents say the theory’s got as many holes in it as the aforementioned doughnuts. The projected savings are illusory, while the new costs are real, Warren argues.

The biggest new cost would be garbage collection. The borough already pays for trash pickup, but people in the township have to make their own arrangements. If the merger goes through, publicly funded trash collection will be extended to the township at a cost that will be partly borne by borough residents, Warren said.  … SEE FULL ARTICLE

No matter what the deep thinkers think, there’s a reason doughnuts have holes in them. They taste better that way.”

Note: According to the state’s DCA report on Princeton’s proposed consolidation, “The additional tax impact [added tax] of extending this service to Township residents is estimated to be $127 for the average residential taxpayer in the Borough and $141 for the average residential taxpayer in the Township.” (p. 15)

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