The handwriting on the wall? Part I
The Borough’s in financial trouble, even after years of high tax increases,
Borough Council is exploring several options for decreasing its budget in 2004 and 2005, including deferring the hiring of Borough staff for any current vacancies, merging the Borough and Township Police dispatch services, and increasing the hours that parking meters will be in operation in the Borough.
They’ve been looking at ways to shift the burden of the costs to the Township, for instance, through changing the cost-sharing formula financing the regional school system (which they would like to do), and making the Township bear the burden of the library costs, which they already have done, as I mentioned on April 3,
The 29% Borough/71% Township budget split is “derived from a formula for joint services that determines fair share based on total property-tax rateables in the two towns, of which 69 percent is in the township”. The Borough’s two square miles, of which the University occupies one half of the land. The Borough’s aggressively developing more buildings that don’t pay taxes, and clearly there’s every incentive for them to continue since The Township is subsidizing it.
Now they’re looking at the emergency services.
Princeton officials are preparing to undertake an evaluation of emergency services provided by the community’s volunteer firehouses that could weigh cost savings alongside issues like public safety and the retention of needed volunteers.
Of course, there’s the expensive study, which will draw on about $50,000 set aside in this year’s joint budgeting for shared services in Princeton Borough and Princeton Township (no decisions in The Principality are ever made without the payment of an expensive study). “No timeline is set for the planned study” (direct quote from the article).
With the Township short-term bonds having to be refinanced in the future when rates are likely to go up, and the Borough looking on leaning more heavily on Township subsidies, how does the taxpayer afford all the ever-increasing burden?