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Princeton Borough Council 1998

1998 VOTERS GUIDE

NON-PARTISAN ELECTION INFORMATION

Vote Tuesday, November 3, 1998

CANDIDATES FOR PRINCETON BOROUGH COUNCIL

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area is a nonpartisan, non-profit volunteer organization which works to promote active, informed participation of all citizens in their government. The League provides nonpartisan information on public issues, and takes action on issues after member study and consensus. In publishing this material, the League neither endorses nor rejects the views of any candidate quoted.

All candidate information in this guide was compiled from candidates' responses to questionnaires. Replies are printed in the candidates' own words, without editing or verification. Due to space limitation, the candidates were given a word limit for replies. Words in excess of the limit are deleted and indicated by an asterisk (*).

Reprinting of this guide in part or in whole is not permissible without written permission of the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area.

Copyright 1998 by the League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area

The League of Women Voters of the Princeton Area submitted the following three questions to all candidates for Princeton Borough Council:

1. How do you propose to reduce speeding, ensure pedestrian safety, and relieve traffic congestion within Princeton Borough?

2. Should the level of local property taxes be controlled, and if so, how would you address this issue?

3. The Property Tax Relief Commission may recommend state financial incentives to municipalities to consolidate or share services. What additional services would you consider Princeton Borough might share with the Township?

CANDIDATES FOR PRINCETON BOROUGH COUNCIL

Vote for TwoTerm: 3 years

ROGER CLARK MARTINDELL
Party: The Democratic Party
Age: 48
Address: 253 Prospect Avenue, Princeton, 08540

Occupation: Lawyer

Education: B.A. Harvard, 1972; J.D. Rutgers-Newark, 1978

Significant Community Activities: Member, Princeton Borough Council, 1989-1998; member, Princeton Joint Commission on Civil Rights, 1987-1989; trustee, United Way-Princeton Area Communities, 1988-1989; member, Executive Committee, Princeton Community Democratic Organization, 1985-1998; Democratic County Committeeman, Princeton Borough 1985-1998.

Responses:

1. Rigorous police patrol, with zero-tolerance of speeders on commuter-through streets, will discourage speeding in such neighborhoods as the Western Section and Jug Town. Strict enforcement of rights of way within crosswalks in the Central Business District will enhance pedestrian safety. Redesigning roads to include green medians, intersection neck-downs, and textured crosswalks will promote traffic calming everywhere. Traffic congestion will be reduced only if the Princetons and surrounding municipalities can persuade the State to build a Princeton by-pass for regional traffic. But we must aggressively oppose the planned Millstone By-Pass, as it will dump heavy truck traffic onto Nassau Street.

2. Absolutely! The Borough has held a tight rein on expenses without cutting services. But, with an ever-increasing proportion of the Borough tax exempt (now 50%), taxes have gone up to pay for those services. To reduce property taxes, we've drafted legislation requiring that institutions of higher education owning real property must pay for the public schooling of children residing there, and we're working on Trenton to enact the bill into law. The Borough must also identify non-tax sources of revenue. We can do so by charging fees for specific services, such as permit services in respect to which , unlike property taxes, non-profit are not exempt.

3. About 90% of the Borough's and Township's respective expense budgets are in two non-shared services, police and public works.. Educating the public is crucial to achieving that goal. Case in point: the Borough and Township, with a combined population of 27,000, have each paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for separate police communications equipment and each pays hundreds of thousands more annually for separate dispatch staffs. The separate sets of equipment have been unable to communicate directly, requiring the purchase of yet more equipment for "translation". Doesn't that say it all!


THOMAS A. PARKER
Party: The Republican Party
Age: 46
Address: 11 Lytle Street, Princeton, 08542

Occupation: Labor Official

Education: Rutgers University, Northeastern; Certified Para Legal, AIPS at Rider University

Significant Community Activities: President, Joint Commission on Civil Rights; board member, Human Services Commission; general manager, Princeton Youth Football, Mercer County Football League; manager, Post 218 Baseball, Mercer County American Legion

Responses:

1. The borough must clearly post and enforce speed limits, and strictly enforce pedestrian crossing and jay walking laws. Traffic is a regional problem and there should be some outreach program offered to neighboring communities that would be effected by changes that are made locally. There are several organizations, local and national that have studied and researched this matter and would surely share their feelings. We need to support and utilize the efforts of community groups such as S.T.O.P., one of the many organizations dedicated to traffic consciousness.

2. There is no doubt that the property taxes should be controlled. The borough taxes have been sky-rocketing over the last ten years. The statistics show, during this period, nearly 100% borough property tax increase. This makes it hard for families and small business to remain in our community. The state offers a budget review of local governments. This has saved communities across the state over 120 million dollars. I would surely call for use of this expert service.

3. If there is going to be any such suggestion of consolidation, the Borough needs to inform the community in a way that lets them know such efforts will genuinely save property owners tax dollars. This was not the case in '96 as consolidation was defeated. There needs to be open dialogue to address concerns of Borough residents about management of tax dollars and what consolidation would do for them. A good place to start would be a universal consideration for programs to service Sr. citizens and the young people our community.


RYAN STARK LILIENTHAL
Party: The Democratic Party
Age: 29
Address: 34 Maple Street, Princeton, 08542

Occupation: Attorney

Education: B.A. Tufts University; J.D. Brooklyn Law School

Significant Community Activities: Member, Princeton Borough Rental Housing Board; trustee, Legal Aid Society of Mercer County

Responses:

1. We should focus on traffic controls and on redirecting through-traffic away from the Borough. Traffic can be slowed and made safer by using textured surface cross-walks, such as brick cross-walks; by enforcing more strictly pedestrian rights-of-way; and by increasing speed patrols. We should also explore ways to redirect through-traffic. Specifically, we should oppose proposals that will induce new traffic into our town, such as the NJ Department of Transportation's Millstone Bypass proposal. The Millstone Bypass may have the same effect as the Alexander Road interchange with U.S. 1, which has brought more and new traffic through Princeton.

2. Local property taxes must be controlled.
Because half of Princeton Borough properties are tax-exempt, we need to find revenue sources which more equitably spread the cost of services the Borough provides. For example, fee-for-services spreads costs to those who utilize Borough resources. We should also consider supporting tax proposals in the State Legislature which reduce our reliance on property taxes, such as a hotel tax.

3. In addition to the current Borough/Township joint agencies, we should consider sharing public works and public park resources. The Borough, Township and School Board operate separate public works garages with their own support crew and vehicles. By sharing resources between our public works units we can reduce operating expenses. Also, the Borough, Township, and Recreation Departments have separate park maintenance staffs. Not only is this inefficient, but we lose opportunities to enhance our parks. A single park service can be better equipped to preserve parks in the Borough and Township. Coordinating Borough and Township police resources will also enhance monetary and police enforcement efficiency.


KATHRYN (KATE) J.R. WARREN
Age: 48
Address: 17 Jefferson Road, Princeton, 08540

Occupation: Office Administrator

Education: The College of New Jersey 1968-1970; graduate of Cittone Institute, 1981; Princeton School of Real Estate, 1998

Significant Community Activities: Borough Housing Authority, State Commissioner, Princeton Engine Co. #1 Ladies Auxiliary, Secretary/Outreach Committee Chair & Emergency Response Committee Chair; Princeton Public Library HomeReader; Senior Resource Center HomeFriend; Residents Traffic Safety Committee; Jefferson Road Crime Watch coordinator; Crosstown Plus Steering Committee; Princeton Borough Republican Committee, vice chair; Mercer County Republican Committeewoman.

Responses:

1. The Borough cannot solve its traffic problems in a vacuum. It is a regional problem whose solution must address Borough residents' concerns while being sensitive to the concerns of our neighbors. The grassroots effort of STOP, the Residents Traffic Safety Committee, and other community initiatives need our support. Strict local police enforcement of current traffic laws and creative road design will help reduce speeding. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a comprehensive training program designed to help communities coordinate public education, traffic engineering and law enforcement programs in an effort develop a community information campaign and evaluation procedures directed toward preventing injuries and fatalities. As a member of Council I will work with the Borough Traffic and Transportation Committee to investigate the NHTSA program to ascertain the potential benefits of a pedestrian safety program.

2. Absolutely. Over the last decade the CPI rose 30%. During the same time period the Borough local property tax rate increased 96%. A State Local Budget Review offers an opportunity to have an unbiased team of experts from the Treasury Department scrutinize our budget in an effort to reveal possible savings for Borough taxpayers. These teams have identified cost drivers that they believe are within the control of community elected officials. I will call for a review to ascertain how the identified cost drivers adversely affect the local property tax rate with an eye to reducing costs.

3. Borough elected officials must respect and honor the mandate of the Borough voters' defeat of the consolidation effort in 1996 and put aside its agenda of "consolidation through the backdoor." Discussion of additional services must offer real substantial tax savings to Borough taxpayers with no further dilution of autonomy. I support discussion of the creation of a community center to serve the needs of teens and senior citizens.