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Princeton Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Princeton Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year. The Council has administrative powers and is the policy-making body of the government. The Council approves appointments made by the Mayor. Council members serve on various boards and committees and act as liaisons to certain departments, committees, or boards.Members of Council receive a salary of $10,000.

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  • Candidate picture

    Adam Bierman
    (I)

  • Candidate picture

    Michelle Pirone Lambros
    (Dem)

  • Mia Sacks
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

Please describe an initiative or a solution to a problem that you would like to see enacted by Council. Include the research behind and supporting arguments for your proposal. How would you go about getting support from your fellow Council members?

What will be your highest priorities as a Council member? And why?

With regard to making decisions about parking, the location of the refueling station, and other issues, where in the decision-making process do you see room for improvement?

Are you satisfied with the current level of openness and transparency in municipal government? If not, what steps would you suggest to improve it?

Voters can scroll down on VOTE411 to find a link to the video of the League forum. If there is any answer on which you'd like to expand or clarify, please do. If not, what hasn't the League asked that it should have asked?

Campaign Email ababierman1@gmail.com
Twitter @ababierman1
We must get zoning right. Zoning drives the direction a town grow. We need the ability to construct mother in laws apartments, auxiliary apartments; so, the cost of the land (i.e.: property taxes) can be shared. It is the only way we can hold on to the middle-class, teachers, police, firefighters, people making "only 75,000 a year', seniors on fixed incomes, etc. Some neighborhoods could be rezoned for mixed use/decouple the need for cars; that way residents can work, socialize in their neighborhoods. Less sprawl is a good housing policy and good housing policy becomes good climate policy. Having new businesses with the help of grants can expand our tax base through increased commercial property tax collection, I do not know why this has not happened yet? Not enough manpower to focus on the issue? The lack of political will?

Princeton is a highly desirable area. 2018 the average price for a home was 950,000 dollars. 34% of these sales went conducted on a cash basis! If this trend continues (Unless Trumps limit on property tax deduction deter new homeowners) make home ownership less attractive, it will not matter what rules you have about teardowns. People with the resources, will come here to live and push property taxes up

I get support by establishing a track record of doing my homework, having data driven information, building positive relations, doing the quid pro quo compromises,demonstrating how they can benefit supporting the initiative
I will focus in issues that are trending NOW We might have to look into mixed use and less single unit housing in some areas, zoning up and not out. This housing policy is also good climate policy: less sprawl when it comes to housing and AFH. Cities like Seattle, Minneapolis have this long term vision and are mitigating their AFH problems. AFH- Right now the mandate for the 2025 round will probably be 753 units. We need to know the number of kids from AHF as it will affect the continuing school modifications, but with credits like 2-1 renting, group homes, the number might be more like 235 units. Work with AFH site builders to save the town money. We don't have enough land to build 80 /20 market rate for AFH housing We should work with profit/nonprofit companies that specialize in building these types of homes. They have the requisite expertise in tax credits and how the byzantine world of state funding works, and incentives by allowing more height and density when they build; therefore, the more lucrative price points will be another inducement to work with the town. Do not forget builders take a lot of risk such as rising materials costs, inclement weather, sketchy subcontractors. We must understand their liabilities and work with them This is happening at the old SAVE site today. We must focus on what matters to citizens' everyday lives, and not being behind paving roads, fixing sewers, garbage being picked up. We have had ethical malfeasance issues. Parking bribes scandal, police harassment scandal, employee IT theft and now SEWERGATE. Princeton U: First, think what is right for the town and work backwards. PU does a lot, but they can do better on fair share payments. They put a lot of stress on infrastructure, especially our public schools and our aging sewers, which is 7% of the budget. We should find projects we partner on.
I see lots of room for improvement. The officials seem to lurch/ react from one issue to another, one scandal to another The town's lawyers must be on speed dial. After the bribery scandal of the parking meter enforcers, we were told this would not happen again. Then we had the IT scandal, and police harassment scandal and all that made me wonder if there was attorney error there and then, how much will insurance rates go up, then the parking roll out fiasco and the disregard to the merchants' input. I think the council just thought the money was going to roll in , forget about the details, this is Princeton. Then comes the River Rd scandal , how much will this 2nd bribery scandal in 6 years cost the tax payers? This translates in consultants, clean up, legal fees. What about the oversight and accountability promised back in 2013? What staff culture caused the whistle blowers to report the corruption, asbestos dumping, etc. to Planet Princeton, not their superiors? Who was the council liaison in all this and what he/she did or knew? Who knew, what, when? Why does the county and town deny requests for public records related to the scandal? I get the feeling the council does not see any urgency to set systems in place to manage over 200 employees, leading to the problems above. Regarding the location of the refueling station, again, disregard to the community input. I find the council uncapable of owning their missteps and rather reactive instead of proactive, and this is something that needs to change, projects are rushed and then when there is outrage, backtracking; which makes me wonder if the projects are actually needed, what are the priorities? Community/merchants input is necessary and the government should reciprocate with total transparency to inform those who are going to be directly and indirectly affected and then figure out how we can all work together and compromise for what is actually better for the town and its citizens.
For issues of transparency on big ticket items, a disaster. On the big ticket items the council has not been transparent whatsoever. Parking, they talk pricing, policy, then rolled out a different higher pricing, and then reacted chaotically, and backtracking ensued The River Rd corruption/asbestos scandal. First the town administrator said it was a misconception A week later, the scandal breaks, but the town waits two weeks to make a comment. Then, the council denies OPRAH requests for PP to get public records. When I went to the council on July 22 and asked the council basically how we got here, how much it will cost, I was not satisfied with the answers I received, it is all in tape, a council even dared to say that I should have reported what I knew, and what I knew I heard just talking around, then investigated more, but I would say that council members who should have oversight over the departments, they should have known. It makes one wonder if there is similar dysfunction in other departments. How would I improve this? I would meet with the neighbors, I would use local paper space, it could be designated to print out what council members say, where they stand on a trending big item issue of the day be it zoning, River Rd corruption /scandal (Sewergate), a dog park, can or should the EMT pump be relocated and its whys and/ why nots. In other words, I will do my homework and I will communicate, I will listen and I will speak up when needed.
Questions about non partisan elections because Princeton has become a one party town and if we are the inclusive community we say we are, then we need to hear all voices, and those are the independents, unaffiliated, democrats, republicans, the voices of all the people who live in town. Questions about why is important to monitor the latest school referendum. Questions about savings from consolidation that were supposed to come from less police, so what number of police we need or can we cut more get savings, but will any savings be offset for the need to hire professional fire fighters;. Questions about a potential initiative that would get the council to come up with a specific plan for cutting taxes instead of just talking about it and taking out of reserves. Specifically 2/3 or so of the budget foes to personnel salaries and benefits' costs; another 18% I believe goes to debt service.
Website https://www.pironeforcouncil.com
There are so many initiatives to choose from, but since I have already done the research on one issue I will use this as an example. As a member of the Economic Development Committee, I have been in discussions on how to streamline processes for new businesses to start up and open in Princeton. There is currently a parking space requirement for businesses, but we don’t have adequate parking available. The municipality always ends up waiving this requirement, but only after the business spends tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees. Instead, we’re exploring the creation of a Parking Fund, where that money would go directly to the municipality, instead of the attorneys. I agree with this solution, however I would push for the fees to be significantly lower. A flat rate permit fee of a few thousand dollars, would attract and encourage small businesses to open here. Currently the costs are prohibitive.

This is just one of an array of initiatives I will advocate for. As importantly, I would work with my fellow Councilmembers to help them see the long-term economic benefits of attracting new businesses, over the short-term goals of increasing revenue from higher parking fees. Our goal should be to further enhance the attractiveness of Princeton’s centers of commerce to achieve a thriving local economy that will, in the long run, help all sectors of our population.

This would be one of an array of initiatives I would be advocating for, and would work with the other Councilmembers to have their agreement as well, to see that the smaller amount of revenue for the Parking Fund should not be our goal but rather our goal should be to further enhance the attractiveness of Princeton’s centers of commerce to achieve a thriving local economy that will, in the long run, help all sectors of our population.
Priorities will include: 1) Increase municipal revenue to off-set residential property taxes. There are two major sources where we have not put enough focus. 1) Is the economic sector, our local businesses. By expanding and supporting the business community we expand commercial revenue. We can do this by streamlining zoning ordinances that impede the creation and success of new businesses. Some of this streamlining includes reducing signage requirements, accommodating employee and customer parking and reducing the permitting fees and time to acquire permits. 2) Is an improved relationship with the University. We should be asking for a larger voluntary payment, with the justification for it. Furthermore, we should be actively exploring the tremendous partnership opportunities that exist, and break out of this Town/Gown binary that has shackled us for so long. Opportunities for more joined-up projects can extend beyond the obvious, like joining up the Free-B and the Tiger Transit, and also more ambitious projects like sharing renewable energy infrastructure and housing opportunities.

2) Another priority is to expand options for housing that is affordable. Princeton has an affordable housing obligation, but we also need housing that’s affordable. This is achieved by changing the zoning ordinances to encourage in-law units, duplexes, and other types of multi-family structures. This allows Princetonians to age in place, it encourages flexible living arrangements, and it makes Princeton affordable for the middle class.

3) Provide social services and support to Princetonians who need them most. This includes our undocumented neighbors, our fixed-income seniors, and children. The Witherspoon neighborhood needs more services. It needs a laundromat, a grocery store, and an urgent care center. Those Princetonians without cars now have to take a bus across Route 1 for emergency care. No one with a sick child should have to take a bus to the hospital.
The best decisions are those made with all stakeholder input, comments and suggestions. Specifically, the parking meter roll out did not incorporate all the stakeholders’ input. There is an over reliance on consultants, and not enough on the stakeholders’ who were most impacted by the parking meters. The new parking meters should have been a positive impact on merchants, and residents alike. Instead it had the opposite effect. In the instance of such a major large scale change, an educational promotional campaign upfront to give guidance on the new technology should have been enacted…not six months or more after the meters are installed. A more thoughtful approach using local resources and particularly the merchant community, could have avoided so many pitfalls.
I think generally there is a good amount of transparency and openness but there is still room for improvement. For instance, I believe that there is too much reliance on the Citizen’s Finance Advisory Committee for guidance on the budget. I don’t get a sense that the Council is delving deeply into the numbers both on the revenue and expense side of the balance sheet, to really see where we can improve. I think CFAC’s role should be to help with transparency and as an objective view of the budget, but shouldn’t be a crutch to keep elected officials from delving into the budget more aggressively and asking the hard questions.
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