PRINCETON: Town faces preliminary budget shortfall of $2 million (updated)


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By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
Princeton faces a “preliminary” $2 million budget shortfall that would require a tax hike to close, said a councilwoman who sits on the governing body’s finance committee.
Councilwoman Jo S. Butler’s comments Monday on the town’s finances come with the council still a month or longer away from introducing a municipal spending plan. In terms of how much taxes would have to go up by to close that hole, she said it would be “more of a hike than people are going to be comfortable with.”
Town administrator Marc D. Dashield said Monday that it was “way too early to speculate” on any shortfall given the early stage officials find themselves in creating a spending plan for this year. The town will need to trim requests from municipal departments, yet at the same time, fund rising health-care and pension costs and other municipal operations.
“We’re not immune to outside forces driving costs up,” Council President Lance Liverman said Monday.
Mr. Dashield is targeting either the first or second council meeting of March for officials to introduce the budget. The town last year had a $60.9 million budget that required the first municipal tax hike since consolidation of Princeton Borough and Township, of $147 at the average home assessment of $800,560.
Mayor Liz Lempert said Wednesday that officials have before them a first draft of the budget, a version that is typically high given all the funding requests that come in from municipal departments. She said that over the next few months, officials would review the spending plan, look for savings and reduce the total amount.

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