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‘Princeton is at a pivotal point’

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‘Princeton is at a pivotal point’
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Two-term school board member Brian McDonald is hoping to succeed Princeton Councilwoman Eve Niedergang, who announced earlier this month that she would not seek a third term.

Her term expires in December.

McDonald, who has lived in Princeton since 1995, is completing his second term on the Princeton Public Schools Board of Education. His term expires in December.

He said he is running for Princeton Council because it is another chance for him to give back to Princeton.

“Civic service and engagement help to make the world a better place,” McDonald said. “It is a role that I know I will find energizing and fulfilling because of its potential to profoundly and positively impact people’s everyday lives. I enjoy working on complex issues, understanding them from many vantage points, and then implementing strategies to address the issues.

“I have had success doing this in both large and small organizations throughout my professional and volunteer careers.”

McDonald served on the Citizens Finance Advisory Committee to the Princeton Council. He also served on nonprofit boards that include The Watershed Institute, Sustainable Princeton and McCarter Theater.

He shared that he is a creative thinker, and would bring fresh perspectives to the Princeton Council and help to find solutions to the challenges and opportunities facing the town.

“Princeton is at a pivotal point,” McDonald said. “The town is growing, and its growth should be smart, sustainable and respectful of Princeton’s unique character.

“The cost of an average home in Princeton is more than $1 million, which has made it unaffordable to many individuals and families.

“We need to find ways to make our town more affordable for individuals and families at all income levels so that our significant diversity, which is one of our great strengths and defining characteristics, may be sustained and expanded,” McDonald said.

Climate change is another challenge facing the town, he said.

“There is a need to increase the town’s resiliency to cope with more extreme weather events and to protect the environment.”

Maintaining a vibrant downtown that supports local businesses is another issue that must be addressed, McDonald said. Attention also must be paid to other areas of commercial activity, such as the Princeton Shopping Center and the area along State Road/Route 206 near the Montgomery Township border.

“We need to do these things while delivering services that are excellent, efficient and serve the needs of all residents. As a former public finance professional, I will help manage our budget and borrowing in ways that hold tax increases as low as possible,” he said.

McDonald worked in public finance at Kidder Peabody & Co. and for The First Boston Corporation after graduating from Princeton University in 1983.

He also served as vice president for development at Princeton University. He oversaw all of the university’s fundraising activities. He managed a staff of more than 160 people and a budget of $25 million.

During his time on the Citizens Finance Advisory Committee to the Princeton Council, McDonald helped to develop policies on capital spending and debt management, as well as changes to the budget system.