From local officials: Squad finds backing in search for money

Princeton Packet
4 July 1979

From local officials:
Squad finds backing in search for money

by Pam Hersh
Staff Writer

The financing of daytime personnel for Princeton’s First Aid and Rescue Squad — at one time a remote possibility in the minds of some local officials — has become an immediate probality in the opinion of four Township Committee members and two Borough Council members.

Princeton Township Mayor Josephine Hall, Township Committee members David Blair, William Cherry and Cathleen Litvack, and Borough Council members Martin Lombardo and Richard Woodbridge have indicated they would ask their respective governing bodies to fund one paramedic and one emergency medical technician for daytime (8 a.m.-5p.m., Monday through Friday) first aid squad service, at an average yearly cost of $32.500.

Mrs. Litvack. Mr Cherry and Mr. Woodbndge voiced their public approval of municipality funded squad personnel at last Wednesday’s Borough Council meeting, during which the Joint First Aid Squad Committee presented its final report describing “inadequate” daytime emergency service in Princeton and asking for a township/borough fiscal solution.

“EVEN THOUGH this it not an official Township Committee meeting, I feel confident enough to say – I will stake my reputation on the fact that — the township will pick up its share of the tab for financing the squad personnel. The township will come through, just as the borough will,” said Mr Cherry.

Mayor Hall, Committeeman Blair and Councilman Lombardo expressed their support during separate interviews with The Packet.

“We must reorient our values and priorities to find the money to finance the squad. Health is a basic right to which all people, rich and poor, are entitled. There a no question in my mind that the municipal governments are obligated to guarantee this most important service.” said Councilman Lombardo.

Borough Mayor Robert Cawley. Councilwoman Leona Medvin. Borough Council president Nelson van den Blink and Township Committeeman David Blair could not be reached for comment.

Councilmen Richard Macgill and Charles Cornforth said they wanted to study the issue further before commiting themselves one way or the other.

“It is not a question of whether the service is important, because everyone agrees the squad’s contribution to the community is vital. However, it is a question of how to pay for two first aid people,” said Mr. Macgill.

AT WEDNESDAY’S meeting, Mayor Cawley talked about the borough’s and township’s 5 percent cap spending limitation, which thwarts new expenditures, especially in light of an 11 percent inflation rate.

Township Administrator Joseph Nini, during a separate interview, said the first aid squad funding may be
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exempted from the cap, If the governments appropriate the money by means of an emergency appropriation ordinance.

“It is very possible that the State Division of Local Government Services may allow the Princetons to exclude the first aid squad expense from the cap, on the basis that the daytime manpower shortage was a problem which neither municipality could have anticipated in January when the municipal budgets were being prepared.

“The Division of Local Government Services can make this exclusion only if the funds are appropriated via an ordinance, rather than a resolution, because an ordinance requires public input and approval,” Mr. Nini said.

If the money is not exempted from the cap, the 1980 budget will be “extremely difficult” for the township and the borough, said Mr. Nini. The municipalities will have to repay the emergency appropriation, as well as reduce their caps by the amount of the emergency appropriation.

“But things may not be as bad as they initially seem. We have to remember that by the time the governments approve any funding of squad personnel, more than half the year will be over. So the combined dollars borrowed will amount to less than $16,250,” said Mr Nini.

NO DECISION has been made as to whether the $32.500 expense would be split 50/50 between the two municipalities or whether the cost would be divided according to the municipalities ratables. The ratable method would amount to the township paying two-thirds of the cost and the borough paying one-third.

The issue of funding squad personnel will be discussed further and possibly decided upon at the Borough Council’s meeting on July 5 (Borough Hall, 8 p.m.) and the Township Committee’s meeting on July 11 (Township Hall, 8 p.m.).

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