Municipal Budget Problems May Squeeze Library, First Aid Squad

Town Topics
14 January 1981

Municipal Budget Problems May Squeeze Library, First Aid Squad

Citizens themselves may have to provide financial support for institutions like the Princeton Public Library and the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, if municipal budgets are squeezed any drier. Borough Mayor Robert W. Cawley told reporters this week.

It was both a warning and a suggestion.

Things were tough before, but they are even worse since State Attorney General John Degnan ruled earlier this month that the sale of municipal assets must be counted in a budget “cap,” and retroactively, to the start of New Jersey’s “cap” law about five budgets ago.

If there is no solution. Mayor Cawley said, the Borough will have a public referendum, the only mechanism allowed by the state for a budget increase over the “cap.”

Council, anticipating a one-month breathing space in preparing its municipal budget – although confirmation of that rumored postponement hasn’t yet come from the state – has canceled the public discussion session on the budget, originally planned for Sunday.

So far, Mayor Cawley and Council are still deliberating about the budget. But the mayor warned that municipal support for the First Aid Squad could be sharply reduced. “Non-municipal” agencies. such as Community Guidance, may also find their contributions from the Borough wiped out. The municipal contributions to Comer House may have to be continued, to assure the agency’s Federal grant, he said.

No cuts are contemplated in police, courts, required health services or road maintenance.

“If you defer for too long our thin-overlay program for roads, even-

Comment of the Week

“I’d like to paraphrase the remark of Thornton Wilder’s character, Dolly Levy, who said money was like manure—no good unless you spread it around. Well, it also depends on what you grow with it, and McCarter Theatre’s challenge grant will enable us to grow—not just an annual garden, but a perennial garden. “—Robert Paulus, President of McCarter’s Board of Trustees, (Page 2B)

-tually you have to reconstruct the road, and that’s expensive.” the mayor observed.

Where services aren’t “mandated” – recreation, library, some health services – there will be deep cuts. In recreation, the mayor said, the Borough “will look hard at 100 percent pay-as-you-go for adult recreation programs.”

The mayor said that, in his view, it was “foolish” not to pay Borough employees an adequate amount. It is better, he remarked, to lay people off rather than not give raises. The police contract provides for an eight and one-half percent raise; traditionally, salaries for other Borough employees have followed that pattern.

“Citizens must realize, if there isn’t private money, things aren’t going to get done.” the mayor emphasized. “If the library wants to grow, it should be thinking of an endowment – something permanent. The right kind of supercampaign would bring the bucks in.

If the Save the Playhouse People could find $700.000 …!”

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