Council kids

The Princeton mayor and council look to its many advisory committees on a wide-range of topics. These agencies, boards, commissions and committees give community members the opportunity to be heard and encourage the municipality to listen. There is one voice less prominent among the governing body, and it is perhaps the most necessary voice to accomplish progress and determine the future of Princeton.

Monday, council adopted an ordinance that will turn up the volume on Princeton kids with something to say.

“I am very excited about establishing a Youth Advisory Committee,” Lempert said earlier Monday. “We’re giving youth an official voice in government.”

The Youth Advisory Committee will advise the mayor and council on all issues related to youth – from recommending policies to sponsoring educational, informational and/or social events. The committee will consist of 12 students and up to five adult liaisons appointed before June 1 of each year, The students must be residents of the municipality and must be high school students entering grades nine through 12 in the fall of the same year.

Lempert specified this year she and council will likely appoint freshmen through juniors In the future, they will extend the application to eighth graders so committee members can be on the board all four years of high school.

“The term will last until you graduate, unless you decide to come off the board earlier,” Lempert said. “By having kids on the committee from the start of school, we hope to help build leadership skills. By the time they’re older, they will have been on the committee for some time, and the adult liaisons can step back.”

Lempert, with the advice of council, will select the student members from those who have submitted applications. The ordinance states “every effort will be made to appoint a diverse group of students and to evenly distribute appointments geographically.”

The adult liaisons will consist of one elected official, two staff members as non-voting liaisons, including at least one staff member from the Department of Health, Youth and Community Services. Police Chief Nick Sutter will appoint one officer from the Safe Neighborhoods Unit as a non-voting liaison, and there may also be one non-voting liaison from the Princeton Public Schools.

The Youth Advisory committee will meet every August for organization and will elect its own chair, vice chair and secretary. They will meet once or twice a month and will present annual reports to council regarding their accomplishments and goals for the next school year.

In other news:

• Approved events to be held this for 2016 are: Memorial Day Parade, May 28 at 10 a.m. from Princeton Avenue to the old Borough Hall; Flag Day, June 14 at noon at Witherspoon Hall; Veterans Day, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. at the monument on the corner of Nassau and Mercer streets. American and POW flags will decorate Nassau Street from Memorial Day to Veterans Day.

• Council gave an award of recognition to McCaffrey’s Food Market for its work in the community. Lempert praised McCaffrey’s for becoming a gathering safe place in the event of town-wide power outages or storms, for taking a leadership role in sustainability efforts with its compost programs and recycling bags and also for being progressive in inclusive hiring practices.

• Councilman Bernie Miller made a presentation about a possible new solar array plant.

• Lempert proclaimed March as American Red Cross Month and encouraged Princetonians to donate blood and help those in need.

• Council adopted several ordinances to amend the codes of the former borough and township.

“Many of these ordinances are still part of code harmonization,” Lempert said, referring to amendments to the codes of the former borough and township. These include the authorization of direct deposit of net pay for municipal employees as of March 1 to create “paperless payroll” unless exemption is sought; a change to the Princeton Public Safety Committee; a permanent, non-exclusive easement for a sidewalk and retaining wall in front of the bank on Cherry Hill Road not to exceed the amount of $4,300; and metered on-street parking along Paul Robeson Place.

• Council introduced the following ordinances with public hearings on March 28: The property at 22 Winant Road will be moved from the residential zone to the educational zone on the zoning map – amending and supplementing the township code in connection with the Hun School of Princeton; an umbrella advisory committee will be created to connect Complete Streets, Bicycle Advisory and Public Transit Advisory; and the mayor and council may in their discretion designate by ordinance such places in the municipality that can be used for the drop-off and pick-up of vehicles by valets. This amends the code of the former borough.

Council also passed the following resolutions:

• Authorizing the award of a non-fair and open contract for professional services to the Lafayette College Meyner Center for assistance in preparing a strategic plan for the Department of Infrastructure and Operations, not to exceed $12,000.

• Authorizing the sharing of costs with Princeton Community Housing in the preparation of a financial feasibility study for the provision of 40 additional affordable units at Princeton Community Village.

• Professional service agreement for planning board legal services with Miller Porter & Muller, PC not to exceed $34,000.

• Bid award for the Valley Road Improvement Project to Integrated Construction and Utilities Authorizing Personnel Manual Updates of NJ not to exceed $1,868,2923.

About Erica Chayes Wida

Erica Chayes Wida is a writer, mom, and complete zealot when it comes to poetry, paella and globe collections. After graduating with a degree in Anthropology from UCLA, Erica moved to Italy where the seasons and old architecture inspired her journey back to the East Coast. Since then, she and her husband have created a nest egg locally and, over time, developed a rather grand love affair with the town of Princeton. Erica is senior editor at The Princeton Sun and enjoys fulfilling her Princeton affections on a daily basis. | View all posts by Erica Chayes Wida