Lower Taxes, affordability, Intelligent growth & equity

Lower Taxes by 5 Percent...Yes, we can do it

  • It has been 5 years since consolidation, much has been accomplished but much remains to be done. The pressures of already high property taxes, new Federal tax law that stipulates a maximum of $10,000 cap on deductions for paying local and state taxes, coupled with the impending new School referendum, will affect our most vulnerable senior residents, as well as middle and low-income families. Higher property assessment values of the newly designated Witherspoon-Jackson historic district have resulted in higher property taxes for the residents. 
  • To keep Princeton an affordable, equitable, diverse, and inclusive community, with best schools and facilities, we need to think outside the box to lower municipality expenditures. As a Princeton Councilman, I shall champion improved productivity and efficiency of municipality departments, and promote shared services, facilities, resources, benefits with Schools, County, University, and surrounding Communities. 

Innovative Affordable Housing (AH) Solutions . More Revenues for the Municipality. Root Cause of AH

We should preserve, Butler Tract, Lower Alexander, Franklin Park/Maple, Terhune/Harrison, etc. for future use.

My Proposal, Intelligent Growth

  • I propose that Princeton municipality promote multi-purpose, mixed income housing complex using existing municipality owned and privately owned underutilized spaces by zoning changes. The multi-purpose complex will consist of offices, restaurants, laundromat, bodega, ATM, etc. that will help increase the revenue for the municipality. Many other cities in the USA have adopted such an approach to address the affordable housing issue.
  • For example, municipality owned and privately owned underutilized land (such as; parking lot at 400 Witherspoon Street, community parking lot,  downtown parking lots, Harrison Shopping Center, etc.) will be ideal places for such affordable housing needs. The municipality owned properties could be leased for a nominal feet o the private developers, so that the enterprise is profitable and still provides revenues to the municipality. Let the Municipality be the Leader and set an example for the Princeton community.
  • The cost of the land is now nothing, the builder can build more than the nominal 20% units to almost 50 to 75% affordable units and still make money (since there are no land costs, only the construction costs), The parking lots being a drain to the municipality are now revenue producing. The underground parking will keep the required number of parking spaces.
  •  Since, there are a much higher % (than the nominal 20%) units that are affordable, the total population growth in Princeton now will be much smaller and managed, what I call Intelligent growth. This also has a very positive effect on PPS Board’s expansion plans, since the student population growth won’t be as much as envisioned with the 20% formula. It will be a factor 2.5 to 3.75 less (assuming 50 to 75% affordable units in a complex). It is a win- win situation for all, for the Council, the School Board and most importantly the tax payers. 

Root Cause of Affordable Housing Needs…is ..Economic Disparity...... 

  • Most importantly, we need to proactively tackle the root cause of the affordable housing issue, that is economic disparity among the lower income spectrum of our residents. If we don't tackle the root cause, the cycle of poverty and more affordable housing needs in future will continue to grow
  • Working and Sharing together, we can break the "Cycle of Poverty and Affordable Housing " for generations to come. Let’s be proactive and lead to bring real social change and progress, so that the need for future affordable housing is eliminated. 

Foster Proactive Town and Gown Relationship. Promote Equity, Diversity, and Unity Trust Fund

 Foster Proactive Town and Gown Relationship

  • I shall proactively foster full community involvement to ensure Princeton University’s proposed campus development plan through 2026 and beyond is a total mission success, while, promoting equity, diversity, inclusivity, and social responsibility. However, the campus development plan would put extra burden om municipality’s resources. To continue to have an equitable, and socially responsible town and gown relationship, the municipality should renegotiate with PU’s fair share payments in lieu of taxes.  

Equity, Diversity, and Unity Trust Fund

  • I propose that Equity and Diversity Trust Fund be established to share Taxpayers’ burdens for schools, historic district preservation, and infrastructure improvements. The Equity and Diversity Trust Fund should be funded on a volunteer basis by PU and other such institutions, alumni, corporations, residents, and others who had previously roots in Princeton. To start such a trust fund, if elected, I shall personally commit minimum funds of $11,000 to start with and continue to fund more up to $101,000. I will further help raise 1M$ towards Equity, Diversity, and Unity Trust Fund over 2 years. That’s a Promise

Grow and Foster Local Businesses

  • The local brick-and-mortar businesses are hurting due to competition from e-commerce giants like Amazon, high municipality taxes, higher local rents compared to nearby localities, cumbersome and costly municipality planning and zoning application approval process, WiFi, parking and transportation issues. While the mayor has instituted a 16-member-economic development commission, the recommendation from the commission won’t be available till January 2019. In the meantime, the businesses continue to leave Princeton.
  • To help grow the businesses, the municipality should proactively review and update zoning policies that are more businesses friendly, while preserving Princeton character. The municipality should designate a small business liaison officer who can facilitate permit requirements for merchants. Dynamically managed parking meters with reduced rates and improved WiFi would attract visitors and residents to the main business area. Promote buy local, shop local, and be local slogan. 

Increase Funding for Infrastructure Improvements

  • While walking door to door, I highlighted many issues with the roads (pot holes, flooding to mention a few) causing the motorists thousands of dollars in auto repairs and potential accidents, dangerous electric poles/trees interactions resulting in frequent power outages. I provided photographs of many such issues to the municipality and thanks to the Engineering and Public Works departments, all such issues are being addressed. 
  • I strongly believe that repairing the pot holes is only a temporary solution and, in many cases, resurfacing of the roads is required.  I suggest that municipality should increase funding using some of the surplus form the budgets to repair the aging infrastructure otherwise the municipality will end up spending more later. 

Foster Science, Innovation, and Technology for Economic Growth

  • I shall help create a Science and Technology (S&T) board to advise the Mayor/Council for evidence-based policy-making and decision-making choices for critical societal issues and economy growth. 
  • I shall promote reliance on renewable energy for municipality needs by 2030. 
  • I shall promote smart growth, quiet and sustainable Princeton