Lambertville Council Tackles Stormwater and Fiscal Stability

The Lambertville City Council recently addressed issues surrounding stormwater management ordinances and the city’s fiscal health during a spirited meeting. The council considered implementing robust stormwater regulations, akin to those in nearby Princeton and Solebury, to manage the impact of runoff. The discussion also included the potential infrastructure strain from 200 planned housing units, including 40 affordable homes. Additionally, concerns were voiced over a significant rise in JCP&L holiday lighting costs. The council discussed the 2024 proposed budget, which notably features a municipal tax rate reduction from the previous year, and the impacts on property taxes.

One portion of the meeting revolved around the stormwater management ordinances. The council members discussed the necessity for Lambertville to adopt more regulations to effectively handle stormwater runoff, a pressing environmental and infrastructure concern. They pointed to neighboring towns as examples. The potential strain on city infrastructure, including schools, the Rescue Squad, and fire department, was scrutinized, especially in light of the proposed addition of 200 new homes. This development, which includes 40 affordable housing units, raised questions about long-term implications for the city’s resources and the environment.

Financial discussions were front and center as the council deliberated on the proposed 2024 budget. Council members reviewed appropriations for operational expenses, salary, and wages, and the allocation for enhanced public safety services, expressing contentment with the fiscal direction of the city. The budget’s unveiling prompted discussions on debt service, the assessments of rating agencies, and the sale of bond anticipation notes. The council encouraged public engagement and questions.

A resident’s concerns about increasing personal expenses brought attention to the budget’s finer points. The increase in deferred charges to future taxation unfunded, which represented 60% of the budget increase, was a particular point of contention. An over 80% increase in bond note interest from the previous year, accounting for 25% of the debt service, also sparked debate. The city’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) responded by attributing the rise in deferred charges to a FEMA payment for Hurricane Ida and defended the decision to use this payment to decrease capital improvement debt. Clarifying that debt service payments must go through the current fund, the CFO also emphasized a conservative approach to revenue projection and utilization. This cautious fiscal strategy has garnered positive feedback from bond rating agencies. Moreover, the tracking of cannabis revenue, categorized under fees and permits, was discussed, with the anticipated figure for the year set at $160,000 and a commitment made to provide monthly updates on the revenue.

Further, the meeting touched on the homestead rebate and the annual rental fee for the Homestead market, with rental fee revenue contributing to the miscellaneous revenue line. Administrative reports on varied topics such as hotel revenue tax, Central Business District parking, and library improvements were approved. The clerk’s office highlighted challenges in tracking property turnover and short-term rental applications. The council also moved to recognize Arbor Day through a proclamation and approved routine resolutions as part of the consent agenda.

The council engaged in a public hearing on an ordinance to amend salary ranges for city officials and employees. The stormwater control ordinance was another focal point, with further public hearings anticipated. Updates on infrastructure investment programs and the reinstatement of the Green Team were part of the correspondence segment, while the council also provided updates on various city projects including dispatch changes, parking, road construction, and stormwater management. Announcements on convenience center hours and the yard waste disposal program were made.

Public participation allowed residents to voice concerns and inquire about new light efficiencies and the archiving of Lambertville Matters. Following the public comment period, the meeting concluded at 8:02 PM.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Andrew Nowick
City Council Officials:
Steven M. Stegman, Benedetta Lambert, Evan Lide, Karen J. Kominsky

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