Letter from Mayor Julia Fahl
December 13, 2021
I would like to take an opportunity to provide you with an update on some very important decisions taking place within city government this week. As you know, three priorities of my mayorship have been planning for the solution to our court-mandated affordable housing units to keep our City in compliance with state requirements, addressing our city’s financial shortfalls due to years of capital borrowing, and updating our disrepaired municipal buildings. Since Hurricane Ida, we have also been working to address the serious and significant damage incurred by the storm. The plan my administration placed before the Council was designed to begin to address these very important priorities without incurring significant tax increases for city residents.
To summarize, the plan currently before the Council is designed to do several things, including:
Despite the critical need to address these concerns, you may have heard in recent statements by members of Council that there is no longer support to hear the ordinances required to move forward.
I want to be clear: I disagree strongly with this position. These are not decisions that can be avoided. Doing nothing is a choice that comes with real consequences for the residents of Lambertville, likely including significant tax increases to cover the shortfall, breaking the legally negotiated agreement with Fair Share to meet the City’s low income housing mandate, and a reduced ability to fund our recovery from Hurricane Ida.
I am deeply disappointed by the Council's desire to delay these decisions and remove the opportunity to vote on a well-vetted affordable housing plan that also provides a reliable and important source of revenue for the City. This delay only increases the urgency of these measures in the New Year while shortening the timeline to work on the implementation of these complex plans.
However, my time as mayor is coming to an end and the responsibility to meet our moral and legal housing obligations and address the city’s financial challenges will now fall to Mayor-elect Nowick. These needs have been compounded both by diminished revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the worst natural disaster our City has seen in decades. I pledge to support the Mayor-elect and members of Council and encourage them to govern proactively, prudently, and responsibly for all our residents and for the long-term fiscal health of the City. I remain committed to the City of Lambertville and if ever called upon, I will gladly continue to offer any expertise and advice to find solutions for these critical issues moving forward.