Experience Princeton gets budget greenlight for 2024-25 year

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Princeton Council has adopted the special improvement district (SID)’s fiscal year budget that funds operations for the 2024-25 year.

Experience Princeton’s budget for fiscal year of July 1 to June 30, 2025 is $454,163.

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Experience Princeton, previously known as Princeton Business Partnership prior to its renaming, is the nonprofit overseeing the SID. They are led by an executive director and board of directors.

For the year, Experience Princeton will appropriate $130,000 from the budget towards marketing and events and $83,068 on streetscape, according to the budget that was approved at a meeting on July 8.

Isaac Kremer, executive director of Experience Princeton, said they are increasing the budget for marketing by $20,000 from the prior year.

“… This is going to give us the flexibility to do more and take on more things and get the Princeton name out more and more,” he said. “We removed the $25,000 public art line item and we are adding a $5,000 line item for 10 storefront improvements of $500 each to make the storefronts look better.

“The remainder of the funds will go towards streetscape improvements, plantings [et cetera] on Witherspoon North and other sub areas outside of downtown.”

The budget includes $46,500 in expenses for economic development – $10,000 in addition to a one-time increase of $36,500 unspent from the prior year’s fiscal budget.

“We have actually seen a budget reduction of $30,000 but we are going to carry over $36,500 of funds from the last fiscal year that were unspent to cover work we hope to do,” Kremer said explaining they plan to hire a planning consultant “to work both with us and the businesses.”

Kremer shared they are evaluating five qualified planning consultants and hope to get close to a decision in the next few weeks.

General and administrative expenses for the year total $208,387. Some of the items include $120,950 for salary, $22,464 towards rent, $19,000 on contract services (accounting, audit, grant writing), $13,625 for contingency, $12,500 on payroll tax expense, and $6,098 for travel and meetings.

“The admin team requested a $10,000 increase for secretarial support,” Kremer shared. “… What I would like even more than that is people who can work on specific projects and needs as they come up, so we increased the contract services line up item from $11,000 to $19,000.

“I’m looking to do subcontractors to help with grant writings and volunteer training.”

A 3% contingency was added to the budget this year. Kremer noted that it is going to help give them some coverage and flexibility as things come up.

While presenting to Council on July 8, Kremer shared that Experience Princeton’s Princeton monthly newsletter has increased from 3,408 subscribers to 4,311 and there are now 750 businesses now on the website.

“We have a growing number of events on our website calendar typically averaging between 50 to as many as 100,” he said. “Princeton Restaurant Week grew from 40 to 44 restaurants and our sponsorship level tripled over the last year allowing for broad regional and statewide coverage of that signature event.”

In the last year they redid the lights on Hinds Plaza and through streetscape, Nassau Street tree wells were filled with flowers, according to Kremer.

“We welcomed 15 new businesses in the district in the last year,” he said. “That is equal to the 15 we welcomed (the prior year) so we are ahead 30 businesses now.”

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