Lambertville United formed in spring 2020 as a grass roots response to the Mayor Fahl’s plans for a five-story, multi-use administration complex to be built in the flood-prone ACME Justice Center. This plan also threatened Lambertville’s historic character because it included the sale of City Hall and the Library, both beautiful 19th century structures. Mayor Fahl’s refusal to put this $14 million dollar project to a referendum spurred a critical mass of concerned citizens to organize and oppose her plan. The group requested a detailed conversation with the City administration about the financial and environmental impacts of the Mayor’s plan.
Lambertville United’s mission is straightforward. We are a citizen watchdog and seek to preserve our rich heritage, prevent the City Administration from compromising our environment and quality of life by overdevelopment, and advocating to keep Lambertville affordable.
This initial group of about 25 worried citizens now numbers over 400 Lambertville neighbors and friends that represent the full spectrum of human diversity and a share common bond of love for our city. We do not want Lambertville to become unaffordable for many current residents, young families, the elderly, and those on a fixed income. These concerns have been exacerbated by the pandemic and its economic misfortunes. Joining with our neighbors to dissent and debate is the foundation of our American democracy. We want to make Lambertville Better, not Bigger.
Personal attacks on Facebook or anywhere online, whether it be against the Mayor or Lambertville United members, have no place in the public square. Lambertville United members have also been targets of hate mail, and threats, even property vandalism. Let’s be clear, Lambertville United does not condone bullying and dis-information. We agree 100% that inappropriate comments on Facebook is not good civic engagement.
Lambertville United has published analysis of city projects and finances. These documents have been carefully researched and analyzed by members who are financially savvy. We introduce different policy perspectives and ideas. We have published newsletters and post our work on our own Facebook page. We are very concerned about allegations being made today by Mayor Fahl’s former Business Administrator, Alex Torpey, who has filed a whistle blower lawsuit, accusing the Mayor of unethical behavior and violations of the Open Public Meetings Act and Open Public Records Act.
From the beginning, Lambertville United has strongly advocated for people to come together in our community to share ideas and foster camaraderie among neighbors. We firmly believe that everyone has a right to participate and be heard in our community. The dissent we see in Lambertville is the response of residents who are concerned about many policy proposals, land use changes, increased spending, and the ever-growing property tax burden they face.
For example, there are many challenges that accompanied the City’s plan to move five units of affordable housing to the Lambertville Police Station Site. The site may house some contamination, is flood prone, and is next to PSE&G power lines, not to mention the expense of relocating the police to a site that the City has yet to identify. Initially, the Mayor proposed to move the police out of city. No surprise there were objections to that proposal.
We are also facing a proposal that the City is looking to buy land without a public referendum. This, and similar decisions, such as the preservation of our historic treasures, are being made in rapid succession during a stressful pandemic. These decisions will dramatically change the face of Lambertville. Naturally, citizens are concerned and as taxpayers are rightfully asking questions and voicing their opinions.
Lambertville United is working towards these goals: bettering the community, keeping it affordable, and pursuing fiscal responsibility. As a community watchdog group, we will continue to hold our elected officials accountable for their decisions, fully participate in those decisions, and do so in a responsible manner.
On a particularly positive note, Lambertville United just launched a local’s program called “Light Up Lambertville.” This program will assist Lambertville merchants get the message to our neighbors to help support the business community. Lambertville United will offer incentives to get the locals to shop and dine locally during the winter months when tourism is low. If every Lambertville resident would eat or shop in Lambertville just one extra time per month, it will help keep our merchants afloat through the winter! We encourage everyone to come out and “Light Up Lambertville.”
On behalf of Lambertville United,
Sue Bell, Lambertville resident 2006
Lillie Chen, Lambertville resident 2007
Georg Hambach, Lambertville resident 1984
Lauren Kovac, Lambertville resident 2008
Elycia Lerman, Lambertville resident 1990
April Lindner, Lambertville resident 2016
Sherri Sevick, Fourth Generation Lambertvillian
Tom Sevick, Lambertville resident 1993
Andre St Armand, Lambertville resident 2016
Charles Zarnitz, Lambertville resident 2010