In the wake of zoning approvals from Princeton Borough and Princeton Township for the proposed arts and transit project, the University announced that it would increase its voluntary contributions to the two municipalities for 2012.

The borough will receive $1.7 million, up $500,000 from last year, with an additional $250,000 to prepare for the consolidation of the borough and the township on Jan. 1, 2013. The township will receive $500,000, up $25,000 from last year, plus $250,000 toward its share of consolidation costs.

As part of a separate agreement with the two municipalities that was negotiated amid concerns about the move of the Dinky station, the University will establish a $500,000 trust fund to address transit and traffic issues and will spend up to $450,000 to install three Nassau Street crosswalks.

The University also will contribute $300,000 toward expanding the Princeton Firehouse on Wither­spoon Street. 

A group of area residents filed a lawsuit in early January that seeks to block the zoning approvals for the $300 million arts and transit project, saying that the University’s financial contributions influenced the decision by local officials. 

Elected officials offered differing views of town-gown relations as the year ended. “The best way to make our community better for all of our residents is to have a collaborative relationship with Princeton University,” said township mayor Chad Goerner. 

A contrasting tone was taken by David Goldfarb as he stepped down after 21 years as a borough councilman. Goldfarb said officials should not have “capitulated” to President Tilghman’s “ultimatum” on the arts project a year ago, and that he hoped both sides would work to restore a mutually respectful relationship.