Location within Collin County and Texas
|• Total||4.3 sq mi (11.2 km2)|
|• Land||4.3 sq mi (11.2 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||574 ft (175 m)|
|• Estimate (2013)||7,732|
|• Density||1,600/sq mi (610/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|FIPS code||48-59576 |
|GNIS feature ID||1344570 |
In the late 1870s T. B. Wilson and his brother George began farming near the site of future Princeton. In 1881 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad Company extended its line from Greenville to McKinney, passing through land owned by the brothers. The name Wilson's Switch was commonly used to designate the area. When residents applied for a post office branch, however, they learned that the name Wilson was already being used. The community then submitted the name Princeton in honor of Prince Dowlin, a landowner and promoter of the town. This name was accepted, and a post office was established in 1888.
In 1940, a camp of 76 cabins was built west of Princeton to house up to 400 migratory workers, who came to work during the onion and cotton seasons. In February 1945, the site became a prisoner of war camp for Germans prisoners captured during the Second World War. The local farmers paid the POWs to work on their farms. This operation continued for eight months. Under a special bill, the German prisoners were contracted to work on the City Park located across from city hall. The park was built as a living memorial and shrine to those who served and died during World War II. The Community Park/WWII P.O.W. Camp is located at 500 West College Street.
Members of the Princeton Independent School District and the Princeton Lions Club have teamed up annually to hold the Princeton Onion Festival. It is a major festival for the town that began in 2005 and is expected to occur on the fourth Saturday of April each year.
On June 30, 2011, a Collin County District Court Judge issued a judgment ending a legal dispute over Princeton's southern boundary. The case was filed on January 12, 2010 and was titled: The State of Texas Ex Rel. Collin County, Texas vs. The City of Princeton, Texas, Case No. 401-00108-2010. The State of Texas' Motion for Summary Judgement stated "that Princeton administration had 'unlawfully and improperly attempted to assert jurisdiction over a tract of land which the city never annexed and which is not lawfully within the corporate city limits,' according to Collin County court records." "Tract Five, the property in question, is a strip of land that runs the length of the right of way of Farm to Market Road 982 from about a half mile south of U.S. Highway 380 to its intersection with FM Road 546." "The southern portion of this tract was incorporated as part of the city of Branch from August of 1971 through April of 1977." "After three months in which no response of any kind was received from the city (of Princeton) in regard to the matter, the (approximately 100) landowners concluded that the city (of Princeton) was ignoring (them) and decided in November (of 2006) to refer the matter to the Collin County District Attorney for possible legal action." The landowners "provided all of the documentation" (to the D.A.)...
"The state's quo warranto motion, filed in November 2010, claimed that Princeton was wrongfully exercising powers not authorized by any law or statute and that a judgment on the case could be made without a trial and instead based solely on Princeton city records." "Princeton officials first claimed the 5.5-mile strip of land as part of the city limits in 2003, but according to the state's motion, the 'contorted history of Tract Five and the City's current efforts to effectively annex by stealth began in 1971.'" "In January 1971, the city enacted Ordinance No. 104, through which Princeton attempted to annex certain right-of-ways surrounding the city by a process commonly referred to as 'strip annexation.'" "Princeton City Council passed a motion to annex five tracts, but in April of that year, the council passed another motion to eliminate Tract Five from the proposed annexations." "Texas Legislature subsequently prohibited 'strip annexation' through procedures mandated by Chapter 43 of the Texas Local Government Code." "All area maps, including one Princeton filed in 2000 with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, show that Tract Five did not belong to Princeton." "Included in the state's original filing on the case in 2010 is a corporate map of Branch that was legally filed in Collin County records in March 1975, showing that Branch owns (sic) the corner of FM 982 and FM 546 and part of the same land Princeton began claiming as its own in 2003." "Robert Davis, specially deputized District Attorney representing the state, said in the state's motion for summary judgment that 'in 2003, realizing that they were prohibited by law from engaging in the type of strip annexation which was accomplished by Ordinance No. 104, the City passed an ordinance which attempted to refute the fact that the fifth tract of land had been deleted from Ordinance No. 104 prior to final passage.' "The state initially brought the motion for summary judgment before Judge Mark Rusch of the 401st Judicial District Court..., but the state and Princeton decided to let Wheless rule on the case after Rusch disclosed he was a prosecutor in the Collin county District Attorney's office during a related case in 1990." On February 25, 2011, Judge Mark Rusch signed the Administrative Order of Assignment, which stated, "...it is my opinion that the most efficient management of this case necessitates it be transferred to the 366th Judicial District Court." A few days later, the case retained the same name, but was re-numbered to show that it was being decided in the 366th Judicial District Court: Case No. 366-00108-2010.
Using only Princeton's official city records, District Court Judge Ray Wheless ruled: "that Princeton's southern most corporate city limit officially extends to approximately 0.6 miles south of the intersection of F.M. Road 982 with U.S. Highway 380 but does NOT include the 5.5-mile stretch to FM 546." "The order brings Princeton's south boundary back to where it stood for nearly 32 years." On July 11, 2011, Princeton's city council voted unanimously NOT to "appeal the Quo Warranto, Case No. 401-00108-2010 (sic)." This decision was reported in The Princeton Herald. On October 10, 2011, Princeton city council approved a new map that reflects the judge's decision.
By the 2010 census, Princeton experienced a 96% growth rate to a population of 6,807. The "White alone" proportion of the population decreased from 91% to 78%, while the "Hispanic or Latino origin" proportion increased from 11% to 24%. Most of the population is between the ages of 18 and 64.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,477 people, 1,238 households, and 932 families residing in the city. The population density was 801.4 people per square mile (309.3/km²). There were 1,377 housing units at an average density of 317.4/sq mi (122.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.94% White, 0.95% African American, 0.98% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 4.57% from other races, and 2.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.90% of the population.
There were 1,238 households out of which 40.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.9% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.7% were non-families. 21.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 95.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $38,590, and the median income for a family was $45,948. Males had a median income of $32,852 versus $25,021 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,092. About 6.6% of families and 9.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.6% of those under age 18 and 20.9% of those age 65 or over.
Princeton is a Type A General Law city, but its council members have tried to get a Home Rule form of government passed four times: in November 2007, May 2008,  November 2008, and May 2014. Princeton voters rejected Home Rule each time: 149 to 117 in November 2007, 239 to 165 in May 2008, 979 to 449 in November 2008, and 260 to 151 in May 2014. Home Rule cities can tax property at a higher rate than General Law cities, because the tax rate ceiling of Home Rule cities is $2.50 per $100 valuation, while the tax rate ceiling of General Law cities is $1.50 per $100 valuation. Home Rule cities can assess additional property taxes, while a General Law city has "no inherent power to tax." Besides additional property taxes, Home Rule cities are allowed to tax almost anything specified in its charter, while General Law cities cannot, because they have no charter. Home Rule cities can annex property without landowner consent, while General Law cities need landowner consent.
"A home rule city may do anything authorized by its charter that is not specifically prohibited or preempted by the Texas Constitution or state or federal law; a general law city has no charter and may only exercise those powers that are specifically granted or implied by statute." As a General-Law city, Princeton must follow the laws of The State of Texas. The Texas statutes that govern Princeton are called "LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE…CHAPTER 51. GENERAL POWERS OF MUNICIPALITIES." Chapter 5 of the Texas Local Government Code defines Type A General Law cities and Home Rule cities. Approximately 75% of all Texas cities are General Law cities.
In Jan. 2015, a year long transparency study of 113 area cities, counties, and school districts was completed by The Dallas Morning News.  Seven reporters sent out and tracked 565 open record requests for public information from 113 entities.  They asked for public information that was clearly allowed by law.  They also tested government websites to see if they were user-friendly for citizen inspection.  Grades ranged from A to F. Princeton was among only three cities which earned an F. By contrast, twenty-four neighboring cities earned an A. If a government did poorly on this survey, it is a cause for citizen concern, because responding to open records requests is a basic function of government. Cities were graded according to their responses. The City of "Princeton was among the worst in the Transparency 2015 ratings. It ranked as bad in request best practices, bad in request compliance, good in web customer service and excellent in online meeting notice."
A Fitch business report for Princeton, dated October 09, 2012  is titled: "Fitch Affirms Princeton, Texas GOs and COs at 'A-'; Outlook Negative." The key rating drivers for the negative outlook are Princeton's diminished reserves, increased tax rates, slowed tax base growth, above average debt, and the city's inability to replenish unrestricted general fund balances to levels that provide adequate operating flexibility and financial cushion. The negative outlook reflects the trend of operating deficits in recent years, culminating in a negative general fund balance at the close of fiscal 2011. The fiscal 2011 net deficit was $4.2 million. The fiscal 2013 budget includes an increased ad valorem tax rate to increase funding for maintenance and operations; increased water service rates are also included in the budget. Fitch notes the city's ad valorem tax rate is above average for Texas municipalities. Overall debt is above average at 5.2% of market value despite state support for overlapping school district debt and support for direct city debt by the utility system. GO debt amortization remains below average with 36.8% of principal scheduled for repayment within 10 years. A newer Fitch report, dated August 27, 2013, shows Princeton's business outlook improved from "Negative" to "Stable."
The City of Princeton is served by the Princeton Independent School District.
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