County Freeholders Hank Lyon, David Scapicchio, Madison Council Candidate Pat Rowe, Morris County Freeholder Director Tom Mastrangelo, Councilman Rob Catalanello and Freeholder Doug Cabana discussing the Republican Freeholder board’s achievement of delivering a budget with a zero percent tax increase, and Rob and Pat's ideas on restraining taxes to help make Madison more attractive and affordable. Credits: Rowe
Catalanello & Rowe – Make Madison More Affordable for All Our Families
Thursday, October 24, 2013 • 3:55pm
Councilman Rob Catalanello and Board of Education Vice President Pat Rowe discuss the feedback they’ve received as the walk the neighborhoods in Madison, speaking with residents about the upcoming election, as well as their plan to make Madison a more attractive and affordable place to live.
Many people we speak with are from families that have lived in Madison for decades. We also meet young families that are just starting out, who were attracted to Madison’s wonderful downtown, great schools, and superior services.
A major concern for many of those we visit is the escalating cost of property taxes and utility rates, which greatly affect their ability to stay in Madison. The combined effect of a county mandated revaluation of the borough, the municipal tax increase and the 50% increase in the open space tax levy have caused severe hardships for many of our residents, especially our seniors. Higher property taxes equate to higher rents for businesses downtown, making it more challenging to run a business in Madison.
We believe the borough should tax only what is necessary to provide residents with the excellent services they demand and to maintain and invest in our infrastructure. The borough council must also keep borrowing to a minimum as this negatively impacts our property tax bills for generations.
If elected, we commit to keeping tax increases to a minimum and eliminate unnecessary borrowing.
To help make Madison more affordable we pledge to work on a variety of practical measures, including:
- Identify new, and expand existing Shared Services and Partnerships -- The Joint Court, which council put in place a few years ago, allows Madison to leverage its new court facility by hosting other communities and generates revenue for the borough. Partnerships, such as the one between the BOE and borough on the sale of Green Village Road School, has maximized the return for both the borough and the BOE
- Continue strong oversight of our capital improvement projects through efforts like the Construction Review Committee, formed and chaired by Councilman Catalanello. Squeezing money out of projects saves us all tax dollars and allows us to do more with less
- Performing real multi-year analyses of our surpluses and future revenue opportunities before adding to the borough’s large debt load
- Give Madison’s electric customers a minimum 10% rate cut on June 1. On average our electric bills are almost double the municipal portion of our tax bill, so this cut would be equal to a 15 – 20% reduction in that part of your property tax bill.
- Revisit the Open Space tax increase - A worst-case scenario was presented to justify the 50% increase in the Open Space tax levy. As the situation has become clearer, it is evident that the demands on the Open Space tax are not nearly as dire as this worst-case scenario presented - The Board of Education’s commitment of funds for the turf fields project, as well as the decision taken at the October 16 Borough Council meeting to apply user fees and field rental income to pay down debt, will greatly reduce the amount of money required from the open space tax for the field portion of the 49 acre project. We must reevaluate the amount collected and lower the tax next year, if possible
- Encourage public-private partnerships, like the one the borough has with the Madison Athletic Foundation, or the board of education has with the Madison Education Foundation, that help keep the cost to taxpayers lower, or allows us to enhance programs that we otherwise would not have been able to afford
- Help our downtown and commercial landlords bring new businesses to vacant spaces, and work with developers to build out spaces that attract tenants to help keep commercial values higher, and reduce the residential homeowners’ property tax burden.
We look forward to meeting and speaking with Madison voters between now and Election Day, November 5, about our ideas and theirs about how we will address property taxes and utility rates.
Please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments about our campaign. You can also follow us on Facebook - facebook.com/CatalanelloRowe4Council or, our campaign website - catalanello-rowe.com.