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Madison Council Gears Up for Capital Budget Discussions

Liz Keill

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 • 8:11am

MADISON, NJ – Borough Council members engaged in a long, detailed discussion on Monday regarding the 2014 capital budget…and that was just the beginning.

Madison Mayor Robert Conley said a series of meetings are scheduled to discuss the budget, including the next regular council meeting, Jan. 27, a town hall meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, and more budget discussions on Feb. 10. Adoption of the budget is anticipated on Monday, April 14.

“The 2014 capital budget will be on Rosenet,” Assistant Borough Administrator Jim Burnet said. He said there are a number or weather-related projects and described some high-priority items. Those include liability, especially related to sidewalks; revenue to help with payback, such as meters; improved productivity of staff and reducing operating and man hours. A five-year plan will be revisited in the fall.

Much of the discussion centered on road repairs, with Borough Engineer Bob Vogel fielding questions on various locations in the community. In 2014, work is scheduled for North Street, Pine Tree, Fletcher and Academy.  But the chart also estimates work to be done in various neighborhoods through 2018.

Other areas discussed were pump stations, sidewalks and sewer systems, involving capacity issues and drainage improvements.

“This is a work in progress,” Burnet said of the budget. “Not all of the roads are represented. Our goal is to expand this out.”  He said one aspect is to minimize the large dollar fluctuations from year to year that have been experienced in the past.

“The storm water system will be a very big issue over the next five years,” Vogel said.  The sanitary sewer system will need supplementary funding, he said.  The borough borrows video equipment for infrastructure information, but Vogel said it’s “very expensive and difficult to maintain.”

Parking lots were also targeted, including Hartley Dodge and the Waverly Green lot. Some new equipment will be needed for public works, including $160,000 for a loader and a heavy duty lift.  “We’ll have more details on that,” Burnet said.

The Madison Public Library was also on the agenda. 

“We look at this as a partnership,” Director Nancy  Adamczyk said.  Heating and air-conditioning costs are a priority, with a single control system. “We have some capital funds and the Friends of the Library contribute,” she said. The library is also considering a capital campaign to raise $300,000.

During the public discussion period, a parent expressed concerns about the lack of sidewalks on a portion of Green Village Road towards Shunpike. She said her 12-year-old daughter has a dangerous walking situation and the bus has been discontinued.  Conley noted this is a county road.  Still, the council agreed something should be done.

“This is a real mortal danger,” Councilman Robert Cantalanello said.

Attorney Michael Giacobbe said a hazardous route or mileage are the exceptions for providing courtesy bussing. Council members will meet with the police and the Board of Education to address the situation. “We’ll find out how much it will cost and how we’ll do it,” Councilman Benjamin Wolkowitz said.

Earlier in the evening, Conley delivered the oath of office to three probationary police officers and two volunteer fire fighters. The Madison High School varsity field hockey team was recognized for the Morris County and NJSC Independence Division Champions. 

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