In a joint announcement, Democratic candidates for Borough Council, Councilwoman Astri Baillie and former Board of Education member Debra Coen announce their goals for the 2018 campaign.  

The candidates state: “As long-time Madison community volunteers with solid records of success in education and government, we believe that together, we can bring the skills, experience, creative ideas, and approach to governing that Madison’s residents want and have come to expect.

Utilizing a systematic approach to financial management based on the 2014 Strategic Planning guidelines and a strong borough administration, the Madison Borough government has proven that it can deliver first rate services and an enviable quality of life in a fiscally responsible way. The municipal budget is now well under control, borough services have been improved, and millions of dollars have been invested in our roads, sewers and utility infrastructures in a sustainable, pay-as-you-go basis.

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We mean to continue on that proven path, which keeps tax increases to a minimum and preserves the AAA credit rating that allows us to borrow money at the lowest rates. At the same time, we welcome new perspectives and tested leadership, and we believe that together we offer both.

To that end:

We will continue to seek additional opportunities to improve transparency in government and to ensure effective communication throughout the community. Already, the flow of information has been visibly enhanced by the introduction of the new Rosenet website and Borough Facebook page, email reminders, Nixel alerts, cogent budget summaries and the recent hiring of a Borough Communications Information Officer.

We see the need to shape the future of development within the borough in a way that ensures Madison’s quality of life. With public input throughout the process, the Planning Board should develop a new Master Plan for the borough.

We will look for innovative measures, such as the use of historic preservation easements, new land use rules, and zoning flexibility, that together will help to preserve our historic homes and maintain the character of our residential neighborhoods.

We support new measures that will help to ensure that attractive, competitive businesses continue to choose to do business in Madison. Last year, Council appointed a new Director of Business Development, who has already begun to address downtown parking issues. Council also introduced an ordinance last year that streamlines the zoning process for small business owners. We view these as important first steps in realizing a balanced, solution-driven revitalization of all Madison commercial districts

We support the creation of equitable housing policies that meet the needs of a population with diverse incomes, ages, and backgrounds. Madison has a proud history of creating new affordable housing for moderate income and senior residents. And we have done it with courage and sensitivity, while successfully addressing residents’ concerns.

We will support measures that maintain the safety of our citizens on our streets, in our homes and in our schools and in addition, measures that will secure the integrity of our infrastructure and electric and water utility departments.

We are committed to Open Space funding at current levels. Madison’s Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund leverages borough dollars with grant money from the state and county that allows us to protect those attributes that make Madison so unique: our parks, our historic public buildings, our lands and facilities devoted to both active and passive recreation and our natural assets especially our water supply.

We look for ways to expand regional cooperation. The services that we provide to neighboring communities, such as the Joint Municipal Court, Joint Meeting, our Board of Health, and borough Information/Technology and construction office services reduce costs and improve the quality of delivery for all participants. We will look for additional creative solutions such as our partnering with the Madison Area YMCA, which manages the Teen Center and Project Community Pride for Madison and participating communities.

We will be advocates for sustainability and a healthy environment. Positive steps like introducing new technologies such as LED lighting and "smart" electric meters will reduce borough energy costs while helping to protect our environment.

Baillie and Coen concluded, “We are all about making things happen for the good of Madison and our community. Recent Borough Councils have accomplished much for Madison, but there is still a lot to be done. Together with our colleagues on Council, we will do our very best to continue to deliver the kind of good and effective municipal government that Madison voters expect.”