Government

Madison Town Hall Budget Meeting Addresses Utilities and Services

February 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

MADISON, NJ – A sparsely attended Town Hall meeting for the 2014 budget, held Saturday morning, Feb. 1, still resulted in some probing questions and observations.

Assistant Borough Administrator Jim Burnet described the electric utility and how revenues and expenses have varied between actual numbers for 2006 and estimates for 2013 to 2015.  Another chart showed capital and operating transfers from 1997 to 2013. The revised 2014 municipal budget shows a summary of revenues of $29,345,841, for a 14.26 percent change from 2013, or an increase of $3,663,434. Appropriations also reflect an increase of 14.26 percent.

Madison Mayor Robert Conley observed that the revenue from the electric utility will allow capital projects, such as infrastructure, to move forward. “There are a lot of elements and this is a good comfort level," Conley said.

Sign Up for E-News

Finance Chairman Ben Wolkowitz noted that a municipal budget is different than a person’s budget. “The only common aspect is money,” he said. “Everything else is different.” 

In introducing "Budget 101," Wolkowitz said, “We need to understand what kind of Madison we want to live in.”  He praised the police and fire departments and said the borough’s  budget is capped at 2 percent. “We have little control over that,” he said of state regulations. Surpluses come from the electric utility, fees and permits as well as sale of property. “It’s too risky to plan on that,” Wolkowitz said of property sales. While Madison is a very appealing town, he said, residents who want to sell their homes on Belmont Avenue or Academy Street could face obstacles because of the condition of the roads. Both streets are scheduled to have road and curb work done in 2014.

“I believe there are no differences in the objectives among council members. It’s how quickly we can do these projects,” Wolkowitz said.  “I’m inclined to take more risk, with no property tax increase. We can afford it.” Wolkowitz said last year there was a minor tax increase, but the reassessment, which was required by the state, caused taxes to go up. “It was worse than anticipated," he said. The councilman also urged providing a meaningful pool of money and a rebate to those who are on limited incomes, especially seniors and disabled residents.

The councilman distributed a paper with questions about municipal services, electric rates and budget priorities.  It also included a comparison of services provided in Madison and the tax per person compared to nearby Chatham, Morris Township, Florham Park and Harding. Madison had the lowest rate and provided more services, including a senior center and van, leaf pickup, garbage, and sewer as well as the electric utility.

“This is a political paper,” said Councilman Patrick Rowe, who objected to such questions as preferring reliable power or a lower electric rate.

Conley said this is not the time to debate those issues as he wanted to move on to the public portion of the meeting.  The mayor established ground rules and asked residents to respond to what they liked and didn’t like about Madison, what their priorities would be if they were serving on council and whether there were ideas for generating revenue or reducing expenses.

There were also concerns about keeping the downtown viable, eliminating leaf collection in favor of composting instead, and determining what municipal services could become self-sufficient.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Madison

Madison Junior Boys Lacrosse Sign Ups Open Through Feb. 1

January 18, 2017

MADISON, NJ - Spring is right around the corner. Registration for the Madison Jr. Boys Lacrosse Club Spring 2017 season is open now through February 1.

The club invites all boys from Madison and Harding in grades K-8 to register.   

Please visit our website at www.madlaxjr.com. to sign up and for more information.  We look forward to a great lacrosse ...

Deciding to Sell Your Home: A 2017 Seller's Checklist ​

Deciding to sell your home is a crucial decision and the selling process can be overwhelming. I am committed to making the sale of your home quick, easy, and profitable.

Start planning early

Weed out your current possessions. Throw out, give away, or sell the things that you don’t want to move at a yard sale. 

Begin packing early; Anything that you are sure you will not be ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_43a55a4c7a702d25786d_family-movie-night-pic-1

Sat, January 21, 6:00 PM

Madison Area YMCA - Buttenheim Hall, Madison

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y NIGHT: Movie Night

Giving Back

Carousel_image_8fadf294550111873f4a_box-photo

Sat, January 21, 7:00 PM

Grace Episcopal Church, Madison

PhilanthrOPERA

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Carousel_image_5e5a0efefc185e038511_pancakes

Sun, January 22, 10:00 AM

Madison Area YMCA - Buttenheim Hall, Madison

Madison Area YMCA's Annual Pancake Breakfast

Food & Drink Giving Back