Mayoral Candidate Bob Conley thanks residents for participating in his “Town Hall” meetings this year.

The rainy night did not dampen the spirits of Madison residents who attended the October 19th Town Hall meeting at the Madison Community House organized by Bob Conley, Democratic candidate for Madison Mayor.  It was the 4th in a series of Town Hall meetings Conley has held since March 14th, when fellow Council members denied his request to sponsor a Town Hall meeting to gather the thoughts and ideas of Madison residents on municipal services, infrastructure and budget.  Conley states:  “In order to make informed decisions, we need to hear from the residents.  Dollars are tight and getting tighter.  The residents deserve to participate in decisions affecting them.”

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“We received a lot of great questions and possible solutions to continuing to provide services, repairs on an aging infrastructure and cutting costs,” says Conley.  “Now more than ever, strategic planning and exploring alternatives to how we deliver services are a must. As Mayor, I will call for strategic planning sessions on the costs of how we deliver services and how we govern.  As Vice President of Operations of the Madison Area YMCA, a non-profit, I am very familiar with how necessary this is before the problems arise.  A municipal government is also a non- profit institution to which I can bring my years of experience. I will also ask for regular meetings with the Mayors of surrounding towns to formulate realistic and meaningful strategies to determine the real costs of sharing services.  As Yogi Berra once said: ’if you don’t know where you are going, how do you know when you get there?’ If elected, I know it will be my job as Mayor to serve the people and make sure we all know where we are going.”

Fellow running mates, Carmela Vitale, seeking a third term on Council, and Robert McDowell, seeking his first term on Council, also attended.  They agreed with Conley.  Vitale states:  “Having been on Council, our decisions cannot be made in a vacuum.  We have to listen to our residents very carefully and find out what is important to them.  When we are elected and, with Bob Conley as Mayor, the good ideas and thoughts we have heard during these town hall meetings, and will continue to hear will be a good start for discussing budget considerations and priorities.”  Robert McDowell agrees:  “The people who attended our town meetings were very positive and gave us good feedback.  Basic services especially our library, police and fire were very important to them. Several people stated that it is time for municipalities in New Jersey to start analyzing whether shared services and consolidation will deliver services more efficiently and at a lower cost. This type of analysis is what I did for a living and, if elected, I can lead such an effort on Council.”