Community Gardens, Waste Disposal Top Madison Council Agenda

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MADISON – Borough official Jim Burnett shared information on garbage pickup and recycling at the Wednesday, Oct. 12, Borough Council meeting. 
Burnett said flyers were sent out with electric bills regarding the garbage pickup schedule. Residents have three options, he said, the regular curbside pickup, which is done twice during the summer; a rear yard pickup for a fee of $10 a month or $120 a year; or an enhanced rear yard pickup twice a week for an annual fee of $200. District 1 dates are Monday and Thursday’ District 2 are Tuesday and Friday and District 3 are Wednesday and Saturday. Residents interested in rear yard pickup should contact the hauler, Roselli & Son at 973-227-7020. “Residents are thrilled with the rear yard pickup,” Burnett said. “They don’t have to worry if they’ll be away.” 
  
Flyers on leaf collection are also available and more information can be reached at the Department of Public Works, 973-593-3088. 
  

The council discussed tipping fees and Burnett said residents are encouraged to recycle to reduce those rates. Borough Engineer Bob Vogel said there had been a rate increase for an incinerator that was never built. “Fees are artificially high,” he said.  Mayor Mary-Anna Holden said that Morris County now allows residents to mix their recycling in a single stream, but that just means the county will hire more people to sort it. “It doesn’t help us reduce costs,” she said.  Burnett said the borough has saved on tipping fees by recycling paper and reducing tonnage significantly. 
  
Also on the agenda was a presentation regarding the 39 acres Passive Recreation Committee. “We have a fantastic plan for community gardens,” Councilman Robert Catalanello said.  The initiative would be self-funded and lots are close to being sold out, according to committee spokesman Chris Kellogg. “It’s really amazing, the excitement in bringing communities together.” He said residents work the soil, harvest the crop, break bread and drink wine together. Kellogg said that during World War II in 1942, 40% of produce came from Victory Gardens. He also said there is an educational element, since the plots are near Madison High School, providing opportunities for both science and service. In the future, the plan calls for a greenhouse near the 60 plots. The location will be just below the artificial turf fields and near AT&T, he said. 
  
Kellogg said 800 feet of fencing will be needed, which he anticipated would cost $12,000 to $15,000.  He asked the borough council to help with that expense and that would be repaid through donations or grants.  There will also be raised garden beds, accessible for those confined to wheelchairs. He anticipates compost will be delivered this fall, with planting in the spring. “We visited four or five local gardens,” he said. “”These are taking off across the country. In Morristown, there are 40 people on the waiting list.” The charge would be $50 a plot as a deposit to cover cleanup. 
  
“I’m encouraging you all to sign up or pay for a plot and give it to someone else,” he said. Catalanello said the next step would be to secure quotes on fencing. Councilman Robert Conley said the 49 acres would include both passive and active recreation and would prevent overdevelopment on the border of the borough. 
  
Downtown Development Commission (DDC) member Eric Range proposed changes to chapter 128 of the borough code, including a request to create a new “multi-newsrack zone” in the historic downtown.  This would help eliminate clutter of unsightly and improperly maintained current newspaper racks, in particular near the post office and the Nautilus Diner.  Range said the placement of the racks by the post office three-minute parking spots is inconvenient for cars in the temporary parking spaces. 
 
The DDC sees the project as a continuation of work that began with the borough reconstruction of Lincoln Place in 2010, which integrated the street-scape to be more in-line with the rest of the historic downtown.   Since then, the DDC has initiated several other projects (in several stages of completion) in and around the downtown, including the installation of historic looking lighting fixtures at the Waverly Place underpass, the plantings in the new Lincoln Place traffic island and new cast iron tree-well grates to be installed along Lincoln Place.   Range said Commissioner Craig Erezuma's is holding on-going discussions with the Post Office and movie theater to make improvements to their respective facades.  
  
Resident and Board of Education President Lisa Ellis received the Mayor’s Award for her commitment to Bottle Hill Day. Ellis thanked the mayor and council for their support, as well as the Department of Public Works, Police and Fire Departments, sponsors such a Investors Bank and Pfizer and Jerry Vezza for arranging much of the entertainment. The event brought in $37,000, with 185 vendors participating.  The council learned that the Beer Garden  was well received, with many positive comments. 
  
The council heard from the Environmental Commission, and from several neighbors regarding street repairs and water runoff. “The impacts of development are there,” Vogel said. “Our drainage systems are not designed for 100 year storms.” 
  
He praised the efforts of Robert Landrigan in securing funds from FEMA following Hurricane Irene. 
 
Editor's Note: This article has been republished with some of the information corrected and clarified.

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