MADISON, NJ – The Borough Council moved forward on a number of safety and community issues at its Dec. 12 meeting.
A lightning detection system was approved for both the borough and Board of Education recreation fields. The school district will fund 50 percent of the project, according to the resolution.
Councilman Donald Links explained there are two kinds of warning systems that were investigated: a predictor that measures the electric-static field and a detector system that measures the first strike of a storm. The council learned that storms used to come primarily from the west, but that today there are ‘pop up’ storms that could come from any direction. Ball fields and school grounds are especially vulnerable.
The council also discussed the community gardens project. Councilman Robert Catalanello said the Madison Recreation Center Community Gardens Committee has requested funding for infrastructure, including water, fencing and soil, not to exceed $47,150. “A design and budget have been submitted,” he said and a fee of $50 to $75 would be charged to lease a plot. “We have a huge amount of wood chips,” he said, referring to the sudden snow storm in October. They will be used to line the path between gardens. “This is an investment in the community, it’s self-sustaining and it’s part of our passive recreation,” Catalanello said.

Councilwoman Jeannie Tsukamoto said she had looked into Chatham Borough’s community garden, which cost less than $1,500 and asked about funding the project through donations.
Catalanello said there were other aspects to the project, such as the soil on the 39-acre site needs more work and nitrogen and peat must be added. One Madison resident observed that improving the road approaching the land is a major expense, an aspect not present in Chatham.
“This is a good investment and there’s a great committee behind it,” Councilman Robert Conley said. 
“To get things going, we need to approve this. It’s a good place for the town to get together,” Catalanello added.
The councilman provided an update on the construction review committee. “We needed to prioritize capital spending, which was reviewed by department heads,” he said. Sub stations have emerged as the major priority at four sites: North Street, Treadwell, West End and Candlewood. He said $400,000 has been budgeted.
A resolution to submit a grant application for $500,000 to the New Jersey Green Acres program was questioned by Tsukamoto.
Borough Administrator Raymond Codey replied, “The window is open now. This is a first come, first served situation.” He added there is a Feb. 15 deadline and that the borough had a standing commitment to the Madison Recreation Center.

Other items discussed and approved by the council included an automated meter reading project, reactivating employment of seven summer interns, installing a call box system at the recreation center, payment of $50,400 to three contractors for brush and debris removal following the October snow storm and a block grant application of $100,000 for the Madison Affordable Housing Corporation.