MADISON, NJ – An ordinance amendment to limit all streets in the borough to four-hour parking, unless otherwise posted, resulted in considerable discussion at the Monday, Jan. 23, council meeting.

The amendment was approved for introduction, with a hearing scheduled for the Monday, Feb. 13, meeting.

Concerns from the public included various circumstances, such as work being done on a house or a narrow driveway that necessitated on street parking. Borough Administrator Ray Codey said some streets could be addressed separately. Mayor Robert Conley said residents could also go on line and ask for an exemption for special circumstances.

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One resident noted that people are parking on residential streets to take the train into New York and leaving their cars for the day. She said she lives on John Avenue, which has no sidewalks and children walk to Kings Road School. “It’s a problem,” she said of the cars lining the street. She also pointed out the inconsistency of parking policies, with some streets having two-hour parking.

Residents would be notified before the ordinance goes into effect and there would be a grace period, as well as warnings, before a summons would be issued.

The council also heard a presentation on the internal controls for borough purchasing, in compliance with the Local Public Contracts Law. A number of steps are involved, including the purchase order and vendor approval, certificate of confirmation, sign off and review of the purchase order and invoice. Finance Officer Jim Burnet said there are some blanket purchase forms that are used for smaller, repeat items. “We’re more paper oriented than other towns,” he said, but added the latest streamlining of the process will save about 10 hours of work every week that can be used for other purposes.

One resident asked about an ordinance appropriating $274,000 for bleachers at the Madison Recreation Complex.  “We have beautiful fields and lights, but nowhere to sit,” Mayor Conley said.  Councilman Ben Wolkowitz said several sports organizations have contributed and rental fees have also been a source of income. The plan will include a press box as well.

The resident questioned the MRC debt and urged looking for opportunities to pay it down. It is expected to be paid off in 2023. “We could save a lot of money and 10 years of interest,” he said by using surplus funds. Administrator Cody said borrowing from the electric or water utility was not feasible, but the borough is pursuing Green Acres funds.

Wolkowitz also introduced a resolution for a bikeway grant from the NJ Department of Transportation.  The project would include signage, striping and bike racks throughout the borough.  The plan would extend the bicycle path. “This is a chance to put more emphasis on being a bike-friendly town,” he said.

Resident Robert Jennings asked about the east wing of the Hartley Dodge Building and a proposal for the Historical Society to be relocated there from the library. He said it would seem more appropriate for the Board of Education to be relocated from Woodland Road and that location could then be sold. Mayor Conley said that was a matter to be discussed with shared services and both parties would need to agree to any proposed changes.

Council member Astri Baillie said the Historical Society needs more space and has much of its holdings in storage currently. Relocating to Hartley Dodge would mean historical aspects would be more available to the public, she said.