Madison Council Learns About GoGoGrandparent Transportation; Welcoming Community Resolution Critiqued By Residents

Resident Kathy Dailey expresses concerns about the Welcoming Community resolution.

MADISON, NJ – Lyft and Uber are bringing easily accessible options to seniors, according John Crouthamel, President of the TriTown 55+ Coalition. He and an associate made a presentation to the Madison Borough Council at its Monday, March 27, meeting.

Three local towns, Madison, Chatham and Chatham Township will be covered for rides within 15 miles, including such locations as the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. “You don’t need to use a cell phone for the service,” Couthamel said.

He said the initiative was started by a man in San Diego and has caught on across the country. Seniors can interact with Uber or Lyft to reserve a ride in advance and you don’t need a cell phone or app to sign up. “It’s a way to get seniors out and around,” he said and the cost will be subsidized. Each senior will pay $5 a ride and can invite a caregiver, grandchild or other adult to ride, too. The cost is still just $5 per trip. The service will begin on April 3 and, he said, this will benefit downtown businesses and restaurants as well. The coalition is coordinating with Madison’s Downtown Development Committee and area Chambers of Commerce. In addition, a caregiver or adult can sign up an elderly parent. A credit card is required.  For more information, call 855-464-6872 or visit the gogograndparent website.

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In other council news, resident Kathy Dailey raised concerns about the Welcoming Community resolution that was introduced in January.  She read a statement saying the resolution was “a reckless action.” Dailey also addressed the matter of increased health screenings, an influx of students who may not speak English, immigrants needing assistance with remedial studies and other costs to the school system. She also expressed concern about overcrowding in rental properties and the danger of fire. Dailey asked about undocumented criminals and the demands that would make on the Madison Police Department.

Dailey said a number of people who spoke at the January meeting were not necessarily residents of Madison and did not pay local taxes. Mayor Robert Conley assured her that nothing in the resolution would change any laws or policies already in place.

Hillcrest resident John Dew also addressed the issue.  “People who came to the town from another country used to have sponsors,” he said.  He said insurance rates could go up. “I known taxes rise a little bit, but that keeps adding up,” he said.

The mayor urged anyone who has concerns about stacking (overcrowding) or quality of life should report those matters to the council or city officials.  A meeting will be held next week in relation to the resolution. One resident urged that “people be respectful to each other.”

The council passed an ordinance to exceed the municipal budget appropriation limits and to establish a cap bank.  The budget is 3.5% over the previous year’s final appropriations, with an increase of $661,858 in excess.  A water connection fee was approved by ordinance that would be paid be developers, not residents for pipes, wells, pumps and other expenses. The fee is $3,222 per unit.

In the consent agenda, the council approved a resolution for a wildflower garden at the Madison Recreation Center paid through $1,500 from the municipal open space trust fund.


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