Government

Recreation Space, Infrastructure and Budgets Discussed at Borough Council Meeting

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MADISON, NJ  - The Tuesday borough council meeting served as a re-cap of sorts.  Council member Astri Baillie gave the year-end report on the open space, recreation and historic preservation trust fund.  

The estimate of revenues and expenses shows a beginning balance as of Jan. 1, 2016 of $63,414. Inflows include a Green Acres Grant of $500,000, tax levy of $626,206, Board of Education contribution for the sale of Green Village Road property of $1,000 and field rentals and user fees of $84,845.  Outflows include land and turf costs for the Madison Recreation Complex, James Building Historic Renovation and the Burnet Road trail. The available balance as of Dec. 9, 2016 is $106,126. Estimate for available balance for 2017, including the carry-over from 2016, comes to $320,126.  Bailie said another grant is expected from the county.

Chief Financial Officer Jim Burnet provided an overview of the 2017 capital budget plan. He noted that the council could pass the plan, but would vote on each individual ordinance.  “It’s still a work in progress,” he said.

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Mayor Conley said, “This is a chance to look at the big picture. There will be no details tonight.”

Borough Engineer Robert Vogel described it as a robust budget, with input from asset management consultants. “It’s a reasonable budget and follows the strategic plan,” he said. According to Vogel, the five year plan extends to 2021, providing steady investment in critical assets. He highlighted the road capital improvement plan, listing a number of streets. They include Prospect, Central Avenue, Kings, Chateau Thierry and others.  “The good news is that the county will participate in re-surfacing costs,” he said.

Councilman Patrick Rowe encouraged doing as much work as possible during the summer. Council member Carmela Vitale asked about sidewalks. Vogel said that is a multiple-year project, estimating about five years.

The council also voted on merit raises for some borough employees. Robert Catalanello and Patrick Rowe voted against the resolution, which passed 3-2. Councilman Robert Landrigan was not at the meeting. Vitale said of the concept of merit raises, “Every department head is extraordinary. But some people do a better job than others.” Because the policy has been in effect, she added, “Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream” and that April would be the time for revisit the decision. She said merit raises can be seen as a sign of encouragement.

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