MADISON, NJ – Republican candidates for borough council Ron Hendrickson and Denis Schreiber. ask residents, “What matters to you in Madison?”
“As we conduct our campaign we are hearing from more and more residents about their concerns regarding our town,” said the candidates. “To many, the town feels different to them than it did a few years ago.”
Schreiber said that when he and his wife move to Madison 28 years ago, they were “pretty much ‘hooked on Madison’s quality of life: beautiful neighborhoods, a vibrant downtown, schools with excellent rankings, reasonable taxes and nice, outgoing residents.
Now things have changed, and other residents have said they feel the same.
Madisonians are concerned about the loss of businesses downtown, the loss of the movie theater and now, with recently released school rankings, it seems that perceptions of our public schools have significantly fallen.
Things just don’t seem quite right. Borough residents are concerned about overdevelopment and the threat of an increasing population density in Madison and on Park Avenue in Florham Park.
“Traffic is becoming a headache,” Hendrickson said. “Traffic volume has increased significantly with the commercial development along Park Avenue.”
Residents are also worried about the impact of recommendations from the Downtown Revitalization Study by Urbanomics, presented to the council on May 22.
Madison should strive to build up to 500 new studio or one-bedroom housing units, according to one Urbanomics suggestion.
“500 units can equal 1,000 people or more,” the candidates said. “This would represent an increase in our population by (approximately) 7 percent, and the study recommends that all of those new Madison residents should live in our downtown area.
“What new stresses will this put on our infrastructure and services? Some assumptions in the Urbanomics Study are highly questionable. For example, when asked about the impact 500 units would have on parking downtown, Urbanomics posits that these new residents will not own cars. We need to take a very thoughtful, sustainable approach to additional development.”
Beyond this the candidates said they are concerned about possible alterations to the townscape, including an increase in building heights from three to four stories in Madison’s commercial business district on Main Street, Lincoln Place, Prospect Place, Cook Avenue and Elmer Street.
”What will this do to the town’s appearance and charming character?” said Hendrickson and Schreiber.
These are just a few recommendations embraced by our opponents, but it’s not too late to slow the trend, the candidates said.
“If you were shopping for a home in 2017, would Madison be at the top of your list?” said Hendrickson and Schreiber. “Let’s make sure that it is.”
First, we need to inspire the community to increase commerce within Madison so that they will patronize our local shops. If that means more parking, then let’s create more parking. If that means outside seating and sidewalk cafes, then make it so.
If that means making Madison’s infrastructure, workforce and consumer base more attractive to new high-tech businesses, then let’s boost Madison in those areas and actively promote our borough as a good place for high-tech companies to set up shop.
Surprisingly, parts of Madison's commercial business district do not have high-speed, high-capacity internet. It’s no wonder downtown Madison is not attractive to high-tech companies. Let’s make it easier for new retailers to choose Madison for their businesses.
Second, we need to be smart about new development and increases in Madison’s population. Let’s work to preserve the landmarks and green spaces that remain here in Madison – we have lots of them, and they deserve our continued protection.
Trees, lawns and parks are precious resources. Let’s also ensure that our population density does not outstrip our ability to provide services or maintain traffic patterns that are safe for cars, bicycles, skateboards and pedestrians.
Third, we need to try to keep Madison affordable for the people who already live here, and for families and individuals that long to make Madison their home in the future.
Too many seniors are worried about their ability to continue living here. Our taxes keep going up year after year. We need to always be conscious of every dollar the Borough chooses to spend and make sure that we are using the public’s monetary resources as wisely as we can.
Schreiber spent his career in the financial services field, retiring as a senior vice president in Citigroup’s corporate and broker-dealer treasuries. His financial experience and fiscal awareness will help shape borough policies and ensure that the Borough Council’s budget decisions are based on sound financial principles.
Shared municipal services help. Our local school district’s budget is the largest part of our Borough tax burden. If the borough can help the school district increase its effectiveness with low-cost and no-cost para-educational activities, like our proposed Madison STEM Community Program, then let’s do that, too.
So, if you are concerned about the direction in which Madison is headed, please vote on Nov. 7 for the team of Hendrickson and Schreiber.
They are prepared to serve Madison, they have expressed their commitment to Madison’s residents and businesses, and they have presented definitive proposals that, when implemented, will benefit everyone who lives, works, or shops in Madison.
Together, these two dedicated Republican candidates can bring balance, transparency and a fresh perspective to the borough council.