MADISON, NJ - The Madison Town Council discussed two topics at its regular meeting on September 24, 2018. First on the agenda was the quarterly update of open space presented by Barbara Heskins Davis, PP, AICP, Vice President of Programs of the Land Conservancy of New Jersey. She reviewed the goals set in 2009 which included ensuring adequate and properly maintained recreational facilities to meet the needs of all Borough residents; enhancing alternative linkages throughout Madison to better allow for safe and easy access to greenways, parks, and other places of interest; preserving the many historically significant areas and sites in the Borough to strengthen the community's assets; growing the amount of permanently preserved open space to provide ample
gathering places and possible sites for community gardens as well as corridors for wildlife; protecting the Borough's most vulnerable resource, the Buried Valley Aquifer, to ensure a safe and sustainable drinking water supply for the residents; creating opportunities for additional resource-based ("passive") recreation, while fostering the growth and sustain ability of the Borough's urban forest.
Ms. Davis also provided a history of the Open Space Program in Madison. Municipal Open Space Trust Fund:
• 2003 - Residents voted in favor of creating an Open Space & Historic
Preservation Trust Fund (OSTF)via ballot referendum
• 2004 - Tax levy of $0.02 per $100 of assessed property is established and Open Space, Recreation & Historic Preservation Advisory Committee convened
• 2013 - Borough Council reduces tax levy to $0.018 per $100 of assessed property
• 2016 - "Policy and Procedure" guidelines created by Open Space Committee to enable entities within Madison to apply for and use funds
• 2018 - $257,264 balance in OSTF
Matching Grants (State and County):
• $10,200,000 - Morris County Preservation Trust Fund
• $4,050,650 - NJDEP Green Acres
Jim Burnet, CMFO, Chief Financial Officer, Assistant Borough Administrator, followed up Ms. Davis’s presentation with comments on the Open Space Pro Forma. He opined that “reserving or ‘setting aside’ the funds is the most prudent way to manage and appropriate the funds.” The Pro Forma assumes that the user fees are increased to $50 per player and that the Little League participates. Mr. Burnet explained that the Pro Forma supports these conclusions: $1.1 million for reskinning of the turf field can be fully funded; $1 million can be appropriated for a new turf field, that the project can start in 2019, and that funds will be accumulated and reserved from 2019-2014; $250,000 to $350,000 will be available annually for other projects to be determined; all other obligations currently paid for out of the Open Space Fund are covered (land/turf debt, Common Area maintenance, etc).
The second topic of the Council meeting was a presentation by Council member John Hoover of electric utility reliability in the borough. He stated that there were 16 outages in 2017, the largest of which was a garbage truck fire which burned electric wires causing outages for a “long period of time.” The average customer in Madison sustained 30.6 minutes of outage over the year. Compared to other utilities, Madison is in the top 10% in terms of the least amount of outage by minutes. Mr. Hoover concluded that “this proves that Madison has a great utility.”