Borough Council Meeting 2-27-23: Department Budget Presentations and Upcoming Community Events

Department budgets may not seem like the most thrilling topic, but what these public servants deliver for Madison is key to quality of life and is the heart of what keeps Madison going strong. Get 2022 crime statistics (hint: you might be surprised), hear about the Fire Department plea for support, learn about the most visited public building in Madison, and find out what plans are for 2023 across departments.

Watch the meeting hereView PresentationsSee past meeting recaps
View Agendas hereView Ordinances hereView Resolutions here

Mayor’s Update

  • As always, the Council meeting opened first with Mayor Conley remembering beloved Madison residents who we’ve lost since the last meeting.
  • In case you missed it, the Masonic Lodge on Main Street is going on the market. The Mayor expressed disappointment that they decided to sell the building, but appreciates their willingness to work with the Borough on preserving the oldest church building in Madison. The Mayor hopes to work with the Masons or new property owners to save and restore the building, and to be able to lease space for the Senior Center as was planned.

Committee Reports

  • Community Affairs
    • Easter Fun Fest takes place Saturday April 1 from 11 am to 2:30 pm
    • At the Madison Community Arts Center on April 1 they will have a music festival with Drew University groups. 12 to 8 pm.
    • May Day will now be called Madison Green and Clean and take place on Saturday April 29th from 9 to 3.
      • Programming will be an enhanced format to focus on environmental and green initiatives
      • Much of the activities will be the same as in the past.
    • Many more community events were shared.
  • Finance
    • Council member Ehrlich commented on the continued focus on informing residents about the budgeting process and mentioned the Madison Eagle article that applauded the transparency and communications from the Borough and Council. Ms. Ehrlich encouraged all residents to be informed about this important process.
  • Public works
    • Dodge field bathrooms have been renovated. Lucy D is next up.
    • Yard waste pick up starts next week.
  • Engineering
    • Shade Tree updates: More ambitious tree replacement is underway by the Borough, residents are encouraged to do their part to avoid cutting down trees and replacing any trees with hardwood varieties.
  • Health Department
    • NJ Age Friendly Advisory Council hosting listening sessions. Seniors can hear about what is available for health services and voice any concerns about unaddressed needs.
  • Safety
    • Idling in the Borough was highlighted as an enforcement area of focus– educational info to be passed out in problem areas- Train station, Madison Plaza, school locations.
    • MPD Coffee with a Cop event was highlighted, all are invited to attend on March 3rd:

Budget Update

In the next part of the meeting, different department heads shared highlights of 2022 and plans for 2023. View the meeting video for full details.

  • Construction Dept
    • Increased use of the Portal by residents for requests has lead to phone requests down, which is a huge positive, freeing up resources
    • Council member Ehrlich commented: Residents can now search to see if a tree removal permit has been issued if they see trees being cut down and are concerned. You can now look it up online.
  • Police Department
    • Org chart has not changed– staffing and units are the at the same levels as in the past.
    • Calls for service saw a 25% increase from 2020.
    • 53% increase in motor vehicle stops.
    • Crime levels are way down for motor vehicle, theft, and burglary. Chief Miscia commented that residents are listening about locking up their cars. Also Madison started a task force with surrounding towns to target these crimes. Heavier patrol presence in residential areas and license plate readers helps too.
    • View all statistics and goals here (click to enlarge):
  • Council members had a few comments including:
    • Bob Landrigan applauded the focus on school safety in our current climate. And also was pleased to see Autism training to help interactions with residents on the spectrum.
    • Rachel Ehrlich noticed the increased traffic and parking tickets and motor vehicle stops and asked if there a correlation to heightened concerns about roads and street safety?  Chief Miscia said yes, it’s connected.

Fire Department

  • The focus of this presentation was on the need to increase volunteers and a call for more hiring of paid staff.
  • Call volume up slightly– but it’s hard to keep up with staffing level.
  • New construction is a concern– there is a responsibility to protect and it causes concerns if there is a fire incident. 
  • The Fire Department needs more people to maintain our ISO rating and avoid overtime.
  • EMS is starting to fail as well from lack of personnel.
  • Here are a few of the slides that were shared:


  • The Library is preparing for construction at the same time they expanded collections and collaborations.  Example: New museum pass program.
  • As the most visited public building in Madison, as construction starts in 2023, temporary operations need to be setup for access.
  • Financials are under stress from the endowment going down (stock market-related) and removing fines for most materials.  Also less income is coming from Chase Auditorium being unavailable due to construction project.
  • Council member Ehrlich asked about the bid process because of construction cost increases.  What if they come in too high?  Dave Luber responded that they might need to scale back or sequence the projects.
  • The presentation include a snapshot of statistics, with a comment that Non-digital rebounded from pre-pandemic, but no where near where it was before. Digital holding strong, well above prior level.


The final department to present was Engineering– the smallest team, but one that performs vital tasks. They shared a snapshot of projects from 2022 and then highlights for 2023 which include water and electric projects:

Remaining Meeting Highlights

  • Public comments were limited to one resident thankful for Memorial Park Trail construction improvements, but also asking for more work to be done in other sections, and one reminding us of the importance of saving the Drew Forest.
  • Various ordinances were read with no public comments.
  • Consent agenda items were read and voted on.

The next meeting is Monday March 13th.