Democrats Point to Record of Sound Fiscal Practices

In a prepared joint statement, Mayor Bob Conley, Councilmembers Bob Landrigan and John Forte, and Planning Board member and Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Advisory Committee chair, Melissa Honohan, point to the Madison Borough Council’s 10+ years of sound fiscal practice.

Bob Conley is seeking an unprecedented fourth term as Mayor of Madison. Bob Landrigan and John Forte are running for full three-year terms on the Madison Borough Council.  Melissa Honohan is running for a one-year term, which will complete the final year of former Councilmember Debra Coen’s term (through 2024).

“We all know it’s not easy to balance our personal budgets when costs increase and there is uncertainty.  It’s no easier at the municipal level and we work hard to balance spending wisely to minimize the tax burden with maintaining the services and infrastructure that residents expect and make our town so desirable,” observed Councilmember Landrigan.

“Although municipal taxes, which include Madison’s library and open space assessments, represents only 22% of a residential property tax bill (the rest goes to the schools and county government), we make the most of that 22%.  It goes to help pay for a lot of services that Madison residents count on daily and reflect our shared values and priorities:  police and fire protection; school crossing guards, public works, recreation facilities and programs; our library, health department, and senior citizen services; the collection of trash, recyclables, and yard waste; downtown business development and cultural, historic and arts programs; sewage treatment; and seasonal leaf collection and snow plowing,” stated Councilmember Forte. “That’s a lot for about $257 a month (the bill for an average Madison home valued at $667,200).” 

“In addition, the council allocates monies from the electric utility surplus to the general capital improvement fund, which goes for investments in Madison’s roads, sewers, new public safety and DPW equipment and for debt service.,” added candidate Honohan.  “Funded separately by rate payers, the borough-owned utilities also provide electric power and water – at competitive rates and with superior service – for all its residents, businesses, schools, and other local organizations.”

Councilmember Landrigan recalls that: “When I was elected to the borough council in 2011 – the same year Bob Conley was first elected mayor – municipal services were under the knife, our AAA credit rating was in jeopardy, and we were not investing adequately in our roads and sewer systems. What limited funds we could devote to capital improvements came from drawdowns of the existing capital fund balance and one-time sales of borough property.

This was clearly not sustainable.  Something had to be done, and Bob Conley took the lead in doing it, proposing that we step back and begin a strategic planning process to improve municipal government.  Separate teams were established to address our budget process, capital spending and planning, our electric utility and how we communicate with our residents.

The Municipal Budget Strategic Planning Committee led by chair Tom Bintinger introduced the concept of multi-year budgeting. It also recommended specific measures for assessing the quality of a budget. These measures and the recommended levels for conformance were designed to ensure that municipal finances were managed in a prudent manner.”

“And it worked.,” observed candidate Honohan. “Today Madison’s municipal budgets are constructed through an open budget process that follows the strategic planning guidelines.  We now have a healthy fund balance and our AAA credit rating; there were no further service cuts; and we continue to invest in capital improvements in a pay-as-you-go manner.  As a result, Madison’s successfully weathered the Covid-19 induced revenue shortfalls of 2020 and 2021.

While other communities were forced to impose substantial tax increases just to balance their budgets, Madison was able to fund the Mayor’s Covid-19 Crisis Response Toolkit in 2020 that helped residents and businesses cope with the financial devastation wrought by the pandemic.”   

Over the past decade, the average annual municipal tax rate increase was less than 1%.  During those same 10 years, the average increase in the county tax rate was nearly double that. The increase in the municipal tax rate for 2023 was 1.8%.

“Had we not followed the guidelines and had the council adopted the irresponsible policies of sharp cuts in electric rates and reducing the borough’s fund balance advocated by past Republican candidates, none of this would have been possible,” stated candidates Landrigan, Forte, and Honohan 

 “As candidates for the borough council, we are committed to maintaining the responsible fiscal practices and following the transparent open budget process established over the past decade under the leadership of Mayor Bob Conley.”


Councilmember John Forte, Planning Board member Melissa Honohan, Mayor Bob Conley, and Councilmember Bob Landrigan, point to the Madison Borough Council’s 10+ years of sound fiscal practices and its open budget process.