In spite of the fact that every penny of our property taxes comes directly out of our pockets, not many of us knows exactly what happens to it after that.
Yet that information – exactly where every penny goes – is readily available on Madison Borough’s rosenet.org website. It’s a two-page document published every year in clear and understandable terms: the Budget Summary.
There we can see in the most concrete terms exactly how lucky we are in our elected representatives on the Madison Borough Council: We get better services for less money than our neighboring towns do. We get more reliable electrical services, we get outstanding schools, we get beautifully placed and maintained parks, we get garbage collection, senior citizen services that include a van, an AAA bond rating – and a declining use of tax dollars as part of the municipal budget – down 7 percent since 2011.
We get all those things from a predominantly Democratic Council that year after year constructs tight budgets while providing substantial capital investments, superb fire and police departments, clean water and air. They do it by forming creative service partnerships and by meticulously successful grant applications – grants totaling more than $1.5 million in 2018 alone.
They do it by questioning every line item and by hiring outstanding employees. Democrats have proven that they are good with resources – good at raising and investing money, good with saving it, and good at passing the savings along to us.
A quick look at this year’s budget is all the reason a thoughtful person needs to be an enthusiastic proponent of the two Democratic candidates for Council – Astri Baille and Deb Coen. Astri, a lifelong resident of Madison, should certainly be re-elected on the basis of her track record. She’s been a leading voice in all the good decisions our Council has made about open space, about every part of every budget, about the capital investments, and about our reliable services and utilities. We need her strategic planning, her commitment to a healthy environment, and her active support for small and local businesses. Astri is a sure bet for continued good government.
Deb Coen brings a new set of skills to the Council – she’s a mom with kids in our schools. She’s a techie, with a master’s degree in technology education and experience as a teacher. Like all the other Democratic council members, she brings with her a long history of volunteering, yet unlike any other candidate, she has first-hand experience with the education part of our municipal budget: prior to running for the Madison Council, Deb served on the Madison Board of Education, a body which governs the spending of 62.1 cents of every tax dollar Madison spends. We need exactly that specialized knowledge as part of Council deliberations.
So please, take a look at the hard evidence. We have a great Borough Council. On Nov. 6, vote for Democratic candidates Astri Baille and Deb Coen, because they bring with them what the Council needs to continue to be responsive, transparent, strategic, and fair.