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5 Madison Issues to Watch in 2014

Sustainability, electric surplus, Green Village Road School could be hot topics in new year.

Green Village Road School
Green Village Road School
Green Village Road School: We'll be staying tuned for any word on the sale and redevelopment of the former school building and grounds. The sale could bring millions of dollars of revenue for Madison, and the start of a major construction project in the borough. Also, look out for work being done next door: the owners of the adjacent Madison Manor apartment building, which was damaged in a November fire and demolished, say they plan to rebuild.

Madison Recreation Complex: Now that sports fields at the 49 acres are in place, officials and volunteers have been discussing what else can be done with the open space. We expect to hear more about a master plan for the site.

Electric Surplus: It was an issue in the November council campaign, and the conversation could continue in 2014: What should Madison do with an anticipated increase in the amount of surplus generated by Madison's electric utility once more favorable contracts for electricity kick in? The candidates elected in November, incumbent Robert Catalanello and his running mate, Patrick Rowe, have said it could be enough for a rate cut, while providing millions of dollars for needed capital projects. An opposing candidate, Maureen Byrne, said not so fast—Madison needs to analyze what projects need to be taken care of "before we start talking about giving people money back" on their electric bills.

Giralda Farms: Pfizer's Consumer Healthcare headquarters announced plans to move several hundred employees within the Madison office campus, while hundreds of employees of Pfizer's animal health subsidiary, Zoetis, relocated to Florham Park. Pfizer said it plans to sell the building it was in, 5 Giralda Farms. Will we hear about more movement at Giralda Farms?

Sustainability: Madison took steps to be more "green" in 2013, including a smoking ban and hosting its annual Green Fair and farmers market. Some of those efforts helped the borough win a Sustainability Champion award. Sustainability is an issue Madison residents and officials are passionate about. Look out for new initiatives and the continuation of established programs in the new year.

What would you add to the list?
Madison Station December 31, 2013 at 10:35 PM
I'd add to sustainability to look into Madison Electric becoming a generator of electricity as well as a distributor. Right over our heads is a huge nuclear power plant throwing it's energy at us most of the day. With the correct infrastructure, this energy is free for the taking, renewable, and will hopefully last for a few billion years. The energy captured from the sun could be used to reduce Madison's dependence on purchasing contract power, which during the summer heat wave peak periods can be quite expensive. Madison has a plethora of municipal and educational facilities where solar panels can be placed, and Madison Electric could develop a "roof lease" program with local businesses, office parks, landlords and homeowners. The downtown parking lots could be covered with panels as well, allowing shade for the cars underneath and cooler pavement during the summer. A few acres of the 49 acres could be used for panels as well. The added generation capability could be bonded and paid for over the lifespan of the installed units, which would mean for a more stable electric bill since, once bonded, it is not based on an energy market condition. Serious consideration of a plan should be developed and evaluated.

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