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Boro Refining Plan to Fix Up Infrastructure

Updated five-year plan will be presented soon and funds budgeted for pump station work could be locked in, Councilman Rob Catalanello said.

Borough engineer Bob Vogel is planning an annual update to Madison's five-year capital improvement plan to identify the most important road, pipe, line and pump repairs, Madison could lock in funding that was budgeted for pump station repairs to ensure the upgrades are completed, and a form could be posted on the borough website outlining all of the projects planned in Madison and why they are important, Councilman Rob Catalanello said Tuesday.

A 48-inch concrete water transmission pipe , flooding some homes and a school gymnasium, and Catalanello said in an interview that incident highlights the importance of maintaining infrastructure.

"That's something we don't want to see here and that's why it's important we maintain the infrastructure," he said.

At the July 9 Madison Borough Council meeting, Catalanello said the roads are in bad shape but the piping beneath them is even worse, which is something he's been telling residents about since at least the fall.

"I don't think we face that sort of immediate risk," he said of the Scotch Plains water main break. "We have infrastructure issues and we're going to address them."

The ruptured pipe in Scotch Plains was installed in the 1970s, a spokesperson for New Jersey American Water said, and it wasn't known for sure what caused it to break, according to reports.

One of the infrastructure problem scenarios Catalanello describes doesn't involve water transmission lines or decayed roads, but the borough sewer system underneath the roads.

So when residents brought a petition to the governing body to have Green Avenue paved by June, saying the poor condition of the road hurts property values, he said there could be other priorities.

"Starting last summer and certainly last fall I began warning residents that as bad as the roads were—and, believe me, the conditions of the roads is one of the things that made me run for office—what was underneath them was significantly worse. Absolutely.

"It's one thing to talk about flat tires. My wife has blown out a flat tire on Green Avenue. I live right around the corner. I know how bad it is. But if the pump stations fail we have 30 to 40 percent of the town under sewage. I promise you, no one's moving here. and our property values are worth a lot less and that costs a lot more to fix than the roads. ... I cannot commit to doing any project until we get input again from the department heads as to what the state is of our critical infrastructure."

Maintenance of the North Street pump station is under way, 100-year-old force mains are being replaced on Park Avenue and "that's just scratching the surface," he said.

Additionally, Madison could owe $3.6 million for repairs needed to the Madison-Chatham Joint Meeting, the sewer treatment plant it shares with Chatham.

So while it might be possible to repave Green Avenue by June, and Catalanello said Tuesday it looks like the road will have relatively high priority on the updated list of projects, he said at the July 9 meeting it wasn't a project Madison ought to push ahead with without more consideration of the other infrastructure issues.

"I think it's reckless to try to push ahead and take money from fund balance this year knowing that we have $3.6 million in repairs that we must make to the Madison-Chatham Joint Meeting," he said.

Stephen McCann August 02, 2012 at 07:40 AM
It's not just about flat tires, it's a dangerous road that has been neglected and inappropriately maintained for years. Not to mention that it was opened up for a water main replacement in 2009 and patched on a temporary basis which has compromised the integrity of the road. These are some of the reasons why an ordinance was passed in 2011 to appropriate the funds necessary to fix this road . It was no mistake when our Borough Engineer recommended its reconstruction! When someone, God forbid, sustains serious injury then perhaps the road will be a priority without further debate and unfortunately , such is a possibility as I have seen several accidents over the years right before my eyes not to mention an unassuming bicyclist who went airborne when hitting a pot hole. It's a disgrace that we , as a community have to choose between safe roads or working pump stations isn't it ? Whoever made the decision to utilize our tax dollars recklessely on borough land purchases or other similar pet projects that benefit few while our aging infrastructure is exploding should be held accountable !
Bill Kingston August 03, 2012 at 12:00 AM
I agree with what you said here Stephen. Most of the land puchases were misguided and totally inappropriate for the Borough to assume. But even worse was the Lincoln Place reconstruction. Did we really need to spend $800,000 on that "improvement". Where is the benefit there, and who benefited for $800k? What a total waste of money at a time when the Borough officials clearly knew they were headed into serious fiscal challenges! Or how about the $179,000 on the street light project at Kings and Prospect? Unfortunately we could go on and on - and yes, you got it right about "a few" who benefit from many of the projects undertaken over the years.
Karen M August 03, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I agree that money has been spent in the wrong places, and I would concur that Lincoln Place was a huge waste of money. I'm a North Street resident, and have been for my entire 51 years and the pump station is a disgrace. The odor that comes from it wafts up the street where I can smell it. The odor that backs up into the homes, particularly, my mom's house, is quite disgusting. We too had our pipes done and the street is patched halfway down to East Street, with the rest being paved. How does that make any sense? We have no curbing what so ever and when the contractors dug up the street, they also screwed up the entrance to my driveway. My mom and I complained about the odor for the longest time, and no one ever came out to check it. I understand that the cost of everything has gone up, but the Madison that I once knew, is no more. If I didn't have my elderly mother to care for, I would most definitely move out of town. The town has changed, and its not always for the better.
Aladdin Sarsippius Sulemenagic Jackson III August 03, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Lincoln Place looks great - it was not a waste of money. And even if it was a waste, I recall that project was Links' entire platform when he ran for council - and he won. So the people of Madison spoke up and supported the project by electing Links. Similarly, Conley was hesitant about the MRC, whereas Holden supported it - and Conley won handily. That means the folks in Madison hate the MRC, but we're stuck with it now. If the Green Avenue folks had any political muscle, their road would have been completed by now. But they don't - so that is that. That is how democracy works. It isn't great, but it is better than any alternative.
Karen M August 04, 2012 at 02:24 AM
You are entitled to your opinion, however I would still disagree with you and I would say that it was money that didn't need to be spent on a street that didn't need a revamp. I did not vote for Mr. Links, nor did I support the project. Lincoln place looks nice, but it wasn't in a state of disrepair that it needed to be addressed well before other necessary problems within the town. I would say that their priorities are alittle off when it comes to addressing what is deemed to be of the highest priority. I would hate to believe that political muscle is the only way to get a road paved. I would think that those who are in charge would look at the condition of the road and make their decision based upon that. Unfortunately, the high cost of repairing roads, pipes, pump stations can be draining on the budget. With the way the economy is, I'm not holding too much faith in the boro getting the necessary funding to fix everything.

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