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'Madison Came Out Stronger' From 2012, Mayor Says

Host of issues to tackle in new year, Bob Conley said.

Madison borough hall's refurbished fire horn that sounded to welcome the new year was powered by "a universal sigh of relief that 2012 was over," Mayor Bob Conley said in his New Year's message Tuesday.

"We had our challenges, but every time Madison came out stronger," he said.

Referring to the council firing and then reinstating Borough Administrator Ray Codey, Conley said the elected officials who made the unpopular decision listened to their constituents, recognized it was a mistake and made things right.

"Washington should take note," he said.

After Madison recovered from Superstorm Sandy, it helped neighboring towns get power back, and then partnered with Union Beach, which will be an ongoing effort in 2013, he said.

Councilman Don Links inspired the community by serving elected office while battling ALS. His three-year council term ended Dec. 31, but he wants to continue his work and was named to the Madison Recreation Advisory Committee.

Conley remembered Madison residents and officials who died in 2012 and toward the end of 2011: former mayors Glenn Head and Ralph Engelsman, longtime borough attorney Joseph Mezzacca Jr., builder Joe DeMarzo, and Madison Housing Authority members Barbara Valk, who founded the Madison Eagle Christmas Fund, and Irving Valkys, who served as the treasurer of Madison Little League.

In 2013, Madison will look to sell the former Green Village Road School property after working with the Madison Board of Education to maximize the value of the property and identify the developer best suited to develop the property.

The Madison Chief Executive Council, which kicked off in 2012, plans to meet in the new year and is poised to accomplish great things, Conley said.

Councilman Robert Catalanello has agreed to head an effort to address managing and fundraising for the Madison Recreation Center, and Conley said he will hold newly elected council members Astri Baillie and Ben Wolkowitz to their campaign platform of establishing long-term planning for Madison.

Conley said he and borough officials will aim to host quarterly town hall meetings about various Madison issues, and a meeting toward the start of the year to train the chairs of borough commissions and committees.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported how Mayor Bob Conley described Madison's partnership with Union Beach in his comments Tuesday.

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