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.