Council Praises School District For Quick Action After Attempted Child Abduction

Deputy Mayor John E. Schon, Councilwoman Molly Anne Whilesmith and Councilman Gilbert Gibbs. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Mayor Jerry Murphy,Deputy Mayor John Schon and Councilwoman Molly Anne Whilesmith. Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo
Credits: Jennifer Fratangelo

SPARTA, N.J. - "I just want to commend the school board for issuing a Genesis alert and that it was sent out at 7:00 a.m. before our children were out waiting at bus stops," said Sparta Township Councilwoman Molly Whilesmith, at the Tuesday, October 23 Council Meeting.

Genesis is an emergency email alert system. To access the Genesis Login on the Sparta Township Public Schools' website, click here.

Parents also received calls that morning before school via the Honeywell Instant Alert System. 

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On Saturday, October 20 at 5 p.m., a mother and father reported to the Sparta Township Police Department that on Thursday, October 18, their daughter was approached at her school bus stop in the afternoon by a male in a vehicle, who asked her several times if she needed a ride. The driver departed after the girl's family arrived.

The incident happened on the corner of Sussex Mills Road, and Lambert Drive.

The police department described the characteristics of the perpetrator as, “brown Hair, age: Mid-30s, a tattoo on the inside of his right forearm, the man was wearing a black shirt with some red on it and a baseball cap.”

An adult family member who saw the vehicle while picking up the child from the bus stop described it as, "an older model tan/brown, four-door vehicle, possibly an Audi., which looked, 'battered.'”

Sgt. John-Paul Beebe from the Sparta Township Police Department said, "The Sparta Police are urging all residents to be extremely vigilant and report (immediately) any suspicious activity in their respective neighborhoods. Anyone with information concerning the above mentioned incident is urged to contact Sparta police Headquarters by dialing 9-1-1. Det. Terrence Mulligan is the lead investigator in this incident."

In other business:

  • The station park lighting update was approved.
  • The employee manual will continue to be discussed by the November 27th meeting. Said Township Manager David Troast, “What I do need is some direction to move it forward.”
  • The following Introduction of Ordinances was approved: to accept the dedication of Town Center Drive as a public street and an authorization of emergency appropriations to revise tax maps; in the Hearing of Ordinance the amending of “Solid Waste Management” in order to provide a grace period for paying utility bills was approved.
  •  Ten resolutions were also approved during the meeting: a resolution for a special emergency appropriation to revise tax maps, resolution to release of bond- Jersey Investors Growth, a resolution for a raffle application and a bingo application, both for the Knights of Columbus Marquette Council #588, a resolution for a raffle application for Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, a refund of tax overpayments resolution, a refund of state tax appeal credit resolution, a “resolution authorizing contract for professional engineering services for the township’s litigation with Nordic Contracting Co., Inc. and SOR Testing Laboratories, Inc.,” an award of contract for Electrical Service Resolution and, lastly, a sale of real property resolution.
  • The resolutions were followed by discussing unfinished business. The first, Homer’s Restaurant, Mayor Jerry J. Murphy said, “We do not have an update.” The second point was the parking ordinance involving the Sparta Diner of which the council is still waiting to hear from the police department and fire marshal. The final piece of unfinished business involved the evaluation policy for the township manager and township clerk where more information will be given at the November 27th meeting.
  • In the New Business portion of the meeting, the council discussed that they would like the results of the speed study and are continuing to look into the speed situation on Houses Corner Road; that they will be putting out requests for proposals in the new year for a Grant Writing Service and that the Medical Drug Receptacle, which will be located at the police department, is on order.
  • From the prior meeting, the council also mentioned that they are working on the transfer of vehicles to the EMT squad.
  • Also under New Business, Deputy Mayor John E. Schon questioned Troast about where the council is with their budget. After stating that they will know better when they close out their books, Troast said, “We should be going into the year in a positive situation.”
  • The final order of New Business was a reminder that on Friday, October 26th at 5:30 p.m. the town is sponsoring Trunk or Treat and the Munchkin March as Halloween festivities.
  • During the public sessions the following issues were raised and discussed. Jesse Wolosky, brought up the issue of double taxing, where there is a late fee charge and a charging on the tax on the late fee. Councilwoman Whilesmith explained to him that the late charge is an incentive for people to pay their bills. Wolosky also brought up the continuous property issue. He stated that there is a need to inform property owners of a public sale and that it is not a contract between a property owner and a public bidder. Wolosky wanted everyone to understand the above information and the point of refusal by property owners.
  • The other issue raised during the Public Session was by Rick Sullivan who questioned the council on where they stand on continuous property owners and public auctions. Attorney Thomas Ryan explained that the council has discretion of whether or not they would open a bid on a property to the public or have a restricted auction just for continuous property owners; it must be either one or the other. Sullivan also asked about recycling grant money, as the council promised to see what was done in the past and report back, two meetings ago. Township Manager Troast explained that in the past the town has purchased recycling material and created brochures and sent out mailings encouraging recycling, among other things.

The next township council meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 13, at 7:30 p.m.


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