SPARTA, NJ- The July 9 Sparta Township Council Meeting began at 7:30 pm and lasted approximately an hour and a half. At the beginning of the meeting, there was a petitioner that went before the council.
Patrick Sutherland, founder of Vidoovy whose tagline is “Where Communities Strut Their Stuff,” made a brief presentation regarding the services his company offers and how they can help Sparta’s Main Street merchants gain publicity. He said that he saw the problem being the huge success of big box businesses which has led the majority of shoppers away from main streets for shopping. Sutherland’s offered solution was a video based community asset map, using the Google interface, where customers can scroll through and see personalized videos from the stores on the map that they want to shop in. these videos can be linked to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or a stores website.
The Vidoovy Platform is free to the township and includes ten free geo located videos with sign up. The cost is $495 for the Economy Pack, $895 for the Standard Pack and $1,495 for the Premium Pack. In order to make the program successful, Sutherland would need to get 10 to 15 businesses to participate. He will be attending the next Chamber Meeting to make a similar presentation and, if he deems the project possibly successful, he will reach back out to the council.
“I’ve married my advertising experience with personal awareness,” said Sutherland in regard to identifying the problems and solutions he is faced with in bringing shoppers to main streets.
“In my experience in advertising when you think of the hundreds and millions of dollars that goes behind the Home Depots, the Best Buys, that’s a big uphill fight for the little hardware store. We want to get people shopping local again.”
Town manager David Troast was not present this meeting, so the Manager’s Report was delivered by Sam Rome with some comments added and questions fielded by Township Engineer Eric Powell. They gave councilwoman Christine Quinn permission to add the Vo-Tech Summer Work Program to the Newsletter and they reminded the council that there is a Special Election that will be taking place in August the same day as a council meeting, so the meeting was moved to August 6, while the other August meeting will be held on the 27th. Their final bullet point was that the staff examined the budget and the $1,500 fee for the Millennium Strategies Grant Writing, which was discussed at the previous meeting, can be expended.
Attorney Thomas Ryan said that he will get a resolution going.
Nothing was discussed in Old Business.
In New Business, deputy mayor Whilesmith mentioned that she met with a representative from Million Moms March, and was provided with materials about their current focus which is the accidental injury of children from gun fire due to improper storage. She was given permission to put the link on the Sparta website (AskingSavesKids.org).
Councilman Jerry Murphy made a statement saying his personal opinion that there will be forthcoming government projects for libraries and he does not believe that the Sparta Library should be subjected to anything from any political parties.
During the Open Public Sessions three people spoke. Sebastian Cook of Troop 150 spoke to the council proposing his Eagle Scout project.
“I want to build two signs at the Sparta White Lake Field near the road, so that when people pass by the field they know what the fields are called, as right now there aren’t any signs there,” said Cook.
“I plan to raise funds for this project mainly by sending out requests for donations to companies, family, friends, anyone who wishes to donate to this project; my budget is about $300. Around the bottom of the sign I plan to have a mulch circle with some flowers to add a little liveliness to it.”
The council gave him recommendations of who he should get in contact with to aid him in his proposal and even what type of flowers will not be eaten by deer.
Paul Johnson spoke to the council about how the garbage cans are not being returned to their proper places and Powell told him that Blue Diamond has been made aware of the issue; regarding the Million Moms March link for gun safety, he said that the town needs to be careful with what organizations the link is from and make sure they are reputable. His final issue concerned information from a NJ Herald article that stated that a township employee had a generator problem and used the town one; the article, according to Johnson, said that township employees work hard for the town and it was a perk, not a problem. Johnson said he would have liked the council to speak up on the issue.
Winfred Ginder also complained about the article and the situation with the township employee. He was upset that this happened as those who do not work for the town could need a generator and would not be able to use it.
Mayor Gil Gibbs said that it is difficult to comment without all of the facts and that he did not want to rely solely on the article. He added that the situation will be investigated and he will make a comment at a meeting once everything is in order.
There was a hearing and subsequent adoption of two Ordinances. Ordinance 13-08, an ordinance of the Township of Sparta accepting a utility easement from Italo P. Mesias, and Ordinance 13-09, an ordinance of the Township of Sparta Authorizing the sale of the Township’s Summit Lake Water System.
One Resolution was adopted; a refund of the State Tax Appeal Credit, and one was withdrawn.
Quinn gave a Communications Committee update, saying that the Newsletter was delayed, but will be out shortly.
The next township council meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m.
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