Social media cause frustrations

Residents posting misinformation on the Medford Township Facebook page have prevented township manager Chris Schultz from working on the budget, officials said.

Schultz addressed his frustration during the Feb. 5 township council meeting.

Mayor Frank Czekay checked the various social media sites run by the township and noticed the problem.

“I happened to find comments about trash implementation and leaf collection for the township. Quite frankly, I was shocked by the comments because they were not put out there as opinion, they were put out there as fact,” said Czekay.

The comments stemmed from trash pickup, which was recently changed.

One resident claimed the trash trucks were too big to move freely in neighborhoods or pick up the “old style” round trashcans, forcing the collectors to pick up cans by hand, according to an email sent to Schultz. The email also mentioned touching cans being knocked over after residents had placed them curbside.

According to Schultz, cans were never allowed to touch and has been addressed in the past. Currently, the trucks are being “retro fitted” to accommodate the small areas of the township with older trashcan models. Additionally, the collector picking up the trashcans is moving more quickly than the township workers, who rode in the cab and moved more slowly to the cans.
On social media, residents addressed leaf collection, a process that began in October.

One comment from Facebook detailed the township’s purchase of a $17,000 vacuum truck, according to Schultz. The unnamed commenter detailed how there are frozen leaves on the ground, forcing more manpower to shovel the leaves and adding two extra hours of overtime, “an extra expense the township cannot afford,” the comment said.

“My response: the township does not use shovels for leaf collection. We use pitchforks and rakes. Leaf collection hasn’t slowed whether the leaves are frozen to the ground or not,” said Schultz.

Since the township is no longer responsible for trash collection, more employees were assigned to work on leaves and brush to speed up the process.

One of four leaf vacuums is currently being repaired and the township is collecting as quickly as possible, Schultz said. Additionally, all overtime is accounted for if the township needs to approve it.

“It’s no secret I’m frustrated with the social media world,” said Schultz. “I spent the last two days reacting to comments made on the social media pages. I’m not the monitor, it’s not attributable and it’s misinformation.”

As a result of answering residents, Schultz did not have a budget prepared for the meeting as planned.

He claimed he is still within the state’s timeline to submit the budget. Schultz plans to introduce the budget by March and have it up for adoption by late April.

Pinelands Branch Library

In July, the township received a letter from the county addressed taking care of the building or relinquishing responsibility to the county.

Councilman Jeff Beenstock recently worked with freeholders, reaching a 1-year agreement to take care of the facility.
The agreement would cover maintenance, utilities and insurance up to $30,000.

Beenstock hopes for approval at the next freeholders meeting.

The agreement was originally supposed to be met in April 2012, as addressed in a letter sent to the township in July.

Schultz recently visited the building to determine the number of repairs to do.

The township will be fixing potholes, lights, taking care of downed trees, gutter issues, the paint at the crossing strips and cracks in the interior walls.

“We will continue to evaluate how the library is doing going forward,” said Schultz.

Webster/Still property

The township recently spoke with state representatives in the parks division to clean up and renovate the Webster/Still property located on Church Road.

“The goal is to make the property a viable park resource,” said Pace.

According to Councilman James “Randy” Pace, the state and township do not have sufficient funds for the project, however a couple of organizations have stepped up financially.

“I’m impressed with the level of intellect, time, effort and their ability to bring together volunteers to make this thing happen,” he said. “They’re moving forward and are going to make it happen.”

Additionally, the state is willing to discuss a contract and a management agreement to make it a historical site.

According to Pace, the cost to the township wouldn’t be more than a minimal staff.

Next meeting

Public hearing for the ordinances will be held at the next township council meeting on Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Meetings are held at the Public Safety Building located at 91 Union Street.