As the new Delran Council President, Tyler Burrell wants to be as proactive as possible.
“I realized in my first term how fast four years can go,” he remarked. “We have to work very hard and very efficiently. We have one of the greatest privileges in the world to work for the greater good.”
Being a smaller township government, its members rely on committees and groups to help move the town in the right direction. That’s how local government should work, according to Burrell.
It’s also how the township’s new communication committee was formed. A standing committee, the appointed members are working to evaluate the best ways the township can improve communication with residents.
Communication is an ever-changing landscape, and no two people want to receive all of the same information in the exact same ways. Some prefer websites, while others want to look toward social media, and still more may want to stay away from technology all together and rely on printed materials and phone messaging.
“There’s so many different ways we can get out information,” Burrell said, explaining the council was concerned they were potentially leaving a large group of residents in the dark by just using the township website. “We’re doing a disservice to the residents if we only provide that information in one medium.”
The new communication committee members come from different walks of life, from a college student to a school librarian, IT professionals to retirees. They’re from across the political spectrum, too. Burrell, Mayor Gary Catrambone and Councilman Tom Lyon also sit on the committee.
The committee’s first meeting was primarily brainstorming and trying to figure out who needs what information. The committee members are trying to consider all angles: from different age groups wanting different information, to needs changing based on where someone lives, such as in a single family home or an apartment complex.
When the group meets again later this month, Burrell is hoping they can start putting together recommendations.
Once the committee assesses the best way to disperse information to the community, it will make recommendations to council and the mayor, who will then figure out how to budget the money for the best plan of action.
The committee would then continue to reevaluate the services moving forward, although a concrete plan of how often this will take place has not yet been determined.
“I subscribe to the notion of a very proactive and engaged local government that becomes part of the fabric of the community. The township should reach out with information, keep people updated,” Burrell said.
The councilman called Delran’s services “one of the gold standards,” with other towns reaching out to learn more about its snow removal, trash collection and other services. Ensuring residents are aware of how these services work, including any changes to services, is critical, Burrell said.
A business school graduate, Burrell subscribes to the idea that if you’re not always innovating, you’re falling behind. He hopes the communication committee keeps Delran moving forward.
“Every month we’re not communicating with our residents is detrimental,” Burrell said.