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Township discusses new platform for future virtual meetings

Committee sessions may relocate after Zoom contract expires

The Tabernacle Township Committee has discussed switching platforms for its virtual meetings following expiration of a one-year contract with Zoom.

According to Township Administrator and Municipal Clerk Maryalice Brown, Tabernacle’s  agreement with Zoom expired just days before the committee’s regular September meeting. The session was conducted after Brown garnered a one-week extension of that contract to allow time for public discussion. 

Rather than renewing the year-long agreement with Zoom, Brown recommended the township pursue a plan to pay substantially less – or nothing at all – for a virtual meeting platform.

“Our Zoom account was up for renewal,” Brown said. “Last year’s contract was $1,289.60, and it had a lot of extras in it that we just didn’t need; it was a little overdone. I talked to Zoom and I was able to get our account down to $299.80 for the year, but the only problem is, they only take a credit card if your account is under $150 per month.

“Of course, being a government agency, we don’t use credit cards,” she added. “They will not accept a purchase order and they will not accept an ACH (automated clearing house). I’ve been arguing with them for about two weeks now trying to explain to them that government entities do not use credit cards.”  

Brown, who also works for another municipality, recommended that the committee allow her to pursue discussions with the township’s finance department about using a free service, FreeConferenceCall.com, for the remainder of the calendar year until a long-term solution is approved. She said the township currently has no plans to return to in-person meetings and will continue with virtual sessions for the foreseeable future.

Committee member Bob Sunbury Jr. had discussions with former township administrators regarding a credit card for township use. 

“I had talked, going back two administrators now, about … getting a credit card for the municipality, because there are many, and I mean many, different vendors that require credit cards from government agencies for making purchases such as this,” he explained. 

“That was supposed to have been done quite a long time ago, and I would like to see that followed up on, so that the different departments would have access and be able to make purchases, should they need to.” 

Following approval, Brown said information regarding what platform is chosen will be shared on the township website ahead of the next scheduled committee meeting. 

Also during last month’s meeting, the township approved on second reading an ordinance that would allow for placement of speed limit signs along Tuckerton Road, between Route 206 and Forked Neck Road. The road is shared by both Shamong and Tabernacle, and the ordinance was approved by the former. 

The measure was necessitated by the lack of an official speed limit along the nearly two-mile stretch. Its passage will result in speed limit signs along both sides of the road, following coordination and approval by the two municipalities.

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