Boards meet to dis­cuss projects

Times Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - By Jar­reau Free­man

In an ef­fort to col­lab­o­rate and save funds, the Jenk­in­town Bor­ough Coun­cil and the Jenk­in­town School Board held their first meet­ing to dis­cuss joint co­op­er­a­tive ini­tia­tives Aug. 27.

While bor­ough coun­cil and school board mem­bers were gath­ered in the community room at the Jenk­in­town School Dis­trict build­ing on High­land Av­enue, Bor­ough Man­ager Carolyn Hanel and As­sis­tant Bor­ough Man­ager Christo­pher Bashore out­lined projects they be­lieved would be of min­i­mal cost to both the bor­ough and school dis­trict.

Bashore pro­posed the idea of a community video he said would help im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween community mem­bers, the bor­ough and school dis­trict. Bashore said CGI Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc., the com­pany they would like to work with, will cre­ate video clips that will run 60 to 90 sec­onds.

Hanel said wel­come, ed­u­ca­tion, real es­tate and re­lo­ca­tion, qual­ity of life, community ser­vice and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment video clips are ones they hope to cre­ate and link to the bor­ough’s web­site.

Hanel said CGI has done videos for lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. Dur­ing the meet­ing, the school board and coun­cil mem­bers re­viewed video clips of a mu­nic­i­pal­ity that CGI has ser­viced.

“The community video will be of no cost to the school dis­trict and the bor­ough,” Hanel said. “It will be funded by spon­sors.”

Hanel said ad­ver­tise­ments will sell for A1,395 to A5,485.

School board mem­ber Maya Cheek asked if the school board or the bor­ough will have a say in what ad­ver­tise­ments would be linked to the videos.

“I don’t think the school dis­trict should ad­ver­tise cigars, liquor and guns,” Cheek said in ref­er­ence to ad­ver­tise­ments she no­ticed cir­cling the community videos they re­viewed.

Hanel said the com­pany will so­licit ad­ver­tise­ments from inside and out­side of the bor­ough. Al­though, the school board and the bor­ough won’t be able to choose the ad­ver­tis­ers, Hanel said the com­pany does a good job of match­ing ad­ver­tise­ments with video con­tent.

School board mem­ber Patty Cast­ner wanted to make sure the videos did not make prom­ises the bor­ough and school board could not keep.

“I wouldn’t want the video to say that you will fill 50 per­cent of our va­cant store fronts and you don’t,” she said. “I don’t want us to get into dan­ger­ous ter­ri­tory.”

Bashore said he and Hanel will be in­volved in script writ­ing for the video and con­tent won’t be used in the video un­less ap­proved by the bor­ough and the school board.

In ad­di­tion to the community video, Bashore asked the school board to con­sider a pub­lic ac­cess chan­nel with ei­ther Ver­i­zon or Com­cast ca­ble providers.

Bashore said the ca­ble provider would have to be con­tacted 120 to 180 days in ad­vance to pro­vide a chan­nel they will have to­tal con­trol of. Bashore said Ver­i­zon sets aside two chan­nels, one for gov­ern­men­tal and the other for ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram­ming; how­ever, re­gard­less of which provider they choose, both the school board and bor­ough coun­cil will have the op­por­tu­nity to broad­cast their board meet­ings live.

Hanel said both providers of­fered non-com­mer­cial chan­nels ex­cept for pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ments and slide show ad­ver­tise­ments the bor­ough and the school board pro­vide. The chan­nels will also run weather and traf­fic re­ports, she said.

“We have looked at other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties who have these chan­nels and were amazed at how many peo­ple watched them,” Hanel said.

Jim Cummins, di­rec­tor of tech­nol­ogy for the school dis­trict, es­ti­mated the project to cost in the range of A10,000.

“How much do we re­ally need this?” Cast­ner asked. “I re­ceive web­site no­ti­fi­ca­tions, I get the Times Chron­i­cle in the mail and I have [ac­cess] to the web­sites.”

Bor­ough Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Allyson Dobbs said this was some­thing that coun­cil was con­sid­er­ing and wanted to bring it be­fore the school board for fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion. Dobbs added that the bor­ough wants to do ev­ery­thing it can do com­mu­ni­cate with its con­stituency.

The board and coun­cil mem­bers also dis­cussed ways they could ac­cess open space grants for the school dis­trict. Dobbs said the bor­ough could get grant money for the school, but is un­able to do that un­less the bor­ough con­trolled the land.

“Cer­tain open space, de­vel­op­ment and fa­cil­ity grants have to go through the bor­ough,” said Hanel, when con­tacted fol­low­ing the meet­ing. “For these par­tic­u­lar grants the bor­ough could go into a 20-year leas­ing agree­ment so the school board can ac­quire those funds.”

The school board and bor­ough coun­cil agreed to hold an­other meet­ing in late Oc­to­ber to continue brain­storm­ing project ideas.

Dobbs said she would like to make meet­ings be­tween the bor­ough and the school dis­trict an­nual.

“We want to make sure doors of com­mu­ni­ca­tion are open,” she said.

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