Mahwah App Use Extended as Officials Question How Much it 'Delivers'

Since September, 769 people have downloaded Mahwah Delivers, which some township council members said showed potential, and others said did not.

After a back-and-forth discussion between Mahwah township council members and the mayor at a meeting Thursday night about the ‘Mahwah Delivers’ App, the council remained divided on whether or not the App should continue through 2014. But, they did agree the service should continue until they make a final decision on it.

At the meeting, Mayor Bill Laforet gave an update on the App, which he rolled out to the community at Mahwah Day in September. Since then, Laforet said 769 residents have downloaded the App, which allows users to submit requests or concerns about issues in town like potholes and hazardous conditions, as well as non-emergency tips to the Mahwah Police Department. Requests are then routed to the appropriate township department, and residents receive answers to their requests through the App.

“This has grown to become a very valuable tool,” Laforet said.

"Issues are being taken care of in a timely fashion. Residents really like it."

Of the 769 downloads, 94 users have registered with accounts on the App, and 62 have submitted requests or concerns through it, he said. Council members had differing opinions on the statistics.

“I am not totally impressed with the number of requests,” Councilman Steve Sbarra said. He also questioned whether or not residents are “tech savvy enough” to download and use the App.

Councilman Harry Williams disagreed, saying he felt the numbers were a positive indication of the App’s potential.

“I think this is pretty impressive,” he said.

“This came out at Mahwah Day, and [has not been marketed] since…If we all decide to support this and take it to the next level, get it out there and show it to the people…I see the potential for this to grow.”

Council President John Roth said he supported the use of more technology in the township, but asked to see a trajectory of anticipated downloads. At this point, “it sure as hell isn’t cost effective,” he said, but noted that he’d be interested to see its growth potential.

Last year, Laforet agreed to an about $3,000 contract for six months of service from PublicStuff, the company that operates the App. If the council decides to renew the service, it would cost about $6,000 for an entire year of service, township officials said.

Since its introduction, the App has been a contentious issue amongst council members because Laforet purchased it without their consent. Thursday night, Councilman Rob Hermansen questioned why Laforet agreed to allow PublicStuff to extend the service for free until a decision is made on the App, without first consulting the council. He also questioned who paid for Facebook ads promoting the App, and who approved the payments.

Laforet said that PublicStuff paid for the ads, and that he approved that.

“Is this a dictatorship?” he asked Laforet during the discussion.

“I see seven other people sitting up here. You do not make every decision in this town.”

After a lengthy debate, the council decided to agree to PublicStuff’s temporary extension of the App. Laforet said the company has said it will allow the service to continue for free until the council makes a final decision on whether or not to keep it, which they say will happen during budget hearings over the next few months.   

No matter the final vote on the App, Laforet said the town will not get a bill for the service that has been continued since the original contract lapsed on Dec. 31.

The five council members at the meeting Thursday agreed unanimously to the temporary extension in a straw poll. The township attorney is expected to draw up a resolution reflecting the extension for the next meeting.

Have you used the Mahwah Delivers App? If so, tell us your thoughts on it in the comments section below. Think the council should vote to keep it for good? 

John P. D'Angelo January 25, 2014 at 07:19 AM
I believe this service enables people to get efficient action without being confused on who to call when they have a problem. The cost is minimal to the benefits and upgrades mahwah technology. Additionally, it is disturbing that when a good idea comes forth council members are very quick to shoot holes it because they weren't the ones who tnought of it first
Drew January 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM
Its great..welcome to the 21st Century. Keep it!!!! No more voice mail calls, permitting people to hide.
Kathleen Brewster January 25, 2014 at 01:01 PM
Since the Mayor is so confident about the Mahwah App. and the Council was UNSURE about it's future, "Easy Fix" The Mayor gets $17,000 to $18,000 each year. For the next three years cut his funds by $6,000 per year and let him gamble with his money, not mine. I do well enough on my own!
John P. D'Angelo January 25, 2014 at 02:35 PM
Kathleen, What an asinine suggestion.This proposal was to be a benefit for all Mahwah residents not for the Mayor's own personal use For a person to forgo his business for a paltry 18,000 a year would be an insult. If you have a problem with the mayor confront him directly as you know where you can find him.
Mike Craine January 25, 2014 at 03:42 PM
I dunno... I think it's easier and cheaper to use carrier pigeons to report problems to the town... Certainly, that would get rid of the pesky of problem of residents not being "tech-savvy" enough!! Just curious... What does $6000 represent in terms of the overall town budget? Can any of the $6000 be offset by a reduction in staff/hours of people working for the township, that might otherwise have handled requests that we can now use this app for?
Regenbogen January 25, 2014 at 04:48 PM
I was in complete favor of this app until I realized it was not acquired in the proper fashion. It is a convenience. However, knowing that many of our township families were without Thanksgiving dinner, leads me to believe, we could go without this app. and apply these funds to more needy use.
Mona Lot January 26, 2014 at 05:59 AM
JP this is just another Jim and Billy deal that they love to bully the council to show who they think are in charge, I'm sure the council is not concerned about the benefit to the tax payer because it is beneficial its just the way it was forced on the taxpayers without the ok of the council,isn't bullying against the law?
John P. D'Angelo January 26, 2014 at 06:42 AM
Mona Bullying shows a lack of respect so who is JIMMY AND BILLY. That my Dear shows a lack of respect.
Regenbogen January 26, 2014 at 10:41 AM
I agree...Mona Lot should address our mayor and police chief in the proper manner. However, Mr. D'Angelo, the name Jimmy was never used. Also, spellcheck is helpful!
John P. D'Angelo January 26, 2014 at 01:14 PM
Rog, You get the point at least you dfdn't tell me to go to Snopes.
Regenbogen January 26, 2014 at 02:19 PM
Mr. D'Angelo, I hope you have a secretary! My name does not begin with Rog!! Your spelling of the word "doesn't" is different! That D and F are close on the keyboard!
John P. D'Angelo January 26, 2014 at 07:25 PM
MR.Rogenbogen, I hope that I spelt your name correctly. You see in this day age what really disturbs me is people who feel they must be correctly right all the time. Let's leave it at that because it really has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Have a nice evening and a good life
Regenbogen January 26, 2014 at 09:15 PM
Mr. D'Angelo Nope, still spelled it wrong. Perhaps a spellcheck app would help you!
Think Twice January 27, 2014 at 12:05 PM
Looks like typical politics at play regarding this app. An app like this is going to take at least a year, maybe two, to gain maximal awareness by the townspeople and for them to use it. People need to remember the hidden savings, as this will help the town handle things more efficiently without wasting time, which costs money. The other council members sound like they don't want it just because they weren't included on the decision to purchase it.
Think Twice January 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM
Just went to go download the app myself, and there's no mention of it or where to download it anywhere on the Mahwah Township website. Perhaps it's buried somewhere and I missed it, but this further proves the point that it's not being advertised properly. I had to resort to using Google to ultimately find the app in the App Store.
Regenbogen January 27, 2014 at 12:26 PM
Think Twice Did you do a "search" on your App. Store app? Mahwah Delivers app comes right up.
Think Twice January 27, 2014 at 02:10 PM
I did, but the point is that only people explicitly looking for a Mahwah App will know to do that. If this app wants widespread usage, they should be telling people about it who may not otherwise know about it, like on the Mahwah homepage.
Concerned Parent/Taxpayer January 27, 2014 at 05:32 PM
Everyone, this issue is not if the app is useful or not. That app seems like a great tool and can be useful. I personally hope they keep the app. The real issue is that the Mayor signed into a contract and agreed to spend town funds with the consent of the town council. This is a pattern that needs to stop. One day I hope they all can work together.
JP January 28, 2014 at 07:02 AM
Got to admit, this is the best app I've ever seen for reporting leaves at the curb not picked up.
Think Twice January 28, 2014 at 07:19 PM
@Concerned Parent/Taxpayer: While that is an important issue, the residents should not have to be punished by discontinuing the app as political retaliation. Fix the problem for future issues, but don't revoke something that is beneficial.


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