Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sounding Off: On C3, agreeing to disagree

Dear Editor:

I thank Mayor McHale for patiently responding to some of my questions regarding C3. I am a little disappointed, however, that he seems more interested in rehashing the Dumont C3 press release and associating me with a council candidate (It’s funny; I am not running for office) rather than refuting my findings should they prove false. To clarify:

  • Where is the value of GIS provided by C3 when Bergen County offers it for free, with a municipal-only area where area residents can also be, quoting Mayor McHale, "geo-coded for targeting purposes via GIS mapping technology" and found at
  • Alluding to the "…possibility of better and improved municipal services," is Mayor McHale tacitly admitting that wireless coverage in the borough could be better? Did the borough squander opportunities in terms of needed revenue and servicing residents’ communications needs by rejecting formal requests from Verizon and T-Mobile in 2007 to provide coverage in Dumont, for Dumont?
  • If the C3 system is now, quoting Mayor McHale, "administered by the borough of Dumont." is it true that the system contract is actually much more than $1,500 monthly, when administration costs included under the old contract must now be performed by borough labor and consequently accounted for? What is this additional cost? Suppose that for three full-time borough administrative staff each spending, on average, 60 minutes per day at $50 overhead hourly rate and 20 days per month, that equals, on average, another $3,000 per month…$4,500 total monthly and $108,000 over the contract term. Yikes!
    Is it true that the borough is left paying a ton of money for some online storage and a license for glorified social networking software?
  • All kidding aside, now that a lot of detailed data is being collected from the 1,000 households participating in Dumont’s C3, submitting municipal service and other borough requests, when will the data be aggregated and compiled into reports used to measure borough performance (akin to a report card), made available on the borough Web site and utilized as a tool for future planning purposes? Similar software packages can generate such reports in minutes. Making this feature available would seem consistent with Mayor McHale’s pledge to " innovative ways and approaches of how the Borough of Dumont can better serve its residents".

While I have no doubt that C3 has some positive merits and is here to stay, frankly I think that the value of C3 remains questionable, given its cost, if only to send subscribers an overnight parking extension message. But that is just my personal view. Perhaps others may agree with the mayor over the course of this exchange. While I continue to challenge Dumont residents to consider our points, research our sources and decide for themselves, I guess I will just have to agree to disagree with Mayor McHale. Isn’t that the American way?


Kai Chen

Agree? Disagree? Discuss on a forum or write a letter.