Sparta. The councilman has some ideas on how to use unspent 175th anniversary funds, including a pandemic memorial and historical plaques.
Sparta Township Councilman Dan Chiariello renewed his call to raise the minimum rate the township pays its employees to $15 per hour. He said he was advised such a move would cost the township about $4,000 a year.
At the council’s Jan. 26 meeting, Chiariello looked to 2021 budget when suggesting a higher minimum wage, and finding an alternate use for the funds the township didn’t use in 2020 because of Covid to celebrate the township’s 175th anniversary (its demisemiseptcentennial).
“I got the impression that everyone agreed it would be the right thing to do,” Chiariello said.
He also suggested using unused portions of the anniversary money to place historical plaques around Sparta depicting what the township looked like at earlier points in its history.
“I don’t know how much that would cost,” Chiariello said. “We could sell sponsorships and underwrite any difference that goes unsold.”
He also floated the idea of putting up some kind of monument to remember the current pandemic.
“Something to celebrate the people that got us through and mourn the people we lost from it,” he said.
He also said he doesn’t want to see any open space money used to convert “natural grass fields to plastic grass.” He also wants to see last year’s increase in expenses rolled back.
“Normally this is something we would bring up in budget discussions,” said Mayor Christine Quinn. “But now they’re noted. I know the manager has been working with department heads on the budget, and we look forward to seeing that.”