Minutes: July 14, 2020

CALL TO ORDER

The regular meeting of the Vernon Township Economic Advisory Committee meeting was convened at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 in the Vernon Municipal Building, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.

STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE

Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6, adequate notice of this regular meeting has been provided to the public and the press on July 10, 2020 and was posted on the bulletin board the municipal building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act.

SALUTE TO THE FLAG

ROLL CALL

Sally Rinker, Chairperson—P
Jennifer Lubliner—P
John Perry—A
Edward DeYoung—P
Elmer Platz—P
Ron Williams—P

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

There were no members of the public present. Ed DeYoung motioned to skip opening the meeting to the public. All were in favor.

VOTE ON MARCH 3, 2020 MINUTES

Ed DeYoung motioned to approve the minutes. Seconded by Ron Williams. All were in favor.

DISCUSSION

Discussion ensued regarding how we can be effective with the current situation of COVID-19. All members discussed the benefits of creating a community outreach public presentation, perhaps in the form of a podcast, to reach our local businesses and promote shopping local to the public.

Chair, Sally Rinker reported the discussions she had with Mayor Burrell on July 9, 2020. She stated that she shared her concerns with the mayor that some actions from administration, such as, tax hikes, frivolous spending, and removing sewer service property from development potential contradict the EDC’s mission and may potentially compromise the EDC’s work. In particular, an 11 acre parcel, located in the Town Center Zone is on the council’s agenda for town purchase for a segment of a walking trail. After member discussion, all EDC members agreed to send the mayor and council our advisory opinion that this parcel be omitted from a trail plan and left to be developed commercially with potential benefits of a commercial tax ratable and EDUs to suffice for the need for more sewer users. A motion was made by Ed DeYoung to draft the letter, seconded by Ron Williams.

A roll call vote was taken - 5 Yays and 0 Nays.

A draft letter would be presented at the next EDC meeting for member approval prior to presenting it to the mayor and council stating opposition to the purchase.

Ron Williams began discussion regarding the recent re-evaluation and the explanation of how the tax increases even though the assessment remains the same or even decreases - the answer is - the increased rate. Ed DeYoung stated there seems to be inequities in how the assessments were established and many homes were not even entered.

Elmer Platz stated that a large part of the tax is the B.O.E. and may be due to the lack of adjustment when the state of NJ was giving more state aid than Vernon deserved for some years with a declining enrollment. Now the state is taking it back resulting in taxpayers making up the difference in the B.O.E budget.

Chair, Sally Rinker stated that Mayor Burrell asked that we look into the viability of promoting the “Shop Local Program” which was started several years ago. Elmer Platz claimed that one significant problem was the lack of vendor interest to join the program so it never got to be town-wide. He stated vendors do not want to spend money for it and now there is more economic uncertainty. The general consensus of all EDC members present was that this program is not worthy of an investment of time and money by the township to promote.

All members agreed that the interest to buy local may be inherently more popular now due to COVID-19. Chair, Sally Rinker suggested we ask the mayor to allow us to do a “Shop Local Campaign” press piece, encouraging loyalty and local support of businesses.

Jen Lubliner stated that we need to progress with our web pages. Ed DeYoung claimed he would speak to Matt Shea at the B.O.E. and wanted something to show him. Sally Rinker gave Ed DeYoung her copy of our draft web pages and stated we should also try to connect with paviaweb, the township’s web designer.

Jen Lubliner also stated that we lost valuable time this year with COVID-19 and we should try to accomplish attainable goals, such as, the website pages, Christmas decorations, and a podcast.

Ron Williams agreed with Jen Lubliner, expressing frustration with COVID and the need for businesses to open.

Elmer Platz made a motion to adjourn. Jennifer Lubliner seconded it. All were in favor.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Sally Rinker EDAC Chairperson

Approved September 1, 2020