Minutes: January 13, 2009 (R)

Reorganization Meeting Minutes

Mr. Dennis Downey was sworn-in by Valerie Seufert as a re-appointed member of the EC.

Ms. Allison Petryk was sworn-in as a newly appointed member of the EC.

Call Meeting to Order

Mr. Williams called the meeting to order at 7:47 p.m.

Statement of Compliance

Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 adequate notice as defined in Section 4D of Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 has been transmitted from the Vernon Municipal Center to the New Jersey Herald on January 16, 2008. Notice is posted on the bulletin board and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

Roll Call

Barrie BeaverA
Dennis DowneyP
Michael FurreyP
David GornsteinA
Dan BoltzP
Craig Williams, ChairP
Allison PetrykP

Also Present

Cynthia Davis, Recording Secretary

Pledge of Allegiance

Guest Speaker

Barbara H. Davis, Vice President of The Land Conservancy (“TLC”) f/k/a Morris Land Conservancy

Ms. Davis explained the name change and said they are the first applicant in New Jersey for accreditation with the Land Trust Alliance. She explained that TLC has worked with Vernon Township in the past on Vernon’s Open Space and Recreation Plan. TLC helped Vernon receive over one million dollars in grants during those years and negotiated the preservation of the Hauck property.

Ms. Davis went on to comment that she understands that Vernon has $1.5 million in Green Acres funds and $880,000.00 in the municipal trust fund. She advised that she had received information that the funding in Sussex County for the PIG program is secure for this fiscal year. However, she explained, there are no guarantees that the money will still be available as you move into the year 2010. Two questions were discussed:

  1. Is Vernon’s PIG money really secure for this year, and
  2. Since our trust is not currently collecting open space tax can Vernon draw down on that account?

Ms. Davis recommended that two items be done as soon as possible:

  1. The Hauck paperwork should be submitted to the state this month so that the town can be reimbursed with grant money and
  2. Paperwork should be started with the state for a proposed purchase which will trigger the whole process with NJ Green Acres.

Ms. Davis gave a description of the various actions that TLC is able to do for the town. She explained that she runs the Municipal Services Program at TLC which helps municipalities with their grant funding. She commented that the most effective way to use TLC is to let them coordinate, facilitate and manage Vernon’s Green Acres program/funding and to allow them to negotiate on the municipality’s behalf with the council’s discretion and guidance. The TLC works on funding for the municipality, prepares the grant applications, walks the town through the process, is with the town through the site visit, the concept hearing and through the town’s presentation at the county/state. TLC has a mapping center to provide the extensive mapping that is required. The TLC can also work on and resolve problems with trust fund accounting.

Mr. Williams commented that it is his feeling that the town could get the “biggest bang for the buck” if the town worked on acquiring conservation easements with a goal towards establishing biking trails to extend the present trail instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on one piece of property.

Ms. Davis advised that she would send a contract to the Town Manager for review by the end of week. The public present during this presentation included Mayor Carew, Councilperson Valerie Seufert and Melinda Carlton, Town Manager.

Open Meeting to the Public

No one came forward.

Closed Meeting to the Public

Organization Tasks

Mr. Williams advised that the meetings may be held the first Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. with a provisional meeting to be held the third Tuesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. Site inspections will be held the second Saturday of each month at 9:00 a.m. with members meeting in the town hall parking lot near the koi pond.

A motion was made by Mr. Boltz to accept the above meeting schedule. Mr. Furrey seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Mr. Downey made a motion for the NJ Herald as the designated newspaper along with noticing on the Vernon Township website and bulletin board. Mr. Furrey seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

Mr. Boltz made a motion to accept the minutes of the December 9, 2008 meeting. Mr. Furrey seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Applications for Review

There were no applications to review.

Planning Board Liaison Report

Mr. Gornstein was not present, therefore no report was presented at this meeting.

New Business

Vernon Self-Assessment—Draft

A discussion took place regarding the fact that there is no map of the underground aquifer in the draft.

It was discussed that the prioritized list of open space properties should be completed along with a map to be presented to the Town Council for the latter meeting date in February. As such, the EC will meet, provisionally, on January 20, 2009 at 7:30 p.m.


Mr. Downey made a motion and Mr. Boltz seconded the motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:33 p.m.