All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.

Minutes: April 13, 2015

YouTube video of the April 13, 2015 council meeting »

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 13, 2015 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Patrick Rizzuto presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 4, 2015, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel and Council President Patrick Rizzuto. Also present were Township Attorney John Ursin and Mayor Marotta.

Executive Session

Council President Rizzuto read the following resolution for Executive Session.

WHEREAS, the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 permits the exclusion of the public in certain circumstances; and

WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon as follows:

1. The public shall be excluded from discussion of and action upon the hereinafter specified subject matter.

2. The general nature of the subject matters to be discussed are:

{(N.J.S.A. 10:4-12b (7)}: Contract Negotiations: Property Acquisition (Anticipated Time of Disclosure October 2015)

3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to enter into executive session:
Motion: Brian Lynch
Second: Dan Kadish
All members were in favor.

The Council adjourned into executive session at 6:31 p.m.

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to return to open session:
Motion: Jean Murphy
Second: Brian Lynch
All members were in favor.

The Council returned to open session at 7:30 p.m.

Statement of Compliance

Clerk Kirkman re-read the statement. Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 4, 2015, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel and Council President Patrick Rizzuto. Also present were Mayor Victor Marotta, Administrator Bill Zuckerman, CFO Elke Yetter and Township Attorney John Ursin.

Salute to the Flag

Council President Rizzuto led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.

Moment of Silence

Council President Rizzuto asked for a moment of Silence for Greg Bremer a trustee and Life Member of the Highland Lakes fire department who died suddenly this past weekend.

Proclamations

Council President Rizzuto requested that Victoria Simeone and Fiona Beadle of Ginny’s House please come forward. Council President Rizzuto read the below proclamation for the record:

WHEREAS, the maltreatment, abuse, and neglect of children is a significant social problem that damages children physically, mentally, and emotionally, and inflicts immeasurable harm on society as a whole, and all children deserve to be nurtured, protected and free from physical or emotional harm; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, as well as the State of New Jersey and the Department of Children and Families, believes that strong, healthy families are the best place to raise children; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, as well as the State of New Jersey, are committed to building a continuum of community-based child abuse prevention and intervention programs that are culturally competent, strength-based and family-centered, and that achieve positive outcomes for parenting and family relationships as well as the empowerment of domestic violence victims and their children; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, as well as the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, embraces the Standards for Prevention Programs developed by the New Jersey Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect; and

WHEREAS, all sectors of the community, including law enforcement, medical professionals, schools, courts, and media outlets, as well as numerous public and private agencies, have joined forces to promote public awareness and community involvement in strengthening families during the month of April and continuing throughout the year.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, do hereby proclaim April 2015 as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in Vernon Township, and urge our residents to become involved in efforts aimed at strengthening families and communities and preventing our children from being abused and neglected.

Given under my hand in these free United States in the Township of Vernon, on this 13th day of April 2015, and to which I have caused the Seal of the Township of Vernon to be affixed and have made this proclamation public.

Public Comment

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to open the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

Bonnie Rubin stated that resolution 15-78 on the agenda for this evening awards an annual contract for Open Space to the Land Conservancy. Ms. Rubin stated the Land Conservancy was invited by the Environmental Commission to speak at an Executive Session regarding the Chestnut Forest. Ms. Rubin stated she felt that some of the comments promoting the Chestnut Forest and the purchase of Camp Sussex, which were made by Ms. Urgo of the Land Conservancy were inappropriate. Ms. Rubin suggested not re-appointing the Land Conservancy.

Beverly Budz, commented that 1 tree utilizes 46 pounds of carbon.

Sandy Ooms, stated the contract for the Land Conservancy should not be renewed. Ms. Ooms stated listening to the Land Conservancy Executive Session meeting was distressing. Ms. Ooms expressed that she did not want to see Township funds used for this expense.

Steve Vichiconti, stated there was an extra 5-6,000 dollars in the budget of miscellaneous expense account this year. Mr. Vichiconti stated last year the funds in the account were not used so he did not see why more was added this year. Mr. Vichiconti commented that the cost of the Mayor’s cell phone bill appeared to be too high.

Randy Egan, stated he owned a home in town which he rented out and there was a dispute with his tenant and the neighbor. Mr. Egan stated the neighbor keeps on running a chain saw and wood splitting equipment at 7 in the morning even though he is not actually using the equipment it is just turned on and left running. Mr. Egan stated because the noise ordinance allowed some noise between 7 am and 11 pm, the Police had advised there was no solution.

Jessi Paladini, stated the Land Conservancy has been working with the Township for 10 years. Ms. Paladini expressed distress over things being taken out of context and distorted. Ms. Paladini expressed further distress that she felt a council member was threatening her as a member of the public in an effort to silence and intimidate her. Ms. Paladini stated she was not intimidated when someone unlawfully utilized her email address. Ms. Paladini stated she was an independent contractor of the Township and that a council member had made derogatory comments about this. Ms. Paladini stated she felt the council member’s comments were defamatory and if they did not cease, the ACLU was very interested in taking action in the matter.

Closed to Public Comments

Seeing no more members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to close the public portion of the meeting.
Motion: Brian Lynch
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

Mayor’s Report

  • Mayor Marotta had the monthly revenue report distributed to the members of the Council.
  • Mayor Marotta advised that last year and again this year the Township’s request for a DOT grant to repair Lake Wallkill Road was turned down. Mayor Marotta indicated he had asked Senator Oroho to speak with Mr. Fox of the DOT. Mayor Marotta also indicated that there was $100,000 in the budget for the repair but more would be needed. Mayor Marotta discussed the possibility of receiving Federal Grant money and the specification requirements and costs if same was received. Mayor Marotta discussed that this was the main street and NY prohibited trucks from travelling on it so that is having a devastating effect on not only Owens Station Road but also on portions of Lake Wallkill Road as trucks try to avoid the NY portion of the road.
  • Mayor Marotta indicated the Township had received appraisals for Camp Sussex. Mayor Marotta stated that it appears the parties are too far apart in the negotiations. Mayor Marotta asked for guidance from the Council on how the Township should proceed; cease or continue forward.

Motion Regarding Negotiations

Council Member Brian Lynch made a motion that the Mayor cease negotiations for the purchase of Camp Sussex at this time.
Motion: Brian Lynch
Second: Dan Kadish

Council President Rizzuto stated he would like to see this placed on the back burner. Attorney John Ursin said if the motion is approved today another motion can be made later to give a new direction.

Council Member Wetzel stated the parties were too far apart. Mayor Marotta stated he will cease negotiations unless he receives subsequent direction from the Council.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Motion carried to cease negotiations.

The Council discussed the issues with Lake Wallkill Road, as well as the difficulty in putting weight limits on roads in New Jersey.

Approval of Minutes

It was moved and seconded to approve the following minutes:

Regular Meeting Minutes February 23, 2015

Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

All members voted in favor to approve minutes.

Motion carried to approve minutes.

Consent Agenda

Council President Rizzuto gave a brief explanation of Resolutions #15-76 - #15-82.

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to adopt Resolutions #15-76 - #15-82.

Council Member Brian Lynch made the motion to adopt Resolutions #15-76 to #15-82.

Council Member Kadish stated he would like to adopt Resolutions #15-78, #15-81 and #15-82 separately.

Council Member Brian Lynch reiterated his motion to adopt Resolutions #15-76 to #15-82. It was seconded by Council Member Wetzel.

Moved: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

Council Member Murphy stated that she had called the Land Conservancy and they had not called back, although, as part of their agreement they are supposed to. Council Member Murphy questioned if a permit could be required similar to that in resolution 15-80, requiring property maintenance companies for homes in foreclosure to also have to register. Attorney John Ursin indicated the Township is requiring those companies to have a New Jersey address. Council Member Kadish stated he felt resolutions 15-81 and 15-82 should be voted on separately. Council President Rizzuto stated he had the opportunity to work with the Land Conservancy and lauded their efforts to take properties that were being conserved off the tax records so as to eliminate additional county and school taxes. Council Member Lynch stated the Land Conservancy was initially awarded this contract from the previous government and has been an asset. Council Member Lynch expressed concern that the issue was political pushback. Council Member Wetzel noted they provided a lot of information and he saw no need to discontinue their use. Mayor Marotta stated that perhaps the issue with calling the land conservancy and not receiving a reply centered around the fact that the Township was in negotiations for a property and negotiations fall to the Mayor’s office. Council Member Murphy stated she disagreed and felt that the Land Conservancy could respond. Council President Rizzuto stated that the town was going to be very proud of the new CVS that was coming through. Council President Rizzuto stated the Land Use Board has worked very hard and made a very aesthetic looking structure that will carry through the entire town. Council Member Murphy questioned the Township Attorney, in regards to resolution 15-81, the CVS, that her broker was somewhat connected but she did not have all the information and she expressed concern about a conflict of ethics. Attorney Ursin noted that ethics conflicts are very fact specific and he could not make a determination based on the limited facts.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Resolutions #15-76 to #15-82 were adopted.

Council Member Kadish stated he was voting no on Resolution 15-78. Township Attorney John Ursin stated this was one motion, not for individual votes on resolutions. Township Attorney Ursin explained that Council Member Kadish’s vote would be recorded as a yes for the entire motion. Council Member Kadish acknowledged his comment.

Resolution #15-76: Self-Examination of 2015 Budget Resolution [as required by DCA]

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:4-78b has authorized the Local Finance Board to adopt rules that permit municipalities in sound fiscal condition to assume the responsibility, normally granted to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services, of conducting the annual budget examination; and

WHEREAS, N.J.A.C. 5:30-7 was adopted by the Local Finance Board on February 11, 1997; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:30-7.2 through 7.5, the Township of Vernon has been declared eligible to participate in the program by the Division of Local Government Services, and the Chief Financial Officer has determined that the local government meets the necessary conditions to participate in the program for the 2015 budget year.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the governing body of the Township of Vernon that in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:30-7.6a & 7.6b and based upon the Chief Financial Officer’s certification, the governing body has found the budget has met the following requirements:

  1. That with reference to the following items, the amounts have been calculated pursuant to law and appropriated as such in the budget:
    1. Payment of interest and debt redemption charges
    2. Deferred charges and statutory expenditures
    3. Cash deficit of preceding year
    4. Reserve for uncollected taxes
    5. Other reserves and non-disbursement items
    6. Any inclusions of amounts required for school purposes.
  2. That the provisions relating to limitation on increases of appropriations pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:4-45.2 and appropriations for exceptions to limits on appropriations found at N.J.S.A. 40A:4-45.3 et seq., are fully met (complies with CAP law).
  3. That the budget is in such form, arrangement, and content as required by the Local Budget Law and N.J.A.C. 5:30-4 and 5:30-5.
  4. That pursuant to the Local Budget Law:
    1. All estimates of revenue are reasonable, accurate and correctly stated,
    2. Items of appropriation are properly set forth
    3. In itemization, form, arrangement and content, the budget will permit the exercise of the comptroller function within the municipality.
  5. The budget and associated amendments have been introduced and publicly advertised in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Local Budget Law, except that failure to meet the deadlines of N.J.S.A. 40A:4-5 shall not prevent such certification.
  6. That all other applicable statutory requirements have been fulfilled.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution will be forwarded to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services upon adoption.

Resolution #15-77: A Resolution to Read the 2015 Municipal Budget by Title Only

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:4-8 provides that the budget may be read by title only at the time of the public hearing if a resolution is passed by not less than a majority of the full governing body, providing that at least one week prior to the date of hearing, a complete copy of the budget has been made available for public inspection in the free public library, if any, located within the municipality and in the free county or regional library located within the municipality; and

WHEREAS, if there is no county or regional library located within the municipality, then it must be provided to the county or regional library of the county where the municipality is located; and

WHEREAS, the public officer delegated the responsibility for delivering copies to said libraries has completed a certification and forwarded same to the governing body attesting that such copies and deliveries were made and that copies have been made available by the Clerk to each person requesting same; and

WHEREAS, the conditions required by N.J.S.A. 40A:4-8 have been satisfied for the 2014 Municipal Budget by Township Officials.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of Vernon, New Jersey that the 2015 Municipal Budget shall be read by title only at the Public Hearing on April 13, 2015.

This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption according to law.

Resolution #15-78: Authorizing a Contract with the Land Conservancy of New Jersey for Open Space Advisory Consultant Services in the Amount Not to Exceed $13,000.00

WHEREAS, there is a need by Vernon Township to retain a Consultant to provide Open Space Advisory Services; and

WHEREAS, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey has submitted a proposal, dated March 25, 2015, to provide the above mentioned services for Vernon Township; and

WHEREAS, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect open space for natural, historic, agricultural and recreational purposes and to assist municipalities in the stewardship of open space lands; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of this agreement is to assist the municipality with a variety of open space services, including (but not limited to) landowner negotiations, grant writing, coordination of due diligence and ongoing coordination with state and county funding agencies on behalf of the Township; and

WHEREAS, the term of the agreement shall be for a twelve (12) month period commencing on April 11, 2015 through April 10, 2016; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified funds in an amount not to exceed $13,000.00 in Account# 741200; and

WHEREAS, Local Public Contracts Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq) requires that a Resolution authorizing the award of a contract without competitive bids must be publicly advertised; and

WHEREAS, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, has submitted a Business Entity Disclosure Certification in compliance with the law.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF VERNON, COUNTY OF SUSSEX AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY AS FOLLOWS:

  1. A contract shall be awarded by the Township of Vernon, New Jersey for services herein specified to the Land Conservancy of New Jersey, Boonton, NJ.
  2. The cost of said agreement shall not exceed a total of $13,000.00.
  3. That a copy of the Business Disclosure Entity Certification be filed with this Resolution.

Resolution #15-79: Approving Volunteer Firefighter Membership Transfer

WHEREAS, the Highland Lakes Volunteer Fire Department has selected Eugene W. Bellusci, Jr. for active membership on transfer from Midland Park Fire Department, and

WHEREAS, the Highland Lakes Volunteer Fire Department has requested municipal approval from the Township Council of the Township of Vernon for said appointment.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, Sussex County, New Jersey, that the application for membership transfer by Eugene W. Bellusci, Jr. to the Highland Lakes Volunteer Fire Department is hereby approved.

Resolution #15-80: Approving a Solicitor’s Permit for Waste Management

WHEREAS, Waste Management, 910 West Pennsylvania Ave., Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, 18072 has made application for a Solicitor’s Permit for the purposes of providing quotations for trash and recycling pickup services; and

WHEREAS, upon receipt of the application for a Solicitors Permit, by Waste Management and applicant: Joseph Scarmack, the Vernon Township Police Department investigated the applicant’s business responsibility and moral character and found same to be satisfactory and in good order for the protection of the public good; and the necessary application has been filed and all documentation is in order;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that approval be granted for a Solicitor’s Permit for Waste Management, applicant: Joseph Scarmach.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Township Clerk is hereby authorized to issue a Solicitor’s Permit to the aforesaid applicant in accordance with Chapter 428 of the Code of the Township of Vernon.

Resolution #15-81: Authorization to Execute a Developer’s Agreement with New Jersey CVS Pharmacy, Inc. in Relation to Preliminary and Final Site Plan and Subdivision

WHEREAS, New Jersey CVS Pharmacy, Inc. received Land Use Board approval for Preliminary Site Plan and Subdivision approval on September 10, 2014 and Final Site Plan and Subdivision approval on December 10, 2014, for Block 144.01 Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4; and

WHEREAS, the Developer and the Township desire to enter into an agreement setting forth the rights, duties and obligations of the parties in connection with the Approvals for the properties; and

WHEREAS, the Developer desires to proceed with the development of the properties and to install the improvements as shown on the Plats for which the Approvals were, or are about to be received; and

WHEREAS, this agreement is solely intended to memorialize the Developer’s obligations with respect to the construction of the pharmacy and related improvements.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, does hereby authorize the Mayor and Township Clerk to execute a Developer’s Agreement with New Jersey CVS Pharmacy, Inc for property known as Block 144.01 Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4 as shown on the Tax Map of the Township of Vernon pursuant to the Land Use Board Resolution adopted on December 10, 2014, LU#5-14-4, a copy of which is on file with the Secretary for the Land Use Board.

This resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption according to law.

Resolution #15-82: Acceptance of Performance Bond NJ CVS Pharmacy

WHEREAS, New Jersey CVS Pharmacy has submitted plans to Vernon Township for a CVS pharmacy within Vernon Township; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer, Cory Stoner, has reviewed and approved the final plans, prepared by Blue March Associates, LLC. with a requirement of a performance bond be posted per the attached letter dated March 4, 2015; and

WHEREAS, based on the estimated cost of the project, the Township Engineer is requiring a performance bond in the amount of $1,207,829.20 submitted to Vernon Township prior to the start of the project by New Jersey CVS Pharmacy.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon, authorization to accept a performance bond in the amount of $1,207,829.20 to be submitted by New Jersey CVS Pharmacy for site work associated with the CVS #10322; Main Street and Route 94; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the performance bond can be formally released when construction has been completed and approved by the Township Engineer and further accepted by the Township Council by way of Resolution; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that prior to release of the performance bond, New Jersey CVS Pharmacy, shall submit a maintenance bond for a period of one (1) year from the Township’s acceptance of the site work associated with the CVS #10322; Main Street and Route 94, with said bond being formally accepted by the Township Council by way of Resolution; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Department of Public Works for their records.

This Resolution will take effect immediately according to law.

Introduction/1st Reading of Ordinances

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-08 by title:

Ordinance #15-08: An Ordinance Amending Various Sections of the Code of the Township of Vernon to Correct References to the Township Manager

Council President Rizzuto gave a brief explanation of ordinance 15-08 and noted that Ordinance 15-08 had been tabled at the previous meeting. Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion remove ordinance 15-08 from the table for consideration.

Moved: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Jean Murphy

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance 15-08 with a public hearing to be held on April 27, 2015.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Jean Murphy

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Motion carried to introduce Ordinance #15-08 with a public hearing to be held on April 27, 2015.

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-09 by title:

Ordinance #15-09: An Ordinance of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey Amending Certain Portions of Chapter 99 Entitled “Vehicles and Traffic,” Chapter 250 Entitled “Fees and Escrows,” and Chapter 269 Entitled “Fire Safety” of the Township Code

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #15-09 with a public hearing to be held on April 27, 2015.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Jean Murphy

Council Member Kadish stated that some of the items should be removed, and questioned if they were removed. Township Attorney Ursin explained that the section had been amended in the ordinance and reflects the changes mentioned.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Motion carried to introduce Ordinance #15-09 with a public hearing to be held on April 27, 2015.

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-10 by title:

Ordinance #15-10: An Ordinance Amending the Code of the Township of Vernon to Discontinue the Advisory Board of Health

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #15-10 with a public hearing to be held on April 27, 2015.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Motion carried to introduce Ordinance #15-10 with a public hearing to be held on April 27, 2015.

Public Hearing/2nd Reading of Ordinances

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-05 by title only.

Ordinance #15-05: An Ordinance Regulating the Statutory Authority of Verizon New Jersey Inc., Its Successors and Assigns to Use the Various Public Streets, Roads, Avenues, Highways and Other Public Ways in the Township of Vernon, Sussex County, New Jersey, for Its Local and through Lines and Other Communications Facilities and Prescribing the Conditions Thereof

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to open the public hearing on Ordinance #15-05.
Moved: Jean Murphy
Seconded: Dan Kadish
All members were in favor.

Mark Boccheieri, of Verizon thanked the Council for their consideration of this ordinance.

Seeing no other members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to close the public hearing.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Dan Kadish
All members were in favor.

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to adopt ordinance #15-05.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Brian Lynch

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None

Motion carried to pass Ordinance 15-05 on second reading.

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-06 by title only.

Ordinance #15-06: An Ordinance Adding Section 52-7 Regarding Clothing Allowances for Volunteer Emergency Service Personnel

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to open the public hearing on Ordinance #15-06.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Dan Kadish
All members were in favor.

Gary Martinsen stated he did not understand the Ordinance but that he had talked to other people and they thought it was great and he did likewise.

Council Member Lynch stated that tonight was bittersweet, probably the room would have been filled with emergency service personnel but due to the death of one of our own, Greg Bremer, many of the members were at the funeral services. Council Member Lynch stated that this stipend was a small token of the appreciation of Vernon Township to its volunteers. Council Member Lynch asked for a round of applause for the volunteers.

Council President Lynch thanked the volunteers for everything they had done for the community.

Seeing no other members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to close the public hearing.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to adopt ordinance #15-06.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Patrick Rizzuto

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None

Motion carried to pass Ordinance 15-06 on second reading.

Public Hearing of the Municipal Budget

Council President Rizzuto read the budget by title only.

CFO Elke Yetter noted that the DCA had again made changes to the “User Friendly Budget” and had asked that the Township refrain from utilizing the “User Friendly Budget” at this point. CFO Yetter stated that once the “User Friendly Budget” was functioning and working it will be provided and posted on the Township’s web-page.

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to open the public hearing on Resolution 15-67, 2015 Municipal Budget.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

Gary Martinsen stated he had noticed that the Business Administrator did not sign the budget and that he is not required by state statute but he is allowed to help. Mr. Martinsen opined that Mr. Zuckerman as Administrator would want to sign the budget. Mr. Martinsen commented on the grants, noting they were not in the budget but recognizing that they had not been awarded yet. Mr. Martinsen expressed concern about what be believed was an increase in the expenses for the Mayor and Council.

Seeing no other members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to close the public hearing.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

Adoption of the Municipal Budget

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to adopt Resolution 15-67, 2015 Municipal Budget.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy

Motion carried to adopt the 2015 Municipal Budget.

Council Member Murphy expressed concern about the line item for legal counsel. Council Member Murphy stated she had asked for this to be included in the budget as a separate line for the Council. Council Member Murphy expressed that it was not her intention for these funds to be included for “Mayor and Council.” Council Member Murphy expressed concern that these funds would be utilized by the Mayor with no oversight from the Council. Council Member Murphy also expressed concern that there was no true conflict attorney; Mr. Wenner is now the attorney for the MUA and Mr. Ursin came from the MUA. Council Member Murphy indicated there should be an attorney appointed. Council President Rizzuto stated the change in the form of government was modeled after the State of New Jersey and once money is approved the Governor may utilize it. Council President Rizzuto pointed to the Township’s administrative code. Council Member Murphy stated in the budget hearings that she was stopped from asking questions and then the budget was introduced and the Council was advised no changes could be made. Council Member Murphy reiterated her concern with legal expenses. Council Member Murphy stated she did not think this was good for Vernon Township. The Council discussed police vehicle expenditures and the capital budget. Council Member Murphy stated she was asking for more information. Council Member Murphy stated she was told she would be able to ask them but when it was time to ask questions she was told no. Council Member Murphy stated that she was told by the Mayor if she did not vote yes; the Mayor would go after her politically. Mayor Marotta denied such statement. Council President Rizzuto expressed surprise that a member of the Council would vote no on a budget that flat with no increase.

Council Appointments

Senior Citizen Committee

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to adopt Resolution #15-83: Appointing Members to the Senior Citizen Committee.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None

Motion carried to adopt Resolution #15-83: Appointing Members to the Senior Citizen Committee.

Resolution #15-83: Appointing Members to the Senior Citizen Committee

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF VERNON, COUNTY OF SUSSEX, and STATE OF NEW JERSEY, as follows:

1. That the following individuals are hereby appointed as members of the Vernon Township Senior Citizen Committee effective 4/13/2015 for a term specified as follows:

Josephine Prisco Committee Seat III
Expiring 12/31/2016

Nancy Gulden Committee Seat IV
Expiring 12/31/2016

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the Township Clerk shall send a certified copy of this resolution to the following:

a. Vernon Township Department of Recreation & Community Development

Council Comments

Council Member Murphy stated that she was a Realtor and the Sussex County Board of Realtors requested a proclamation for April for Fair Housing Month. Council Member Murphy stated Andover had adopted an ordinance in 2011 for the awarding of professional contracts and she would like to see Vernon do something similar. Council Member Murphy questioned the committee for the property maintenance issue. Council President Rizzuto stated he would be addressing the issue and requested Council Member Murphy chair the committee. Council Member Murphy stated that the Board of Freeholders had passed a resolution about supporting NJ military bases and she would like to see same adopted. Council Member Murphy stated she would like to see the resolution about the Transparent Tax Act. Council President Rizzuto stated that would be addressed at the next meeting. Council Member Murphy expressed concern with Council President Rizzuto’s leadership stating he did not reach out to her. Council President Rizzuto advised that meetings are conducted in public and there was no issue for which he needed to reach out to a Council Member.

Council Member Kadish stated he still sees $2 million in surplus in the budget. Council Member Kadish stated the Township did not anticipate local revenues as high as had been received in 2014, leading to a surplus for 2015. Council Member Kadish stated he still wanted an additional work session for the budget. Council Member Kadish stated he had met with the CFO which was helpful, but led to no changes in the budget. Council Member Kadish expressed concern that the Mayor would not allow future changes, reducing the Council’s control. Council Member Kadish expressed concern about the changes to the Administrative code which gave control of the Bill List to the Mayor. Council Member Kadish opined that the Council is ultimately responsible and should have a role, even if it is a ceremonial one. Council Member Kadish expressed concern that information was not being accurately given to the council, pointing specifically to information regarding whether the new ambulances were 4-wheel drive as they had been advised by the Township Administrator. Council Member Kadish expressed concern about giving money to not-for-profits like the Historical Society, as well as providing the EDAC with $9,000 even though that expense was supposed to be a one time expense for last year only. Council Member Kadish opined that he did not think it was advisable to put police vehicle purchases in the capital budget, as the township will still be paying for them even after they have surpassed their period of useful life. Council Member Kadish stated that for the reasons above he could not support the passage of the budget.

Council Member Lynch stated the taxes have decreased for the last 3 years and this year is flat.

Council Member Wetzel stated that he thinks the issue against the Historical Society is personal. Council Member Wetzel questioned who was paying for Mr. Dagget, the attorney Council Member Murphy had hired. Council Member Murphy stated Mr. Dagget has nothing to do with the Council and asked that Council Member Wetzel refrain from discussing it.

Council Member Kadish stated that the veterans cemetery was in need of $1,000,000 so that it can be utilized. Council Member Kadish stated that it was not run by the government. Council Member Kadish stated supporting it is a good thing. Council Member Lynch noted he was a sponsor.

Council President Rizzuto advised the ambulance specifications were developed by the EMT service. Council Member Kadish stated the issue was that the correct information was not given out. Council President Rizzuto stated that the Township’s CFO has a different point of view regarding the inclusion of police vehicles in the capital budget.

Adjournment

There being no further items of business to be conducted on the agenda, a motion for Adjournment was made by Council Member Lynch, seconded by Council Member Murphy with all members voting in favor.

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 9:08 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: May 28, 2015