Minutes: April 23, 2012*
Township Council Special Work Session
The Special Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:31 p.m. on Monday, April 23, 2012, in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey. The purpose of this Work Session was to discuss the JCP&L service issue, a Foreclosure Property Registration ordinance, and an update of Capital Improvement projects.
Statement of Compliance
Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on April 19, 2012, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.
Salute to the Flag
The Council President suggested that the salute to the flag be held for the regular meeting at 7:30 p.m.
Roll Call of Members
Present were Council Members Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Pat Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Brian Lynch. Also present were Mayor Marotta, Gerald Giaimis, Township Attorney Kevin Kelly, and CFO Bill Zuckerman.
Open to Public Comments
There was no one who wished to be heard.
Closed to Public Comments
The Council President asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.
Discussion on JCP&L Service Issues
Council President Lynch noted the problems with no service during the 2011 storms.
Mayor Marotta advised that there is a resident group (led by Susan Diehn) that is canvassing residents to ask the State Utilities Authority to make other power companies available to the residents of Vernon Township.
Additional issues are the time lost due to more simple reasons (i.e. auto accidents involving/affecting utility poles and live wires). He noted that area meetings had been held to discuss these issues with JCP&L, whereby the power company vowed to fight any other franchises coming into the area. The Mayor and Council President attended at least one meeting. A major concern is that they have no technology that alerts them to power outages unless people call in to tell them.
The Mayor and Council President advised the Council on more information relative to this issue and how it has affected our residents (as well as other towns).
Mayor Marotta asked Council to give him direction as to what they would like him to do to rectify the situation, noting several possible options.
Council President Lynch suggested the Mayor speak to the BPU directly on the issue, and request that they remove the franchise of JCP&L from Vernon Township.
Council Member Rizzuto asked about adding a Resolution to the regular meeting agenda.
The Mayor asked Council if they would object to having Mr. Kelly put together the wording for a petition for the residents. All agreed for Mr. Kelly to do so.
Council Member Dunn asked about having JCP&L come to a meeting. The Council President felt they would not attend.
Discussion on Capital Improvement Projects
Mayor Marotta noted the additional funding to allow us to complete Canistear Road has been secured without borrowing additional money. Additionally, he noted, Township Engineer Cory Stoner was able to re-evaluate his figures. He felt it was wise to leave the total at $520,000 for safety reasons; but by using the Morris County Coop, with Tilcon as the vendor as they can be ready to start fairly quickly. He advised that the culvert by the Highland Lakes Firehouse (owned by the County) could present a problem if the County can’t address it fairly quickly. We can pave up to the culvert, and finish the project after the County fixes it. That way we won’t have to go back and patch the new roadway once they’re done.
The Mayor further advised that Dave Pullis reviewed the flail arm on the mower. He felt it would be more economical to change the joystick to pressure valves. If we do that, we will be okay for this year.
Discussion on Foreclosure Property Registration Ordinance
This ordinance would require the lien holders (mostly mortgage companies) to register with the Township whenever they start in-rem procedures against a homeowner. In so doing, it will prevent the properties from going into dis-repair and become a blight on the neighboring properties. Getting these listings started is not an easy process, but once implemented it will be worth the effort. The lienholder would have to pay a fee to the Township on an annual basis, as well as maintenance fees. The Council President noted the various aspects contained in this type of regulation.
Council Member Rizzuto noted a few potential problems with keeping track of the lienholders, such as when banks sell to other banks, etc.
Council Member Dunn had some issues about enforcement of the ordinance.
Council President Lynch asked if Mr. Dunn wished to be on the committee developing this program, but then noted that he already had 2 Council members on the committee (Mr. Rizzuto and Mr. Wetzel). He noted that the committee had met with the Highland Lakes Property Maintenance group on how they monitor/enforce this issue in their community.
Council Member Kadish (and the Mayor) suggested cataloguing vacant properties. Council agreed with that idea.
Jeanne Jameson—President of Highland Lakes Association spoke to Council. She noted some issues are with getting the residents to clean up properties before they go into foreclosure. Despite fines that the residents can’t pay, the Highland Lakes Association doesn’t have any way to force them.
Council Member Dunn suggested that offering clean-up assistance might work. This idea was well-received.
Council Member Eddie Dunn moved to adjourn the Special Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon. Council Member Patrick Rizzuto made the second; all were in agreement. The work session was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.
Susan S. Nelson, RMC, CMR
Minutes approved: May 14, 2012