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

Minutes: April 27, 2015

YouTube video of the April 27, 2015 council meeting »

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 27, 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, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel and Council President Patrick Rizzuto. Also present were Township Attorney John Ursin, CFO Elke Yetter and Township Administrator Bill Zuckerman. Council Member Brian Lynch was absent.

Salute to the Flag

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

Proclamations

Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month Proclamation

Council President Rizzuto requested that Council Member Dan Kadish read the proclamation below.

WHEREAS, Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological movement disorder of the central nervous system, which has a unique impact on each patient; and

WHEREAS, according to the Parkinson’s Action Network, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, the National Parkinson Foundation, the American Parkinson Disease Association and the National Institutes of Health, there are over one million Americans diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease; and

WHEREAS, symptoms include slowness, tremor, difficulty with balance and speaking, rigidity, cognitive and memory problems; and

WHEREAS, although new medicines and therapies may enhance life for some time for people with Parkinson’s, more work is needed for a cure; and

WHEREAS, increased education and research are needed to help find more effective treatments with fewer side effects and ultimately a cure for Parkinson’s disease; and

WHEREAS, a multidisciplinary approach to Parkinson’s disease care includes local wellness, support, and caregiver groups; and

WHEREAS, April has been proclaimed as World Wide Parkinson’s Awareness Month for all to recognize the need for more research and help in dealing with the devastating effects of Parkinson’s disease.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, do hereby proclaim April 2015 as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month in Vernon Township.

Given under my hand in these free United States in the Township of Vernon, on this 27th day of April, two thousand fifteen, and to which I have caused the Seal of the Township of Vernon to be affixed and have made this proclamation public.

Fair Housing Proclamation

Council President Rizzuto requested that Council Member Jean Murphy read the proclamation below. John Wassari and Rachel Hendricks of Sussex County Association of Realtors accepted the proclamation.

WHEREAS, April 11, 2015, marks the 47th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 as amended, which enunciates a national policy of Fair Housing with regard to race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap and national origin, and encourages fair housing opportunities for all; and

WHEREAS, the Sussex County Association of Realtors is committed to highlighting the Fair Housing Act by continuing to address discrimination in our community, to support programs that will educate the public about the right to equal housing opportunities, and to plan partnership efforts with organizations to help assure everyone of their right to fair housing; and

WHEREAS, the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics commits all Realtors to providing equal professional services without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, sexual orientation, gender identity, and national origin.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, do hereby proclaim that April 2015 being Fair Housing Month, which begins a year-long commemoration of the Fair Housing Act in the Township of Vernon and urge all citizens to wholeheartedly recognize this celebration throughout the year.

Given under my hand in these free United States in the Township of Vernon, on this 27th day of April, two thousand fifteen, 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.

John Harrigan, founder of the Sussex County Veterans Cemetery stated the cemetery is open for all Veterans, not just those who fought in Vietnam. Mr. Harrigan stated the hope was for the cemetery to open in May. Mr. Harrigan discussed that someone had stated at the last meeting that the cemetery was in need of donations in order to open but that is incorrect, in fact, the cemetery had enough funds and was approved by the New Jersey State Cemetery board to open. Council Member Kadish indicated that he had been informed that the cemetery was in need of $1,000,000 in donations to open. Mr. Harrigan indicated that was incorrect but the cemetery would be happy to accept donations to place in the preservation fund. Mr. Harrigan stated they were waiting for the weather to break. Council Member Wetzel inquired if a spouse may be buried at the cemetery. Mr. Harrigan advised that was possible.

Gary Martinsen, Vernon, requested a round of applause for the Veteran’s Cemetery. Mr. Martinsen requested that ordinances be posted prior to being introduced by the Council. Mr. Martinsen questioned the additional discussion for the property maintenance ordinance that had not been adopted.

Krista Gerry discussed the comments made by the Council at a previous meeting in relation to the Historical Society stipend. Ms. Gerry discussed free speech and the need to speak the truth. Ms. Gerry discussed people being insulted by other comments, noting that each can argue their own position.

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: Jean Murphy
Second: Dan Kadish
All members were in favor.

Mayor’s Report: User-Friendly Budget

Administrator Bill Zuckerman noted that CFO, Elke Yetter was distributing the user friendly budget and that same would be posted. Administrator Zuckerman explained that this was a new form created by the State that would be utilized in the future in addition to the regular budget forms.

Approval of Minutes

Council President Rizzuto requested that the March 9, 2015 minutes be corrected to reflect Dollar General Store rather than General Store.

It was moved and seconded to approve the following minutes:

Regular Meeting Minutes March 9, 2015
Executive Session Minutes March 23, 2015
Regular Meeting Minutes March 23, 2015

Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Jean Murphy

All members present voted in favor to approve minutes.

Motion carried to approve minutes.

Consent Agenda

Council President Rizzuto gave a brief explanation of Resolutions #15-84 - #15-87.

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to adopt Resolutions #15-84 - #15-87.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

Council President Rizzuto discussed resolution 15-84 in relationship to the concern over creating duplicate tax bills. Council President Rizzuto and Attorney Ursin noted the proposed amendment to the state statute as contemplated in ordinance 15-84 was unlikely to pass.

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

Resolutions #15-84 to #15-87 were adopted.

Resolution #15-84: Resolution Supporting the Transparent Tax Act of 2015

WHEREAS, Assembly Bill No. A-4325 supplementing chapter 4 of Title 54 R.S. 54:4-65 and designated the “Transparent Tax Act of 2015” is being considered for adoption by the New Jersey Sate Assembly; and

WHEREAS, the amendment would permit the local jurisdiction to print separate tax bills to each taxpayer, one showing the amount of property taxes due and payable for municipal tax purposes, the other shall state the amount of property taxes due and payable for county purposes, school purposes, fire district purposes, and for the purposes of any other special district on of which the municipality collets property taxes; and

WHEREAS, both bills shall include a brief tabulation showing the distribution of the total amount to be raised by taxes; and

WHEREAS, A-4325 would require the municipal tax collector to send notice of the pro rata share, if any, of the property tax appeal refunds paid by the municipality during the tax year to the county, school districts, and fire districts for inclusion in their annual budgets; and

WHEREAS, in the following tax year in which the refunds were paid, the municipal tax collector is then required to deduct the applicable pro rata share of the property tax refund from the amounts to be paid to the county, and each school and fire district; and

WHEREAS, these amendments, if adopted, will assist the general public to understand the tax bill, the structure of taxes, and the level of support for each agency, and will further provide a more equitable structure to share the obligation of paying approved tax appeals as the titles states, creates transparency in the tax supporting local assessments.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and the Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, hereby supports Assembly Bill A-4235 amending title 54:4-65 and urges the Legislature to approve and pass the bill for the reasons expressed herein; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Senator Steven V. Oroho, Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, Assemblyman Parker Space, Assemblyman Robert J. Auth and the Office of the Governor of the State of New Jersey, the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, the Municipal Clerk’s Association of the State of New Jersey and the Sussex County Clerk’s Association.

Resolution #15-85: Resolution Authorizing the Application to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

“Bullet Proof Vest Partnership/Body Armor Safety Initiative”

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Police Department wishes to apply for funding to the U.S. Department of Justice for the Bullet Proof Vest Partnership/Body Armor Safety Initiative, and

WHEREAS, the grant project consists of reimbursement for up to 50% of the expenses incurred to purchase new issue or replacement bullet proof vests for police officers. “BVP is a critical resource for state and local jurisdictions that saves lives. Based on data collected and recorded by the U.S. Department of Justice, in FY 2012, protective vests were directly attributable to saving the lives of at least 33 law enforcement and corrections officers, in 20 different states, an increase 13.7% over FY 2011. At least 14 of those life-saving vests had been purchased, in part, with BVP funds.” (OJP website, U.S. Department of Justice 2013) This grant is committed to officer safety; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township will incur the cost of the program, not to exceed $7,500.00 and then submit the necessary documentation to the U.S. Department of Justice for a fifty percent (50%) reimbursement.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Vernon Township declares its support for the “2015 Bullet Proof Vest Partnership/Body Armor Safety Initiative” Grant from April 27, 2015 - December 31st, 2015 to outfit bullet proof vests for our newly hired police officers or replacement vests for our current police officers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, that the Mayor, Chief Finance Officer and Township Clerk are hereby authorized to execute and sign any and all documents in order to effectuate the receipt of the Grant monies between the Township of Vernon and the U.S. Department of Justice for the “2015 Bullet Proof Vest Partnership/Body Armor Safety Initiative” Grant.

Resolution #15-86: Authorizing the Award of Contract to Replace the Vinyl Flooring in the Vernon Township Senior Center

WHEREAS, there exists a need to replace portions of the vinyl flooring in the Vernon Township Senior Center which have become a safety hazard and;

WHEREAS, three formal quotes were solicited, two were received by the Qualified Purchasing Agent; and

WHEREAS, the Qualified Purchasing Agent recommends awarding a contract to the lowest quote of $5020.00 submitted by Award Flooring, 1059 Route 565, Sussex New Jersey 07461; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b), has certified these funds are available; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, the Mayor, Clerk and CFO are authorized to execute a contract with Award Flooring, 1059 Route 565, Sussex NJ 07461, not to exceed $5020.00.

Resolution #15-87: Authorizing Placement of Signs in Various Locations for Vernon Cub Scouts Recruiting Night

WHEREAS, Vernon Cub Scouts has requested permission from the Township Council to place multiple signs within Vernon Township to advertise Cub Scouts 2015 Registration; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Cub Scouts requests to place multiple signs, measuring 16"x 25" in designated locations within Vernon Township; and

WHEREAS, the applicant requests to display the signs for a time period of 30 days beginning immediately after council approval and will promptly remove them after time period expires; and

WHEREAS, the Township Code Enforcement Officer has advised that pursuant to the Vernon Township Code 330-180 that the placing of multiple signs of this size and character requires permission of the Council for their placement and waiver of fees.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, that Vernon Cub Scouts is granted permission to place signs at various locations within Vernon Township effective immediately for thirty days provided all other requirements of Township Code 330-180 are followed.

Introduction/1st Reading of Ordinances

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-11 by title:

Ordinance #15-11: An Ordinance Extending Lease Agreement between the Vernon Township Board of Education and the Township of Vernon, and Sub-Lease Agreement between the Township of Vernon and the Dog Owners Gathering Society of Vernon Township, Inc., for Certain Unimproved Real Property Identified on the Official Tax Maps of the Township of Vernon as Block 133, Lot 2.05

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance 15-11 with a public hearing to be held on May 11, 2015.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

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

Motion carried to introduce Ordinance #15-11 with a public hearing to be held on May 11, 2015.

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-12 by title:

Ordinance #15-12: An Ordinance Amending Chapter 447 of the Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Property Maintenance”

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #15-12 with a public hearing to be held on May 11, 2015.
Moved: Jean Murphy
Seconded: Dan Kadish

Township Attorney Ursin discussed that the Council wanted to go forward and adopt the portion of Ordinance 15-07 (which had not been voted upon yet) dealing with foreclosed properties. Attorney Ursin noted this was the same language as 15-07 so if the Council were to adopt it at a later time there would be no conflict. Council Member Kadish noted that 15-12 is only a small portion of 15-07. Attorney Ursin explained it allowed the Township to go forward with the process against out of state creditors.

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

Motion carried to introduce Ordinance #15-12 with a public hearing to be held on May 11, 2015.

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-13 by title:

Ordinance #15-13: An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon in the County of Sussex, New Jersey Authorizing the Purchase of Various Equipment and Repairs in, by and for the Township Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:56-1 and Appropriating Therefore the Sum of $80,000.00 and Providing That Such Sum So Appropriated Shall Be Raised from the Capital Fund Balance Account of the Township

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #15-13 with a public hearing to be held on May 11, 2015.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

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

Motion carried to introduce Ordinance #15-11 with a public hearing to be held on May 11, 2015.

Public Hearing/2nd Reading of Ordinances

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-07 by title only.

Ordinance #15-07: An Ordinance Replacing Chapter 447 of the Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Property Maintenance”

Council Member Kadish made a motion to call the question. The motion was not seconded. Council Member Kadish withdrew his motion.

Council Member Kadish made a motion to reject Ordinance #15-07 and table it indefinitely.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

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

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-08 by title only.

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 asked for a motion to open the public hearing on Ordinance #15-08.
Moved: Dick Wetzel
Seconded: Jean Murphy
All members were in favor.

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

Council Member Kadish stated he would like a small work session to go through each one of these issues. Council Member Kadish stated the Code is changed in regards to the approval of payments of the bill list. Council Member Kadish noted he would like to continue to receive the bills list and thinks even the ceremonial oversight of the council should continue. Council Member Kadish indicated that other items like the annual physical exams should be in the hands of someone other than the Mayor.

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to adopt ordinance #15-08.
Moved: Dick Wetzel
Seconded: Jean Murphy

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

Council Member Wetzel stated that if the section was changed as Council Member Kadish suggested, the bills may not get paid. Council Member Murphy indicated she may wish to change her vote if it was not clear to Council Member Wetzel what Council Member Kadish was stating. Council Member Murphy stated she would keep her vote as yes.

Motion carried to pass Ordinance 15-08 on second reading.

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-09 by title only.

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 open the public hearing on Ordinance #15-09.
Moved: Jean Murphy
Seconded: Dan Kadish
All members were in favor.

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

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to adopt ordinance #15-09.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Brian Lynch

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

Motion carried to pass Ordinance 15-09 on second reading.

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-10 by title only.

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 open the public hearing on Ordinance #15-10.
Moved: Jean Murphy
Seconded: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

Seeing no 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 #15-10.
Moved: Dick Wetzel
Seconded: Jean Murphy

Council Member Kadish stated he was against sending the Health Department to the County in the first place and he felt it should be local. Council Member Kadish said he was sorry to see it was not coming back. Council Member Wetzel said he would like to see it back but the Budget Cap seemed to make it cost prohibitive. Council Member Murphy stated she would like to see what the cost to bring it back to the Township. Council President Rizzuto stated the Health Department had already been transferred prior to this form of government and the Township was being held to a 2% cap. Administrator Zuckerman stated if the Council wishes the township can get an approval of the costs. Council Member Kadish stated he would like the cost analysis. Council Member Murphy and Council Member Wetzel stated they would like it as well. Council President Rizzuto stated he did not feel it was necessary but noted the majority had spoken in requesting the information.

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

Motion carried to pass Ordinance 15-10 on second reading.

Council Comments

Council Member Murphy questioned if the street sweeper had been obtained. Administrator Zuckerman indicated it had not been. Council Member Murphy indicated she would like to continue to receive the bills list. Attorney Ursin noted the code of the Township indicating the bills list would still be provided. Council Member Murphy questioned if the Township was still participating in Sussex County Day. Council Member Murphy stated she had attended a youth leadership meeting at the PAL and it was well done. Council Member Murphy advised she had attended Earthfest and it was great to see familiar faces.

Council Member Kadish indicated he had no comments.

Council Member Lynch was not present.

Council Member Wetzel advised that he will be at Sussex County Day with Sussex County Rural Electric Cooperative. Council Member Wetzel complimented the Township on Earth Day being so well done.

Council President Rizzuto expressed that the Township received $227,000 as a grant to repair to Lake Wallkill Road. Council President Rizzuto thanked Senator Oroho for his assistance in helping the Township in receiving the grant. Council President Rizzuto stated it was worth noting how effective Senator Oroho was in speaking on the Township’s behalf. Council President Rizzuto also thanked Assemblyman Space and Assemblywoman Little McHose for their assistance. Council President Rizzuto noted that the Mayor had thanked the Commissioner of the DOT, Jamie Fox. Council President Rizzuto asked that his thank you letter to Senator Oroho be included in the minutes of the meeting. Council Member Murphy also remarked that Senator Oroho was an asset to the county. Council Member Murphy discussed possibly obtaining Federal funds. The Council discussed what standards would need to be met if the Federal money was obtained.

April 20, 2015

The Honorable Steven Oroho
Senator, State of New Jersey
24th Legislative District Office
1 Wilson Drive, Suite 2B
Sparta, NJ 07871

Dear Senator Oroho,

Thank you for your kind and aggressive intervention with the New Jersey Department of Transportation and with Commissioner Jamie Fox on behalf of Vernon Township’s application for funding from the Municipal Aid Program. Mayor Victor Marotta advised me that we have received notification from Jamie Fox, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, that Vernon will be the recipient of $227,057.00 in funding towards the repair Lake Wallkill Road. As you know this project has been held in abeyance for the past two years pending receipt of funds from NJDOT and the residents of Vernon have had to bear traveling a road that is in very serious disrepair. It is apparent that your strong advocacy on behalf of our community was instrumental in having these funds released for this vitally needed project.

On behalf of the community and especially the residents along Lake Wallkill Road, allow me to express my sincere appreciation on their behalf for this further example of your strong and effective leadership. You may be assured that I will publicly comment of this wonderful news at our next council meeting. Vernon is indeed fortunate to have a representative of your stature speaking on its behalf.

Kindest personal regards,
Patrick Rizzuto

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:28 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: June 8, 2015