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

Minutes: April 9, 2012

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:33 p.m. on April 9, 2012, in the Vernon Township Municipal Building, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 9, 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.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Brian Lynch. Also present were Mayor Vic Marotta, Business Administrator Jerry Giaimis, and Township Attorney Kevin Kelly.

Salute to the Flag

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

Public Comments

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to open the meeting to public comments at this time.
Motion: Dick Wetzel
Second: Patrick Rizzuto
All were in favor.

Mr. Kelly advised the audience that public comments on the listed ordinances should be reserved until the public hearings section of the meeting.

Gary Martinsen—asked about Resolution #12-82, if it was part of the original purchase. The Mayor advised that this was in addition to the purchase. Mr. Martinsen asked about the sign ordinance, noting the 2nd reading was not listed on the agenda. He was advised that it was still under review by the Land Use Board. He requested that the website should post the resolutions in an easier format, as well as that it should post the recordings of each meeting.

Tom McClachrie—had a question on the work session, namely where would the funds come from for the road work. He also commented on tax appeals and the reserve for uncollected taxes.

Bob Geary—spoke about the Homestead, noting that other towns have supported the issue to save it and put it to a vote on the November ballot. He asked for Council support. Council President Lynch advised that he had spoken to the Freeholders on the matter, and does not feel that Council should interfere in how they do their job (just as he would not appreciate the County telling Council how to do their jobs).

Ray Whitty—spoke on the Homestead issue on behalf of a nurse and other employees of the Homestead. He addressed Mr. Lynch’s comments but noting that a non-binding referendum was the good way to go, which would still allow the Freeholders to take action as they see fit. He read a short prepared statement.

Alan Zurtwich—advised that the sign ordinance was too much to get through. He asked if Council could condense it to make it more “user-friendly.”

Bill Costabile—spoke about the continuing flooding issues in his neighborhood, noting that he was still not getting anywhere. Mr. Kelly noted that he had directed him to the Township’s insurance carrier. Mr. Costabile advised that he would not speak to them. He continued by stating his opinions on when and how the problem was created.

Krista Geary—also spoke on the Homestead issue, asking if Council would vote on the referendum suggestion.

Council Member Kadish asked for a motion to support the referendum question.
Moved: Daniel Kadish

No one offered a second. Mr. Kadish spoke about his experience with the senior population of the area and the challenges they face, especially financially. Mr. Lynch re-stated his stance on the issue. Mr. Wetzel disagreed with some of Mr. Kadish’s statistics, noting that no one would be evicted, nor lose their jobs. He delineated some of the obstacles faced by the County in maintaining the facility.

Mr. Whitty clarified some points on the matter.

John Kosh, Assistant Chief of the Pochuck Fire Dept.—noted that the Mayor came out during their recent fire call, where all members left their families and Easter dinner.

The Mayor noted that he went to support the volunteers and got quite an education. He advised that less than 6% of the budget goes to underwrite the fire departments in Vernon.

Closed to Public Comments

No one else wished to speak at this time, and the Council President asked for a motion to close the public portion of the meeting.
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Patrick Rizzuto
All were in favor.

Mayor’s Report

The Mayor had no report at this time.

Public Auction—Block 103.20 Lot 12

Mr. Kelly asked if the 2 eligible property owners were present. They were not. Mayor Marotta asked Mr. Kelly to clarify if the Township could move forward from here and was advised that it could.

Consent Agenda—Resolutions #12-78 through #12-84

Council President Lynch gave a brief explanation of all resolutions. He noted that Resolution #12-82 would need to be removed from the consent agenda for separate action.

Council Member Kadish asked about the IRS payment for 2006 social security. The Mayor advised that this was a back payment. Mr. Kadish also inquired about the payment to the Vernon Veterinary Hospital for emergency gastro surgery. Mr. Kelly advised that this animal was viciously attacked and the matter was before the Court. He further advised that the money would be returned to the Township once the case was resolved.

Council Member Dunn asked about Resolution #12-83 on energy taxes. Mayor Marotta explained how the State stopped reimbursing the towns for the energy taxes collected on our behalf, but had since been put into the State’s general fund and then only partially returned to the towns as state aid (since @2001).

The Council President asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #12-78 through 12-81, and #12-83 and #12-84.
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Eddie Dunn

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Resolutions #12-78 through 12-81, 12-83, and 12-84 were approved.

Resolution #12-78: Authorizing the Approval of Bills List

BE IT RESOLVED that the following bills listed are hereby approved:

Disbursement
Journal
FundAmountMajor Vendor
#1CURRENT$879,919.82BD OF ED
#2CURRENT$1,268,517.00PERS/PFRS
#3CURRENT$177,669.00HLCC
#4CURRENT$6,567.50VTMUA
#5GRANT$500.00 
#6CAPITAL$2,000.00 
#7CAPITAL$952.25WIRE TRANSFER
#8P & Z$2,851.00 
#9OUTSIDE SERVICES$496.80 
#10ROAD ASSESSMENT$13,800.00 
#11OTHER TRUST$6,607.45 
#12OTHER TRUST$3,751.00 
#13PVL DAM REHAB ASSESS$257.54 
#143RD PAY IN MARCH$334,733.45 
  $2,698,622.81 

Resolution #12-79: Tax Court Judgement—2009 Taxes

WHEREAS, Tax Court Judgments have been favorably awarded for the year 2009; and,

WHEREAS, such judgments have resulted in overpayments of 2009 taxes;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, and State of New Jersey, who hereby authorize the Township Treasurer to issue checks for said overpayments and that the Tax Collector refund said overpayments of taxes on the following accounts:

BLOCKLOTNAMEAMOUNTLOCATION
188.012 C0001Robert J & Catherine M Weeks/
Adam R Jones Esq.
$965.203-11 Maple Crescent
188.0112 C0007Joseph P & Irene Spano/
Adam R Jones Esq.
$984.463-14 Maple Crescent
1909 CA206Esther Lee et al./
Adam R Jones Esq.
$880.96200 Rt 94 Unit 206
1909 CA406Robert Kiszka et al./
Adam R Jones Esq.
$945.95200 Rt 94 Unit 406

Resolution #12-80: Tax Court Judgement—2010 Taxes

WHEREAS, Tax Court Judgments have been favorably awarded for the year 2010; and,

WHEREAS, such judgments have resulted in overpayments of 2010 taxes;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, and State of New Jersey, who hereby authorize the Township Treasurer to issue checks for said overpayments and the Tax Collector to refund said overpayments of taxes on the following accounts:

BLOCKLOTNAMEAMOUNTLOCATION
188.012 C0001Robert J & Catherine M Weeks/
Adam R Jones Esq.
$1,858.713-11 Maple Crescent
188.0112 C0007Joseph P & Irene Spano/
Adam R Jones Esq.
$1,893.783-14 Maple Crescent
1909 CA206Esther Lee et al./
Adam R Jones Esq.
$1,695.88200 Rt 94 Unit 206
1909 CA406Robert Kiszka et al./
Adam R Jones Esq.
$1,821.13200 Rt 94 Unit 406

Resolution #12-81: Tax Court Judgement—2011 Taxes

WHEREAS, a Tax Court Judgment has been favorably awarded for the year 2011; and,

WHEREAS, such judgment has resulted in an overpayment of 2011 taxes;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, and State of New Jersey, who hereby authorize the Township Treasurer to issue check for said overpayment and the Tax Collector to refund said overpayment of taxes on the following account:

BLOCKLOTNAMEAMOUNTLOCATION
269.101Pleasant Valley Country Club Inc/
McCarter & English LLP
$2,614.00200 East Shore Dr

Resolution #12-83: Resolution of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, and State of New Jersey to Call for the Restoration of Energy Taxes to Municipalities

WHEREAS, taxes on gas and electric utilities were originally collected by the host municipalities to be used for local purposes and to compensate the public for the use of their rights of way; and

WHEREAS, when the State made itself the collection agent for these taxes, it promised to dedicate the proceeds to municipal property tax relief; since, just as municipalities collect property taxes for the benefit of school districts, counties and other entities; the State is supposed to collect Energy Taxes for the benefit of municipal governments; and

WHEREAS, for years, though, State budget makers have diverted funding from Energy Taxes to fund State programs; and instead of being spent on local programs and services and used to offset property taxes, the money has been spent as successive Legislatures and Administrations have seen fit; and

WHEREAS, while the State may need to have the right to over-ride the statutory dedication of these revenues to local governments, in order to deal with emergencies and crises that may occur; current State policy makers should not exercise that right automatically; and

WHEREAS, while that right should be the exception, it has become the rule; and

WHEREAS, by using tactics such as reducing CMPTRA, which is also comprised of revenues that should be returned to municipalities, State Budget makers have been able to continue collecting Energy Taxes, while keeping additional revenue that should have been returned to provide property tax relief; and

WHEREAS, from $72 million in State Fiscal Year 2005, to $505 million in State Fiscal Year 2011, the State’s diversion of Energy Taxes has continued to grow; and

WHEREAS, in 2008, 2009 and 2010 (SFY 2009, 2010 and 2011), funding for municipal revenue replacement was slashed by about $26 million in 2008 and $32 million in 2009, followed by losses of about $271 million in 2010; and

WHEREAS, the cumulative impact of years of underfunding has left many municipalities with serious needs and burdensome property taxes; and

WHEREAS, local elected officials are in the best position to decide the best use for these resources, which were always intended to fund local programs and services;

NOW THEFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Mayor and Governing Body of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, that we join with the League of Municipalities in calling for the immediate restoration of funding diverted from Energy Taxes intended for local use; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we, respectfully, call on State policy makers to end the diversion of our municipal resources to cover State spending and to provide us with this important tool to relieve the worst-in-the-nation property tax burden borne, for too long, by the people of New Jersey; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that copies of this Resolution be forwarded to the Governor of the State of New Jersey, our State Legislators and the League of Municipalities.

Resolution #12-84: Authorizing Professional Services Contract with Vital Communications, Inc.

WHEREAS, there exists a need for professional services for the Township of Vernon for the purpose of Computer software and services for Tax Assessment/CAMA, Tax Collection and Internet Access including tax billing and customer support; and

WHEREAS, the Township has determined that Vital Communications, Inc., the Township’s current contractor providing these services, is qualified to continue providing the Township with such services; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified that funds are available for this purpose subject to the adoption of the 2012 Municipal Budget; and

WHEREAS, the Local Public Contracts Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1, et seq.) requires that the resolution authorizing these “Professional Services” without competitive bids must be publicly advertised; and

WHEREAS, Vernon desires to appoint Vital Communications, Inc., pursuant to a contract under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.4 and/or N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.5; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified that the value of the contract will exceed $17,500.00; and

WHEREAS, the term of the contract will be from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, with a total contract price not to exceed $18,000; and

WHEREAS, Vital Communications, Inc. has submitted a Business Entity Disclosure Certification in compliance with applicable law.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, this 9th day of April, 2012, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, and State of New Jersey as follows:

  1. The Township of Vernon is authorized to engage Vital Communications, Inc., for the purpose of Computer Services for Tax Assessment/CAMA, Tax Collection and Internet Access; and
  2. The Mayor is hereby authorized and directed to execute a Professional Services Contract with Vital Communications, Inc., attested by the Municipal Clerk.

This Professional Services Contract is awarded without competitive bidding (1) as a “Professional Service” under the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law and/or (2) for the provision or performance of goods or services for the support or maintenance of proprietary computer hardware and software.

A copy of this Resolution shall be published in the New Jersey Herald by the Municipal Clerk as required by law within ten (10) days of its passage and a true copy of same and the Professional Services Contract shall be available for inspection in the office of the Municipal Clerk.

A copy of the Business Entity Disclosure Certification shall be filed with this Resolution.

The Council President asked for a motion to approve Resolution #12-82.
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Eddie Dunn

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel
Nays: None
Abstain: Brian Lynch
Resolution #12-82 was approved.

Resolution #12-82: Authorizing the Award of a Bid for Four (4) Fire Chief Vehicle Conversions.

WHEREAS, there is a need to convert four (4) recently purchased vehicles into fire chief vehicles; and

WHERAS, these conversions include new consoles, cabinets, lights, sirens, lettering and wiring for communications equipment for each of the vehicles; and

WHEREAS, the Township has issued specifications and contract documents soliciting formal bids for the necessary service; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon received and opened two bids for the above mentioned service on April 4, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. in the Vernon Township Municipal Building; and

WHEREAS, the bids were received and reviewed by the Qualified Purchasing Agent and the Vernon Township Municipal Clerk for the specified bid requirements; and

WHEREAS, the QPA recommends awarding the contract to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder, General Sales Administration t/a Major Police Supply, 47 North Dell Avenue, Kenvil NJ 07847 for the unit price of $9,998.17 and a total price of $39,992.68; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Finance Officer has certified funds are available for this purpose in account #711310.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Vernon Township Council, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey to award a contract to General Sales Administration t/a Major Police Supply, for the service of converting four (4) fire chief vehicles.

This Resolution shall take effect immediately according to law.

Possible Action Items

Earthfest

The Council President spoke about the request received for a temporary sign to be placed over by the A&P for Earthfest, and that copies had been distributed to all members of the Council. He asked for a motion to approve this request.

Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Brian Lynch

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Motion carried and temporary sign was approved.

Permit Extension Act

Council Member Rizzuto explained the nature of this act as it was passed in 2008. He noted that the act is relative to affordable housing permits being able to be held until economically feasible. The new act would allow the time frame to be extended to December of 2014. A discussion on its merits followed. Mr. Kelly advised that the idea originated in 1992.

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to support this Act.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish
Motion carried.

Ordinances

2nd Reading and Public Hearing on Ordinance #12-04 by Title Only

The Council President asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #12-04 on 2nd reading.
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Daniel Kadish

Open to Public Comment on Ordinance #12-04

Gary Martinsen—felt that good steps were being taken in the right direction.

Closed to Public Comment on Ordinance #12-04

Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Eddie Dunn
All were in favor.

Vote on Ordinance #12-04

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Ordinance #12-04 was adopted on 2nd reading.

Ordinance #12-04: An ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, amending the code of the Township of Vernon—Recreational Vehicles, etc.


2nd Reading and Public Hearing on Ordinance #12-06 by Title Only

The Council President asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #12-06 on 2nd reading.
Motion: Eddie Dunn
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

Open to Public Comment on Ordinance #12-06

Tom McClachrie—asked if this raised fines/fees from old ordinances.

Council President Lynch advised that all fines/fees would be in line with the State.

Mr. McClachrie—noted that he was in favor of shared services, suggesting Tax Assessor services with the County, as well as Fire Prevention services with the County.

Closed to Public Comment on Ordinance #12-06

Motion: Eddie Dunn
Second: Daniel Kadish
All were in favor.

Council Member Kadish had a question on page 4 of the ordinance where it lists the term of office for department head and employees. The Mayor felt it should be the same as the Administrative Code and state statute. It was agreed that there would be a change to reflect this: the term of office for the Fire Marshal shall also state in “b” “with the advice and consent of the Council” and that “c” would delete “with advice and consent of Council upon recommendation of the Fire Marshal for a period of one year.”

Vote on Ordinance #12-06

A roll call vote was taken to adopt Ordinance #12-06 as amended:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Ordinance #12-06 was adopted on 2nd reading.

Ordinance #12-06: An ordinance revising Chapter 263 Fire Prevention of the Code of the Township of Vernon—Fire Prevention

Appointments—Economic Development Advisory Committee

Mayor Marotta gave Council an overview of the credentials for the following candidates as members of the EDAC:

Antonios Avramidis and Gloria Frato-Gallo

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to approve the appointments to the Economic Development Advisory Commission as proposed by the Mayor.
Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Eddie Dunn

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
The appointments of Antonios Avramidis and Gloria Frato-Gallo to the EDAC were approved.

Council President

Council President Lynch noted that there had been a lot of brush fires, with the area of Rt. 94 behind Barrett Road having burned significantly. He advised that the brush is very dry at this time of year, especially with the mild winter and recent dry weather. He urged people to be careful.

Mr. Lynch advised that there would be work sessions scheduled at 6:30 p.m. before each regular meeting (7:30 p.m.). He noted the discussion that took place at this evening’s work session (capital improvements for roads).

Council Business

No council members wished to speak at this time.

Adjournment

There being no further items of business to be conducted at the Regular Meeting, a motion for Adjournment was made by Council Member Dunn. Motion seconded by Council Member Kadish, with all members voting in favor.

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:27 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Nelson, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: April 23, 2012