Minutes: August 12, 2019

The regular meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:00 p.m. on August 12, 2019 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Jean Murphy presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 3, 2019 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

Present were Council Members Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger and Council President Murphy, Business Administrator Charles Voelker and Attorney Josh Zielinski and Attorney Louis Modugno.

Executive Session

Township Attorney Zielinski read the Resolution for the Council to enter Executive Session.

Resolution to Go into 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 matter to be discussed is:

Litigation

3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to go into Executive Session at 6:01 p.m.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members of the Council were in favor.
Motion carried to enter Executive Session.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the Executive Session and reconvene the regular meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members of the Council were in favor.

The regular meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on August 12, 2019 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Jean Murphy presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 3, 2019 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

Present were Council Members Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger and Council President Murphy, Business Administrator Charles Voelker, and Township Attorney Josh Zielinski.

Salute to the Flag

Council President Murphy led the assemblage in the salute of the flag.

Public Comments (On Current Agenda Items Only)

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the meeting to public comments.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Seeing no members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Sandra Ooms
Second: John Auberger
All members voted in favor.

Minutes

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve the following minutes:

Regular Meeting Minutes July 8, 2019
Executive Session July 22, 2019
Regular Meeting Minutes July 22, 2019

Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve the minutes.

Items for Discussion

None

Consent Agenda

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Resolutions #19-157 through #19-159.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark VanTassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion passed to adopt Resolutions #19-161 through #19-170.

Resolution #19-161: Refund Overpayment (Block 436 Lot 15 - Lin)

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon, Vernon, New Jersey, that a warrant be drawn to Eric Wood, Attorney at Law, in the amount of $1,187.60 representing refund for overpayment of 4th qtr. 2016 property taxes for Block 436 Lot 15 also known as 4 Burgher Road, Highland Lakes, NJ 07422

Resolution #19-162: Refund for Totally Disabled Veteran (Block 427 Lot 81 - Ordonez) 1st Quarter

WHEREAS, THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS awarded Ivan Ordonez a 100% permanent and totally disabled veteran: and,

WHEREAS, the law exempts said property from taxation.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes the Tax Collector to refund 1st quarter 2019 property tax in the amount of $35.90 to Ivan Ordonez.

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the Township Tax Collector.

Resolution #19-163: Refund for Totally Disabled Veteran (Block 427 Lot 81 - Ordonez) Dup. Payment Lereta

WHEREAS, THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS awarded Ivan Ordonez a 100% permanent and totally disabled veteran: and,

WHEREAS, the law exempts said property from taxation.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes the Tax Collector to refund 1st and 2nd quarter 2019 property tax in the amount of $2,507.64 to Lereta, LLC.

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the Township Tax Collector.

Resolution #19-164: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc.

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon, Sussex County, State of New Jersey as follows:

WHEREAS, in accordance with the requirements of the Local Public Contract Law P.L. 2011, C.139 (the “Law” or “Chapter 139” and N.J.S.A.52:34-6.2 the regulations promulgated there under in Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10, the following purchase without competitive bids from vendor with a National Cooperative Contract is hereby approved for municipalities, and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has the need to procure certain vehicles through lease program for Township services in accord with the Local Publics Contract Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has previously acted in accord with New Jersey public procurement statutes and regulations as promulgated by formally joining a recognized and compliant national cooperative, being the Sourcewell National Cooperative, and;

WHEREAS, the regulations as set forth within Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10 have been fully complied with, and;

WHEREAS, the equipment and corresponding Sourcewell National Cooperative contract is #060618-EFM for Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc.; and

WHEREAS, the cost savings determination as required under LFN 2012-10 is the cost of contract as there is currently no cooperative lease program in effect under the New Jersey Division of Purchase and Property; and

WHEREAS, the quoted cost under the Sourcewell National contract $46,867.20; and

WHEREAS, that the governing body of Vernon Township pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b) (the certification of available funds), states that the Chief Finance Officer shall either certify the full maximum amount against the budget at the time the contract is awarded, or no contract amount shall be chargeable or certified until such time as the goods or services are ordered or otherwise called for prior to placing the order, and a certification of availability of funds is made by the Chief Finance Officer; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Business Administrator is hereby directed to effectuate the contract with Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. under Sourcewell contract #060618-EFM in accord with the provisions of the tenets as established within 40A:11-1 et seq.,

Resolution #19-165: Refund for Totally Disabled Veteran (Block 578 Lot 5 - Lunger)

WHEREAS, THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS awarded William Lunger a 100% permanent and totally disabled veteran: and,

WHEREAS, the law exempts said property from taxation.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes the Tax Collector to refund 1st quarter 2019 property tax in the amount of $1,250.34 to Wells Fargo.

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the Township Tax Collector.

Resolution #19-166: Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of Not Exceeding $6,765,827 Bond Anticipation Notes of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE TOWNSHIP COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF VERNON, IN THE COUNTY OF SUSSEX, NEW JERSEY, AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of The Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex (the “Township”) entitled: “Bond ordinance appropriating $1,534,557, and authorizing the issuance of $1,266,625 bonds or notes of the Township, for various improvements or purposes authorized to be undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey,” finally adopted on May 28, 2015 (#15-16), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $1,152,225 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 2. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township entitled: “Bond ordinance appropriating $1,614,500, and authorizing the issuance of $1,307,000 bonds or notes of the Township, for various improvements or purposes authorized to be undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey,” finally adopted on June 13, 2016 (#16-15), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $1,239,975 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 3. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township entitled: “Bond ordinance making a supplemental appropriation of $90,000 for the acquisition of vehicular equipment heretofore authorized to be undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey, and authorizing the issuance of $76,100 bonds or notes of the Township for financing such supplemental appropriation,” finally adopted on July 11, 2016 (#16-18), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $85,700 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 4. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township entitled: “Bond ordinance appropriating $3,636,500, and authorizing the issuance of $2,948,000 bonds or notes of the Township, for various improvements or purposes authorized to be undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey,” finally adopted on June 26, 2017 (#17-09), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $2,548,000 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 5. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township entitled: “Bond ordinance making a supplemental appropriation of $210,000 for the acquisition of a new fire truck heretofore authorized to be undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey, and authorizing the issuance of $200,000 bonds or notes of the Township for financing such supplemental appropriation,” finally adopted on February 15, 2018 (#18-07), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $200,000 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 6. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township entitled: “Bond ordinance providing for the installation of turf fields at Maple Grange Park in and by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey, appropriating $872,750 therefor and authorizing the issuance of $692,750 bonds or notes of the Township for financing such appropriation,” finally adopted on July 22, 2019 (#19-15), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $692,750 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 7. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township entitled: “Bond ordinance appropriating $1,165,918, and authorizing the issuance of $856,777 bonds or notes of the Township, for various improvements or purposes authorized to be undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey,” finally adopted on July 22, 2019 (#19-16), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $856,777 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 8. All bond anticipation notes (the “notes”) issued hereunder shall mature at such times as may be determined by the treasurer, the chief financial officer or the acting chief financial officer of the Township (the “Chief Financial Officer”), provided that no note shall mature later than one year from its date. The notes shall bear interest at such rate or rates and be in such form as may be determined by the Chief Financial Officer and shall be signed and sealed by officials and officers of the Township in any manner permitted by N.J.S.A. §40A:2-25. The Chief Financial Officer shall determine all matters in connection with the notes issued hereunder, and the Chief Financial Officer’s signature upon the notes shall be conclusive evidence as to all such determinations. All notes issued hereunder may be renewed from time to time subject to the provisions of N.J.S.A. §40A:2-8. The Chief Financial Officer is hereby authorized to sell part or all of the notes at not less than par from time to time at public or private sale and to deliver them to the purchasers thereof upon receipt of payment of the purchase price. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to report in writing to the governing body of the Township at the meeting next succeeding the date when any sale or delivery of the notes hereunder is made. Such report must include the principal amount, interest rate and maturities of the notes sold, the price obtained and the name of the purchaser.

Section 9. Any note issued pursuant to this resolution shall be a general obligation of the Township, and the Township’s faith and credit are hereby pledged to the punctual payment of the principal of and interest on the notes and, unless otherwise paid or payment provided for, an amount sufficient for such payment shall be inserted in the budget and a tax sufficient to provide for the payment thereof shall be levied and collected.

Section 10. The Chief Financial Officer is hereby authorized and directed to do all other matters necessary, useful, convenient or desirable to accomplish the delivery of the notes to the purchasers thereof as promptly as possible, including (i) the preparation, execution and dissemination of a Preliminary Official Statement and Final Official Statement with respect to the notes, (ii) preparation, distribution and publication, if necessary, of a Notice of Sale with respect to the notes, (iii) execution of a Continuing Disclosure Undertaking, with respect to the notes in accordance with Rule 15c2-12 promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and (iv) execution of an arbitrage and use of proceeds certificate certifying that, among other things, the Township, to the extent it is empowered and allowed under applicable law, will do and perform all acts and things necessary or desirable to assure that interest paid on the notes is not included in gross income under Section 103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

Section 11. All action heretofore taken by Township officials and professionals with regard to the sale and award of the notes is hereby ratified, confirmed, adopted and approved.

Section 12. This resolution shall take effect immediately

Resolution #19-167: Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of Not Exceeding $600,000 Special Emergency Notes of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE TOWNSHIP COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF VERNON, IN THE COUNTY OF SUSSEX, NEW JERSEY (not less than two thirds of all the members thereof affirmatively concurring), AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. Pursuant to an ordinance of The Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex (the “Township”) authorizing a special emergency appropriation in the amount of $1,000,000, finally adopted on July 24, 2017 (#17-12) and entitled: “An ordinance authorizing a special emergency appropriation of $1,000,000 for the reevaluation of real property by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey,” special emergency notes of the Township are hereby authorized to be issued pursuant to the Local Budget Law in a principal amount not exceeding $600,000 for the purpose of financing the improvement or purpose described in said resolution, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any special emergency notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 2. All special emergency notes (the “notes”) issued hereunder shall mature at such times as may be determined by the treasurer, the chief financial officer or the acting chief financial officer of the Township (the “Chief Financial Officer”), provided that no note shall mature later than one year from its date. The notes shall bear interest at such rate or rates and be in such form as may be determined by the Chief Financial Officer and shall be signed and sealed by officials and officers of the Township in any manner permitted by N.J.S.A. §40A:2-25. The Chief Financial Officer shall determine all matters in connection with the notes issued hereunder, and the Chief Financial Officer’s signature upon the notes shall be conclusive evidence as to all such determinations. All notes issued hereunder may be renewed from time to time subject to the provisions of N.J.S.A. §40A:4-55. The Chief Financial Officer is hereby authorized to sell part or all of the notes at not less than par from time to time at public or private sale and to deliver them to the purchasers thereof upon receipt of payment of the purchase price. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to report in writing to the governing body of the Township at the meeting next succeeding the date when any sale or delivery of the notes hereunder is made. Such report must include the principal amount, interest rate and maturities of the notes sold, the price obtained and the name of the purchaser.

Section 3. Any note issued pursuant to this resolution shall be a general obligation of the Township, and the Township’s faith and credit are hereby pledged to the punctual payment of the principal of and interest on the notes and, unless otherwise paid or payment provided for, an amount sufficient for such payment shall be inserted in the budget and a tax sufficient to provide for the payment thereof shall be levied and collected.

Section 4. The Chief Financial Officer is hereby further authorized and directed to file a copy of this resolution, as adopted, and all other resolutions or ordinances relating to the authorization of the aforementioned special emergency appropriation with the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs of the State of New Jersey.

Section 5. The Chief Financial Officer is hereby authorized and directed to do all other matters necessary, useful, convenient or desirable to accomplish the delivery of the notes to the purchasers thereof as promptly as possible, including (i) the preparation, execution and dissemination of a Preliminary Official Statement and Final Official Statement with respect to the notes, (ii) preparation, distribution and publication, if necessary, of a Notice of Sale with respect to the notes, (iii) execution of a Continuing Disclosure Undertaking, with respect to the notes in accordance with Rule 15c2 12 promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and (iv) execution of an arbitrage and use of proceeds certificate certifying that, among other things, the Township, to the extent it is empowered and allowed under applicable law, will do and perform all acts and things necessary or desirable to assure that interest paid on the notes is not included in gross income under Section 103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

Section 6. All action heretofore taken by Township officials with respect to the sale, issuance and delivery of the notes is hereby ratified, confirmed, adopted and approved

Section 7. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Resolution #19-168: Renewal of Pocket Liquor License (T & Z Holdings, LLC) Requiring Special Ruling in the Township of Vernon for the 2019-2020 Licensing Term

WHEREAS, all licenses to disperse alcoholic beverages must be renewed and reissued annually; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:1-12.39 the following license required a Special Ruling by the State Division of Alcoholic Beverages as the license is currently in the pocket prior to its renewal; and

WHEREAS, the State Division of Alcoholic Beverages on June 21, 2019 issued said special ruling for the 2019-20 license terms; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 33:1-1 et. seq., the Vernon Township Police Department has made the necessary review of the license and reported same to the Township Clerk; and

WHEREAS, the licensee have complied with all of the regulations as set forth by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission of the State of New Jersey.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the following license shall be renewed as a pocket license (an inactive license not assigned to any location) for the 2019-2020 licensing period effective as of July 1, 2019.

PLENARY RETAIL CONSUMPTION
T&Z Holdings LLC (POCKET LICENSE) 1922-33-004-006

Resolution #19-169: Authorizing the Use of Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council for Proposed Improvements to Warwick Turnpike

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need for contracting services for Proposed Improvements to Warwick Turnpike; and

WHEREAS, the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council advertised and received bids for roadway milling, paving, and complete line stripping; and

WHEREAS, the bids received allowed for vendors to extend their pricing to municipalities who are a member of the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council, a State regulated County Contract Purchasing System; and

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Engineer recommends the Township Council award contracts for milling and paving, and complete line striping through the use of the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council to the following contractors:

1) Milling & Paving: Tilcon New York, Inc. (Contract #6) in an amount of $363,852.35; and
2) Traffic Striping: Denville Line Painting, Inc. (Contract #36) in an amount of $12,000.00; and

WHEREAS, that the governing body of Vernon Township pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b) (the certification of available funds), states that no contract amount shall be chargeable or certified until such time as the goods or services are ordered or otherwise called for prior to placing the order, and a certification of availability of funds is made by the Chief Finance Officer.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the vendors, Tilcon New York, Inc and Denville Line Painting, Inc. be utilized for the Improvements to Warwick Turnpike through the respective Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council contracts at the amounts not to exceed listed herewith.

This Resolution shall take effect immediately according to law.

Resolution #19-170: Authorizing the Use of the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ) Cooperative Contract ESCNJ 18/19 - 55 Program for Proposed Synthetic Turf Field Replacements at the Maple Grange Community Park

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Local Publics Contract Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:11-11) authorizes the Township of Vernon by resolution, and without advertising for bids or obtaining quotations, to purchase any goods or services under the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey Cooperative Pricing System #65MCESCCPS; and

WHEREAS, the Township has the need on a timely basis to purchase goods and services utilizing Educational Service Commission of New Jersey Contracts, duly authorized under law to extend contract pricing to local units, per N.J.A.C. 5:34-7 et seq.; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need for contracting services for Proposed Replacement of Synthetic Turf Fields at the Maple Grange Community Park; and

WHEREAS, the Educational Services Commission of New Jersey (ESCNJ) advertised and received bids for the supply and installation of new synthetic turf fields under bid ESCNJ 18/19-55 for contract dated March 22, 2019 through March 21, 2021; and

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Engineer recommends the Township Council award contracts for the replacement of two (2) synthetic turf fields through the use of the ESCNJ CONTRACT 18/19-55 cooperative program to Shaw Sports Turf 185 South Industrial Boulevard, Calhoun, GA. 30701, in the amount of $755,176.00; and

WHEREAS, that the governing body of Vernon Township pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b) (the certification of available funds), states that the Chief Finance Officer shall either certify the full maximum amount against the budget at the time the contract is awarded, or no contract amount shall be chargeable or certified until such time as the goods or services are ordered or otherwise called for prior to placing the order, and a certification of availability of funds is made by the Chief Finance Officer; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the vendor, Shaw Sports Turf 185 South Industrial Boulevard, Calhoun, GA. 30701, in the amount of $755,176.00 through ESCNJ 18/19-55 shall be contracted for the Proposed Replacement of Synthetic Turf Fields at Maple Grange Community Park at the amount not to exceed listed herewith.

This Resolution shall take effect immediately according to law.

Reconsideration and Override of Mayoral Veto of Ordinance #19-17

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #19-17 by title.

Ordinance #19-17: Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending Chapter 89 of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Personnel Policies” to Create Article IV Entitled “Anti-Nepotism Policy”

Council President Murphy noted that Ordinance 19-17 was adopted by the Council on July 22 and subsequently vetoed by the Mayor. She noted the Township Attorney had opined there was nothing unlawful with the ordinance.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to override the Mayor’s veto of Ordinance 19-17.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Patrick Curreri
All members present voted in favor.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to override the Mayor’s veto of Ordinance #19-17.

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinances

Council President read Ordinance 19-19 by title:

Ordinance #19-19: An Ordinance Amending §250-9 of the Vernon Township Administrative Code

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #19-19 with a public hearing on September 9, 2019.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to introduce ordinance 19-19 with a public hearing to be held on September 9, 2019.

Public Comments (Limited to 3 minutes on any topic)

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Sandra Ooms
Second: John Auberger
All members voted in favor.

Seeing no members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members voted in favor.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Shortway was absent.

Council Comments

Council Member Auberger had no comments.

Council Member Ooms requested that the finance department provide the Township with the amount of the current fund balance.

Council Member Van Tassel had no comments.

Council Member Curreri stated that he had been advised by Mayor Shortway last week because he had heard, perhaps through anonymous sources, that his family was being targeted with harassment because of who I am married to and the color of our children. Our mayor pledged any support my family needed, and said he was certain that if it was necessary to go to law enforcement, the Vernon Police Department would be right here.

Council Member Curreri thanked the mayor for his support in stating that hate has no home here. Council Member Curreri indicated that Council President Murphy was also more than supportive. Council President Murphy had added to the agenda a proclamation for Pride at a previous meeting. Council Member Curreri noted that the record shows that Vernon is open for business to everyone, regardless or gender, religion, ethnicity, who they are or who they love. Vernon leaders have shown leadership on this issue, and residents I hear from have essentially said it’s a non-issue.

Council Member Curreri stated he had let the mayor know that he was unaware of any targeted harassment based on who he is or what his children look like. Council Member Curreri requested that to the residents that witness this, if you see or hear something, say something. Council Member Curreri stated that his family has always felt welcome here, and most people he heard from are more concerned with their taxes than his family life.

Council Member Curreri stated while on the topic of hate, there has been much in the local news lately about hate—and social media—and its role in our lives here in Vernon Council Member Curreri discussed that a Sussex County Community College trustee shared tweets and public messages that were ugly and bigoted in nature and overall portray a very bad image of leadership of our community college.

Council Member Curreri stated he personally did not know the trustee involved in this scandal—but quoted from Judge Parker in the NJ Herald News two days ago. Council Member Curreri stated that she says “I have worked with Jerry Scanlan for more than eight years on the Board of Trustees and I know Jerry is not a hater. But, we cannot tolerate mindless repeating of hate-filled rants and images publicly or privately on social media, printed fliers, or in-person speech. Nor can we tolerate such rants or images that may originate here.”

Council Member Curreri stated that on that point, he couldn’t agree more.

Council Member Curreri stated there were 8,493 victims of hate crimes in our country recorded in 2017 noting that the top three targets were race, religion, and orientation.

Council Member Curreri stated that it was less than one year ago that he stood in Hampton with victims of hateful, antisemitic, racist, and anti-LGBT attacks. Council Member Curreri stated he stood along with Congressman Gottheimer as we affirmed that hate, indeed, has no home in Sussex County. Council Member Curreri he noted that a few days later we stood on the campus of the county college and repeated those words.

Council Member Curreri circled back to the County College—when this issue was highlighted by Sussex County residents to both the board of trustees and the Freeholders, the reaction was “Clutching your pearls will get you nowhere,” and “we need an investigation.”

Council Member Curreri stated that in a county that has a history of treating marginalized groups with something less than dignity, we don’t need lengthy investigations and deliberations. This moment requires we condemn, in the strongest possible language, any hate speech from any source—regardless of how well-connected that source is, or what part of the establishment they thrive in. Council Member Curreri urged residents to get to know their college trustees and Freeholders.

Council Member Curreri noted that if someone had clutched their pearls the first time a County College official shared a racist, anti Muslim, anti LGBT bigoted message, there probably wouldn’t have been a second, third, or fourth.

Council Member Curreri stated that he gets to share his story because he is privileged to be a member of the Council. Council Member Curreri questioned what about all the Vernon students that attend the college that don’t have this platform? Council Member Curreri asked that for their well-being, that this body affirm, through a resolution at our next meeting, that hate has no home in Vernon.

Council President Comments

Council President Murphy advised the Council Members that Vernon Township Resident Judy Storms had been named as Sussex County Senior of the year.

Council President Murphy noted that she had previously mentioned the Council may cancel the August 26, 2019 meeting. Council President Murphy asked the Council if there was any objection to cancelling the meeting. The Council had no objection. Council President Murphy asked Administrator Voelker if there was anything pressing that required the Council have the meeting. Administrator Voelker indicated he was not aware of anything. Council President Murphy suggested Administrator Voelker check with the Mayor just to be sure. Administrator Voelker indicated he would check with the Mayor first thing in the morning and advise the Council.

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 7:12 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: August 26, 2019