Minutes: August 20, 2019*

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The special meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on August 20, 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 August 14, 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. The purpose of this meeting is to override the Mayoral veto of Ordinance 19-18, An Ordinance Of The Township Of Vernon, County Of Sussex, State Of New Jersey, Authorizing The Collection Of A Tax Of One Half (1/2) Cent Per One Hundred (100) Dollars Of Assessed Value, To Be Dedicated To Recreation, Said Tax To Be Collected For A Period Of Ten (10) Years Beginning In The Year 2020, and authorizing the submission of the question to the ballot. Official action may be taken.

Roll Call

Present were Council Members Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger and Council President Murphy, Mayor Harry Shortway and Attorney Marlin Townes.

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.

Bonnie Rubin, Vernon, stated she felt the announcement for the meeting could have used more discretion. Ms. Rubin stated that she felt the ordinance should be re-written to include more emphasis on the fields. Ms. Rubin asked the Council to uphold the veto.

Sally Rinker, Vernon indicated she had made her voice heard at the previous meeting. Mr. Rinker complained about the increased tax burden which included the increase from the Board of Education. Ms. Rinker objected that the word turf was not used in the ordinance. Ms. Rinker expressed concern that the current council members may not be the future council and how would the future council know this was for turf fields. Ms. Rinker requested the ordinance be changed and not rushed through.

Seeing no more 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.

Reconsideration and Override of Mayoral Veto of Ordinance #19-18

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #19-18 by title.

Ordinance #19-18: An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Authorizing the Collection of a Tax of One Half (1/2) Cent Per One Hundred (100) Dollars of Assessed Value, to Be Dedicated to Recreation, Said Tax to Be Collected for a Period of Ten (10) Years Beginning in the Year 2020

Council President Murphy noted that Ordinance 19-18 was adopted by the Council and subsequently vetoed by the Mayor.

Council President Murphy asked if there was any discussion on Ordinance 19-18.

Council Member Ooms expressed concern that people came out for the turf fields and that residents may vote for this ordinance but would not be informed about what is going on. Council Member Ooms noted the Township spent a lot of funds towards recreation including for through the schools and PAL. Council Member Ooms stated she agreed with Mayor Shortway and that the Township should use the Air B and B tax funds towards recreation.

Council Member Curreri indicated that was not opposed to the Air B and B tax but in recent news parts of it had been rolled back and challenged in court and on the State level. Council Member Curreri stated he was not convinced that those funds would definitely be available for the future.

Council Member Ooms indicated she did not believe the voters would be making an informed decision and they may find themselves in the same spot in 10 years. Council Member Ooms indicated she would like to the see the ordinance be more specific.

Council President Murphy questioned if in restraining it too much would that create an issue for the future. Council President Murphy indicated that Council Member Ooms had opposed the ordinance for the turf fields over health concerns and questioned if health issues with turf fields were substantiated what could be done with the funds. Council President Murphy stated that in two years the next field will need to have its turf replaced, this offers a mechanism to put funds in place or the Township will be bonding again.

Council Member Ooms stated the Council is here to talk about the issues.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to override the Mayor’s veto of Ordinance 19-18.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members present voted in favor.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: Sandra Ooms
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to override the Mayor’s veto of Ordinance #19-18.

Readoption of Resolution for Separate Action

Resolution #19-160: A Resolution of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex County, State of New Jersey, Authorizing the Collection of a Tax of One Half (1/2) Cent Per One Hundred (100) Dollars of Assessed Value, to Be Dedicated to Recreation, Said Tax to Be Collected for a Period of Ten (10) Years Beginning in the Year 2020

Council President Murphy gave a brief description of Resolution 19-160.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolution 19-160.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members present voted in favor.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: Sandra Ooms
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to pass Resolution #19-160.

Resolution #19-160: A Resolution of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex County, State of New Jersey, Authorizing the Collection of a Tax of One Half (1/2) Cent Per One Hundred (100) Dollars of Assessed Value, to Be Dedicated to Recreation, Said Tax to Be Collected for a Period of Ten (10) Years Beginning in the Year 2020

WHEREAS, the Township Council has the obligation to act in the best interests of the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the Township; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council requires to have sufficient funds to continue the Township’s recreation programs; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council has determined it to be in the public interest to create a tax to raise funds solely for the Township’s recreation programs; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council wishes to ask the voters if they would like to authorize same; and

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

1. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:12-15.7 (d), the Township Council of Vernon Township hereby requests the Sussex County Clerk to print on the official ballot to be used in the General Election to be held on November 5, 2019 the following BINDING public question:

Shall the Township of Vernon be permitted to collect a tax of one half (1/2) cent per one hundred (100) dollars of assessed property value for a period of ten (10) years beginning in the year 2020, with said tax dollars to be dedicated to recreation. Funds collected from this tax shall be placed in a dedicated account exclusively and only be used for the purpose of recreation, for example to purchase recreation equipment or to build and maintain township recreation fields.

YES [  ]    NO [  ]

2. The Sussex County Clerk is further requested to print on said ballot the following interpretive statement of the public question presented above:

The Township of Vernon is a four season community with active participation in outdoor recreation activities. This referendum shall authorize the collection of a tax of one half (1/2) of one cent per hundred dollars of assessed property value, which shall be placed in a dedicated fund for the sole purpose of recreational activities. Purposes for these funds shall include but shall not be limited to the purchase of recreational equipment by the Township and/or the building and maintaining of Township recreational fields. This tax shall be collected commencing in 2020 and shall continue for a period of ten (10) years.

3. A certified copy of this Resolution shall be immediately forwarded to the Sussex County Clerk.

Public Comments (Limited to 3 minutes on any topic)

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

Council Comments

Council Member Auberger had no comments.

Council Member Van Tassel had no comments.

Council Member Ooms had no comments.

Council Member Curreri had no comments.

Council President Comments

Council President Murphy stated the Council will have a meeting on Monday, August 26 and that presentations about the Junior Police Academy and Pump Track would be brought forth at that time.

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 7:21 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: September 9, 2019