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

Minutes: August 22, 2011

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:33 p.m. on Monday, August 22, 2011 in the Vernon Township Municipal Building, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey, with Council President Brian Lynch presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on July 8, 2011, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.

Salute to the Flag

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

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.

Proclamations

Council President Lynch read the following proclamation:

A proclamation in support as requested by United States Senate Resolution #237 regarding coming together as a community and ceasing all work or other activity for a moment of remembrance beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on September 11, 2011, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks committed against the United States on September 11, 2001.

Whereas, people of all ages and walks of life, across America, and around the world, collectively witnessed an event of immense tragedy on September 11, 2001;

Whereas, the events of that day instantly transformed nearly everyone’s lives, some through personal loss, and many others through an unfamiliar sense of individual and national vulnerability; and

Whereas, an unprecedented, historic bonding of Americans arose from the collective shock, unifying the country in an outpouring of national spirit, pride, selflessness, generosity, courage and service; and

Whereas, many brave people heroically, tirelessly and courageously participated in an extraordinarily difficult and dangerous rescue and recovery effort, in some cases voluntarily putting their own well-being at risk; and

Whereas, September 11 will never, and should never be just another day in the hearts and minds of all Americans;

Whereas, September 11, 2011 will be the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America; and

Whereas, many citizens may wish to memorialize September 11 by engaging in, or making a plan to engage in personal and individual acts of community service, or other giving activities, as part of a solemn day of remembrance and tribute; and

Whereas, I support United States Senate Resolution #237, which respectfully requests that we come together as a Nation and cease all work or other activity for a moment of remembrance beginning at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on September 11, 2011, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks committed against the United States on September 11, 2001.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT PROCLAIMED, we, the Council of the Township of Vernon, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the State of New Jersey, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. as a Moment of Remembrance of the thousands of victims from all cultures and faiths who perished on September 11, 2001 and those called to active military duty thereafter. I respectfully call upon all Vernon Township residents to observe this moment by, amongst other ways as they deem appropriate, ceasing all work or other activity; and marking the moment in an appropriate manner, including by ringing bells, blowing whistles, or sounding sirens.

Motion made to accept the Proclamation read by the Council President:
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dan Kadish

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Proclamation accepted.

Mayor Marotta read the following proclamation:

Whereas, ovarian cancer, the fifth most common cause of cancer fatality in the United States, is a serious and under-recognized threat to women’s health across New Jersey and the nation, and

Whereas, there is no early detection test currently for ovarian cancer which makes it even more critical that women become aware of the known symptoms; and

Whereas, ovarian cancer, if detected in the early stages, the survival rate is 90% to 95% which is why this awareness campaign is so very critical; and

Whereas, the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) is asking Vernon Township to participate in the Turn The Towns Teal campaign to promote ovarian cancer awareness during the month of September; and

Whereas, more ovarian cancer research can help to develop reliable diagnostics, better therapies and prevention strategies thereby offering women in Vernon and throughout New Jersey each year the opportunity to win their battle for life against this most deadly of all gynecologic cancers.

Now therefore be it resolved, that I, Mayor Victor J. Marotta, do hereby proclaim September 2011 as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month In Vernon Township.

Motion made to accept the Proclamation read by the Mayor:
Moved: Brian Lynch
Second: Eddie Dunn

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Proclamation accepted.

Public Comments

Gary Martinsen—had two items of note:

  1. He spoke about the school teacher and senior citizen who recently died, and that he thought it would be a great thing to honor those we lose.
  2. Resolution #167 for SCMUA—he offered kudos to the Mayor for his efforts in saving the Township money. He asked if the Council had read the agreement before they approved having it signed.

Bonnie Rubin—spoke as a member of the Historical Society—she noted that the Mayor had locked the doors to the Historical Society room and had ordered them to vacate the premises within 30 days. She explained that the room is actually a vault used for preserving the artifacts.

Council Member Kadish recused himself and stepped down from the dais at this time.

Council President Lynch advised that this was not a Council issue, but that he would meet with the Mayor to discuss the matter further.

Dan Kadish—Historical Society member—read a prepared statement. He felt that the Mayor’s actions were setting a policy, which only the Council can set.

Ron Dupont—Historical Society member and Township Historian—gave a brief history of how the Historical Society started, and how they came to be housed in the Municipal Building. He listed some items of note in the collection stored there.

Fran Poltz—Hist. Soc. Member and former teacher in the Vernon schools—spoke about how she came to appreciate the collection after not finding information for school projects. She noted how great the collection is and how important it is for the town.

Jessi Paladini—President of Historical Society—spoke on behalf of the trustees of the Society. She gave a history of their years in the town hall building (more than 21 years). She advised that she did not believe that the Mayor had the authority to evict them, but only Council would have that authority as a policy. She appealed to the Council.

Tom McClachrie—advised that he felt a referendum should be put before the voters before the sale of the Homestead; at 52 days into Council’s tenure, he asked what the status of the budget was; and, now that Council had the Taxpayers Association report, did they plan to act on it.

Beverly Budz—handed out photos of the pipeline project, and asked how many of the Council members had visited any of the sites or taken the safety courses. She was concerned about the eco-system being compromised, as well as soil run-off and oil slicks at various sites. Ms. Budz spoke to the Mayor about going out to view the sites one day next week.

Seeing no one else from the public wishing to speak, Council President Lynch asked for a motion to close the public portion of the meeting.
Moved: Eddie Dunn
Second: Dan Kadish
All were in favor.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Marotta reported on the following items:

A request was received from the Historical Society for temporary signage for the Pow-Wow on September 25, 2011 at the Historical Site on Maple Grange Road. The signs are to be placed at the A&P and Maple Grange Park from the date of the (hopeful) approval until September 25. He noted that he had a copy of a letter from the A&P giving their authorization. In addition, they asked for a waiver of the Township fees for a temporary food-handling license and Fire Prevention fees. The Mayor noted that this request had come in too late to be placed on the agenda.

The Council President asked for a motion to approve the requests of the Historical Society relative to the Pow-Wow on September 25, 2011.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain: Dan Kadish
The request was approved.

The Mayor continued his report:

  • The repair of the elevator began this morning and should be completed by the end of the week.
  • Surplus equipment auction was held. There were 21 pieces of equipment/vehicles, and the auction was an extreme success. It was anticipated that the Township would be receiving a check in the amount of $107,830.66 during the week of August 29.
  • The Township has entered into discussions for shared services with Sussex County for Fire Prevention services. He will keep Council apprised of any significant developments, and has made Tom VanGorder aware of this.
  • He had a meeting with the lake communities on the Kelly Bill and has worked out a preliminary agreement. When the terms have been finalized, he will bring it forward for Council. The following are the terms agreed to so far:
    1. No change in difficulty factor established in 1998;
    2. No challenge to municipal cost per mile;
    3. Balance of monies due from 2009 will be paid immediately;
    4. Reimbursement from 2010 will be made quarterly through 2012 after all billings are certified by the DPW and CFO;
    5. Salt and grits will be purchased by Vernon Township DPW and at a great savings for the communities—those communities with material storage will allow the DPW to load up during storm events, with details to be committed to a written agreement;
    6. The Township and the communities will work together to find ways to reduce overall costs (i.e. bidding, improved monitoring of contractors, improved communication, etc.).

Council Member Kadish asked that a comparison to the study by Mr. Golden be provided when the agreement with the lake communities is presented. He also asked for a report of fuel purchases, and if/how highway taxes are given back as we are supposed to be exempt. Mayor Marotta asked for clarification—did the Council member mean “sales taxes” or “highway taxes” and Mr. Kadish advised he meant “highway taxes.”

Approval of Minutes

July 11, 2011 Regular Meeting Minutes

Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Daniel Kadish

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain: Eddie Dunn
Minutes were approved.

July 25, 2011 Regular Meeting Minutes

Moved: Eddie Dunn
Second: Dick Wetzel
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain:
Minutes were approved.

August 4, 2011 Work Session Minutes

Moved: Eddie Dunn
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain:
Minutes were approved.

August 8, 2011 Regular Meeting Minutes

Moved: Eddie Dunn
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain:
Minutes were approved.

Resolutions

Motion to approve Resolution #11-166:
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Eddie Dunn

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain:
Resolutions #11-166 was adopted.

Resolution #11-166: Authorizing the Approval of Bills List

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

Disbursement
Journal
FundAmountMajor Vendor
#1Current$4,755,525.41County Taxes
#2Capital$208,348.60Envirocon (HVAC)
#3Other Trust$636.95 
#4Outside Services $15,640.61Transfer $
 Payroll$306,566.72 
 Total$5,286,718.29 

Motion to approve Resolution #11-167:
Moved: Brian Lynch
Second: Eddie Dunn

Council Member Kadish asked about the letter from the attorney that indicated the agreement would be null and void as it represented only one party getting a benefit. He also questioned the double billings to the Township and United Water.

Council President Lynch advised that the Resolution authorizes the Mayor to enter into an agreement. Mayor Marotta asked Mr. Kelly to explain.

Mr. Kelly noted the attorney letter addressed what the Township position could be if SCMUA chose to pursue legal channels; however, the idea was to avoid litigation and settle the matter through negotiation. Both parties would have to find middle ground, which they have; and, in his opinion, it is much better to settle the matter this way.

Mayor Marotta noted the letter from United Water to pay us 1/2 of the billed amount, which Mr. Kelly advised was a significant point. The Mayor advised that the actual amount per SCMUA is $307,000.

Council held a brief discussion to clarify the issues involved in this matter. It was noted that there was never any intent to buy the United Water system, only the sewage part of the operation.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: Daniel Kadish
Abstain:
Resolution #11-167 was adopted.

Resolution #11-167: Resolution of the Township Council for the Township of Vernon to Enter into a Settlement with the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority

WHEREAS, in September of 2007, the Township of Vernon entered into an Indemnification Agreement with the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority;

WHEREAS, the Agreement required the Township of Vernon to reimburse the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority for the costs associated with the defense of certain litigation, commonly known as the “Claremont Litigation.”

WHEREAS, the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority has presented a request to the Township of Vernon for reimbursement of said costs in excess of $300,000.00;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has retained Special Counsel to analyze the Township’s defenses with respect to the request by SCMUA for payment;

WHEREAS, the Mayor has negotiated with SCMUA to reduce its claim to $150,000.00;

WHEREAS, the Mayor has negotiated with United Water to contribute $75,000.00 towards the settlement which will be paid as a credit reducing the purchase price that the Township of Vernon has agreed to pay for certain sewer assets owned by United Water with a closing expected later this year.

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the Mayor and Clerk are authorized to enter into a settlement with the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority to reduce the outstanding claim for indemnification to $150,000.00 and to accept a credit from United Water in the amount of $75,000.00 at the time of closing on the contract for United Water’s sewer assets.

Motion to approve Resolution #11-168:
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain:
Resolution #11-168 was adopted.

Mayor Marotta noted that the Engineer had advised he anticipated a start date of within 2 weeks.

Resolution #11-168: Authorizing the Award of Bid for Canistear Road Improvements Cold In Place Recycling

WHEREAS, there is a need for Road Improvements to Canistear Road—Cold In-Place Recycling; and

WHEREAS, the Township had issued specifications and contract documents soliciting formal bids for the necessary work; and

WHEREAS, the bids were due August 9, 2011 at 10 a.m. and the Township received and opened one bid from Reclamation, LLC, P.O. Box 292, West Hurley, New York 12491; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer has reviewed the bid received and recommends the Bid for the Canistear Road Improvements—Cold in Place Recycling as specified be awarded to Reclamation, LLC, P.O. Box 292, West Hurley, New York 12491, in the amount of $206,150.00, and the Chief Finance Officer has certified funds are available for this purpose.

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the Mayor and Clerk are authorized to enter into a contract with Reclamation, LLC, for the work specified in the bid proposal for the Canistear Road Improvements—Cold in Place Recycling in the total amount of $206,150.00.

First Reading on Proposed Ordinances

Ordinance #11-20: An ordinance to replace Chapter 275 of the code of the Township of Vernon regarding flood hazard insurance

Motion to approve Ord. #11-20 on 1st reading by title only:
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Eddie Dunn

Council Member Kadish asked why Chapter 275 needed to be replaced, as he was concerned with certain clauses. Mayor Marotta asked if Mr. Kadish had read the FEMA letter that had been provided with the Ordinance. He added that this was a federal requirement under Homeland Security. Council President Lynch noted that the Flood Hazard Chapter needed to be looked at because the County of Sussex has also adopted a disaster mitigation plan through Homeland Security. He advised that adoption of this ordinance will allow us to recoup funds spent for disasters.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain:
Ordinance #11-20 was approved on 1st reading by title only. It will be presented for 2nd reading/public hearing and adoption at the next Council meeting scheduled for Monday, September 12, 2011, at 6:30 p.m.

Council President

Council President Lynch advised that he agreed with Mr. Martinsen, and asked residents to keep him informed of any resident’s passing.

Mr. Lynch spoke about the Hazard Mitigation Plan—it must be looked at and will help with those disasters that previously did not qualify for reimbursement, such as the ice storm this past winter. He noted that our Office of Emergency Management is headed by Chief Wherry.

Council Business

Council Member Wetzel asked about the status of the recycling program. Mayor Marotta advised that it was doing very well and that they anticipated $100,000 this year (they have taken in about $40,000 worth so far). He added that bulky waste pickup is scheduled and that it will be announced. They felt that Dave Pullis and the DPW should be commended.

Mr. Wetzel asked about transportation services. The Mayor advised that passenger rail service is being investigated throughout the County, but that much work needs to be done to upgrade the existing rails and the system. He noted that the Economic Development Advisory Commission is involved in this, as well. He further noted that the towns on the Rte. 23 corridor are also on board with support for increased service.

Council Member Rizzuto commended the Mayor noting the savings on sewers, sale of equipment, and savings on salt being negotiated with the lake communities.

Council Member Kadish spoke about his experiences with the DOT, and suggested not forgetting the route of going north and making that loop.

The Mayor cautioned that the Highlands Act rules could impede some development for transportation issues.

Mr. Kadish spoke to the audience about what a life-experience it is doing rescue work. He suggested that if anyone gets a change to volunteer, it is well worth the experience. Council President Lynch advised that FEMA has training courses for citizens geared towards aid.

The Council President asked for Council’s availability for a work session on the Administrative Code next week. A brief discussion determined that the best day would be Tuesday, August 30, at 7:00 p.m. Ms. Nelson will advertise and post the meeting notice accordingly.

Council Member Dunn gave kudos to the Mayor for his efforts with the lake communities.

Mr. Dunn recognized a recent article, written by Ron Meyer, that was posted on the Revered Review online blog. The article addresses heroin addiction. He felt it most likely hits home for a lot of people, and he asked the community to step up and do something about it. He advised that if we don’t do something, we will see more kids dying. He encouraged the press to look into it.

Open to Public Comments

The meeting was opened to public comment, but the audience was advised that each person would be limited to 3 minutes each.

Phyllis Pfeiffer—asked about the website design and if Requests for Quotations had been solicited, and if they were available for viewing, as well as if contracts were being voted on. She noted that earlier discussions had determined that purchasing salt with the lake communities had not been considered due to a lack of savings—she asked what had changed.

Council President Lynch suggested she contact the Mayor’s office. He advised that this was not a question and answer period, but a “comments only” session.

Mayor Marotta advised that there were no RFQs, and that 5 quotes were received.

Jessi Paladini—responded to Mr. Lynch’s statement, asking if it was policy that discussions were not being held when questions were asked. Mr. Lynch advised that the questions were administrative, which Council cannot answer.

Tom McClachrie—asked if the construction signs could be taken down on Canistear Road when the crews were not working.

Robert Oliver—referred to the Kelly Bill—he advised that the Financial Advisory Commission had looked at the shared service. It was determined that the salt could not be drop-shipped to locations not owned by the Township, and to move the salt would be prohibitive. He felt that the Golden report had not been a waste of money.

Gary Martinsen—had some concerns on the buildable area in Vernon. He felt that Vernon has quite a bit of space with hotels. He cautioned about building up roads in the flood zones, as it would create more problems up stream. He was glad that another work session was being scheduled on the Administrative Code. He offered kudos to the lake communities, as well.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti—spoke about the drug issues, noting that the parents of most of her children’s friends do not seem to be concerned. She questioned how the drugs get in without the police knowing, since most of the kids know where go to get the drugs. She asked about MAC grants. She is afraid that the teachers are looking the other way.

Beverly Budz—suggested getting parents and police together to share information and volunteer their efforts on this issue.

Council Member Dunn advised that if anyone was interested to please call him.

Council Member Rizzuto noted that there have been school programs for years that give all the information and consequences of taking drugs. He felt that the Police Department is well aware of the problem and is working with the County Sheriff as well, but noted that it takes time to make an impact. He felt that the biggest impact starts at home with a strong presence of the parents.

Mr. Dunn added that this goes beyond law enforcement and that the community needs to get involved. He felt that awareness as a full-court press, as well as having parents coming forward to advise that they have a problem are issues to be looked at.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti—advised that she had called Congressman Garrett’s office about this issue and his aide told her it was a local negligence of duty that the situation was going on.

Mr. Rizzuto advised that the County Sheriffs are very active on this issue.

Mr. Kadish suggested that the Chief speak to the Council.

Gary Martinsen—noted that he had previously asked for a unified community involvement on this issue.

Closed to Public Comments

The Council President closed the public comment segment.

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 9:11 p.m.

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

Minutes approved: September 12, 2011