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

Minutes: August 8, 2011

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:33 p.m. on Monday, August 8, 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.

The Council President asked for a moment of silence for the 31 service members lost on Saturday in Afghanistan.

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 and Business Administrator Jerry Giaimis. Megan A. Ward, Esq. of Kelly and Ward was in attendance in lieu of Township Attorney Kevin Kelly, who was unable to attend.

Public Comments

Tom McClachrie—asked Council Member Dunn to look up the flag code, Title 4, Ch. 1 relative to removing headwear. He felt that as a veteran he should be allowed to keep his headwear on as a First Amendment right. He also noted that the flag placement was reversed.

Council Member Rizzuto explained that it may be the way he was raised, and maybe a little old-fashioned, but he always removes his headwear when he goes indoors.

Joe Tadrick—noted that according to the 2005 flag code, veterans should now salute the flag in civilian clothes; but that even active service members never wear their cover indoors.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti—spoke about Ord. #11-19 and asked why it was being done. She did not believe it is legal to do so. Additionally, she noted that National Night Out went well.

Mary Bradley—gave an overview of how National Night Out came about, and the events of the evening. She felt everyone had a great time and the great food was a bonus. She advised that next year’s date was already set aside—August 12, 2012. She hoped to see everyone there.

Council President Lynch thanked Mary for the great job she did.

Jessi Paladini—noted that she was surprised to see Mr. Ursin on the video stream at the work session as he is no longer the Township Attorney. She asked to address an issue relative to transparency in government—the work session was not opened to public comments, which she felt violated the Open Public Meetings Act.

Ms. Ward advised that there was an amendment to the OPMA in 2005, and noted that municipal attorneys across the state differ on whether work sessions must have public comment sections.

Council President Lynch advised that all future work sessions would have such public comment sections.

Gary Martinsen—felt that he had some thoughts that might have been helpful to the Council at the work session. He noted that a recent meeting was unavailable to the public due to a locked door.

Mayor Marotta advised that the unavailability issue had been addressed. He explained that a resident had removed the door chuck in an effort to save the air conditioning, not realizing that the door would lock upon closure. The Mayor advised that all actions taken at that meeting would be presented again for action by the Municipal Utility Authority at their August 11 meeting.

Kay Miller, Tall Timbers—addressed the severe storm at the end of July, called a “microburst.” She invited the Mayor to come out and survey the damage.

Josephine Curry—congratulated the Mayor. She thanked Mr. Giaimis for taking a pay cut, and the Mayor for taking a small salary. She felt the Mayor would be good for Vernon.

Seeing no one else from the public wishing to speak, Council President Lynch closed the public portion of the meeting.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Marotta made the nomination of Craig Thompson to the Economic Development Advisory Commission. He asked for Council’s consideration to accept the nomination.

Moved: Eddie Dunn
Seconded: Patrick Rizzuto

Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain:
Mr. Thompson’s nomination was approved.

The Mayor noted Resolution #11-164 for the Canistear Road Project—we are 2-3 weeks away from the beginning of the project, which totals $848,000 of the project.

Mayor Marotta advised that he had investigated the possibility of filing charges of malfeasance of office against the former Manager, Ms. Melinda Carlton, over the Ameripay issue. However he discovered that the Separation Agreement that was approved by the former Mayor and Council precludes such action. The Mayor advised that the Township Attorney would pursue the entire Ameripay issue.

Approval of Minutes

July 11, 2011 Executive Session Minutes

Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

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

July 11, 2011 Regular Meeting Minutes

Council Member Kadish noted that there were some changes he had discussed with the Clerk.

Motion was made to table these minutes to the next meeting after the corrections would be made.

Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Seconded: Daniel Kadish
Ayes: Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain: Eddie Dunn

Consent Agenda

Resolutions #11-159 through #11-165

Council Member Kadish inquired about Resolution #11-163—why were we doing this again (appointing members to the Vernon Municipal Utility Authority). Mayor Marotta noted that according to state statute these appointments must be done by resolution. Mr. Kadish inquired about Resolution #11-164—the redaction on the contract was not initialed by both parties. The Mayor advised that the redaction was made by the coop and not by the Township, but that page 1 refers to the price adjustment.

Motion to approve Resolutions #11-159, 11-160, and 11-162, 11-163, 11-164, and11-165:
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Seconded: Eddie Dunn

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain:
Resolutions #11-159, 11-160, and 11-162, 11-163, 11-164, & 11-165 were adopted.

Resolution #11-159: Authorizing the Approval of Bills List

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

Disbursement
Journal
FundAmountMajor Vendor
#1Current$1,436.88 
#2Current$1,435,752.85BOE
#3Current$1,065,669.65BOE
#4Current$354.06 
#5Grant$1,731.32 
#6Capital$55,665.62H.PELLOW
#7Planning & Zoning$345.00 
#8Other Trust$184.06 
#9Outside Services$13,165.12 
#10Open Space$2,875.00 
#11Recreation$617.00 
 Payroll$322,460.99 
 Total$2,900,257.55 

Resolution #11-160: Authorizing In Rem Foreclosure Proceedings

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon holds Tax Certificates more specifically set forth in the annexed Tax Foreclosure List, which pertain to property within Vernon Township; and

WHEREAS, the Municipal Council of the Township of Vernon has determined that said Tax Certificates shall be foreclosed by summary proceedings In Rem.

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

That the Tax Certificates, as shown on the annexed Tax Foreclosure List, now held by the Township of Vernon, be foreclosed by summary process In Rem as described in N.J.S.A. 54:5-104.29, et.seq, as amended, and pursuant to the Rules of Civil Practice of the Superior Court of New Jersey.

Tax Foreclosure List
Certificate No.BlockLotsAssessed toAmount to redeem as of 8/8/11
09/036102.1617 & 18Philip Keith Decker$3,538.64
09/037102.1619Philip Keith Decker$2,882.67
09/038102.1620Philip Keith Decker$2,882.67
09/039103.1137 & 38Philip Keith Decker$6,292.99

Resolution #11-162: Chapter 159 Resolution New Jersey Highlands Regional Master Plan Grant Module 7 for Highlands Council Plan Conformance Amending the 2011 Budget as a Revenue and Appropriation of $565.00

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:4-87 provides that the Director of the Division of Local Government Services may approve the insertion of any special item of revenue in the budget of any county or municipality when such item shall have been made available by law and the amount thereof was not determined at the time of the adoption of the budget; and

WHEREAS, said Director may also approve the insertion of an item of appropriation for an equal amount; and

WHEREAS, the Township received $565.00 from the State of New Jersey Highlands Regional Master Plan Compliance Aid Grant; and wishes to amend its 2011 budget for this amount as a revenue.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon hereby requests the Director of the Division of Local Government Services to approve the insertion of an item of revenue in the budget of the year 2011 in the sum of $565.00 which is now available as a revenue from the Highlands Regional Master Plan; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a like sum of $565.00 is hereby appropriated under the caption Highlands Regional Master Plan Grant.

Resolution #11-163: Resolution of the Township Council of Vernon Township Appointing Members to the Vernon Municipal Sewer Utility Authority

WHEREAS, Vernon Township created a Municipal Sewer Utility Authority pursuant to Ordinance #11-12; and

WHEREAS, there is a need to appoint members to the Authority; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council has solicited applications that there are qualified candidates to be appointed; and

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the Township Council of Vernon Township that the following members are hereby appointed to the Vernon Municipal Sewer Utility Authority for the terms as specified:

Edward Rolando, Sr.5 year term ending 12/31/15
Thomas Buchney4 year term ending 12/31/14
Barbara Chorzepa3 year term ending 12/31/13
Gloria Frato-Gallo2 year term ending 12/31/12
Vincent Zinno1 year term ending 12/31/11
Alternate #15 year term ending 12/31/15
Alternate #24 year term ending 12/31/14

NOW THEREFORE IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED that the members are requested to schedule their initial organizational meeting within 30 days of this Resolution.

NOW THEREFORE IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED pursuant to applicable statutes, a copy of this Resolution shall be filed with the Secretary of State.

Resolution #11-164: Authorizing the Use of the Morris County Co-Op for Proposed Improvements to Canistear Road Phase I

WHEREAS, Vernon Township desires to use the Morris County Cooperative Council, which has publicly received bids, for the proposed improvements to Canistear Road Phase I; and

WHEREAS, the Purchasing Agent and the Township Engineer, Cory Stoner recommend using the following vendors for the proposed improvements according to the attached proposals:

Tilcon, New York, Inc. Contract #6 Category A
Superpave HMA Surface Course$407,550.00
HMA Milling$38,500.00
Traffic Control$10,000.00
Asphalt Price Adjustmentestimated $52,000.00
 $508,050.00
Denville Line Painting, Inc. Contract #6 Category A Option C
Traffic Stripes$22,599.00
M.L. Ruberton Contract #6
Beam Guide Rail$45,000.00
Tangent Guide Rail Terminals$16,490.00
 $61,490.00

WHEREAS, the total cost for the proposed improvements for Canistear Road Phase I is $592,139.00; and

WHEREAS, in a letter dated January 26, 2011, from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), the Township of Vernon has been awarded funding from the NJDOT’s Fiscal Year 2011 Municipal Aid Program for Canistear Road—Phase I in the amount of $200,000.00 of which a portion will be utilized for Phase I; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer, of the Township of Vernon, has certified the remaining funds in the amount $553,146.15, needed for this purpose are available per Ordinance #11-07, Account #3094204.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, that the above stated vendors be utilized through the Morris County Co-Op to provide the proposed improvements for Canistear Road Phase I, in accordance with the attached proposals in the amount not to exceed $592,139.00; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption according to law.

Resolution #11-165: Authorizing the Award of Contract for the HVAC System Mechanical Upgrades Phase II Boiler Replacement at the Vernon Township Muncipal Building

WHEREAS, there is a need for HVAC System Mechanical Upgrades Phase II Boiler Replacement systems in the Vernon Township Municipal Building;

WHEREAS, the Township had issued specifications and contract documents soliciting formal bids for the necessary work including a Base Bid for the Air-Cooled Central Chiller Replacement and an Alternate Bid for the Gas-Fired Central Boiler Plant Replacement; and

WHEREAS, the bids were due and opened on April 21, 2011 at 10 a.m.;

WHEREAS, as per Resolution #11-81, the Township previously awarded a contract for only the Base Bid for the Air-Cooled Central Chiller Replacement to Envirocon, L.L.C. of Hackettstown, New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, after an independent review of the Municipal Building boilers, the Township now is in need to award a contract on the supplementary Alternate Bid to replace the boilers in the Municipal building using the proposals received on April 21, 2011; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer has reviewed the original bids and recommends the supplementary Alternate Bid for the Gas-Fired Central Boiler Plant Replacement be made at this time to Envirocon, L.L.C. of Hackettstown, New Jersey in the amount of $160,000.00, 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 Envirocon, L.L.C. for the work specified in the bid proposals for the Alternate Bid for Gas-Fired Central Boiler Plant Replacement in the total amount of $160,000.00.

Council Member Kadish had concerns about Resolution #11-161, especially items “d, j, and k.” Mr. Giaimis explained about “j and k” and Mayor Marotta noted that receipts were reported to Council. Item “d” was amended to read “Banks for debt service payment Bond/Note Payments.”

Motion to approve #11-161 as amended:
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Seconded: Patrick Rizzuto

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain:
Resolution #11-161 was adopted.

Resolution #11-161: Payment of Recurring Bills Resolution

WHEREAS, all claims of payment by the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, are required to be first submitted to the Township Council for consideration before payment is made, and

WHEREAS, due to the nature of certain claims and timing of the particular meetings involved, certain claims should be paid when presented which are statutory and regular in nature, rather than held for the next meeting of the Township Council due to the nature of said bills.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon as follows:

  1. This Township does hereby approve of the payment between meetings of the following enumerated claims for payment, when the same are presented to the Township Council and Chief Finance Officer of the Township of Vernon.
    1. Township of Vernon net payroll and payroll deduction accounts.
    2. Township of Vernon, Board of Education
    3. County Treasurer (County taxes only)
    4. Banks for Debt Service payment Bond/Note Payments
    5. Township Prosecutor
    6. Standard Life Insurance, Delta-Dental Plan of N.J, Statewide Workers Compensation Fund, Vision Service Plan, and Horizon Blue Cross & Blue Shield of N.J and all other insurance
    7. Repair of emergency, police and rescue vehicles; parts needed for said vehicles; and critical equipment related to the operations of the DPW/Police or emergency services
    8. Bond Releases
    9. All utility payments
    10. Employee Reimbursements
    11. Petty Cash Reimbursements

Second Reading, Public Hearing on Proposed Ordinances

Ordinance #11-16: An ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, to modify Section 179-7 of the code of the Township of Vernon regarding campsites

Motion to adopt Ord. #11-16 on 2nd reading by title only:
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

Open to Public Comments

Carol Gunn-Kadish—asked for the background of a “central sewer system.” Mayor Marotta advised that all commercial campgrounds are affected, and that the original wording was “central sewer system” but when the ordinance was recently amended, the wording changed to “essential sewer system” in error—this was merely to return to the original wording.

Mrs. Kay Miller, Tall Timbers—advised that Tall Timbers would not be affected by this change.

Council Member Kadish noted that he was concerned that it changes how sewage is disposed of. The Mayor advised that this was merely to correct a typo.

Gary Martinsen—felt Council should make sure which word is being used as sometimes even one word can make a huge difference.

Closed to Public Comments

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: Daniel Kadish
Ordinance #11-16 was adopted on 2nd reading.

Ordinance #11-17: An ordinance to provide and determine the range of compensation for specified officers and employees in the Township of Vernon

Motion to adopt Ord. #11-17 on 2nd reading by title only:
Motion: Brian Lynch
Seconded: Patrick Rizzuto

Council President Lynch noted that after careful consideration, he wished to amend the ordinance reflecting no increases in Council salary, including the Council President—all would remain at $3,000.00.

Open to Public Comments

Jessi Paladini—applauded the Council President for that change. She noted that the title of the ordinance says “range” but that the numbers were fixed amounts and not ranges at all. She felt that using fixed amounts could present a problem for the Township when replacing long-term employees. She used the position of Deputy Court Administrator who had been here for 20+ years—we would have to pay her replacement the same amount for a new hire as the former employee had been paid. Mr. Lynch advised that these salaries were determined at the beginning of the year. The Mayor advised that the Deputy Court Administrator’s salary is set by union contract, and that a new hire can be changed by a new ordinance.

Gary Martinsen—felt strongly that ranges need to be used to avoid high rates for new hires until they’ve proved themselves.

Tom McClachrie—noted that this was the first time he had seen 5 individuals take a pay cut—he felt it was an outstanding action. He offered kudos to the entire Council. He advised that they need to do a salary comparison with neighboring towns.

Closed to Public Comments

Council Member Kadish advised Mr. McClachrie that he was not happy to take a pay cut. Mayor Marotta noted that this ordinance was never an attempt to change salaries, but a necessity due to the change in government, so that employees could be paid their current salaries. He advised that new employees had not been paid at all as yet, including the Mayor and Council. He further advised that union contracts would be negotiated at the end of the year.

Council Member Kadish noted his surprise to see that longevity was still listed for the Police. He hopes that this would be looked at during negotiations. The Mayor advised that all items were on the table for negotiations.

Council President Lynch advised that his thought process on Council salaries was that there are a lot of volunteers in town who do more than Council members, and he would like to see the savings put toward something for them.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: Daniel Kadish
Ordinance #11-17 was adopted as amended on 2nd reading.

Ordinance #11-18: An ordinance amending the code of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey

Motion to approve Ord. #11-18 on 2nd Reading by Title Only.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

Open to Public Comments

Jessi Paladini—asked what this ordinance was for. She was advised that this was to create the position of Purchasing Agent.

Gary Martinsen—suggested that more information should be included in the titles.

Closed to Public Comments

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Ordinance #11-18 was adopted on 2nd reading.

Ordinance #11-19: An ordinance establishing the Vernon Township municipal elections on the same day as November general elections held and extending the terms of office for the existing mayor and council members pursuant to law

Motion to approve Ord. #11-19 on 2nd Reading by Title Only.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Seconded: Eddie Dunn

Open to Public Comments

Gary Martinsen—asked why Council was rushing the adoption of this ordinance when there wouldn’t be an election for 2 years.

Tom McClachrie—noted that the form of government was voted by referendum and the voters had chosen May elections. He felt that Council should not change that decision, but that they should go back to the voters to change it.

Jessi Paladini—noted that voters had chosen a non-partisan election in May. Though she supports a November election as it gives less control for elected officials and more voter turnout, she felt it goes against the voters’ wishes and against the law (which she cited).

Ms. Ward advised Ms. Paladini of the correct statute.

Jessi Paladini—noted that she did not see the language that would supercede the voters.

Ms. Ward read Title 40:45-7.1 in full, and advised about the change that went into effect in January, 2011.

Council President Lynch noted that the most important change was to elect a Mayor directly. In addition, he noted that a May election goes against our fiscal year of January through December.

Jessi Paladini—still felt it should go back to the voters.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti—cited the Vernon Township Charter Study Commission Report, which would indicate that changing the election date to November would go against what was decided in 1997.

The Council President advised that some voters had asked to have the change. Mayor Marotta advised that the Charter is now void with the new government, as the entire Administrative Code of the Township will be changed.

Closed to Public Comments

Council Member Kadish asked why the election was being changed, as he felt doing so would shift back to a partisan environment.

There was a brief discussion among the Council members, with Mr. Lynch and Mr. Rizzuto adding their views.

Open to Public Comments (part 2)

Jessi Paladini—felt the main issue was the voters’ decision.

Gary Martinsen—agreed with Ms. Paladini, and felt it was too quick to act now.

Council President Lynch advised that the Administrative Code must contain the election date.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti—explained her efforts for the referendum.

Michael Rubin—asked Ms. Ward if the change affects the rule of recall. Ms. Ward advised that the only change is for the date of the election in the future.

Tom McClachrie—felt that ordinance discussions should be done at work sessions.

Closed to Public Comments

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Patrick Rizzuto, Brian Lynch
Nays: Daniel Kadish, Dick Wetzel
Ordinance #11-19 was adopted on 2nd reading.

Council President

Council President Lynch advised that in September of 2007 the Township had entered into an indemnification with SCMUA (Claremont Litigation). The Township has received a request for reimbursement in excess of $300,000. He noted that Mayor Marotta had reduced that amount to $150,000 by negotiation. In addition, the Mayor had also negotiated with United Water for $75,000 of that amount. He advised that there would be a resolution to authorize the Mayor to enter into a settlement agreement with SCMUA for a total of $150,000 and to accept a credit of $75,000 from United Water.

Mr. Lynch thanked Mary Bradley for the successful effort she gave to put National Night Out together, and thanked Mary Ellen Vichiconti for the tacos.

He noted the work session that was held on the Administrative Code and advised that more would be held, and that all would have an open public comment segment.

Council Business

Council Member Rizzuto thanked the Mayor for his efforts to reduce everyone’s tax bills—the SCMUA settlement will make a huge impact. He also spoke about the issue of growth (or lack, thereof) in Vernon and the county as a whole. He noted that the only way to generate revenue will have to be accomplished by developing our commercial base. He applauded the efforts of Council Member Dunn and the Economic Development Advisory Commission to that end.

Open to Public Comments

Council President Lynch opened the meeting for a 15-minute public comment segment, but no one wished to speak at this time.

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 Dunn. Motion seconded by Council Member Rizzuto, with all members voting in favor.

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 9:07 p.m.

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

Minutes approved: August 22, 2011