Minutes: December 14, 2020

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The regular meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on December 14, 2020 via Zoom Webinar in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Harry Shortway presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 7, 2020 and on November 19, 2020 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 John Auberger, Jean Murphy, Andrew Pitsker, Kelly Weller and Council President Shortway. Also present were Mayor Howard Burrell, Business Administrator Charles Voelker and Township Attorney Josh Zielinski.

Salute to the Flag

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

Council President Shortway explained that after a discussion with the Mayor since there have been questions that have been asked about Ordinance #20-23 he would like to pull it from the agenda till 2021.

Ordinance #20-23: Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending Chapter 330 Entitled “Land Development” to Regulate Multi-Generational Family Accommodations

Council President Shortway would like to remove Resolution #20-260 from this agenda and have a special meeting to vote on Resolution #20-260 so that the public has a chance to review the settlement agreement.

Township Attorney Zielinski explained that because the resolution was listed on the agenda it could be voted on.

Resolution #20-260: Resolution Authorizing a Settlement Agreement with Metairie Corporation and Legends Resort Country Club Condominium Association

Public Comments (For Current Agenda Items Only, Limited to 3 minutes per person)

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to open the meeting to public comments.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller
All members present voted in favor.

Jessica Paladini—Vernon Township, asked if the settlement agreement was posted on line for Resolution #20-260.

Municipal Clerk Gianattasio said the settlement agreement is not posted online only the resolution #20-260.

Council Member Shortway said since it was not posted on line we will have a special meeting.

Sandra Ooms—Vernon Township, Questioned Resolution #20-246, the investigation into the building department. She asked what department was being investigated because the resolution is not clear.

Council President Shortway said for the record it is the Department of Planning and Development. He said it will be explained when we get to this resolution on the agenda.

Ms. Ooms commented that we are having Josh Zielinski investigate this and she said there is no amount of money for the cost of the investigation. She asked if this was going to be factored into his normal stipend. This should be on the resolution.

Council President Shortway said this will all be explained when we get to the resolution.

Peg Distasi—Vernon Township, commented on Resolution #20-246 saying that she believes all the terms should be defined in the resolution so that we know where our tax dollars are going. Ms. Distasi feels that this should be put out to bid for companies who specialize in this type of audit and not just given to attorney. She feels that this is a specialized situation and needs to be handled by a specialized auditing firm.

Seeing no other members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Andrew Pitsker
Second: John Auberger
All members were in favor.

Item for Discussion

Vacant and Abandoned Home Fees

Administrator Voelker explained that the vacant homes ordinance that was passed in 2018. The first year registration fee is a $500.00 fee, second year is $1500.00 and the third year fee is $3000.00. We are currently in the third year and the ordinance goes on to say in the fourth year the fee goes to $5000.00. It was mentioned to Mr. Voelker by the Zoning Officer and the Administrative Assistant who does the book keeping for the vacant homes that we may have diminishing return on this. This ordinance was meant to motivate people to move these house which has happened but going to $5000.00 people may walk away. Mr. Voelker has had people say whatever fees need to be paid takes money away from the renovations needed to be taken off the vacant list.

Mayor Burrell feels it would be wise to cap this at the current fee of $3000.00.

Council Member Murphy said she approached Administration last year because she questioned the fee at $3000.00 because people were working on their homes. She said there were issues of some of them sitting for a long period of time and they expressed that the $3000.00 was too high.

Council Member Auberger said he is good with keeping this at $3000.00.

Council Member Weller asked if it was ever considered putting anything in the ordinance “as progress is being made” on the abandoned home.

Mr. Voelker said this would be a very subjective issue as far as what is progress. He explained that there is no appeal process but if you complete your renovations within the year, we will prorate the fee if you close and sell the property, rent it or you’ve received a certificate of re-occupancy.

Council Member Weller said she is for the $3000.00 also and $5000.00 is too steep.

Council Member Pitsker thinks that capping this is a great idea. He feels that $1500.00 to $3000.00 is a big jump. He may propose to take the $3000.00 and make it $2500.00 as a give and take as motivation for people to do it.

Council President Shortway is for the $3000.00 but as a Council we can have the ordinance amended to $2500.00

Municipal Clerk Gianattasio explained that most of the fees for the vacant properties are being paid by banks because the houses are in foreclosure. These homes are bank owned and sitting empty.

The Council was in agreement that the fee should be $3000.00 and the Mayor will have the ordinance on a meeting in January for introduction.

Minutes

November 9, 2020—Regular Meeting
November 23, 2020—Regular Meeting
November 23, 2020—Executive Session

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve the above meeting minutes.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve above meeting minutes.

Resolutions

Resolution #20-244: Resolution Approving Participation with the State of New Jersey Federal Grant Program Administered by the Department of Law & Public Safety, Office of the Attorney General

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-244.
Moved: Andrew Pitsker
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-244.

Resolution #20-244: Resolution Approving Participation with the State of New Jersey Federal Grant Program Administered by the Department of Law & Public Safety, Office of the Attorney General

WHEREAS, the Township awarded a contract for the Pleasant Valley Drive Drainage Improvement Project to Messercola Excavating, Inc. awarded by Resolution #20-168 on August 10, 2020, and

WHEREAS, the Pleasant Valley Drive Drainage Improvement Project has been completed, and inspected as per the plans and specifications; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer has submitted a letter dated December 8, 2020 which states that the said contract has been completed in full and that it is recommended that the Pleasant Valley Drive Drainage Improvement Project be accepted by the Township Council.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Vernon Township Council accept this project identified as Pleasant Valley Drive Drainage Improvement Project as final and complete; and

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

Resolution #20-245: Resolution Accepting the Completion of Pleasant Valley Drive Drainage Improvements Project

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-245.
Moved: Jean Murphy
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-245.

Resolution #20-245: Resolution Accepting the Completion of Pleasant Valley Drive Drainage Improvements Project

WHEREAS, the Township awarded a contract for the Pleasant Valley Drive Drainage Improvement Project to Messercola Excavating, Inc. awarded by Resolution #20-168 on August 10, 2020, and

WHEREAS, the Pleasant Valley Drive Drainage Improvement Project has been completed, and inspected as per the plans and specifications; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer has submitted a letter dated December 8, 2020 which states that the said contract has been completed in full and that it is recommended that the Pleasant Valley Drive Drainage Improvement Project be accepted by the Township Council.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Vernon Township Council accept this project identified as Pleasant Valley Drive Drainage Improvement Project as final and complete; and

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

Resolution #20-246: Resolution Authorizing the Township Attorney to Investigate the Operations of the Building Department

Council President Shortway said this resolution is about the Department of Planning and Development. There are three so called divisions, the building, Land Use and we have a zoning officer. Listening to the public, we can amend this at this time or we can rewrite the resolution and include it on the Special Meeting agenda.

Council Member Murphy asked if Mr. Westenberger has so much experience why isn’t he doing the investigation, he is obviously the department head.

Council President Shortway explained that the way the ordinance is written Mr. Westenberger is a Division Head not a Department Head. We have to follow the code.

Council Member Murphy suggested to have Mr. Westenberger in charge of the division. Mr. Westenberger has recommended several times that he needs to be on site for the public and his inspectors. Council Member Murphy said realistically what needs to be done is hiring another part-time inspector so he can be present.

Administrator Voelker said they are essentially Department Heads even though the ordinance does not say this. His thought is we consider making construction/building one separate department, Land Use a separate department and zoning another department.

Council Member Pitsker said this is the first time he has gotten any update from the building department. He feels we should give Mr. Westenberger an opportunity till March 2021 to map this out and come back with a proposal under the guidance of the Township Administrator and the Mayor.

Council Member Murphy said that Mr. Westenberger works with zoning and she has no issues in those departments except naming them correctly.

Council President Shortway has an issue with the deposits, asking if this is an isolated incident.

Council Member Auberger feels that the Government should be able to this internally without having to reach out to the attorney. He would like to see this done in house.

Mayor Burrell said that Mr. Westenberger is a top notch official and he knows what needs to be done and he has done a lot of the inquiries.

Council President Shortway said the word investigation is from our ordinance.

Mayor Burrell said our organization is not organized consistent with our code. He feels that he and Administrator Voelker needs some time to do reasearch and come back with a recommendation to update our code.

Vice President Auberger made a motion to remove Resolution #20-246 from the agenda, seconded by Council Member Pitsker.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller
Nays: Shortway
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to remove Resolution #20-246 from the agenda.

Resolution #20-247: Resolution Authorizing a Mutual Aid Assistance Agreement between the County of Sussex and the Township of Vernon

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-247.
Moved: Andrew Pitsker
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: Auberger
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-247.

Resolution #20-247: Resolution Authorizing a Mutual Aid Assistance Agreement between the County of Sussex and the Township of Vernon

WHEREAS, Homeland Security Directive (HSPD-5) (February 28, 2003) directs the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to develop and administer a National Incident Management System (NIMS), which would provide a consistent nationwide approach to Federal, State, local and tribal governments to work together more effectively and efficiently to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size or complexity; and

WHEREAS, “The New Jersey Civilian Defense and Disaster Control Act,” N.J.S.A. App.A:9-33 et seq., provides for the health, safety and welfare of the people of the State of New Jersey during any emergency by centralizing control of all civilian activities having to do with such emergency and gives the Governor control over the resources of each and every political subdivision to cope with any condition that shall arise out of such emergency; and

WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey adopted the “Fire Service Resource Emergency Deployment Act,” N.J.S.A. 52:14E-11 et seq., to establish a mechanism for the coordination of fire service resources throughout the State to facilitate a quick and efficient response to any emergency, incident or situation that requires the immediate deployment of those resources in order to protect life and property from the danger or destruction of fire, explosion or other disaster; and

WHEREAS, the Director of the Division of Fire and Safety in the Department of Community Affairs promulgated rules commonly referenced as the “Fire Service Resource Emergency Deployment Rules,” N.J.A.C. 5:75A-1.1 et seq., and N.J.A.C. 5:75A-2.2 specifically requires each municipality or fire district to adopt a local fire mutual aid plan; and

WHEREAS, the Fire Service Rules at N.J.A.C. 5:75A-2.4 requires each County in the State to prepare and adopt a county fire mutual aid plan in coordination with applicable local mutual aid plans; and

WHEREAS, the County of Sussex has expressed a desire to into an agreement for mutual aid and assistance with the municipalities in the County of Sussex, including the Township of Vernon, to protect against loss, damage or destruction by fire, catastrophe, civil unrest, major emergency or other extraordinary devastation and to address those situations when additional aid and assistance is necessary; and

WHEREAS, a determination has been made that it is in the best interests of the Township of Vernon to enter a mutual aid and assistance agreement with the County of Sussex; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the Mayor and/or Business Administrator are hereby authorized to execute a mutual aid and assistance agreement between the Township of Vernon and the County of Sussex in a form similar to the document attached hereto. The Township Attorney may make applicable language changes deemed in the best interest of the Township.

Resolution #20-248: Resolution Authorizing Execution of an Independent Administrative Services Agreement with Hart Halsey, LLC D/B/A Extra Duty Solutions to Provide Administration Services for the Township of Vernon Police Department Extra Duty Details

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-248.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Jean Murphy

Council Member Pitsker asked if there was a cap on this as far as cost.

Administrator Voelker explained that the cost is passed on to the people who utilize the police officers.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-248.

Resolution #20-248: Resolution Authorizing Execution of an Independent Administrative Services Agreement with Hart Halsey, LLC D/B/A Extra Duty Solutions to Provide Administration Services for the Township of Vernon Police Department Extra Duty Details

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need for a vendor to provide administrative services for the Township of Vernon Police Department extra duty details; and

WHEREAS, Hart Halsey, LLC d/b/a/ Extra Duty Solutions has submitted a proposed independent administrative services agreement to provide administrative services for the Township of Vernon Police Department extra duty details; and

WHEREAS, Hart Halsey, LLC d/b/a/ Extra Duty Solutions has been deemed qualified to provide these services; and

WHEREAS, a determination has been made that it is in the best interest of the Township of Vernon to enter into a contract with Hart Halsey, LLC d/b/a/ Extra Duty Solutions.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes the Mayor to execute the attached independent administrative services agreement with Hart Halsey, LLC d/b/a/ Extra Duty Solutions.

Resolution #20-249: Resolution Requesting Void of Tax Sale Certificate 19-00122 for Block 538 Lot 2, 45 Eric Trail, and Return of Funds Paid to the Third Party Lienholder with the Statutory Interest and Other Legal Charges

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-249.
Moved: Andrew Pitsker
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-249.

Resolution #20-249: Resolution Requesting Void of Tax Sale Certificate 19-00122 for Block 538 Lot 2, 45 Eric Trail, and Return of Funds Paid to the Third Party Lienholder with the Statutory Interest and Other Legal Charges

WHEREAS, during 2019 tax sale a property identified as Block 538 Lot 2, located at 45 Eric Trail was sold by the Township of Vernon during tax sale; and

WHEREAS, property stated above was purchased by the third party lienholder, Bala Partners, LLC; and

Whereas, at the time of tax sale above property was in legal bankruptcy proceeding and should not have been sold

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon authorizes the Tax Collector to void certificate 19-00122 and refund Bala Partners LLC in accordance with the state law.

Resolution #20-250: Resolution Authorizing Agreement with Claims Compensation Bureau to Pursue Class Action Funds

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-250.
Moved: Kelly Weller
Second: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-250.

Resolution #20-250: Resolution Authorizing Agreement with Claims Compensation Bureau to Pursue Class Action Funds

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon (“Township”) has been notified by Claims Compensation Bureau, LLC (“CCB”) that it may be eligible to recover class action settlement funds in connection with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2406; and

WHEREAS, the Township has received a proposed Claim Service Agreement from CCB that would allow CCB to seek out said settlement funds on behalf of the Township; and

WHEREAS, it has been determined that it is in the best interest of the Township to enter the Claim Service Agreement with CCB; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the Mayor and Township Clerk are authorized to execute a Claim Service Agreement between the Township and CCB in a form similar the document attached hereto. The Township Attorney may make applicable language changes deemed in the best interest of the Township.

Resolution #20-251: Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of a Duplicate Tax Sale Certificate Pursuant to Chapter 99 of the Public Laws of 1997

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-251.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-251.

Resolution #20-248: Resolution Authorizing Execution of an Independent Administrative Services Agreement with Hart Halsey, LLC D/B/A Extra Duty Solutions to Provide Administration Services for the Township of Vernon Police Department Extra Duty Details

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need for a vendor to provide administrative services for the Township of Vernon Police Department extra duty details; and

WHEREAS, Hart Halsey, LLC d/b/a/ Extra Duty Solutions has submitted a proposed independent administrative services agreement to provide administrative services for the Township of Vernon Police Department extra duty details; and

WHEREAS, Hart Halsey, LLC d/b/a/ Extra Duty Solutions has been deemed qualified to provide these services; and

WHEREAS, a determination has been made that it is in the best interest of the Township of Vernon to enter into a contract with Hart Halsey, LLC d/b/a/ Extra Duty Solutions.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes the Mayor to execute the attached independent administrative services agreement with Hart Halsey, LLC d/b/a/ Extra Duty Solutions.

Resolution #20-252: Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of a Duplicate Tax Sale Certificate Pursuant to Chapter 99 of the Public Laws of 1997

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-252.
Moved: Kelly Weller
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-252.

Resolution #20-252: Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of a Duplicate Tax Sale Certificate Pursuant to Chapter 99 of the Public Laws of 1997

WHEREAS, the Tax Collector of this municipality has previously issued a tax sale certificate to Empire Tax Fund I LLC dated June 16, 2010 covering premises commonly known and referred to as Block 84.03 Lot 27 as set out on the municipal tax map then in use which certificate bears number 10-00012.

WHEREAS, the purchaser of the aforesaid tax sale certificate has indicated to the Tax Collector that they have lost or otherwise misplaced the original tax sale certificate and have duly filed the appropriate Affidavit of Loss with the Tax Collector, a copy of which is attached to.

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Governing Body of the Township of Vernon that the Tax Collector of the municipality be and is hereby authorized, upon receipt of the appropriately executed and notarized Loss Affidavit and the payment of a fee of $100.00 per certificate, to issue an appropriate duplicate tax sale certificate to said purchaser covering the certificate lost as previously described in all accordance with the requirements of Chapter 99 of Public Laws of 1997.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this Resolution and the Loss Affidavit be attached to the duplicate certificate to be issued to said purchaser and that said duplicate certificate shall be stamped or otherwise have imprinted upon it the word “Duplicate” as required by law.

Resolution #20-253: Authorizing Change Order #1 of the Contract for Guide Rails Lake Pochung Road Phase II with Road Safety Systems, LLC

WHEREAS, on September 14, 2020, by way of adoption of Resolution #20-187, the Council of the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to Road Safety Systems, LLC for Guide Rails for Lake Pochung Road—Phase II which contract provided for an expenditure of $49,946.80; and

WHEREAS, in a memo dated December 3, 2020, the Township Engineer states that the contract requires a Change Order #1 for three (3) extra items in amount of $7,303.26 and one (1) supplemental item in amount of $800.00 and by the reduction of three (3) items in amount of $3,081.25 resulting in an adjusted total contract amount of $54,968.81; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer, in concurrence with the Mayor, recommends approving Change Order No. 1 which will increase the total contract amount by $5,022.01 to an adjusted total contract amount of $54,968.81, and

WHEREAS, the Certified Municipal Finance Officer of the Township of Vernon has certified that the funds for Change Order #1 in amount of $5,022.01 are available in Account #C-04-20-011-01.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that it hereby approves the Township Engineer’s recommendations and authorizes the Mayor to execute said Change Order No. 1 for said project increasing the total contract amount with Road Safety Systems, LLC to $54,968.81; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be forwarded to Road Safety Systems, LLC and the Township Engineer.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-253.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-253.

Resolution #20-254: Resolution Authorizing Award of Bid 5-2020 Tree Trimming and Removal Services Bid to Rich Tree Service

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-254.
Moved: Andrew Pitsker
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-254.

Resolution #20-254: Resolution Authorizing Award of Bid 5-2020 Tree Trimming and Removal Services Bid to Rich Tree Service

WHEREAS the Township of Vernon public received bids for Bid 5-2020 Tree Trimming and Removal Services December 3,2020 at 9:00 A.M. having legally advertised and received in accord with the New Jersey Local Publics Contract Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1) in a Fair and Open Manner (N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.4 et seq.,) and

WHEREAS the Township received one (1) from Rich Tree Service of South Plainfield, N.J. to wit:

NAME OF BIDDERRich Tree Service
Foreman
Straight Time$65.00
Overtime$97.50
Sundays/ Holidays$130.00
Climber/Aerial
Straight Time$60.00
Overtime$90.00
Sundays/ Holidays$120.00
Ground Person
Straight Time$45.00
Overtime$67.50
Sundays/ Holidays$90.00
Aerial Lift Truck
Straight Time$50.00
Overtime$50.00
Sundays/ Holidays$50.00
Chip Truck/ Chipper
Straight Time$50.00
Overtime$50.00
Sundays/ Holidays$50.00
Prentice Type Loader
Straight Time$100.00
Overtime$150.00
Sundays/ Holidays$200.00
Crane
Straight Time$175.00
Overtime$262.50
Sundays/ Holidays$350.00
Stump Grinder
Straight Time$70.00
Overtime$105.00
Sundays/ Holidays$140.00

And

WHEREAS Rich Tree Service provided for the lowest responsible bid in accord with N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et. Seq., and

WHEREAS subject to the governing body approving future budgets, the Chief Financial Officer certifies funding is available in an amount not to exceed $35,000.00 through:

Line Item 0-01-26-290-20.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that Bid 5-2020 Tree Trimming and Removal Services is hereby awarded to Rich Tree Service of South Plainfield, NJ in the hourly rates a submitted in response to Bid 5-2020: and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, that the Mayor is hereby authorized to enter into a contract with Rich Tree Service of South Plainfield, NJ provide for the services as provided for in Bid 5-2020.

Resolution #20-255: Transfer Resolution—Balance Transfers

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-255.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-255.

Resolution #20-255: Transfer Resolution—Balance Transfers

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon Municipal Budget requires certain modifications to cover potential expenses that may occur in excess of the original budget;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the following Transfer of Appropriations (2020 Municipal Budget) in accordance with N.J.S.A 40A-58/59 are hereby approved.

ACCOUNTTRANSFER OUTTRANSFER IN
FROM CURRENT FUND:
LEGAL SERVICES—O/E30,100.00 
   
TO CURRENT FUND:
TAX COLLECTOR—O.E $5,000.00
POLICE DEPARTMENT—O.E $15,000.00
BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS - O/E $10,000.00
BOND INTEREST—O.E $100.00
   
TOTAL TRANSFERS$30,100.00$30,100.00

Resolution #20-256: Resolution Authorizing the Cancellation of Appropriation Reserve Balances

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-256.
Moved: Kelly Weller
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-256.

Resolution #20-256: Resolution Authorizing the Cancellation of Appropriation Reserve Balances

WHEREAS, certain 2019 Appropriation Reserve Balances remain that are no longer needed; and

WHEREAS, a STORM RECOVERY RESERVE TRUST FUND was established by Resolution #07-68 and approved by the Division of Local Government Services on April 17, 2007; and

WHEREAS, it is necessary to formally cancel said balances from appropriation reserves and fund the Snow Removal Trust Fund,

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the following unexpended balances of the Appropriations Reserves be cancelled:

9-01-26-29-20—(2019) ROAD REPAIRS & MAINT. O/E $55,000.00
TOTAL $ 55,000.00

Resolution #20-257: Resolution Authorizing the Cancellation of Appropriation Reserve Balances

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-257.
Moved: Andrew Pitsker
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-257.

Resolution #20-257: Resolution Authorizing the Cancellation of Appropriation Reserve Balances

WHEREAS, certain 2019 Appropriation Reserve Balances remain that are no longer needed; and

WHEREAS, an ACCUMULATED ABSENCES TRUST was established by Resolution #02-44 and approved by the Division of Local Government Services on April 05, 2002; and

WHEREAS, it is necessary to formally cancel said balances from appropriation reserves and fund the Accumulated Absences Trust Fund,

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the following unexpended balances of the Appropriations Reserves be cancelled:

9-01-25-240-01- (2019) Police Department- S&W $60,000.00
TOTAL $60,000.00

Resolution #20-258: Temporary Budget—Debt Service

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-258.
Moved: Kelly Weller
Second: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-258.

Resolution #20-258: Temporary Budget—Debt Service

WHEREAS, N.J.S.40A:4-19 provides authority for appropriating in a temporary resolution the permanent debt service requirements for the coming fiscal year, and

WHEREAS, the date of this resolution is subsequent to that date, and

WHEREAS, principal and interest will be due on various dates from January 1, 2021 to January 31, 2021, inclusive, on bonds and notes issued and outstanding,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey, that the following appropriations be made to cover the period from January 1, 2021 to January 31, 2021 inclusive:

Payment of Bonds$1,898,605.00
Interest on Bonds92,665.67
Principal on Road Assessment31,395.00
Total$2,022,665.67

Resolution #20-259: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-259.

Vice President Auberger asked which department this is going to.

Administrator Voelker said it is for the DPW.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-259.

Resolution #20-259: 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, the governing body of Vernon Township approved in Resolution 19-164 authorizing leasing of certain vehicles through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services, Inc., and this is an extension of that resolution; and

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 for one vehicle is $55,531.20 (Quote No. 4841494); 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 #20-260: Resolution Authorizing a Settlement Agreement with Metairie Corporation and Legends Resort Country Club Condominium Association

Council Member Murphy read part of the resolution out loud, “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the Mayor is authorized to execute a settlement agreement with Metairie Corporation and Legends Resort Country Club Condominium Association in a form similar to the attached agreement.” She said the attached should be the agreement and not something similar.

Township Clerk Gianattasio explained that the reason the settlement agreement was not posted with the agenda on the website was because it was being spoken about in Executive Session.

Public Comments (Limited to 3 Minutes on Any Topic)

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to opened the meeting for public comments.
Motion: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller
All members were in favor.

Sally Rinker—Vernon Township, commented on Resolution #20-246 saying that as someone who worked with all of the departments, the person heading and working in all three departments for many years I know an investigation by our Township Attorney is not called for. He would not uncover any purposeful wrongdoings and she is glad it was voted down. Let our experienced employees do their jobs and give them the tools they need.

Sandra Ooms—Vernon Township, commented about the last meeting. She said the Mayor did a rather lengthy report on Covid-19 and also the Spanish flu. She feels the Mayor did not relate it to Vernon and what is going on in Vernon. Ms. Ooms said maybe later at the next meeting the Mayor can talk about how the residents are being affected and what the town is doing to help the families that are affected. Maybe list pantries, programs for heating assistance, programs for lost money due to Covid and grants. She feels this would be useful going forward and how it affects our budget. Ms. Ooms would like to know about the services that were not used in the township because of Covid and where that money has gone.

Seeing no other members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Andrew Pitsker
Second: John Auberger
All members were in favor.

Mayor’s Comments

Over the past couple of weeks, the one issue that I have received the most emails, texts, phone calls and in person inquiries about relates to questions concerning the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine process. And therefore, I take this opportunity to share with the Council, and other members of the Vernon Family, the information that I have up to this point in time, based on the Mayor’s Office very close working relationships with our Emergency Management Coordinator, Mr. Ken Clark, and the Sussex County Health Department.

We are lucky to live in a state that has been preparing to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine for months. The plan, as it currently stands, has several strategic aims:

  1. To vaccinate 70 percent of New Jersey’s adult population within 6 months after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
  2. To provide equitable access to the vaccine, while at the same time getting the vaccine where it needs to go. The first doses of the vaccine are expected to go to frontline healthcare workers and elderly residents of long-term care facilities.
  3. To achieve maximum community protection. State health officials are considering vaccine timelines that will give some New Jersey residents priority over others. For example, if you’re a healthy American, you may wait several months for your turn at getting the vaccine, depending on the quantities of the vaccine that are available. In addition, the initial vaccination program could skip children entirely if the available vaccine has not been approved for people under 18.
  4. To build public trust. Given how divided we are as a nation; this will no doubt prove to be a very challenging task.

Our County of Sussex has been working with the State of New Jersey Department of Health in the development of a COVID-19 vaccination program. The County has submitted its CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement to the State of New Jersey, and that agreement has been approved.

Plans are for Sussex County’s COVID-19 vaccination program to be set up as a public health clinic -- similar to the County’s flu clinic; and provide fair access to all who live, work, and/or are educated in Sussex County.

I ask all to join with me in being patient with the issues that will come with this massive vaccination program that our nation, state, and county will be undertaking, because the rollout of this COVID-19 vaccination program will not be a simple or easy process.

According to the CDC, for every 100 doses of the vaccine, providers will need 105 needles and syringes of varying sizes, 210 alcohol prep pads, 4 surgical masks, 2 face shields and 100 vaccine report cards to track patients’ vaccine histories.

And one of the things that will add to the rollout difficulty, is the fact that all of this equipment and supplies must be manufactured, packaged and shipped to coincide with vaccine deliveries.

And since the most promising vaccines require two doses, twice as much equipment and supplies are needed for individuals to get a full vaccination. Individuals will be required to return for their second dose of the vaccine within 21 to 28 days later.

In spite of the fact that the rollout of this COVID-19 vaccination program will not be a simple or easy process, I am confident that we as a nation, state, and county will eventually be victorious in our battle against this virus; because we are Americans, and in this town, we are VERNON STRONG!

Let’s plan for victory; because we can’t expect victory, when we plan for defeat.

I will provide you additional pertinent information on our County’s COVID-19 vaccination program as it is made available to me.

Council Comments

Council Member Murphy had no comments.

Council Member Auberger had no comments.

Council Member Weller thanked the Beautification Committee for the great job all over town, everyone is loving the gnomes that are popping up everywhere. Thank you to the Fire Department and DPW for putting the snowflakes up.

Council Member Weller reminded everyone to stay diligent and wear your masks, wash your hands and avoid large gatherings. She said this is a difficult time to be apart from your loved ones but we all need to stay the course and do the right thing.

Council Member Pitsker said he is happy that there is progress on the Short Term Rental ordinance. He said we can finally start collecting the money that is due to us.

Council Member Pitsker commented on the gnomes and said it was brought to his attention that someone would like to see a menorah up in the town center as well.

Council Member Pitsker wished everyone happy holidays and a happy new year. He said be safe and wear your mask, wash your hands and stay diligent as we work towards solving this Covid-19.

Council President Comments

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to cancel the December 28, 2020 Township Council meeting.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to cancel the December 28, 2020 Township Council meeting.

Council President Shortway asked if anyone saw the sunset last night and said it was the most beautiful he has seen in 30 years. It reminds him why we live in Vernon. Later he saw a parade in front of his house the volunteer fire department.

Adjournment

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

The Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Marcy Gianattasio, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: January 11, 2021