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

Minutes: December 16, 2010

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:05 p.m. on Thursday, December 16, 2010 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Mayor Sally Rinker presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 5, 2010, 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.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, and Mayor Sally Rinker. Also present were Township Manager Jerry Giaimis and Township Attorney John Ursin. Council Member Richard Carson was absent.

Resolution to Go into Executive Session

At 6:07 p.m. Mayor Sally Rinker asked for a motion to go into Executive Session. Council Member Valerie Seufert made a motion to close the meeting to the public and enter into executive session. Council Member Harry Shortway with all members voting in favor seconded motion.

The Municipal Clerk read the following resolution to go into executive session:

WHEREAS, the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 permits the exclusion of the public in certain circumstances; and

WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist;

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

  1. The public shall be excluded from discussion of and action upon the hereinafter specified subject matter.
  2. The general nature of the subject matters to be discussed is:
    1. Personnel matters regarding the Township Manager, Tax Assessor, Land Use Administrator and Clerk vacancy. Executive Session minutes will be released to the public upon conclusion of the matter or upon execution of employment agreement.
    2. Contract Negotiation matter regarding United Water. Executive Session minutes will be released to the public upon the conclusion of this matter.
    3. Municipal Reimbursement—Executive Session minutes will be released to the public upon the conclusion of this matter.
  3. It is anticipated that the above-stated subject matter will be made available upon final decision.
  4. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

The Township Council entered into Executive Session at 6:08 p.m.

The meeting was reopened to the public at 7:16 p.m. Present were Council Members Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, and Mayor Sally Rinker. Also present were Township Manager Jerry Giaimis and Township Attorney John Ursin.

Salute to the Flag

The Mayor led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.

Presentations and Special Items

Chief Wherry presented two new police officers, Lewis LaBar and Stephen Rovetto. Mayor Rinker swore them in as Patrolman.

Township Attorney John Ursin spoke regarding municipal reimbursement to the private lake communities for 2009. Mr. Ursin commented on the Township Council’s authorization for an outside consultant to be hired, in order to analyze the cost per mile calculations, and to analyze the difficulty factors involving snow removal at the lake communities. Mr. Ursin stated that the Council has discussed the issue and is very concerned that the lake communities are waiting for their reimbursement. Mr. Ursin further stated that the Council has decided to reimburse the lake communities up to the amount of their request, not to exceed the Township’s cost per mile, at this point. The lake communities will receive 80%, 90% and in some cases 100% of their money this month. The remaining amount, in dispute, the amount of money in excess of the Township’s cost per mile should be able to be addressed within the next 60 days.

Mayor Rinker made a motion to authorize the Manager to pay up to the amount of the claim not to exceed the Township’s cost per mile for 2009 reimbursement, seconded by Council Member Harry Shortway. Council Member Valerie Seufert asked for a confirmation that the reimbursement, at this point, is not to exceed the Township’s cost per mile for the year 2009.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None

Township Manager Jerry Giaimis reported that he had a meeting with Chief Wherry regarding police vehicles. Mr. Giaimis stated that in 2010 the Council budgeted enough money for at least one police vehicle, which has not yet been purchased. Chief Wherry requested two vehicles for this year and reported that the Police Department is currently working with some vehicles in poor condition.

Mayor Rinker commented on having the opportunity to view the police vehicles in a state of disrepair and further commented that the vehicles are not safe for the police officers to drive on the road. Council Member Seufert commented that one vehicle is already budgeted for and available funds from salary and wages would make it possible to purchase a second vehicle.

Council Member Valerie Seufert made a motion to approve the purchase of one vehicle and if the CFO can find the money available to purchase a second vehicle this year; seconded by Council Member Harry Shortway.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None

Public Comments

Mayor Rinker opened the meeting for public comment.

Mary Bradly, Board of Recreation, thanked the Town for the Christmas Tree Lighting. Ms. Bradly also thanked Pat Seger, Dave Pullis and the DPW staff, the Chamber of Commerce, the Vernon PAL, Santa, Mrs. Claus and Frosty, as well as music groups from the school. Ms. Bradly reported that Maple Grange was chosen, as a location, because the Municipal Center has been outgrown for the event.

Gary Martinsen, Vernon, wished the Mayor and Council a Merry Christmas.

Tom McClachrie, Vernon Taxpayers Association., spoke regarding lowering construction permit fees. Mr. McClachrie questioned Open Public Records Act extraordinary effort fees. John Ursin explained that under the statute there is an allowance for special service charges in the event that it is outside the normal scope and would cost the Township extra money. Mr. McClachrie further commented on the Council committing to $100,000.00 for police cars and emergency equipment. Mr. McClachrie suggested asking the Chief Finance Officer where the money will be coming from.

Phyllis Pfeiffer, Vernon, commented on ordinance 10-27 to establish a maximum rate of compensation for elected officials in Vernon Township, and questioned if this is going to be for present elected officials or for the new government. Mayor Rinker stated that her assumption was that it is for the new government. Ms. Pfeiffer further questioned why the present Council could set the compensation for future government officials. Council Member Harry Shortway explained that the new government officials will have the authority to override these decisions, but the budget must be considered now.

Robert Oliver, Vernon, commented on the Best Practices survey and further commented on the current Council thinking they are worth more than the new Council coming in.

Mayor Rinker commented that ordinances are put on our agenda and there are times when they are not put on by the Council as a unit.

Jessi Paladini, Sunset Ridge, commented that it is not legal or proper for a single Council Member to request the Township Manager put a specific ordinance on the meeting agenda. Ms. Paladini further commented that there should be discussion and voting on such issues. Ms. Paladini also spoke regarding Council business being discussed through emails and advised that it is illegal to do so. Ms. Paladini commented on the Council being too concerned with setting the salaries for the next Council and she thinks that this is specifically being done to undermine the change of government. Ms. Paladini also applauded the formation of an ethics committee.

Jeanne Jameson, Highland Lakes Country Club & Jeffrey Blank, Barry Lakes LCPOA, represented the seven communities involved with the Township over the last few months trying to resolve the reimbursement issue. Ms. Jameson stated her appreciation of the fact that the Council took the time to discuss the reimbursement agreement and came to a decision. Ms. Jameson questioned when the lake communities would have the opportunity to view the written agreement that would have to be signed prior to any acceptance of money. Township Attorney John Ursin stated this would be an interim agreement. Ms. Jameson commented on her concern that this would not be adequate. Jeffrey Blank questioned if the Township would be paying interest, since the reimbursement is late. Mr. Ursin answered “no”.

Jamie Rickey, Vernon, questioned the issue of reimbursement. Mr. Ursin gave a brief overview of the Municipal Services Act. Mr. Rickey also spoke regarding all fees being brought up to the statutory limit. Mr. Rickey stated that lowering fees could stimulate business. Mr. Rickey questioned the existence of ethics guidelines. Mr. Ursin stated there is a statute that contains an ethics code for municipal officials and municipalities are allowed to go further with it if they want to. Mr. Rickey also spoke regarding running for Mayor and expressed concern that the ordinance would limit and discourage candidates running for Mayor.

Audrey Falgares, Lake Panorama, advised that there was no dispute in what the lake communities were paid in the past. Ms. Falgares stated that there was no dispute until this Council decided they were taking away the 1.5 difficulty factor that the lake communities have been paid since the end of 1998.

Dennis Miranda, Chair of The Environmental Commission, made recommendations for better communication between the Governing Body and the Boards and Commissions.

Mayor Rinker agreed with Mr. Miranda and the need for more interaction, communication and collaboration between the Governing Body and the Boards and Commissions.

Seeing no one else from the public wishing to speak, Mayor Sally Rinker closed the public comment portion of the meeting.

Approval of Minutes

September 23, 2010, October 14, 2010, October 28, 2010, November 15, 2010 Regular Meeting Minutes

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Harry Shortway

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Abstain: Brian Lynch

October 14, 2010 Executive Session Minutes

Moved: Valerie Seufert Seconded: Sally Rinker

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Abstain: Brian Lynch, Harry Shortway

Township Manager’s Report

Township Manager Jerry Giaimis stated that the Township Council Reorganization meeting would be held on Monday, January 3, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.

Mr. Giaimis reported on a meeting with county officials last week concerning the Maple Grange Project.

Mr. Giaimis and Dave Pullis met with the county last week for a site visit on the DPW property about the possible relocation of the DPW building.

Mr. Giaimis also spoke regarding the maps for the Scenic Byways Project application. Mayor Rinker asked Dennis Miranda, Environmental Commission Chair to provide information about the application. Mr. Miranda explained that the engineer needs to create a color coded overly map, which is part of the application process. Council Member Valerie Seufert questioned if there will be any additional costs to complete the Scenic Byways application. Dennis Miranda reported that there were no additional costs.

Council Member Valerie Seufert made a motion authorizing the Township Manager to have the Township Engineer create the necessary maps for the Scenic Byway application, not to exceed $1,000.00; seconded by Mayor Rinker.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None

Mr. Giaimis reported visiting the county site along with county officials regarding the recycling contract. Mayor Rinker questioned if the Council was satisfied with the information given.

Dennis Miranda, Environmental Commission Chairman questioned the site of the Recycling Center.

Mayor Rinker commented that the information given shows that if we do make the initial investment, which is equivalent to more or less one year’s worth of paying an outside contractor, there will be a benefit every year after.

Mayor Rinker made a motion for the Township Manager to go forward in organizing and arranging this process, seconded by Council Member Valerie Seufert.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None

Council Member Brian Lynch questioned Mr. Giaimis about a series of Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests coming in and if there is something going on. Council Member Lynch further questioned what work is required for the completion of the OPRA requests. Mr. Giaimis stated that an IT employee and some of the staff members research past emails on the server to decipher how many are responsive for the OPRA request, and then print them out. Mr. Giaimis further explained the emails are then redacted and provided as per the request. Mr. Lynch questioned if this was considered an extraordinary request. Mr. Lynch also questioned the turnaround time for providing the OPRA requests. Mr. Giaimis reported that the law states 7 days, with the Clerk having the ability to request an extension from the requestor. Mr. Giaimis suggested that a message achiever would be of assistance with completing OPRA requests. Council Member Lynch commented on OPRA requests having hidden costs concerning the manpower hours it takes to complete them.

Council Member Lynch questioned if all of the OPRA requests were costing the Township a lot of money. Council Member Valerie Seufert commented that employee’s time is a cost factor in providing OPRA requests. Mr. Lynch commented on OPRA being a transparent way for people to see government. However, the costs need to be considered in the budget in relation to manpower hours.

Township Attorney John Ursin stated that it is a good practice for attorney review of OPRA requests to assure there is no confidential information given out in error. Council Member Lynch questioned if the attorney’s time can be charged to the requestor and Mr. Ursin responded by saying that if it is a request that takes enough staff time or specialized staff, such as IT staff and so forth to come in, then the answer is yes the law provides for special service charges. This is considered on a case-by-case basis.

Jerry Giaimis advised that the Tennessee Pipeline would be shutting down the pipeline construction operation in Vernon on December 22, 2010, to be started up again on January 3, 2011. Pipeline construction will resume in other areas as soon as Mother Nature allows, probably March.

Mayor Rinker questioned changes in the plan with the County for water testing. Mayor Rinker further questioned how much it would cost to contract out for water testing. Mr. Giaimis replied that it would not be more than $1,000.00 per year. Mayor Rinker questioned if there will be a reduction in the amount paid to the County for the lack or service due to the change.

Mayor Rinker questioned the total invoices for Township engineer, Cory Stoner of Harold Pellow. Mayor Rinker observed that he exceeded the limit. Chief Finance Officer, Bill Zuckerman stated that amounts submitted over budget are not paid. Mayor Rinker stated that the Council should be kept informed of when the limit is being reached.

Mayor Rinker questioned the HALON system.

Mr. Giaimis commented concerning the process of applying for an energy efficient grant for HVAC.

Mayor Rinker asked Mr. Giaimis to send a letter to the consulting firm asking them to send invoices in a timely manner.

Council Member Seufert questioned if there is another meeting scheduled with the Board of Education. Mr. Giaimis stated that the Board of Education cancelled the most recent meeting due to their busy holiday schedule.

Resolutions Requiring Separate Action

Resolution #10-231: Tax Overpayments

WHEREAS, duplicate payments were made on the Fourth quarter 2010 taxes

WHEREAS, such payments created an overpayment

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, hereby authorize the Township Treasurer to issue check for said overpayments and the Tax Collector refund said overpayment of taxes on the following account:

BLOCKLOTNAMEAMOUNTQUARTERLOCATION
103.0441Core Logic$1,565.154thCedar Tree Dr
(Re: Giovene, Robert F & Deborah J #47684104)
260.2013Core Logic$1,470.414th27 Longview Lane S
(Re: Castello, Nicholas & Charlene B #37533553)

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Harry Shortway

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-231 was approved.

Resolution #10-232: Authorizing the Approval of Bills List

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

Disbursement
Journal
FundAmountMajor Vendor
#1Current$993,754.34Vernon BOE
#2Current$611,772.78Vernon BOE
#3Current$674,269.10Vernon BOE
#4Grant$2,401.30 
#5Grant$250.00 
#6Capital$15,246.37 
#7Capital$170.43 
#8Other Trust$44,942.71 
#9Open Space$5,750.00 
#10Sewer Operating$550.54 
#11Outside Services $278.44 
#12Outside Services$8,293.48 
 Payroll$321,523.551st Pay in Dec
 Total$2,679,203.04 

Motion: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Harry Shortway

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-232 was approved

Resolution #10-233: Authorizing a Maintenance Agreement with CapturePoint.com (E-Websity, Inc.), from December 2010 to December 2011 in the Amount Not to Exceed $2,997.00

WHEREAS, there exists a need for continuing a maintenance service for the online computer web based program that has an existing contract for the Township of Vernon for the Department of Community Affairs for online recreation programs registering and credit card payment processing; and

WHEREAS, the Director of Community Affairs has reviewed the prices and determined it would be cost effective for the Township to continue with the program maintenance; and

WHEREAS, the cost estimate for the maintenance is $2,997.00; and

WHEREAS, the vendor is CapturePoint.com (E-Websity, Inc.); and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer of the Township of Vernon, has determined and certified the funds of this agreement subject to the adoption of the 2011 Municipal Budget.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the 16th day of December, 2010 by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey as follows:

  1. The Township of Vernon is authorized to engage CapturePoint.com (E-Websity, Inc.), for the purpose of online recreation program registration and credit card processing and maintenance; and
  2. The Mayor and Township Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to execute a Professional Services Maintenance Contract with CapturePoint.com (E-Websity, Inc.)

Moved: Harry Shortway
Seconded: Brian Lynch

Jerry Giaimis reported that this is software for Division of Community of Affairs. Pat Seger further reported that this is a registration, reservation and fundraiser management program.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-233 was approved.

Resolution #10-234: Authorizing a Memorandum of Agreement with Valtech Research for “Inquiry Only” Access to Certain Tax Collectors Tax and/or Utility Records Via Vital Communications

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon received a request from Valtech Research, seeking electronic “look only” inquiry access to the public tax records administered by the tax collector; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township’s tax records are currently maintained in an electronic format by Vital Communications Inc. of Trenton, New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, upon authorization, Valtech Research, agrees to use this information for the sole purpose of providing tax search information to the title industry; and

WHEREAS, Valtech Research, also agrees to protect the information obtained and to not re-sell or re-distribute this same information or make available to a third party except as needed for the purpose of providing information for tax searches to the title industry.

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

  1. Vernon Township will authorize Vital Communications, Inc. to provide look up information access to Valtech Research for Vernon Township property tax and/or utility records.
  2. Valtech Research shall be subject to Vital Computers policies and procedures.
  3. Valtech Research waives any claim that it may have against Vernon Township in connection with Vital Communications, Inc.’s policies and procedures.
  4. Valtech Research, agrees to use this information for the sole purpose of providing tax search information to the title industry, agrees to protect the information obtained and to not re-sell or re-distribute this same information or make available to a third party except as needed for the purpose of providing information for tax searches to the title industry.
  5. The Township of Vernon shall not incur any charges for providing this access or means of information exchange to Valtech Research.

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Harry Shortway

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-234 was approved.

Resolution #10-235: Authorizing a Professional Services Agreement between the Township of Vernon and Action Data Services to Provide Payroll and Accounting Services from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon (“Township”) has a need to acquire professional payroll and accounting services to process employee payroll; and

WHEREAS, Action Data Services has submitted a proposal (annexed) for the provision of said professional services for the year 2011; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.5 the New Jersey Local Pay-to-Play Law and pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5(1)(a)(1) of the New Jersey Local Public Contracts Law, the Township may enter into said Professional Services Agreement without public bidding provided all reporting requirements have been met; and

WHEREAS, the Township Chief Financial Officer has certified that there is no charge to the Township Budget as the current Township bank, Lakeland Bank, pays in full for this service.

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

  1. Upon satisfactory presentation of all materials required under the New Jersey Local Pay-to-Play Law and the Local Public Contracts Law, the Mayor of the Township of Vernon is hereby authorized to enter into the Professional Services Agreement with Action Data Services substantially in the form annexed hereto, and subject to the review and approval as to form by the Township Attorney.
  2. Notice of the award of the within Contract shall be published in accordance with law.
  3. The within Resolution and subject Contract shall be on file and available for public inspection in the office of the Municipal Clerk.
  4. This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon passage and publication in accordance with law, if required.

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Harry Shortway

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-235 was approved.

Resolution #10-236: Cancellation of 2005 Smart Growth Grant

WHEREAS, there is a receivable with an offsetting appropriation from the State of New Jersey in the amount of $60,000.00, Titled 2005 Access Management Plan— Smart Future 2005 Grant;

WHEREAS, this receivable is no longer collectible as revenue.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the receivable and budget appropriations be cancelled.

Moved: Harry Shortway
Seconded: Valerie Seufert

Council Member Valerie Seufert questioned why the grant was cancelled and Bill Zuckerman, CFO reported it is a cleanup of the Township’s records.

Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-236 was approved.

Resolution #10-237: Cancellation in Capital Account

WHEREAS, there is a balance in the Capital Account “Grant Receivable” of $92,114.38, from the DEP-2004 Green Areas Conservation Easement which was part of Ord# 04-26.

WHEREAS, this receivable is no longer collectible as revenue and no funds have been expended.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the FUNDED amount be moved from Ord# 08-10 to Ord# 04-26 where it can be cancelled.

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Harry Shortway

Chief Finance Officer, Bill Zuckerman stated that this was a grant of $92,000 from Green Acres that we never received.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-237 was approved.

Introduction of Proposed Ordinances

Ordinance #10-27: Ordinance to establish conflict of interest guidielines for Vernon Township public officials

Council Member Harry Shortway read the ordinance in full.

John Ursin interjected during the reading by Council Member Shortway that the ordinance for this Council would not look exactly as it is described here because it will be a six-member commission.

Mayor Rinker questioned the origination of this ordinance.

Council Member Harry Shortway reported that he researched this issue and found a model of such an ordinance in Vermont.

Council Member Brian Lynch suggested sending government officials to ethics classes. Mr. Ursin reported that the Statewide Insurance Fund conducts ethics classes and seminars for Town Councils.

Mayor Rinker questioned forming an ethics board when there are so many other things to deal with.

Council Member Lynch reported that the County can provide an ethics board for the Township.

Mayor Rinker spoke regarding the procedure and protocol of introducing ordinances on the agenda. Mayor Rinker asked the Council to consider adopting a protocol for introducing ordinances whereby they are discussed at the Council first, or have a work session to have public input before putting things on the agenda.

Mr. Ursin commented that a protocol for introducing ordinances could be established by the Council. Mr. Ursin further commented that the protocol could be to put it in the discussion heading, rather than under an introduction.

Mayor Rinker made a motion to table all three ordinances, seconded by Valerie Seufert.

Mr. Ursin advised that there is still a motion to table Ordinance #10-27 and #10-29.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None

Ordinance #10-28: An ordinance amending the Vernon Township Administrative Code Chapter 250, Fees and Escrows Section 250-12 Building

Tom Pinand, Construction Code Official spoke regarding the Uniform Construction Code and fees involved to cover costs.

Mr. Giaimis asked Mr. Pinand to advise the Mayor, Council and public on his new elected position. Mr. Pinand advised that he is now the President of the Building Officials of New Jersey.

Mayor Rinker made a motion to introduce Ordinance #10-28, seconded by Valerie Seufert.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Harry Shortway
Nays: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Ordinance #10-28 failed.

Added by Addendum

Resolution #10-238: Resolution of the Governing Body of the Township of Vernon Extending Woodmont Homes Developer’s Agreement

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon entered into a Developer’s Agreement with Woodmont Homes, Inc. dated April 24, 2008, Planning Board file #10-06-14; for property known as Block 192 Lots 9 & 10 and Block 192.04 Lot 5 as shown on the Tax Map of the Township of Vernon;

WHEREAS, the Developer’s Agreement expired on April 24, 2010;

WHEREAS, the developer currently has a performance bond posted with the Township in the amount of $129,724.80;

WHEREAS, the subdivision has homes remaining to be completed;

WHEREAS, there are repairs to the roadway pavement and drainage system, repairs to detention basins, and stabilization of the roadway embankment along Murphy Court that need to be completed;

WHEREAS, the Municipal Engineer has determined that the current performance bond is insufficient to ensure that all of the improvements are constructed and maintained properly;

WHEREAS, there is one home in the development which is expected to apply for a Certificate of Occupancy soon;

WHEREAS, the Municipal Engineer has recommended extending the Developer’s Agreement one year until December 31, 2011 conditioned upon the developer posting an additional cash bond of $25,000.00 at the time of the one home Certificate of Occupancy is issued and an additional $25,000 cash bond upon the issuance of each of the next three Certificates of Occupancy for homes to be built in order to increase the amount of performance bond being held by the municipality.

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the governing body of the Township of Vernon that the Mayor is authorized to enter into an extension of the Developer’s Agreement with Woodmont Homes, Inc. extending the time for completion to December 31, 2011 with the conditions set forth above.

Motion: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Sally Rinker

John Ursin, Township Attorney recommended passage of this resolution extending the development agreement. Council Member Valerie Seufert commended Mr. Ursin and staff members who participated in this agreement.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None

Second Reading, Public Hearing on Proposed Ordinances

Ordinance #10-23: An ordinance of the Township of Vernon, Sussex County, State of New Jersey repealing Article XIX Sections 330-229 through 330-239, Stream Buffer Conservation Overlay Zone, of the code of the Township of Vernon

Motion: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Harry Shortway

Mayor Rinker opened the meeting for public hearing on this ordinance.

Dennis Miranda, Environmental Commission Chair, reported that the Vernon Township Environmental Commission opposes this ordinance to protect Vernon’s natural resources.

Jean Murphy, Economic Development Advisory Committee, commented in favor of the ordinance and stated that anything the State allows should be sufficient for Vernon.

Jack McLaughlin, Vernon resident, reported on the history of the current buffer zone ordinance requiring 75 feet. Mr. McLaughlin also commented on his feeling that every waterway is not impaired and therefore not every waterway is deserving of the same protections. DEP regulations should be looked at for guidance.

Jessi Paladini, Sunset Ridge, expressed concern that there was no review and she was the only Land Use Board member who voted against this change. Ms. Paladini further reported that she voted against it because she thought the process was morally wrong for the Chairman of the Economic Development Commission to come before the Land Use Board on behalf of a client, requesting a change in the ordinance.

Jim Schriner, Architect, stated he is in favor of being in compliance with the State rather than being more restrictive.

Robert Reske, Vernon resident, advised that he is the homeowner seeking to make improvements on his property. Mr. Reske further commented that he advocates the Council repealing the current ordinance to make it uniform with the State.

Tom McClachrie, former Chief of Planning Board, spoke in regard to the rationale of the Planning Board at the time the ordinance was adopted. Mr. McClachrie further commented on the reason for the change being to cut the DEP out of the process when a homeowner wanted to make improvements to their property.

Gary Martinsen, former Health Department employee, commented on Vernon having stricter regulations than the State so that Vernon remains as pristine, natural and safe as possible.

Jack McLaughlin, reported that he is not aware of any science conducted in Vernon Township that justifies the increase of the buffer zone from 50 to 75 feet. Mr. McLaughlin stated that there is no question that vacant, raw land, where pristine streams exist and that feed into waterways, need to be protected. In those circumstances, where there is no development, and there are streams to protect, maybe it does make sense, but you can’t go anywhere and get a database that shows over time improvement or degradation of water quality as a result of this buffer zone ordinance. Mr. McLaughlin stated that there is no data available showing that water quality in the lake communities was degraded by the development patterns that existed in these communities. Mr. McLaughlin further stated that he was not speaking about what happened on Hamburg Mountain and stated that some homeowners are very seriously affected by this extension of the buffer zone ordinance from 50 to 75 feet without a basis in science.

Dennis Miranda, spoke regarding the wisdom of the law is to protect the resources. Mr. Miranda requested allowing the Environmental Commission to have a say.

Jamie Ricky, Vernon, stated that he was one of the properties included in the Highlands Preservation Act and requested that the Council please consider what happens to people through regulation as they consider this ordinance.

Mayor Rinker closed the public hearing on this issue.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Harry Shortway
Nays: Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Ordinance #10-23 failed to pass.

Ordinance #10-24: An ordinance of the Township of Vernon, Sussex County, State of New Jersey, to modify Chapter 258 of the code of the Township of Vernon regarding fire insurance claims

Mr. Giaimis clarified that this ordinance is to update the code.

Motion: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Harry Shortway

Council Member Brian Lynch questioned Mr. Ursin if he needed to recuse himself. Mr. Ursin answered that he did not need to recuse himself.

Mayor Rinker opened the meeting for Public Hearing on this ordinance.

There being no one from the public wishing to speak, the Mayor closed the meeting to the public.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Ordinance #10-24 was approved.

Ordinance #10-25: Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, Sussex County, New Jersey to add Chapter 190 to the code of the Township of Vernon to regulate donation clothing bins

Mayor Rinker read Ordinance #10-25 by title only.

Motion: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Harry Shortway

Jerry Giaimis explained the purpose of this ordinance is to set up parameters.

John Ursin further explained that the state has passed a statute authorizing municipalities to regulate clothing bins through the permitting process.

Mayor Rinker opened the meeting for Public Hearing on this ordinance.

Gary Martinsen, Vernon, questioned insurance protection for the Township. John Ursin stated that it is not a problem for the Township. Any problems would be between private property owners and donation bin companies.

Not seeing anyone else from the public wishing to speak, Mayor Rinker closed the meeting to the public.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Ordinance #10-25 was approved.

Ordinance #10-26: Ordinance #10-26: Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, to modify Chapter 250 of the code of the Township of Vernon regarding records fees

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Harry Shortway

Mr. Giaimis stated this is to make our fees consistent with State statute.

Mayor Rinker opened this meeting to the public. Not seeing anyone from the public wishing to speak, Mayor Rinker closed the meeting to the public.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Brian Lynch, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None.
Ordinance #10-26 was approved.

Council Business

Mayor Rinker questioned Mr. Giaimis in regard to well testing costs. Mr. Giaimis stated he will get a copy of the contract to the Mayor.

Council Member Valerie Seufert questioned if letters had gone out to members of boards and commissions whose terms are up this year. Acting Clerk Andrea Bates stated that she is in the process of doing this.

There being no further items of business to be conducted on the Regular Meeting agenda, a motion for Adjournment was made by Council Member Valerie Seufert. Motion seconded by Council Member Brian Lynch with all members voting in favor.

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 10:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Andrea Bates
Acting Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: February 14, 2011