Minutes: February 24, 2020

YouTube video of the February 24, 2020 council meeting »

The regular meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on February 24, 2020 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 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, Mark Van Tassel, Kelly Weller and Council President Shortway. Also present were Attorney Joshua Zielinski, Business Administrator Charles Voelker and Mayor Howard Burrell.

Salute to the Flag

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

Council president Shortway asked for a moment of silence for Sussex Borough’s former Mayor Katherine Little, who passed away on February, 22, 2020.

Public Comments (On Current Agenda Items Only)

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.

Maria Muller - New York City, told the Township Council that she owns a condo in Lake Wood Village that she uses as an Air B&B. Ms. Muller is very concerned about the short term rental ordinance because of the fees that she will have to pay to have the Air B&B. Ms. Muller is also concerned about renters having to give copies of their identification because may cause identity theft. She explained that Air B&B already has all of the identity from renters and also owners. Ms. Muller commented that she already pays taxes for the Air B&B and she is upset that she will have to pay taxes to the Township as well as explain this increase to people who are interested in renting her condo.

Peg Distasi, thanked the Municipal Clerk for adding descriptions to the resolutions on the agenda. Ms. Distasi also commented that she feels the salary ranges are still too high.

Jessi Paladini, commented that it was her understanding that you cannot put an ordinance back on the agenda unless it has been changed substantially. Ms. Paladini feels that the salary ranges are over the top and that the salaries in Vernon Township are the highest in Sussex County. She has never seen a community where employees get two or three salary increases in a single year. Ms. Paladini spoke about a parity bill which says all department head’s salaries must be comparable. She also said the school district has been hit with an incredible increase because of the lack of State Aid.

Seeing no one further wishing to come forward, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller
All members present voted in favor.

Items for Discussion

2020 Municipal Budget

Council Member Murphy started the discussion by handing out to the Township Council her BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS/QUESTIONS 2/24/2020

ALL NON UNION POSITIONS TO RECEIVE A 2% INCREASE FOR 2020

ALL UNION POSITIONS TO RECEIVE INCREASES NEGOTIATED IN UNION CONTRACTS

TAXPAYERS SHOULD NOT BE PAYING FOR EMPLOYEES TO ATTEND CLASSES TO BOOST RESUMES

DPW - Driver (Winter Seasonal) Minimum Wage $20.00 $25.00 per hour

POLICE DEPT. - No recommended changes at this time

ANIMAL CONTROL - Animal Attendant Minimum Wage - $15.00 per hour

FINANCE - Remove Courses. Vernon does not need a 2nd CFO. The Accounting Asst was originally P/T. In 2019 Council member Auberger recommended there be 2 P/T positions in Finance. Accounting Asst and Keyboarding Clerk. Administration moved the Accounting Asst to a F/T Union position and encouraged a desk audit. In 2019 the Accounting Asst was paid $50,668.00. Due to this Desk Audit the pay for 2020 has risen to $69,277.00. There is no money ($20,000) to hire a P/T Keyboarding Clerk unless the Accounting Asst position is reverted back to a P/T position.

BUILDING DEPT. - Construction Code Official - Salary 2019 $81,183.00 2020 $99,000.00 - Diff $17,817 Sub Code Official Building - Salary 2019 $64,505.00 2020 $78,000 - Diff $13,495.00 Sub Code Official Fire -Salary 2019 $64,505.00 2020 $79,000 - Diff. $14,495.00.

These 3 positions as of 01/01/2020 40-hour work week

What would the salaries be without the increases based on a 40-hour work week?

TAX COLLECTOR - Remove Courses. Vernon does not need a 2’a Tax Collector. Explain the need to move an employee to Clerk 2.

TAX ASSESSOR-We do not need a 2’a Tax Assessor. Explain the need to move an employee to Clerk 3.

FIRE PREVENTION -All 4 Fire Depts. Reduce to $40,000.00 each or increase the 2 Ambulance Depts. To $45,000.00. All should receive the same amount.

The only Capital items that I question are the one that have to do with Recreation and the Parks. The referendum question would have allocated money for these items. The voters said NO.

The Council should not be told there would be a Desk Audit if employees A is not moved to a higher job classification. The first step should be to evaluate if the employee should be doing that work.

GENERAL ADMINISTRATION - HR/Benefits/Deputy Domestic Violence Stipend - 2019 $1500.00

2020 $4,000.00 Why are we paying a Stipend for this?

TOWNSHIP CLERK - Remove Courses. Vernon does not need a 2nd Twp. Clerk. Is the Administrative Asst. considered a Clerk 1? Why the change in title? Will the $4,500.00 Stipend need to remain in the budget for the Deputy Registrar? Why is the P/T Admin Asst. receiving a $3,000.00 yearly increase? Title is Keyboarding Clerk

Council Member Auberger agrees that the 2% raise increases are enough. He feels that we have a responsibility to the tax payers and we do not know what is going to happen with the Board of Education.

Council Member Van Tassel commented that he doesn’t want to begrudge anyone from getting a raise but he also feels that the salary ranges are too high.

Township Administrator Voelker wanted it to be clear that on the salary ordinance tonight the only change is the construction department salaries because they are going to be working 40 hours a week instead of 35 hours a week.

Council Member Murphy would like to see the breakdown of these salaries that are going from 35 hours to 40 hours.

Mayor Burrell commented that the proposed 2020 budget contains several compensation equalization adjustments. These adjustments will bring our current employee’s salaries to a level that is closer to the average dollar amount that other employees are paid around the state. Mayor Burrell said he provided the Council with all of the salaries in several key categories from all around the state to get the average of the salaries. He feels that the adjustments made to the budget are fair and reasonable and are needed. Mayor Burrell said that we have good employees here and he doesn’t want them to leave. He also said that 99% of the employees here are taxpayers. Mayor Burrell feel that removing these adjustments will significantly hurt the municipality’s ability to attract the best quality and the best performing candidates if the municipality needs to advertise for these key critical positions. Mayor Burrell feels that it is critical for the Mayor and Council to look at every line item in the towns budget, but he also believed that as a collective government body the best decisions are made to maintain a quality of services that the town is required to provide. Mayor Burrell said these increases will do nothing to increase the amount that will be passed on to the taxpayers.

Council Member Murphy commented that the police department just hired a new employee.

A motion was made by Council Member Auberger to end the discussion seconded by Council Member Murphy. All were in favor.

Minutes

February 10, 2020 - Special Workshop Meeting

Council Member Murphy made a motion to have the January 27, 2020 Regular Meeting Minutes and the February 10, 2020 Regular Meeting Minutes be pulled from the agenda, seconded by Council Member Auberger. All were in favor.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve the Special Workshop Meeting Minutes of February 10, 2020.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller
All were in favor. Motion carried.

Consent Agenda

  • Resolution #20-84: Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of Not Exceeding $6,443,400 Bond Anticipation Notes of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey
  • Resolution #20-85: Resolution of the Governing Body of the Township of Vernon Authorizing the Township’s Special Council to Conduct a Title Search of Property Contemplated by the Township for Acceptance as a Donation
  • Resolution #20-86: Refund for Totally Disabled Veteran
  • Resolution #20-87: Authorizing an Agreement with the County of Sussex, Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services, for Transportation Services for Senior Citizens and People with Disabilities Who Reside in Vernon Township for the Year 2020 in the Amount of $50,000.00 Per Year
  • Resolution #20-88: Resolution Repealing Resolution 19-198
  • Resolution #20-89: Emergency Temporary Appropriations
  • Resolution #20-90: Resolution Authorizing and Approving Memorandum of Understanding with the State of New Jersey of Emergency Management

Council President Shortway read the titles of the resolutions.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve the consent agenda.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Van Tassel, Weller, Shortway
Nays:
Abstain:
Absent:
Motion carried to approve the consent agenda.

Resolution #20-84: Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of Not Exceeding $6,443,400 Bond Anticipation Notes of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE TOWNSHIP COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF VERNON, IN THE COUNTY OF SUSSEX, NEW JERSEY, AS FOLLOWS:

Section 1. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex (the “Township”) entitled: “Bond ordinance appropriating $1,650,000, and authorizing the issuance of $1,571,000 bonds or notes of the Township, for various improvements or purposes authorized to be undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey,” finally adopted on March 28, 2011 (#11-07), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $497,556 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 2. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township entitled: “Bond ordinance appropriating $1,484,000, and authorizing the issuance of $1,412,000 bonds or notes of the Township, for various improvements or purposes for emergency services authorized to be undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey,” finally adopted on April 28, 2011 (#11-08), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $383,844 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 3. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township entitled: “Bond ordinance providing for the acquisition of sanitary sewerage collection and transmission facilities in and by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey, appropriating $4,000,000 therefor and authorizing the issuance of $3,809,000 bonds or notes of the Township for financing such appropriation,” finally adopted on November 14, 2011 (#11-22), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $3,517,000 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 4. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township entitled: “Bond ordinance appropriating $2,350,000, and authorizing the issuance of $2,066,000 bonds or notes of the Township, for various improvements or purposes authorized to be undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey,” finally adopted on June 23, 2014 (#14-12), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $1,645,000 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 5. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township entitled: “Bond ordinance appropriating $3,636,500, and authorizing the issuance of $2,948,000 bonds or notes of the Township, for various improvements or purposes authorized to be undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey,” finally adopted on June 26, 2017 (#17-09), bond anticipation notes of the Township in a principal amount not exceeding $400,000 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any bond anticipation notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 6. All bond anticipation notes (the “notes”) issued hereunder shall mature at such times as may be determined by the treasurer, the chief financial officer or the acting chief financial officer of the Township (the “Chief Financial Officer”), provided that no note shall mature later than one year from its date. The notes shall bear interest at such rate or rates and be in such form as may be determined by the Chief Financial Officer and shall be signed and sealed by officials and officers of the Township in any manner permitted by N.J.S.A. §40A:2-25. The Chief Financial Officer shall determine all matters in connection with the notes issued hereunder, and the Chief Financial Officer’s signature upon the notes shall be conclusive evidence as to all such determinations. All notes issued hereunder may be renewed from time to time subject to the provisions of N.J.S.A. §40A:2-8. The Chief Financial Officer is hereby authorized to sell part or all of the notes at not less than par from time to time at public or private sale and to deliver them to the purchasers thereof upon receipt of payment of the purchase price. The Chief Financial Officer is directed to report in writing to the governing body of the Township at the meeting next succeeding the date when any sale or delivery of the notes hereunder is made. Such report must include the principal amount, interest rate and maturities of the notes sold, the price obtained and the name of the purchaser.

Section 7. Any note issued pursuant to this resolution shall be a general obligation of the Township, and the Township’s faith and credit are hereby pledged to the punctual payment of the principal of and interest on the notes and, unless otherwise paid or payment provided for, an amount sufficient for such payment shall be inserted in the budget and a tax sufficient to provide for the payment thereof shall be levied and collected.

Section 8. The Chief Financial Officer is hereby authorized and directed to do all other matters necessary, useful, convenient or desirable to accomplish the delivery of the notes to the purchasers thereof as promptly as possible, including (i) the preparation, execution and dissemination of a Preliminary Official Statement and Final Official Statement with respect to the notes, (ii) preparation, distribution and publication, if necessary, of a Notice of Sale with respect to the notes, (iii) execution of a Continuing Disclosure Undertaking, with respect to the notes in accordance with Rule 15c2-12 promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and (iv) execution of an arbitrage and use of proceeds certificate certifying that, among other things, the Township, to the extent it is empowered and allowed under applicable law, will do and perform all acts and things necessary or desirable to assure that interest paid on the notes is not included in gross income under Section 103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

Section 9. All action heretofore taken by Township officials and professionals with regard to the sale and award of the notes is hereby ratified, confirmed, adopted and approved.

Section 10. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Resolution #20-85: Resolution of the Governing Body of the Township of Vernon Authorizing the Township’s Special Council to Conduct a Title Search of Property Contemplated by the Township for Acceptance as a Donation

WHEREAS, from time to time, landowners offer properties to the Township of Vernon (“Township”) as a donation; and

WHEREAS, the property identified on the Official Tax Maps of the Township as Block 401, Lot 1 commonly known as 66 Vernon Crossing, Vernon, New Jersey has been offered to the Township as a donation; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Township Officials have reviewed this parcel and have initially determined that it is suitable for public use; and

WHEREAS, it is recommended that the Township’s Special Counsel conduct a title search of the aforesaid property in furtherance of the Township’s contemplation of accepting same as a donation.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey that the Township’s Special Counsel, Schenck Price Smith & King, LLP is hereby authorized to incur the costs required to conduct a title search on the above referenced parcel, and is further authorized to review said title, deeds and other documents as may be required at the hourly rate of $160.00 for the purpose of analyzing whether the parcel can be accepted for donation.

Resolution #20-86: Refund for Totally Disabled Veteran (Block 337 Lot 8 - Corelogic)

WHEREAS, THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS awarded Nathan Marlow a 100% permanent and totally disabled veteran: and,

WHEREAS, the law exempts said property from taxation.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes the Tax Collector to refund 4th quarter 2019 property tax in the amount of $1,725.54 to Corelogic.

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the Township Tax Collector.

Resolution #20-87: Authorizing an Agreement with the County of Sussex, Department of Human Services, Division of Social Services, for Transportation Services for Senior Citizens and People with Disabilities Who Reside in Vernon Township for the Year 2020 in the Amount of $50,000.00 Per Year

WHEREAS, the County of Sussex (hereinafter the County) operates a coordinated, countrywide transportation system and desires to improve paratransit service coverage to the outlying areas of its geographic boundaries; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon (hereinafter the Township) desires transportation for its senior citizens and people with disabilities as per the service agreement; and

WHEREAS, the term of the agreement will be in effect beginning January 1, 2020 and terminating on December 31, 2020; and

WHEREAS, the cost of these services will not exceed $50,000.00 per year; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified the funds for 2020 subject to the adoption of the 2020 Municipal Budget.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the 24nd day of February, 2020 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 the County of Sussex for the purpose of Transportation for Senior Citizens and People with Disabilities in accordance with the attached agreement; and
  2. The Mayor and Township Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to execute an Agreement with the County of Sussex, State of New Jersey.

Resolution #20-88: Resolution Repealing Resolution 19-198

WHEREAS, Resolution 19-198 authorized the Township to renew and fund a contract with Thomson Reuters-West (“Contract”); and

WHEREAS, the Township has determined that the Contract is not cost effective; and

WHEREAS, The Township has determined to no longer appropriate funds for the Contract; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, that the Chief Financial Officer shall cancel any and all appropriations for the funding of the Contract.

Resolution #20-89: Emergency Temporary Appropriations

WHEREAS, an emergent condition has arisen in that the Township is expected to enter in contracts, commitments or payments prior to the 2020 budget and no adequate provision has been made in the 2020 temporary budget for the aforesaid purposes, and

WHEREAS, N.J.S. 40A:4-20 provides for the creation of an emergency temporary appropriation for said purpose, and

WHEREAS, the total emergency temporary appropriation resolutions adopted in the year 2019 pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 96, P.L. 1951 (N.J.S.A. 40A:4-20) including this resolution total:

Current Fund
POLICE O/E $15,000.00
BUILDING DEPARTMENT $3,000.00
PERS O/E $485,000.00
PFRS O/E $982,000.00
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS O/E $3,000.00
MAINTENANCE OF PARKS O/E $3,000.00

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Governing Body of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, (not less than two-thirds of all the members thereof affirmatively concurring) that in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:4-20:

1. Emergency temporary appropriations be and the same are hereby made in the amount of:

Current Fund
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS O/E $3,000.00
MAINTENANCE OF PARKS O/E $3,000.00

2. Said emergency temporary appropriations will be provided for in the 2020 budget.

3. That one certified copy of this resolution be filed with the Director, Division of Local Government Services.

Resolution #20-90: Resolution Authorizing and Approving Memorandum of Understanding with the State of New Jersey of Emergency Management

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, hereinafter referred to as the “NJOEM,” on behalf of the State of New Jersey, is the Grantee receiving Federal funding under the FEMA Public Assistance and/or Hazard Mitigation Programs as authorized under the Stafford Act; and

WHEREAS, the NJOEM has the fiduciary duty and responsibility to ensure Federal funds are spent in accordance with the current Guidelines and Regulations; and

WHEREAS, under current information provided, FEMA has determined that the Township of Vernon is eligible to apply for and/or receive FEMA funding under the Public Assistance and/or Hazard Mitigation Programs, subject to approval of a Project Worksheet for Public Assistance or Application for a Hazard Mitigation Grant; and

WHEREAS, the NJOEM has submitted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for execution by the Township memorializing the Township’s obligations with respect to the Programs administered by FEMA, as well as the NJOEM.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the Township of Vernon does hereby authorize and endorse the submission of the attached Memorandum of Understanding and that the appropriate officials are authorized to endorse and execute the MOU;

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

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinances

Ordinance #20-07: An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending Chapter 509 of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Taxation” to Revise the Definition of Transient Accommodations

Council President Shortway read a brief explanation of Ordinance #20-07

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Ordinance # 20-07 for introduction. Moved: John Auberger Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: John Auberger, Mark Van Tassel, Kelly Weller, Harry Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: Jean Murphy
Absent: None
Motion carries to approve Ordinance #20-07 for introduction.

Ordinance #20-08: Ordinance Amending the Salary Ordinance for “Non-Union” Employees

Council President Shortway read a brief explanation of Ordinance #20-08

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Ordinance # 20-08 for introduction.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Harry Shortway

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: John Auberger, Mark Van Tassel, Kelly Weller, Harry Shortway
Nays: Jean Murphy
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carries to approve Ordinance #20-08 for introduction.

Public Comment (Limited to 3 minutes on any topic)

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

Jessi Paladini, commented that it has always been her understanding that Vernon salaries are the highest. Ms. Paladini feels that Vernon does not always hire experienced employees and sometimes hires employees who have just become certified. She asked why we have to hire employees at the top of the salary range.

Ms. Paladini asked if you can legally appoint someone to the Municipal Utilities Authority who is a paid vendor for the Township.

Thomas McClachrie, commented about historical markers for the three slave cemeteries in town. Mr. McClachrie spoke about the salary ranges saying that the town has an organizational chart with the state, and if you change the positions you have to change the organizational chart.

Shawn Clarkin - Barry Lakes, feels that before the Council pays higher salaries they need to look at the cost of living in Vernon. He commented that people come to Vernon to live because it is less expensive. Mr. Clarkin would like the Mayor to save the taxpayers money. He said he hasn’t heard the Council talk about the salaried employees working more than forty hours a week. Mr. Clarkin said that the town is suffering therefore employees should work more hours for the same pay. He said he has attended Board of Education meetings and they are not replacing employees.

Jessi Paladini, told the Council that if the location of the slave cemetery is found, she will put it on the list of historic markers.

Sandy Omms - Vernon, commented that you may have heard that the salary ranges will not attract new employees, but we just had two new employees negotiate salaries. Ms. Omms said excepting a job is not always about a salary and the employees also have great benefits and paid holidays off. She said that the raises will affect the budget if not this year than next year and we do not know what went into other towns salary ranges. Ms. Omms mentioned the moral of the employees who do not get a salary increase.

Seeing no one else wishing to come forward, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Jean Murphy
All members present voted in favor.

Council Appointments

Resolution #20-91: Appointment to Municipal Utilities Authority (Furrey)

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve resolution #20-91.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve the appointments for Furrey to the Municipal Utilities Authority

Council Member Auberger asked the Township Attorney if there was a problem with this appointment. The Township Attorney answered not that he is aware of.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: John Auberger, Mark Van Tassel, Kelly Weller, Harry Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: Jean Murphy
Absent: None
Motion carries Furrey to the Municipal Utilities Authority

Resolution #20-91: Appointment to Municipal Utilities Authority (Furrey)

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority (”VTMUA”) is a duly established utilities authority pursuant to the Municipal and County Utilities Authorities Law, N.J.S.A. 40:14B-1, et seq.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF VERNON, COUNTY OF SUSSEX, and STATE OF NEW JERSEY, that the following individual is hereby appointed as a member of the Vernon Township Municipal Utility Authority, effective 2/24/2020, for a term specified as follows:

Mike Furrey Seat 3 Expiring 2/01/2022 (unexpired term)

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the Township Clerk shall send a certified copy of this resolution to the following:

Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Burrell had nothing else to report.

Council Comments

Council Member Murphy commented that the salary ordinance did only expand the range on those salaries and not approve any increases in pay because that would have to be done by resolution.

Council Members Van Tassel and Weller had no comment.

Council Member Auberger commented that Sparta’s Winter German Market Fest is looking for a new home and maybe the Mayor should reach out to them with Mountain Creek.

Council Member Auberger commented that he has seen the old latter truck at McAfee has been outside the past few nights. He feels that if we are putting that in as a trade for a return on a new tanker, we should have the truck brought to the DPW and put inside to prevent freezing.

Mayor Burrell responded by saying that he will check on the truck. Mayor Burrell said that someone has already approached him about the Winter German Market Fest. He thinks it would be a great idea for Vernon.

Council Member Weller mentioned the Viking Snow Shoe event at Mountain Creek on February 29th. She said it is a really fun event for the whole family.

Council President Comments

Council President Shortway commented that he received an email today and he feels the public should hear some of the astronomical amounts owned to us from the owners of Legends. Municipal Liens $2,701,729.33, assigned outside liens $2.3 million, and 2019 delinquent taxes 724,000. Council President Shortway explained that there are three ABC licenses that are “in pocket.” They are idle and this affects our local economy. Legends has been “in pocket” for about twelve years. Assemblyman Wirths has been a great assistant to our community by supporting the Dirty Dirt Legislation, now the Highlands Enterprise Zone Legislation that will decrease sales tax in Vernon. Council President Shortway is confident that this bill will become law and grant Vernon some relief.

Council President Shortway engaged Assemblyman Wirths in conversation regarding ABC Pocket Licenses and he proposed increases in ABC licenses for rural recreation/tourism communities based on demographics to include tourists as well as the township population. Additional legislation is required to prevent ABC licenses to be placed “in pocket” for more than two years.

Council President Shortway said that the vacant building ordinance, the open space referendum, the HEZ legislation, and the STR ordinances will or have increased revenue and decreased blithe in our efforts to bring economic sustainability to our community. He invites the Mayor and Council to continue with these endeavors.

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Marcy Gianattasio
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: March 9, 2020