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

Minutes: February 27, 2017

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 27, 2017 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Jean Murphy presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided to the public and the press on January 5, 2017 and February 7, 2017, 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 of Members

Present were Council Members Dan Kadish, Sandra Ooms, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel and Council President Jean Murphy. Also present were Mayor Harry Shortway, CFO Elke Yetter, Administrator Charles Voelker, Township Attorney Joshua Zielinski.

Salute to the Flag

Council Member Murphy led the assemblage in the salute of the flag.

Swearing In of New Police Officers

Chief Randy Mills swore in the new police officers, John Gales, Abigail Lenz and Colton Rembish, to the Vernon Township Police Department.

Retirement Presentations and Promotions

Chief Mills presented a plaque to Susan Diehn who recently retired as the secretary to the Chief from Vernon Township and thanked her for her years of service to the community.

Chief Mills acknowledged the recent promotion of Police Officer Ken Kuzicki to the rank of Sergeant and he was sworn in by Mayor Shortway.

Chief Mills presented a plaque from the Department to Sergeant Scott Waleck who recently retired after serving in the Vernon Police Department since 1988. Sergeant Waleck was also presented a plaque from Mayor Shortway as a token of his service to the community.

Recess

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to take a short recess at 7:41 p.m.
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to re-open meeting at 7:55 p.m.
Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Patrick Rizzuto
All members voted in favor.

Presentation

Mayor Shortway asked Greenway Action Advisory Committee Chairman Mike Furrey and Recreation Employee Mishelle Downtain to come forward they were presented a plaque from Sustainable NJ noting Vernon Township had achieved the Bronze level designation. Mayor Shortway thanked these individuals for their hard work in obtaining this achievement. Mayor Shortway explained the designation will make Vernon Township eligible to obtain future grants.

Public Comments

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the meeting to the public.
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dan Kadish
All members voted in favor.

Sal Santonello, Lamp Post Owner, expressed his opposition to the Council about proposed ordinance raising liquor license fees and explained that increases in fees would make it very difficult for local businesses. Council President Murphy explained it is only a discussion item tonight and if the ordinance is introduced at the March 10, 2017 meeting, the public hearing would be held at the second reading at future date.

Seeing no more members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the meeting to the public.
Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Patrick Rizzuto
All members voted in favor.

Minutes

Council President Murphy asked for motion to approve minutes of Reorganization Meeting Minutes January 2, 2017 and Regular Meeting Minutes January 30, 2017.

Motion: Sandra Ooms
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Jean Murphy, Sandra Ooms, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Dan Kadish
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None

Motion carried to approve Reorganization Meeting Minutes January 2, 2017 and Regular Meeting Minutes January 30, 2017.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Shortway explained there is a resolution on the agenda tonight for Council approval to apply for another Sustainable NJ Grant and notes there are no funds available for a grant writer in the budget and greatly appreciates the hard work the GAAC volunteers have done in preparing this grant application. Council Member Ooms asked if there are any required matching funds for this grant and Mayor Shortway said he is not aware of any.

Mayor Shortway shared information about Vernon that in 2015, there was an increase in single family home closed sales of 28.6% and an increase of 3.1% in their prices. For townhouses/condominiums, there was a 17.4% increase in closed sales and a 5.9% increase in price which is trend in Sussex County.

Items for Discussion

Liquor License Fee

Council President Murphy started discussion on the proposed increase in fees for liquor licenses in Vernon Township because currently the different types lack uniformity in their pricing. For example, store licenses have fees that are 17% of maximum $2500.00, restaurants have fees that are 41% of maximum $2500.00 and hotel fees have fees that are 34% of maximum$2500.00. Municipal Clerk Ms. Kirkman created a proposed rate increase schedule and as per law fees may only be raised a maximum of 20% per year and they haven’t been raised since 2010 and before that in it seems sometime in the 70s. Clerk Kirkman added the Police Department, Clerk’s Office and Township Attorney must spend many hours in the application process and the proposed fee increases would even out the fee schedule. Council President Murphy suggested that the Township only increase the fees for stores and the hotel to bring it in line with the restaurants. Council Member Rizzuto asks if there has been a complaint about the disparity and notes the money brought in with the increases is minimal and stresses the Council should be more business friendly and not raise fees. Council Member Kadish commented to go forward with the 20% increase for the store & hotel license fees to start which is not that much.

Council Member Kadish asked if Vernon has a concessioner license. Clerk Kirkman explained the license is issued directly through the state for a property the Township owns or leases; the Township would be collecting revenue from the rent. Council President Murphy made a motion to go forward with ordinance including 20% increase to the hotel and store license until it equals to 41% of maximum so all licenses are in uniformity.

Council President Murphy invited Mr. Santonello to come forward and speak on this matter.

The Council moved for Mr. Santonello to come forward.
Motion: Jean Murphy
Second: Patrick Rizzuto
All members voted in favor.
Motion carried.

Sal Santonello, opines that with all the other permits and costs in running a local business steadily increasing, why this one can’t stay same and notes there are many empty store fronts and Council should be trying to help the businesses.

Council President Murphy states that in five years, the council at that time could raise all the fees to the maximum and it is not fair there is a major disparity in percentages and noted some township fees have recently been reduced to be more business friendly. Council Member Rizzuto opined that the amount of increase in revenue is minimal, no other business pointed out this disparity and he agrees to be more business friendly since it is not a major difference. The Council discussed an ordinance that increased the fees for the restaurant and store. Mr. Zielinski confirmed proposed ordinance would be to increase the hotel and store licenses by 20% each year to 2021 until they reach the 41% of maximum. Council President Murphy asked the members if there were any more questions there being none it was discussed that at the next meeting ordinance would be introduced.

Signs

Mr. Voelker explained an organization placed numerous signs around Vernon advertising their upcoming mattress sale fundraiser without permission from the Township Council. Council President Murphy said every organization should be treated equally and needs to notify the Township for permission well in advance of event and proposes an ordinance allowing the Zoning Officer to issue permit for possibly 15 signs. She added a condition of the ordinance must be the signs are taken down immediately after event or there may be a penalty. Council Member Rizzuto stated the reasons are good but questions who will enforce this ordinance and it is a poor use of resources.

Motion was made to approve 100 Mattress Sale Signs for Vernon High School with the signs being removed immediately.
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Sandra Ooms, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried.

Consent Agenda

Council Member Murphy gave a brief explanation of Resolutions 17-63 through 17-67.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Resolutions #17-63 through #17-67.
Motion: Sandra Ooms
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Sandra Ooms, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolutions #17-63 through #17-67.

Resolution #17-63: Resolution Authorizing the Issuance of Not Exceeding $7,577,000 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 $1,071,000 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.

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 $912,000 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 2. 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 $3,664,000 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 3. 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 $1,930,000 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. 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 5. 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.

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.

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.

This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Resolution #17-64: Change in Custodian of Petty Cash Fund

WHEREAS, Roy Wherry was custodian of the Vernon Township Police Petty Cash Fund, and

WHEREAS, on January 1, 2014 the Township adopted Resolution 14-04 indicating that Arthur Mills was the custodian of the Vernon Township Police Petty Cash Fund; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:5-21, the Township of Vernon is affirming the change of custodian to Arthur Mills; and

WHEREAS, Arthur Mills is bonded in the amount of $ 1,000,000.00 by virtue of a surety bond.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Of Vernon County of Sussex hereby authorizes such action and two copies of this resolution be filed with the Division of Local Government Services, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs for approval

Resolution #17-65: Authorization to Execute a Developer’s Agreement with RDR Associates Block 192.05, Lots 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, and 21

WHEREAS, a Developer’s Agreement was entered into by Woodmont Homes, Inc. and the Township of Vernon and on April 24, 2008 for the site improvements to be completed by Woodmont Homes, Inc. for the Final Major Subdivision (“Whispering Woods”) as per the approved Final Plat dated March 23, 2008 prepared by R. Henry Huelsebusch, P.E. (the “Original Agreement”); and

WHEREAS, the Original Agreement expired on April 24, 2010 and an Extension of the Developer’s Agreement was entered into by Woodmont Homes, Inc. and the Township of Vernon on January 12, 2011 (the “Extension Agreement”); and

WHEREAS, Woodmont Homes, Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011; and

WHEREAS, thereafter, the site repairs remained unfinished and the Township of Vernon was forced to call the performance bond and use the funds from the bond and the additional cash bond to complete roadway drainage repairs, detention basin repairs to Basins #1 and #2, and resurface the majority of Upper Plateau Drive and all of Murphy Court; and

WHEREAS, RDR Associates purchased the interests that Woodmont Homes, Inc. held in the nine (9) remaining buildable lots in Whispering Woods known as Lots 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20 and 21 in Block 192.05, (the “Nine Remaining Lots”); and

WHEREAS, RDR Associates sold their interest in the lot known as Lot 13, in Block 192.05, to Bartlomiej and Barbara Rataj on May 24, 2016. However, RDR Associations will continue to be responsible for the posting of a performance guarantee and all other requirements for Lot 13 as indicated and included in the Developer’s Agreement; and

WHEREAS, the repairs and paving of the lower portion of Upper Plateau Drive and the final repairs to Basin #3 are still unfinished; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council wishes to enter into a Developer’s Agreement with RDR Associates to provide for the completion of the remaining repairs and paving to Upper Plateau Drive and the final repairs to Basin #3 and to facilitate the development of the Eight Remaining Lots.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF VERNON, COUNTY OF SUSSEX, and STATE OF NEW JERSEY, that the Mayor and Township Clerk are authorized to execute a Developer’s Agreement with RDR Associates for the Nine Remaining Lots.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, this Resolution shall take effect upon adoption according to law.

Resolution #17-66: Approving Active Volunteer Fireman for Membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association (Metz)

WHEREAS, the Township Council recognizes the extraordinary contributions made by volunteer firefighters to our community and seeks to encourage their full participation in professional organizations; and

WHEREAS, Matthew R. Metz, an active firefighter and member of the McAfee Volunteer Fire Department, is requesting approval to submit an application for membership to the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, Sussex County, New Jersey hereby approves Matthew R. Metz for membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association.

Resolution #17-67: Resolution Requesting Approval of Revenue and Appropriation to Be Included in the 2017 Budget as a Revenue and Appropriation of $60,000.00

WHEREAS, Vernon Township has been awarded a $60,000.00 New Jersey Safe and Secure Communities Grant Program from New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety; Subaward Number: P-7064-17; Subaward Period: 2/7/17-2/6/18; and wishes to include in its 2017 budget for this amount as a revenue.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon authorizes the inclusion of an item of revenue in the budget of the year 2017 in the sum of $60,000.00, which is now available as a revenue from New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a like sum of $60,000.00 is hereby appropriated under the caption Safe and Secure Grant and does accept the Subaward.

Resolution Requiring Separate Action

Resolution #17-69: Resolution of Support from Local Governing Body Authorizing the Sustainable Jersey Grant Application

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Resolution #17-69.
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Sandra Ooms, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #17-69.

Resolution #17-69: Resolution of Support from Local Governing Body Authorizing the Sustainable Jersey Grant Application

WHEREAS, Vernon Township, NJ, a sustainable community seeks to optimize quality of life for its residents by ensuring that its environmental, economic and social objectives are balanced and mutually supportive; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township, NJ strives to save tax dollars, assure clean land, air and water, improve working and living environments; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township, NJ is participating in the Sustainable Jersey Program; and

WHEREAS, one of the purposes of the Sustainable Jersey Program is to provide resources to municipalities to make progress on sustainability issues, and they have created a grant program called the Sustainable Jersey Small Grants Program;

THEREFORE, the Greenway Action Advisory Committee (GAAC) of Vernon Township, NJ has determined that Vernon Township, NJ should apply for the aforementioned Grant.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Greenway Action Advisory Committee of the Vernon Township, State of New Jersey, authorizes the submission of the aforementioned Sustainable Jersey Grant.

Appointments

Resolution #17-68: Appointment to Municipal Utility Authority

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Resolution #17-68.
Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Sandra Ooms, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #17-68.

Resolution #17-68: Appointment to Municipal Utility Authority

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.; and

WHEREAS, the VTMUA has multiple vacancies in its membership that need to be filled.

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 2/16/2017, for an unexpired term specified as follows:

PAUL KEARNEY Alt. II
Expiring 2/01/2020

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

a. Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority

Council Comments

Council Member Kadish stated from a discussion with Tom Prol, attorney from Franklin, they have donated a few of their foreclosed houses to Habitat for Humanity to get the houses occupied and back on tax rolls as low income housing and queried if Vernon should do the same. He added he asked Mr. Voelker or the Township Engineer for a map delineating the preserved agricultural or Green Acres area in the northeast corridor of Vernon to establish an Agricultural Area for the Historic Preservation Commission.

Council Member Ooms obtained a quote for a commercial appraisal of $3,000 for the Faline Building and obtained quotes for advertising the sale from the Star Ledger and Bergen Record at $150.00 each and asks what direction the Mayor and Council would like to proceed. Mayor Shortway stated he will speak to the Assessor on how to move forward.

Council Member Rizzuto no comment.

Council Member Wetzel no comment.

Council President Comments

Council President Murphy stated that Remington & Vernick are only available after March 25, 2017 for a Saturday presentation. Council further discussed date options and decided to ask their availability on March 6, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. or March 13, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. for presentation. Council President Murphy reminded all that the Sussex County Freeholders Regular meeting will be held at the Vernon Municipal Building on March 22, 2017 tentatively at 7:00 p.m. may start earlier which will be announced on the Town website. Council President Murphy explained per the Animal Control Officer’s recommendation, the Council will not move forward with the resolution to ban puppy sales in Vernon Township.

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:59 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: March 27, 2017