Minutes: January 1, 2021 (R)

YouTube video of the January 1, 2021 council meeting »

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, January 1, 2021 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Attorney Joshua Zielinski initially presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided to the public and the press on January 7, 2020 and on November 19, 2020 and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Salute to the Flag

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

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members John Auberger, Andrew Pitsker, Kelly Weller and Harry J. Shortway. Also present was Mayor Howard Burrell, Administrator Charles Voelker, Township Attorney Joshua Zielinski.

Council Member Jean Murphy was not present.

Swearing in Fire Department Chiefs and Deputies

Earlier in the day Mayor Burrell administered the Oath of Office to Scott Semchesyn as Highland Lakes Fire Department Chief and Ted Wrnet as Highland Lakes Fire Department Assistant Chief.

Outgoing Council President Comments

Council Member Shortway wished everyone a Happy New Year and a good afternoon. He gave much gratitude to our first responders both paid and volunteer for a job well done under the curse of Covid-19. Many thanks to all healthcare workers for their dedication. The municipal team members fulfilled their mission with devotion to keep Vernon up and running also much appreciation to our municipal volunteers who continue to serve our community. We greatly appreciate it and Council Shortway thanked them.

Council Member Auberger read a letter he was given to by Council Member Murphy:

Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from the Vernon Township Council effective immediately. I have enjoyed serving the resident of Vernon Township for the past 7 years. Best wishes to all of you.

Sincerely,
Jean Murphy

Mayor Burrell thanked Jean Murphy for her service and attention to detail. He said that Jean is a neighbor of his and he has known her for a long time and while we have not always seen issues the same that is not a requirement to respect someone. Mayor Burrell said he does respect her.

Council Member Shortway seconded the Mayor words saying he thanks Jean for her service to us. We all know it can be difficult at times and we go forward the best we can and he wished her well.

Council President Nominations & Selection

Council Member John Auberger made a motion to nominate Council Member Harry Shortway as Council President for 2021. Seconded by Council Member Pitsker
Motion: John Auberger
Second: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: John Auberger, Andrew Pitsker, Harry Shortway, Kelly Weller
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Jean Murphy
Motion carried to appoint Council Member Harold Shortway as Council President for 2021.

Council Vice President Nominations & Selection

Council President Shortway made a motion to nominate Council Member John Auberger as Council Vice President for 2021. Seconded by Kelly Weller.
Motion: Harry Shortway
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: John Auberger, Andrew Pitsker, Harry Shortway, Kelly Weller
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Jean Murphy
Motion carried to appoint Council Member John Auberger as Council Vice President for 2021.

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 voted in favor.

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

Consent Agenda

Resolution #21-01: Authorizing the Award of Contract for Professional Services Township Attorney: Joshua Zielinski, Esq. of O’Toole, Scrivo, LLC

WHEREAS, there is a need for Professional Services to the Township of Vernon for Attorneys; and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5 specifically exempts professional services from provisions of public bidding as provided in the Local Public Contracts Law; and

WHEREAS, said specified professional services are to be rendered or performed by a person or persons authorized by law to practice a recognized profession, and whose practice is regulated by law within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended; and

WHEREAS, the performance of said professional services requires knowledge of an advanced field of learning acquired by a prolonged formal course of specialized training and study as distinguished from general academic instruction or apprenticeship and training; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon is desirous to enter into an agreement with these professionals as a fair and open contract pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Finance Officer has certified in writing that the value of the contracts are available for these purposes subject to the adoption of the 2021 Municipal Budget; and

WHEREAS, the Local Public Contracts Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended, requires that this Resolution be publicly advertised.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that they hereby authorize and approve the award of contracts of a Professional Service Contract pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1 et seq. to provide Services in accordance with the attached Contracts for Professional Services pursuant to a non-fair and open contract to the following:

1. Township Attorney: Joshua Zielinski, Esq. of O’Toole, Scrivo, LLC

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the award of contract shall be contingent upon the completion and receipt of the following:

  1. A fully-executed professional services contract detailing the scope of services, established fees for said professional services, mandatory Equal Opportunity Language and Affirmative Action Certificate; and
  2. Receipt of all statutorily mandated “pay to play” political contribution forms pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.4 et seq.; and
  3. New Jersey Business Registration Certificate; and
  4. Upon the aforementioned professional being a member in good standing in his respective profession.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Municipal Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to execute, seal and deliver the attached Contracts for Professional Services on behalf of and in the name of the Township of Vernon and that the Municipal Clerk shall publish the award of contract as required by law with ten (10) days of passage of this Resolution.

Resolution #21-02: Designating Meeting Dates of the Township Council for the 2021 Calendar Year

BE IT RESOLVED, in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-1 et. seq., the Regular Meetings of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon shall convene on the Second and Fourth Mondays of each Month (except as noted with * in schedule below) at 6:00 pm (if there is an Executive Session), or at 7:00 pm (if there is no Executive Session) at the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey for the following:

MEETING DATES

January 1* (Reorganization), 11 and 25
February 8 and 22
March 8 and 22
April 12 and 26
May 10 and 24
June 14 and 28
July 12 and 26
August 9 and 23
September 13 and 27
October 14* and 25
November 8 and 22
December 13 and 30*
January 1, 2022 (Reorganization Time -12:00 pm)

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if there is to be an Executive Session, the Township Council shall immediately convene into Executive Session after opening their Regular Meeting at 6:00 pm in order to discuss those matters in executive session from which the public shall be excluded and at 7:00 pm, or as soon thereafter, the public portion of the meeting will recommence. Formal action may be taken at any Council Meeting.

BE IT RESOLVED that all Township Council meetings shall be open to the public and public participation will be entertained at all Township Council meetings. There will be a limited period of public comment at the beginning of every meeting where speakers will be limited to three (3) minutes. During the first period for public comment each speaker may speak only on items on the current agenda. The total time for public speaking at the beginning of the meeting is limited to one half hour (30 minutes) to provide the Governing Body sufficient time to complete its work.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that there will be a second period of public comment at the end of each Council meeting. Speakers will be limited to three (3) minutes where the public may speak on any topic.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that all Notices required by the Open Public Meetings Act shall be published in The New Jersey Herald/Sunday Herald and, if needed, in alternate newspapers, The Advertiser News, and The Star Ledger and shall be posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building.

Resolution #21-03: Resolution to Adopt a Cash Management Plan-2021

BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, that for the year 2021, the following shall serve as the cash management plan of the Township of Vernon.

1. Cash Management and Investment Objectives

The Township of Vernon has the following objectives.

  1. Preservation of capital.
  2. Adequate safekeeping of assets.
  3. Maintenance of liquidity to meet operating needs.
  4. Investment of assets in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations.
  5. Maximize yield.

2. Designation of Official Depositories

The following Government Unit Protection Act approved banks are authorized depositories for deposit of funds:

  • Lakeland Bank
  • Provident Bank
  • Valley National Bank
  • PNC Bank

3. Cash Management

  1. All funds shall be deposited within 48 hours of receipt in accordance with N.J.S.A.40A:5-15
  2. The Chief Financial Officer shall minimize the possibility of idle cash accumulating in accounts by assuring that any excess amounts not needed to cover expenses or in excess of negotiated compensating balances are kept in interest bearing accounts or promptly swept into the investment portfolio.
  3. Investment decisions shall be guided by the cash flow projections prepared by the Chief Financial Officer.

4. Permissible Investments

  1. Certificates of Deposits
  2. Savings and Loan Associations and Saving Bank Accounts
  3. New Jersey Cash Management Plan
  4. MBIA Municipal Investors Service Corporation CLASS

5. Authority for Investment Management

The Chief Financial Officer is authorized and directed to make investments on behalf of the Township. All investment decisions shall be consistent with this plan and all appropriate regulatory constraints.

6. Reporting

The Chief Financial Officer shall report to the Township Council investments in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:5-15.2.

7. Audit

The Cash Management Plan shall be subject to annual audit conducted pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:5-14.

8. Disposition of Abandoned Property

The Chief Financial Officer shall escheat to the State of New Jersey checks which remain outstanding for more than twelve months after the date of issuance.

Resolution #21-04: Reauthorizing Petty Cash Funds for Calendar Year 2021

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:5-21 authorizes the establishment of a Petty Cash Fund in municipalities by application and resolution; and

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Township of Vernon to establish the following Petty Cash Funds for calendar year 2021 as follows:

DepartmentCustodianAmount Authorized
DPWClarence Babcock$100.00
FinanceDonelle Bright$300.00
PoliceDaniel B. Young$500.00

NOW, THERFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes such action and that the Township Clerk file two copies of this resolution with the Division of Local Government Services, State of New Jersey.

Resolution #21-05: Establishing Interest Rates for Delinquent Property Taxes and Assessments

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 54:4-67 permits the governing body of each municipality to fix the rate of interest to be charged for nonpayment of taxes or assessments subject to any abatement or discount for the late payment of taxes as provided by law; and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 54:4-67 has been amended to provide an additional penalty of up to six percent (6%) on delinquent taxes and all municipal charges in excess of $10,000.00 that are not paid prior to the end of the fiscal year; and

WHEREAS, this resolution is necessary for efficient and uninterrupted operations of the business of the Tax Collector.

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

  1. The Tax Collector of Vernon Township is authorized to cancel all payments of taxes of $10.00 or less.
  2. That no interest shall be charged if payment of any installment is made within ten (10) days after date upon which the same became payable.
  3. That the rate of interest to be charged for nonpayment of taxes on or before they would become delinquent shall be 8% per annum on the first $1,500.00 of the delinquency and 18% per annum, on any amount in excess of $1,500.00, and;
  4. Interest at the rate of 8% per annum on the unpaid balance of assessment is charged with each installment on due date. Any installment not paid on or before due date is subject to 8% interest, 18% interest over $1,500.00.
  5. A Year End Penalty of 6% is hereby assessed on delinquent tax accounts in excess of the sum of $10,000.00 if a taxpayer shall fail to make payment in full on the delinquent amount prior to the end of the calendar year in which such taxes shall have accrued and been assessed.
  6. That the Chief Financial Officer of the Township of Vernon is hereby authorized to make investments for the Township of Vernon.

Resolution #21-06: Authorizing the Municipal Tax Assessor and the Special Municipal Attorney to Defend the Township before the Sussex County Board of Taxation for Tax Appeals

WHEREAS, the County Tax Board requires the governing body of each municipality to pass a resolution authorizing the Assessor and Special Municipal Attorney (for tax appeals) of the municipality to file and prosecute any and all tax appeals, farmland rollback complaints, and any added and omitted assessment complaints before the Sussex County Tax Board.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the governing body of the Township of Vernon that the Assessor and Special Municipal Attorney (for tax appeals) are hereby authorized to file, prosecute, defend, stipulate, and/or agree upon all contested appeals before the Sussex County Board of Taxation and Tax Court of the State of New Jersey, and to initiate municipal appeals to correct the Township of Vernon tax list, including but not limited to, rollback complaints, added and omitted assessment complaints, and such other appeals as are necessary to correct property assessments for the Township of Vernon; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Assessor and the Special Municipal Attorney (for tax appeals) are hereby designated as the agents of the Township of Vernon for the purpose of signing settlements of the foregoing matters by stipulation.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Municipal Clerk is directed to forward a certified copy of this Resolution to the Sussex County Tax Board.

Resolution #21-07: Appointment of Public Agency Compliance Officer

WHEREAS pursuant to the provisions of N.J.A.C. 17:27-1 the Township of Vernon is required to designate a Public Agency Compliance Officer on an annual basis; and

WHEREAS said Public Agency Compliance Officer shall act as the official liaison for all equal opportunity employment matters in the administration of public contracts; and

WHEREAS the Township designates the Township Business Administrator as the Public Agency Compliance Officer for calendar year 2021;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that it hereby designates the Township Business Administrator as the Township’s Public Agency Compliance Officer for calendar year 2021; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Municipal Clerk shall forward a certified copy of this Resolution to the New Jersey Department of the Treasury Affirmative Action Office as required.

Resolution #21-08: Appointing Township Business Administrator as ADA Coordinator

WHEREAS, every municipality is required to designate an ADA Coordinator; and

WHEREAS, the ADA Coordinator’s role is to ensure the Township’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the Township Business Administrator is hereby appointed as the ADA Coordinator for Vernon Township.

Resolution #21-09: Authorizing Signatures on Township Checks Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:5-16

BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the following Township Officials are hereby authorized to sign checks, withdrawal slips or other bank related items with two out of the four below listed principal signatures being required:

Mayor
Business Administrator
Chief Financial Officer
Tax Collector

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that signature cards with the signatures of the persons authorized to sign be on file at all banks that presently have Township accounts.

This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption according to law.

Resolution #21-10: Appointments of Special Police Officers

WHEREAS, pursuant to Chapter 94, Section 16 of the Code of the Township of Vernon, the Mayor shall appoint Class Two Special Police Officers; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor has nominated the individuals named below for said position.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF VERNON, COUNTY OF SUSSEX, and STATE OF NEW JERSEY, as follows:

  1. That there shall be up to 6 positions for Special Police Class 2;
  2. That the following individuals are hereby appointed or reappointed as Class Two Special Police Officers effective January 1, 2021 for a term of one year pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.14:

Special Police Officers (Class 2)
Scott Waleck Roy Wherry

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the following individuals are hereby appointed or reappointed as Class One Special Police Officers effective January 1, 2021 for a term of one year pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.14:

Special Police Officers (Class 1)
Jim Vette
Doug Vince
Mike Sauer

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

a. Chief of Police

Resolution #21-11: Authorizing the Renewal Contract for 2021 Recording Secretary for the Land Use Board in the Amount Not to Exceed $3,000.00

WHEREAS, there exists a need for transcription services to assist in the transcription of the Land Use Board Meetings for the year 2021; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township desires to have Irene Mills provide transcription services for the term of January 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021 with an annual stipend not to exceed $3,000.00 annually; and

WHEREAS, Ms. Mills will be paid $75.00 per meeting providing said meeting does not exceed 2 hours and $125 per meeting providing said meeting does not exceed 4 hours; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified that funds are available for this purpose subject to the adoption of the 2021 Municipal Budget.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED 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 pay a stipend for 2021 transcription services for transcription of Land Use Board Meetings to Irene Mills as outlined above.

Resolution #21-12: Authorizing a Memorandum of Agreement with Signature Information Solutions for “Inquiry Only” Access to Certain Tax Collectors Tax and/or Utility Records Via Edmunds and Associates

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon received a request from Signature Information Solutions 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 Edmunds and Associates of Northfield, New Jersey; and

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

WHEREAS, Signature Information Solutions 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 Edmunds and Associates to provide look up information access to Signature Information Solutions for Vernon Township property tax and/or utility records.
  2. Signature Information Solutions shall be subject to Edmunds and Associates policies and procedures.
  3. Signature Information Solutions waives any claim that it may have against Vernon Township in connection with Edmunds and Associates policies and procedures.
  4. Signature Information Solutions, 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 Signature Information Solutions.

Resolution #21-13: Authorizing a Memorandum of Agreement with Accurate Abstracts for “Inquiry Only” Access to Certain Tax Collectors Tax and/or Utility Records Via Edmunds and Associates

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon received a request from Accurate Abstracts 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 Edmunds and Associate of Northfield, New Jersey; and

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

WHEREAS, Accurate Abstracts 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 Edmunds and Associates to provide look up information access to Accurate Abstracts, for Vernon Township property tax and/or utility records.
  2. Accurate Abstracts shall be subject to Edmunds and Associates policies and procedures.
  3. Accurate Abstracts waives any claim that it may have against Vernon Township in connection with Edmunds and Associates policies and procedures.
  4. Accurate Abstracts, 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 Accurate Abstracts.

Resolution #21-14: Authorizing a Memorandum of Agreement with Valtech Research for “Inquiry Only” Access to Certain Tax Collectors Tax and/or Utility Records Via Edmunds and Associates

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 Edmunds and Associates of Northfield, 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 Edmunds and Associates 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 Edmunds and Associates policies and procedures.
  3. Valtech Research waives any claim that it may have against Vernon Township in connection with Edmunds and Associates 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.

Resolution #21-15: Authorizing a Memorandum of Agreement with Action Title Research for “Inquiry Only” Access to Certain Tax Collectors Tax and/or Utility Records Via Edmunds and Associates

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon received a request from Action Title 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 Edmunds and Associates of Northfield, New Jersey; and

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

WHEREAS, Action Title 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 Edmunds and Associates to provide look up information access to Action Title Research, for Vernon Township property tax and/or utility records.
  2. Action Title Research shall be subject to Edmunds and Associates policies and procedures.
  3. Action Title Research waives any claim that it may have against Vernon Township in connection with Edmunds and Associates policies and procedures.
  4. Action Title 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 Action Title Research.

Resolution #21-16: Authorizing a Memorandum of Agreement with Priority Search Services, LLC for “Inquiry Only” Access to Certain Tax Collectors Tax and/or Utility Records Via Edmunds and Associates

Resolution #21-18: Authorizing Alternative Prosecutor

WHEREAS, there is a need for Professional Services to the Township of Vernon for Prosecutor;

WHEREAS, the Township has appointed a Prosecutor and Public Defender for the year 2021 however the Court has recognized they may have a need for an alternate under some circumstances.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that they hereby authorize the following Municipal Prosecutor - Peter Laemers, Esq.

Resolution #21-19: Continuation of the Beautification Committee

WHEREAS, the Council of Vernon Township established a Beautification Committee via resolution 16-66 on February 8, 2016; and

WHEREAS, the Council of Vernon Township wishes to continue the Beautification Committee consisting of seven to nine members to be appointed by the Mayor.

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

1. The Beautification Committee established via Resolution No. 16-66 on February 8, 2016 is hereby continued.

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

a. Chairperson of the Beautification Committee

Resolution #21-20: Continuation of the Greenway Action Advisory Committee

WHEREAS, the Council of the Township of Vernon established a Greenway Action Advisory Committee via resolution 16-42 on January 11, 2016 and;

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Mayor and Council to continue the Greenway Action Advisory Committee.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, By The Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, And State of New Jersey, that the Greenway Action Advisory Committee is continued; and

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

a. Chairperson of the Greenway Action Advisory Committee

Resolution #21-21: Continuation of the Economic Development Committee

WHEREAS, the Council of Vernon Township established an Economic Development Advisory Committee via resolution 08-191 on October 9, 2008; and

WHEREAS, the Council of Vernon Township expanded the membership of the Economic Development Advisory Committee via resolution 09-88 to include two additional members on May 28, 2009; and

WHEREAS, the Council of Vernon Township wishes to continue the Economic Development Committee consisting of seven to eleven members to be appointed by the Mayor.

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

1. The Economic Development Advisory Committee established via Resolution No. 08-91 on October 9, 2008 and expanded via Resolution No. 09-88 on May 28, 2009 is hereby continued.

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

a. Chairperson of the Economic Development Advisory Committee

Resolution #21-22: Authorizing the Renewal of Contract for Maintaining Township Website

WHEREAS, there is a need for maintenance of the Township’s website; and

WHEREAS, Paviaweb developed and currently maintains the website; and

WHEREAS, the Business Administrator recommends the award of contract to Paviaweb.com, 14 Allen Street, Netcong, NJ from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021; and

WHEREAS, the contract stipulates a monthly maintenance fee of $340.00 which the Chief Finance Officer has determined and certified funds subject to the adoption of the 2021 budget.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that they hereby authorize and approve the award of contract to Paviaweb.com, 14 Allen Street, Netcong, NJ, to provide Website Maintenance for the Vernon Township Municipal website for a term of 12 months.

Resolution #21-23: Authorizing the Award of a Contract for 2021 between A & E Clothing and the Township of Vernon to Locate Clothing Donation Bins at Municipal Recycling Center

WHEREAS, Vernon Township has a need to contract with a vendor to locate Donation Clothing Bins in the Vernon Township Municipal Recycling Center on Church Street for the continued service to Township residents; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township has received a proposal from A& E Clothing, Carteret, NJ to provide Clothing Bins on Township Property and compensate Vernon Township $60.00 per month per Bin; and

WHEREAS, the Business Administrator and DPW Director recommend that Vernon Township renew a contract with A & E Clothing Corp to provide four (4) donation bins at the Recycling Center commencing January 1 through December 31, 2021; and

WHEREAS, A & E Clothing Corp. has been collecting clothing in New Jersey for over fourteen years which donations are shipped throughout the USA, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America and proceeds further support Non-Profit Organizations such as Retired Peace Officer Charity Organization and for research for Cancer, Crohn’s Disease and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, 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 A & E Clothing Corp. for the purpose of locating four (4) Clothing Donation Bins at the Vernon Township Municipal Recycling Center, Church Street, NJ.
  2. The Mayor and Township Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to execute Contract with A & E Clothing Corporation Corp.

Resolution #21-24: Authorizing an Agreement for 2021 between the Township of Vernon and Spatial Data Logic for Geologic Software Support

WHEREAS, the Township has a need for software use in the Planning & Zoning, Building, Administration, Fire Prevention and Assessor’s Offices for permitting, licensing, electronic maintenance of all inspection reports and transmission of monthly activity reports directly to the Department of Community Affairs; and

WHEREAS, for customer service efficiency and availability, Vernon Township has a need to utilize the Enterprise Licensing System offered by Spatial Data Logic, Somerset, NJ as a required disclosure contract pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.4; for the calendar year of 2021 at a not to exceed cost of $20,150.00 for 13 user licenses.

WHEREAS, the Sean Canning, Q.P.A., has determined and certified in writing that the value of the acquisition will exceed $17,500; and,

WHEREAS, the anticipated term of this contract is for the year of 2021; and

WHEREAS, Spatial Data Logic in the aggregate is expected to provide more than the pay to play threshold of $17,500.00; and

WHEREAS, Spatial Data Logic, has completed and submitted a Business Entity Disclosure Certification and a Personal Contribution Disclosure form which certifies that Spatial Data Logic has not made any reportable contributions to a political or candidate committee in the Township of Vernon in the previous one year, and that the contract will prohibit Spatial Data Logic from making any reportable contributions through the term of the contract, and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer hereby certifies that funds NOT TO EXCEED $20,150.00 are available as follows;

Certification of Funds:

Account:Amount:
0-01-20-100-33 Admin$1,550.00
0-01-22-195-38 Building$9,300.00
0-01-20-150-38 Assessor$1,550.00
0-01-25-265-38 Fire Prev.$3,100.00
0-01-21-181-38 Plan & Zoning$4,650.00
Not to exceed$20,150.00
CFO Signature: ________________________
Subject to the 2021 Budget

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon authorizes the Mayor to enter into a contract with Spatial Data Logic, not to exceed $20,150.00 for the 2021 budget year for Geologic Software for permitting and licensing purposes; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Business Disclosure Entity Certification and Personal Contribution Disclosure form, Determination of Value be placed on file with this resolution.

Resolution #21-25: Appointment of Members to Municipal Land Use Board

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF VERNON, COUNTY OF SUSSEX, and STATE OF NEW JERSEY, as follows:

1. That the following individuals are hereby appointed as a member of the Vernon Township Land Use Board for a term specified as follows:

Diane Wexler Mayor’s DesigneeClass 11-year term expiring12/31/2021
Council MemberClass III1-year term expiring12/31/2021
Martin TheobaldClass IV4-year term expiring12/31/2024
Andrea CoculaClass IV4-year term expiring12/31/2024
Joseph TadrickAlternate 22-year term expiring12/31/2022
Paul G. MeleAlternate 32-year term expiring12/31/2022

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

a. Land Use Board Secretary

Resolution #21-26: Resolution Appointing Risk Management Consultant

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon (hereinafter “Local Unit”) has joined the Statewide Insurance Fund (hereinafter “Fund”), a joint insurance fund as defined in N.J.S.A. 40A:10-36 et seq.; and

WHEREAS, the Bylaws require participating members to appoint a Risk Management Consultant, as those positions are defined in the Bylaws, if requested to do so by the “Fund”; and

WHEREAS, the Local Unit has complied with relevant law with regard to the appointment of a Risk Management Consultant; and

WHEREAS, the “Fund” has requested its members to appoint individuals or entities to that position.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the governing body of “Local Unit,” in the County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, as follows:

  1. The Township of Vernon hereby appoints Professional Insurance Associates as its local Risk Management Consultant.
  2. The Mayor of the Township of Vernon and Risk Management Consultant are hereby authorized to execute the Risk Management Consultant’s Agreement for the year 2021.

Resolution #21-27: Resolution Appointing Fund Commissioner

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon (hereinafter “Local Unit”) is a member of the Statewide Insurance Fund (hereinafter “Fund”), a joint insurance fund as defined in N.J.S.A. 40A:10-36 et seq.; and

WHEREAS, the Fund’s Bylaws require participating members to appoint a Fund Commissioner;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the governing body of the Township of Vernon, that Charles G. Voelker, is hereby appointed as the Fund Commissioner for the Local Unit for the Fund year 2021; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Donelle B. DeCouto, is hereby appointed as the Alternate Fund Commissioner for the Local Unit for the Fund Year 2021; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Local Unit’s Fund Commissioner is authorized and directed to execute all such documents as required by the Fund.

Resolution #21-28: Authorizing the Township of Vernon to Enter into an Agreement with Statewide Insurance Fund

WHEREAS, a number of local units have joined together to form the Statewide Insurance Fund (“FUND”), a joint insurance fund, as permitted by N.J.S.A. 40A:10-36, et seq.; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon (“LOCAL UNIT”) has complied with relevant law with regard to the acquisition of insurance; and

WHEREAS, the statutes and regulations governing the creation and operation of join insurance funds contain elaborate restrictions and safeguards concerning the safe and efficient administration of such funds; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has determined that membership in the FUND is in the best interest of the Township; and

WHEREAS, the LOCAL UNIT agrees to be a member of the FUND for a period of three (3) years, effective January 1, 2021 terminating on January 1, 2024 at 12:01 a.m. standard time; and

WHEREAS, the LOCAL UNIT has never defaulted on claims, if self-insured, and has not been canceled for non-payment of insurance premiums for two (2) years prior to the date of this Resolution.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the LOCAL UNIT does hereby agree to join the Statewide Insurance Fund; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that to the extent required by law, the Local Unit shall provide notice of the Indemnity and Trust Agreement to the Office of the State Comptroller; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the LOCAL UNIT will be afforded the following coverage(s):

  • Workers’ Compensation & Employer’s Liability
  • Comprehensive General Liability
  • Automobile Liability and Physical Damage
  • Public Officials and Employment Practices Liability
  • Property
  • Inland Marine Boiler and Machinery
  • Crime-Faithful Performance and Fidelity
  • Pollution Liability
  • Cyber Liability
  • Non Owned Aircraft

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the LOCAL UNIT’s Fund Commissioner is authorized and directed to execute the Indemnity and Trust Agreement and such other Documents signifying the membership in the FUND as required by the FUND’s Bylaws and to deliver same to the Administrator of the FUND with the express reservation that said documents shall become effective only upon the LOCAL UNIT’s admissions to the FUND following approval of the FUND by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance.

Resolution #21-29: Authorizing Change Order #1 of Contract for Proposed Improvements to Lake Pochung Road Phase II of Traffic Striping with Denville Line Painting

WHEREAS, on September 14, 2020, by way of adoption of Resolution #20-187, the Council of the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to Denville Line Painting for Traffic Striping Lake Pochung Road Phase II which contract provided for an expenditure of $8,656.40; and

WHEREAS, in a memo dated December 14, 2020, the Township Engineer states that the contract requires a Change Order #1 by the reduction of two items in amount of $833.00 resulting in an adjusted total contract amount of $7,823.40; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer, in concurrence with the Mayor, recommends approving Change Order No. 1 which will decrease the total contract amount by $833.00 to an adjusted total contract amount of $7,823.40.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that it hereby approves the Township Engineer’s recommendations and authorizes the Mayor to execute said Change Order No. 1 for said project decreasing the total contract amount with Denville Line Painting to $7,823.40; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be forwarded to Denville Line Painting and the Township Engineer.

Resolution #21-30: Authorizing Change Order #1 of Contract with Messercola Excavating, Inc. for Proposed Drainage Improvements to Pleasant Valley Drive

WHEREAS, on August 10, 2020, by way of adoption of Resolution #20-168, the Council of the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to Messercola Excavating, Inc. for Drainage Improvements to Pleasant Valley Drive which contract provided for an expenditure of $187,951.00; and

WHEREAS, in a memo dated December 10, 2020, the Township Engineer states that the contract requires a Change Order #1 by the addition of one (1) extra item in amount of $210.00, addition of three (3) supplemental items in amount of $4,818.02 and the reduction of six (6) items in amount of $11,192.50 resulting in an adjusted total contract amount of $181,786.52; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer, in concurrence with the Mayor, recommends approving Change Order No. 1 which will decrease the total contract amount by $6,164.48 to an adjusted total contract amount of $181,786.52.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that it hereby approves the Township Engineer’s recommendations and authorizes the Mayor to execute said Change Order No. 1 for said project decreasing the total contract amount with Messercola Excavating, Inc. to $181,786.52; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be forwarded to Messercola Excavating, Inc. and the Township Engineer.

Resolution #21-31: Granting Authority for Approval of Certain Purchases Through New Jersey State Contracts and/or Purchasing Cooperatives for 2021

WHEREAS, pursuant to the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq. and P.L.2011, c.139, the governing body may delegate the power to award purchases, contracts and/or agreements through New Jersey State Contracts and/or Purchasing Cooperatives to which the Township of Vernon is a member; and

WHEREAS, in the interest of streamlining Township operations and improving efficiency, it is the desire of the Mayor and Council to authorize the Purchasing Officer/Qualified Purchasing Agent (QPA) to approve purchases, contracts and agreements through New Jersey State Contracts and/or Purchasing Cooperatives, subject to provisions and requirements of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq. and P.L.2011, c.139 below the $44,000.00 threshold in individual purchases and the aggregate as defined by N.J.S.A.40A:11-2(19);

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon that the Purchasing Officer/Qualified Purchasing Agent (QPA) upon receipt of an identified need and direction from the Township is hereby authorized to approve purchases, contracts and/or agreements through New Jersey State Contracts and/or Purchasing Cooperatives to which the Township of Vernon is a member without further action from Council, provided that funds are available to cover the expenditure.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, Purchase approvals made by the Purchasing Officer/Qualified Purchasing Agent (QPA) by virtue of the adoption of this Resolution shall be subject to the provisions and requirements of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq. and that no amount of any contract shall be in excess of the bid threshold in a single purchase or the aggregate without express individual resolutions authorizing such cooperative purchases by contract number.

Resolution #21-33: Appointment of Director Public Works

WHEREAS, the Township is in need of a Director of Public Works; and

WHEREAS, Edward Babcock has been nominated to fill such position as Director of Public Works through December 31, 2021.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that Clarence Babcock is hereby appointed Director of Public Works for the Township of Vernon effective January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021.

Resolution #21-34: Appointment of Director of Community Affairs

WHEREAS, the Township is in need of a Director of Community Affairs; and

WHEREAS, Mishelle Downtain has been nominated to fill such position as Director of Community Affairs through December 31, 2021.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that Mishelle Downtain is hereby appointed Director of Community Affairs for the Township of Vernon effective January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021.

Resolution #21-35: Authorize the Award of a Required Disclosure Contract with “Excel Environmental Services” for Soil Pile Characteristics

WHEREAS, the Township has a need for software use in the soil pile characterization at the public works yard and Black Creek; and

WHEREAS, for this service is to be provided by Excel Environmental Services 111 North Center Drive North Brunswick, N.J. 08902 in the amount of $17,595.00, as a required disclosure contract pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.5: and

WHEREAS Excel Environmental Services in the aggregate is expected to provide more than the pay to play threshold of $17,500.00; and

WHEREAS, Excel Environmental Services, has completed and submitted a Business Entity Disclosure Certification and a Personal Contribution Disclosure form which certifies that Excel Environmental Services has not made any reportable contributions to a political or candidate committee in the Township of Vernon in the previous one year, and that the contract will prohibit Excel Environmental Services from making any reportable contributions through the term of the contract, and

WHEREAS the Chief Financial Officer hereby certifies that funds NOT TO EXCEED $17,595.00 are available as follows.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon authorizes the Mayor to enter into a contract with Excel Environmental Services not to exceed $17,595.00 for soil pile characterization at the public works yard and Black Creek; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Business Disclosure Entity Certification and Personal Contribution Disclosure form, Determination of Value be placed on file with this resolution.

Resolution #21-36: Authorizing the Award of Contract for 2021 Alternate Court Attendant for the Municipal Court in the Amount Not to Exceed $500.00

WHEREAS, there exists a need for an Alternate Court Attendant for the Vernon Township Municipal Court for the year 2021; and

WHEREAS, Magret Rodriguez and Lori Mitchener are the Township’s current independent contractor for this service and desires to continue in this capacity; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township desires to execute a contracts with Magret Rodriguez and Lori Mitchener for a contract term of January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021, with a total contract price not to exceed $500.00 each; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified that funds are available for this purpose subject to the adoption of the 2021 Municipal Budget.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED 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 execute a contract with Magret Rodriguez, Lori Mitchener for 2021 Alternate Court Attendant for the Township’s Municipal Court.
  2. The Mayor and Municipal Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to execute a Contract with the above named individuals.

Resolution #21-37: Adoption of the 2021 Temporary Municipal Budget

WHEREAS, The Local Budget Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:4-1 et seq., provides that until the official Annual Budget for the budget year is adopted, a temporary budget not exceeding 26.25% of the total of all appropriations including appropriations for debt service, capital improvement fund, and public assistance must be adopted covering the first quarter of the fiscal year; and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:4-1 et seq. further provides that the governing body of a municipality must adopt by resolution within the first thirty (30) days of the budget, by affirmative vote of the full membership of the governing body, a temporary budget; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council desires to establish temporary appropriations pursuant to the Local Budget Law; and

WHEREAS, total appropriations for the 2020 Annual Budget, exclusive of any appropriations for debt service, capital improvements, and public assistance was $23,149,176.44; and

WHEREAS, up to 26.25% of total appropriations for the 2019 Annual Budget, exclusive of any appropriations for debt service, capital improvements, and public assistance is $5,279,278.13 for a total of $9,061,748.80.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the attached Schedule “A” entitled “2021 Temporary Budget” is hereby approved.

SCHEDULE A: 2021 TEMPORARY MUNICIPAL BUDGET

DescriptionTemp Budget
GENERAL ADMINISTRATION - S&W43,300.00
GENERAL ADMINISTRATION - O/E26,000.00
MAYOR & COUNCIL - S&W12,000.00
MAYOR & COUNCIL - O/E1,000.00
CLERK - S&W39,500.00
CLERK - O/E5,000.00
FINANCE - S&W55,500.00
FINANCE - O/E10,000.00
TECHNOLOGY - O/E10,000.00
COLLECTION OF TAXES - S&W42,000.00
COLLECTION OF TAXES - O/E6,000.00
ASSESSMENT OF TAXES - S&W48,000.00
ASSESSMENT OF TAXES - O/E16,000.00
LEGAL SERVICES - O/E90,000.00
ENGINEERING SERVICES - O/E15,000.00
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT O/E250.00
ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION - O/E250.00
BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEE - O/E1,000.00
GAAC Committee- OE100.00
LAND USE BOARD - S & W42,000.00
LAND USE BOARD - O/E25,147.50
BUILDING DEPARTMENT - S&W112,500.00
BUILDING DEPARTMENT - O/E11,000.00
WORKERS COMP. INSURANCE - O/E100,000.00
GROUP INSURANCE - O/E900,000.00
GROUP INSURANCE - HEALTH BENEFIT WAIVERS10,000.00
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE - O/E2,625.00
OTHER INSURANCE - O/E145,000.00
POLICE DEPARTMENT - S&W1,100,000.00
POLICE DEPARTMENT - O/E38,272.50
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS - S&W107,000.00
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS - O/E2,100.00
911 COMMUNICATIONS - S&W SHARED SRVC3,750.00
VOLUNTEER EMERGENCY SERVICES88,750.00
FIRE PREVENTION - S&W40,750.00
FIRE PREVENTION - O/E1,000.00
TWP. PROSECUTOR - O&E6,750.00
ROAD REPAIRS & MAINT. - S&W309,500.00
ROAD REPAIRS & MAINT. - O/E300,000.00
RECYCLING S&W6,426.00
RECYCLING - O/E2,500.00
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS - S&W12,750.00
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS - O/E26,000.00
FLEET MANAGEMENT - S&W63,000.00
FLEET MANAGEMENT - O/E75,000.00
 
DescriptionTemp Budget
ANIMAL CONTROL - S&W50,000.00
ANIMAL CONTROL - O/E5,000.00
SEN CITIZENS - S&W7,500.00
SEN. CITIZENS - ACTIVITIES -O/E16,625.00
RECREATION - S&W17,000.00
RECREATION - O/E18,000.00
MAINTENANCE OF PARKS - S&W41,250.00
MAINTENANCE OF PARKS - O/E5,000.00
MUNICIPAL COURT - S&W44,250.00
MUNICIPAL COURT - O/E2,300.00
UTILITIES O/E130,000.00
SEWER UTILITY-SCMUA525,356.50
SOCIAL SECURITY - O/E170,000.00
DEFINED CONTRIB RETIREMENT PROGRA2,000.00
G.A. - DRIVE SOBER or GET PULLED5,500.00
G.A. - NJ STATE BODY ARMOR2,525.63
MUNICIPAL SERVICES ACT O/E250,000.00
SHARED SERVICE - ANIMAL CONTROL3,250.00
SHARED SERVICE - FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION19,075.00
SHARED SERVICE - ADMINISTRATION
SHARED SERVICE - DPW SERVICES5,000.00
SHARED SERVICES - SENIOR CITIZENS6,925.00
 
2021 TEMP BUDGET IN CAP APPROPRIATIONS5,279,278.13
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT FUND300,000.00
PAYM OF BOND PRIN - O/E1,898,605.00
PAYMENT OF B.A.N. - O/E1,177,200.00
INTEREST ON BONDS - MISCELLANEOUS92,665.67
INTEREST ON BAN - O/E110,000.00
INTEREST ON EMERGENCY NOTES - O/E4,000.00
EMERGENCY AUTH.DEF.CHGS-5 YR REVAL200,000.00
2021 TEMP BUDGET O/S CAP APPROPRIATIONS3,782,470.67
 
2021 TEMP BUDGET TOTAL APPROPRIATIONS9,061,748.80

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Introduced Official Budget shall serve as the Temporary Budget pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:4-19.1 if the Director of the Division of Local Government Services extends the budget dates pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:4-5.1.

Resolution #21-38: Authorizing the Award of Contract for Professional Services for Qualified Purchasing Agent

WHEREAS, there is a need for a Qualified Purchasing Agent for the year 2021 for the Township of Vernon; and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5 specifically exempts professional services from provisions of public bidding as provided in the Local Public Contracts Law; and

WHEREAS, said specified professional services are to be rendered or performed by a person or persons authorized by law to practice a recognized profession, and whose practice is regulated by law within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended; and

WHEREAS, the performance of said professional services requires knowledge of an advanced field of learning acquired by a prolonged formal course of specialized training and study as distinguished from general academic instruction or apprenticeship and training; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon is desirous to appoint Sean Canning, MPA, QPA of The Canning Group, LLC, as a non-fair and open contract pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq.; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Finance Officer has determined and certified in writing that the value of the contract is available for these purposes subject to the adoption of the 2021 Municipal Budget; and

WHEREAS, the Local Public Contracts Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended, requires that this Resolution be publicly advertised.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that Vernon Township hereby authorizes and approves the award of contract of a Professional Service Contract to Sean Canning, MPA, QPA from The Canning Group, LLC pursuant to a non-fair and open contract pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1 et seq. to provide Legal Services in accordance with the attached Contract for Professional Services.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the award of contract shall be contingent upon the completion and receipt of the following:

  1. A fully-executed professional services contract detailing the scope of services, established fees for said professional services, mandatory Equal Opportunity Language and Affirmative Action Certificate; and
  2. New Jersey Business Registration Certificate; and
  3. Upon the aforementioned professional being a member in good standing in his respective profession.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Township Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to execute, seal and deliver the attached Contracts for Professional Services on behalf of and in the name of the Township of Vernon and that the Township Clerk shall publish the award of contract as required by law within ten (10) days of passage of this Resolution.

Resolution #21-39: Authorizing Change Order #1 of Contract for Proposed Improvements of Line Striping to Pleasant Valley Drive with Denville Line Painting

WHEREAS, on September 14, 2020, by way of adoption of Resolution #20-186, the Council of the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to Denville Line Painting for Line Striping Pleasant Valley Drive which contract provided for an expenditure of $1,861.76; and

WHEREAS, in a memo dated December 21, 2020, the Township Engineer states that the contract requires a Change Order #1 by the addition of one (1) item in amount of $19.80 and the reduction of two (2) items in amount of $808.88 resulting in an adjusted total contract amount of $1,072.68; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer, in concurrence with the Mayor, recommends approving Change Order No. 1 which will decrease the total contract amount by $789.08 to an adjusted total contract amount of $1,072.68.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that it hereby approves the Township Engineer’s recommendations and authorizes the Mayor to execute said Change Order No. 1 for said project decreasing the total contract amount with Denville Line Painting to $1,072.68; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be forwarded to Denville Line Painting and the Township Engineer.

Resolution #21-40: Authorizing Change Order #1 of Contract for Proposed Improvements of Line Striping to Breakneck Road Phase II with Denville Line Painting

WHEREAS, on September 14, 2020, by way of adoption of Resolution #20-188, the Council of the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to Denville Line Painting for Line Striping Breakneck Road Phase II which contract provided for an expenditure of $9,566.80; and

WHEREAS, in a memo dated December 21, 2020, the Township Engineer states that the contract requires a Change Order #1 by the reduction of three (3) items in amount of $1,751.38 resulting in an adjusted total contract amount of $7,815.42; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer, in concurrence with the Mayor, recommends approving Change Order No. 1 which will decrease the total contract amount by $1,751.38 to an adjusted total contract amount of $7,815.42.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that it hereby approves the Township Engineer’s recommendations and authorizes the Mayor to execute said Change Order No. 1 for said project decreasing the total contract amount with Denville Line Painting to $7,815.42; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be forwarded to Denville Line Painting and the Township Engineer.

Resolution #21-41: Authorizing a Contract with Munidex to Maintain the Township’s Vital Statistics Software for 2021

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need to maintain its vital statistic software; and

WHEREAS, MUNIDEX, Inc. supplied the original vital statistic software to the Township and has the expertise to maintain said program; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer recommends that the Township Council award a contract to maintain the Township’s vital statistic software to Munidex, Inc., 174 Route 17 North, Rochelle Park, NJ 07662; and

WHEREAS, the cost for this annual maintenance contract is $658.00 and there may be additional charges if on-site maintenance service is required and the Chief Financial Officer of the Township of Vernon, has certified these funds are available in account #0-01-20-120-38.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, that the Mayor and Municipal Clerk are authorized to sign and accept the Software Maintenance Agreement for the year 2021 to maintain the Township’s vital statistic software in an amount of $658.00; and

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

Resolution #21-42: Designation of Official Newspaper for 2021

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40:53-1 et al. of the Open Public Meetings Act requires that the governing body of every municipality designate an official newspaper or newspapers for the publication of all advertisements and notices required by law to the published by the municipality; and

WHEREAS, the second newspaper designated by this body must be one which has the greatest likelihood of informing the public within the jurisdictional boundaries of this body of such meetings; and

WHEREAS, The New Jersey Herald/Sunday Herald is hereby designated to receive all notices of meetings as required under the Open Public Meetings Act and The Star Ledger, and the Advertiser News and will be designated as the alternate newspapers; and

WHEREAS, it is the opinion of this public body that The New Jersey Herald/Sunday Herald, have the greatest likelihood of informing the public within the jurisdictional area of this public body of such meetings.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey that The New Jersey Herald/ Sunday Herald is hereby designated as the official newspaper for the 2021 Calendar Year and will receive all Notices of meetings of the Township Council as required by the Open Public Meetings Act, and The Star Ledger, and The Advertiser News, will be designated as alternate newspapers of the Township of Vernon.

This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Resolution #21-43: Authorizing the Mayor and Municipal Clerk to Sign an Agreement with the County of Sussex for Nutrition Site Premises for Senior Citizens

WHEREAS, Vernon Township has available space in the Senior Citizen Center; and

WHEREAS, there is a continuing need for space to offer meals to accommodate approximately 75 senior citizens per day; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has offered, for appropriate compensation, to allow the County of Sussex to utilize a portion of the Senior Citizen facility for the Vernon Nutrition Site Operation project as per attached agreement for the year 2021; and

WHEREAS, the agreement is attached hereto and made a part hereof; and

WHEREAS, the compensatory amount for the use of this facility is $27,700.00 for the agreement year.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, New Jersey as follows:

  1. That the Township Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes and directs the Mayor and Township Clerk to execute the agreement between Vernon Township and the County of Sussex for use of the Vernon Township Senior Citizen Center for the Vernon Nutrition Site Project.
  2. A certified copy of this Resolution shall be submitted to the Clerk of Sussex County and Melanie Walter, the Acting Director of the NJ Division of Local Government Services.

Resolution #21-44: Authorizing the Award of Contract for Professional Services

WHEREAS, there is a need for Professional Services to the Township of Vernon for Attorneys, Auditor, Bond Counsel, Prosecutor, Public Defender, Engineer, Planner, Financial Advisor and Water Operator, and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5 specifically exempts professional services from provisions of public bidding as provided in the Local Public Contracts Law; and

WHEREAS, said specified professional services are to be rendered or performed by a person or persons authorized by law to practice a recognized profession, and whose practice is regulated by law within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended; and

WHEREAS, the performance of said professional services requires knowledge of an advanced field of learning acquired by a prolonged formal course of specialized training and study as distinguished from general academic instruction or apprenticeship and training; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon is desirous to enter into an agreement with these professionals as a fair and open contract pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Finance Officer has certified in writing that the value of the contracts are available for these purposes subject to the adoption of the 2021 Municipal Budget; and

WHEREAS, the Local Public Contracts Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended, requires that this Resolution be publicly advertised.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that they hereby authorize and approve the award of contracts of a Professional Service Contract pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1 et seq. to provide Services in accordance with the attached Contracts for Professional Services pursuant to a non-fair and open contract to the following:

  1. Township Labor Attorney - James L. Prusinowski of Trimboli & Prusinowski, LLC
  2. Special Township Attorney: Tax Appeals- Robert McBriar, Esq. of Schenk, Price, Smith & King, LLP
  3. Township Bond Counsel - Robert Beinfield, Esq. of the firm Hawkins Delafield & Wood, LLP
  4. Municipal Prosecutor -Alicia Ferrante, Esq.
  5. Township Auditor -Nisivoccia & Company, LLP
  6. Township Engineer - Cory Stoner of Harold E. Pellow & Associates
  7. Township Planner - Jessica Caldwell of J. Caldwell and Associates
  8. Public Defender - James D. Opfer, Jr.
  9. Township Financial Advisor - Phoenix Advisors, LLC
  10. Water Operator - Agra Environmental & Laboratory Services
  11. Appraisal Services - Associated Appraisal Group, Inc.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the award of contract shall be contingent upon the completion and receipt of the following:

  1. A fully-executed professional services contract detailing the scope of services, established fees for said professional services, mandatory Equal Opportunity Language and Affirmative Action Certificate; and
  2. Receipt of all statutorily mandated “pay to play” political contribution forms pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.4 et seq.; and
  3. New Jersey Business Registration Certificate; and
  4. Upon the aforementioned professional being a member in good standing in his respective profession.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Municipal Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to execute, seal and deliver the attached Contracts for Professional Services on behalf of and in the name of the Township of Vernon and that the Municipal Clerk shall publish the award of contract as required by law with ten (10) days of passage of this Resolution.

Resolution #21-45: Authorize the Award of a Required Disclosure Contract with “Lawsoft Inc. for Police Records Management System Software”

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need for police records management system software, through Lawsoft Incorporated, 15 Hamburg Turnpike, Bloomingdale, N.J. as a required disclosure contract pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.5; and,

WHEREAS, the anticipated term of this contract is for the year of 2021; and

WHEREAS, Lawsoft Incorporated, in the aggregate is expected to provide more than the pay to play threshold of $17,500.00; and

WHEREAS, Lawsoft Incorporated, has completed and submitted a Business Entity Disclosure Certification and a Personal Contribution Disclosure form which certifies that Law Soft Incorporated has not made any reportable contributions to a political or candidate committee in the Township of Vernon in the previous one year, and that the contract will prohibit LawSoft Incorporated from making any reportable contributions through the term of the contract, and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer hereby certifies that funds NOT TO EXCEED $35,000.00 are available as follows;

Line Item: 1-01-25-240-20 and 1-01-25-260-20.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon authorizes the Business Administrator to enter into a contract with Lawsoft Incorporated, not to exceed $35,000.00 for the 2021 budget year for contractor, power and safety supplies; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Business Disclosure Entity Certification and Personal Contribution Disclosure form, Determination of Value be placed on file with this resolution.

Council President Shortway read the titles of the resolutions in the Consent Agenda.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve the Consent Agenda.
Motion: John Auberger
Second: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: John Auberger, Andrew Pitsker, Harry Shortway, Kelly Weller
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Jean Murphy
Motion carried to approve the Consent Agenda.

Resolutions

Resolution #21-32: Appointment of Fire Marshal

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #21-32.
Motion: Andrew Pitsker
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Andrew Pitsker, Harry Shortway, Kelly Weller
Nays: None
Abstain: John Auberger
Absent: Jean Murphy
Motion carried to approve Resolution #21-32.

Resolution #21-32: Appointment of Fire Marshal

WHEREAS, the Township is in need of a Fire Marshal; and

WHEREAS, Lou Tosto has been nominated to fill such position as Fire Marshal through December 31, 2021.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that Lou Tosto is hereby appointed Fire Marshal for the Township of Vernon effective January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021.

Resolution #21-17: Resolution of The Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, And State of New Jersey Appointing Deputy Custodians of Records

Council President Shortway would like item #6 of this resolution omitted from the resolution because we do not have a head of the building department. He explained it is a division and it falls under the Planning and Development Department. Council President Shortway explained that item #4 of the resolution will cover the building, construction and Land Use records.

#6. The Head of the Building Department is hereby appointed deputy custodian of records for building records.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to amend Resolution #21-17.
Motion: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller
All members voted in favor.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #21-17 as amended.
Motion: Kelly Weller
Second: John Auberger
All members voted in favor.

Resolution #21-17: Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, and State of New Jersey Appointing Deputy Custodians of Records

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. (“OPRA”), names the municipal clerk as the custodian of government records; and

WHEREAS, certain officials and/or departments receive numerous public records requests based upon the nature of their official duties and/or office; and

WHEREAS, the governing body may designate one or more deputy custodians to facilitate compliance with OPRA; and

WHEREAS, the governing body adopted the policy of Deputy Custodians of Records via Resolution 16-175 on July 25, 2016 and wishes to continue this practice; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council of the Township of Vernon has determined that it is in the best interest of the Township and the public to designate deputy custodians for specific officials and/or departments.

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

  1. The Police Chief is hereby appointed as the deputy custodian of records for Police Department records.
  2. The Tax Collector is hereby appointed deputy custodian of records for tax collection records.
  3. The Tax Assessor is hereby appointed deputy custodian of records for tax assessment records.
  4. The Construction Official is hereby appointed deputy custodian of records for building, construction and land use records.
  5. The Chief Financial Officer is hereby appointed deputy custodian of records for financial records.
  6. The Land Use Board Secretary is hereby appointed deputy custodian of records for the Land Use and Zoning records.
  7. The designated deputy records custodians shall report to the Township Clerk all requests for records and shall follow any instructions given by the Clerk regarding the handling of such records.

Emergency Mangement

Ken Clark

Mayor Burrell commented that Ken Clark has probably been appreciated by him more than other mayors because we had this emergency. We had the Governor declare a health emergency and Mayor Burrell declared an emergency in Vernon Township. Most of the Council Members know that it is the Emergency Management Coordinator who is ahead of things when you have an emergency and many people think it is the Mayor. Mayor Burrell said Mr. Clark may not always be on the front page in the public but he does a great job. He appreciates all of the hard work he has done for him and Chuck Voelker. Mayor Burrell is thrilled to have him back again for another year.

Appointments

Mayor Burrell announced the appointment of the various different Township volunteers:

Mayoral Appointments to Boards, Commissions and Committees

Environmental Commission
Craig Williams3-year term ending12/31/2023
Bonnie Tadrick3-year term ending 12/31/2023
Board of Recreation
Kelly Brooks3-year term ending12/31/2023
Joyce Brensinger3-year term ending12/31/2023
Stephanie Scilingo1-year unexpired term12/31/2021
Beautification Committee
Mary Ellen Vichiconti1-year term ending 12/31/2021
Stephanie Scillingo1-year term ending 12/31/2021
Joyce Brensinger1-year term ending 12/31/2021
Reba Burrell1-year term ending 12/31/2021
Keren Gonen1-year term ending 12/31/2021
Economic Development Advisory Committee
Sally Rinker1-year term ending 12/31/2021
Edward DeYoung1-year term ending12/31/2021
Elmer Platz1-year term ending12/31/2021
Ron Williams1-year term ending12/31/2021
Jennifer Lubliner1-year term ending12/31/2021
Dan Segal1-year term ending12/31/2021
Nicholas Pirro1-year term ending12/31/2021
Joseph Tadrick1-year term ending12/31/2021
Jennifer Rodriquez1-year term ending12/31/2021

Mayor Burrell commented saying he will take this opportunity to, again, thank the host of volunteers who serve on municipal boards, committees and commissions. By them volunteering their thoughts, their ideas, their time and their efforts, they enable our town to provide our residents the types of services that we could never financially afford to provide without them; and, they contribute significantly to Vernon being an even better town in which to live and raise a family.

At this time, I am going to make appointments to four different committees, boards, and/or commissions. I exercise my discretion to make other appointments at a later date as appropriate.

My first appointments will be to the ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION:

1. I want to thank Mr. Craig Williams for his outstanding service on this commission over the past several years, and I hereby reappointed him to a new 3yr term.

2. I am pleased to welcome Ms. Bonnie Tadrick to this commission, with an appointment of a 3yr term. She is a 37yr Vernon Township resident who brings with her some certifications and literature research skills that could be of valuable benefit to the work of this commission.

My second appointments will be to the BOARD OF RECREATION:

1. I enthusiastically reappoint Ms. Kelly Brooks and Ms. Joyce Brensinger to new 3yr terms on this board. Their experience and contributions to this board have not only earned them reappointments, but also my admiration and respect.

2. It is also with enthusiasm that I appoint Ms. Stephanie Scilingo to fill the vacant term that was created by the resignation of Karen Lynch; this term ends on 12.31.21

My third appointments will be to the ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE:

1. In part, because much of Vernon Township is in what is called the Highlands Planning Area, economic development in general is challenging. And when you add the challenges to economic environment that have been brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, the task of our Economic Development Advisory Committee became even more difficult in 2020. And for their perseverance, I want to thank and reappoint the following individuals to new 1yr terms on this committee:

a. Ms. Sally Rinker
b. Mr. Edward DeYoung
c. Mr. Elmer Platz
d. Mr. Ron Williams
e. Ms. Jennifer Lubliner

2. I am greatly encouraged by the increased interest in the number of Vernon residents who desire to serve on this committee, and have told me that they want to do so because they support my economic development vision for our town. And so this year, I welcome the following individuals as additions to the Economic Development Advisory Committee:

a. Mr. Dan Segal
b. Mr. Nicholas Pirro
c. Mr. Joseph Tadrick
d. Ms. Jennifer Rodriguez

I am hereby appointing each of them to 1yr terms on this committee.

My forth appointments are to our town’s outstanding BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEE:

1. It is said that the Creator sends us the type of individuals that we need, at the time that we need them. Well that is for sure true as it relates to the individuals that served on our town’s Beautification Committee during the COVID year of 2020!

During 2020, when it seems that we were being attacked by the COVID-19 virus, not just from a physical health and wellness standpoint, but also from the standpoint of our sprits and our mental and emotional wellbeing.

But the creator sent us a Beautification Committee whose beautiful plantings in the spring and fall, and outstanding holiday decorations in winter, in which our town was filled with joyful gnomes, all lifted our spirits and caused our hearts to smile with pride at how good and welcoming our town looked.

So it is with pleasure that I bring this team back again for the year 2021. I hereby reappoint the following individuals to new 1yr terms:

a. Ms. Mary Ellen Vichiconti
b. Ms. Stephanie Scilingo
c. Ms. Joyce Brensinger
d. Ms. Reba Burrell

2. It is also with pleasure that I add Ms. Keren Gonen to this team, by appointing her to a 1yr term on this committee.

Finally, I want to thank another volunteer whose service is unknown and unheralded by the public at large, and who personally helped me. And by doing so, he also helped our town.

I speak of Mr. Edward DeYoung.

My experience of serving nine years on our town’s Board of Education, three of those years as the Board’s President, has taught me the importance of the need for our town’s government and our school’s governing body to work close together in the best financial interest of our taxpayers.

As it became clear to me that added COVID-19 related responsibilities would not allow me to give the important town-school board relationship the degree of personal attention that it deserved, I asked Mr. DeYoung to serve as my personal liaison to the Board of Education.

With Mr. DeYoung’s 19 years as a highly respected Vernon Board of Education member, including five of those years as the Board’s president, he represented me in a very valuable manner. I have asked him to continue in this capacity during this year.

A motion was made from the floor by Council President Shortway to appoint Council Member Auberger as the Council Representative to the Land Use Board. Seconded by Council Member Pitsker.
Moved: Harry Shortway
Second: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: John Auberger, Andrew Pitsker, Kelly Weller, Harry Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Jean Murphy
Motion carried to John Auberger as the Council Representative to the Land Use Board.

Public Comments (On Any Topic)

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

Thomas McClachrie - Vernon Township, explained that when he moved into this township he was paying $900.00 total in taxes. Of that $900.00 5% went for municipal taxes, currently you guys are at 25% of his tax bill. Mr. McClachrie asked what has changed in those years that accounts for a 20% increase in his municipal taxes. He said we do have a town park; we do not have any more bulk curbside pickup which we used to have. Mr. McClachrie said the DPW has less roads to plow, we have more municipal employees, and there are a few things that have happened over those years. He feels that the people who live in the valley get all the services and those who live on the mountain are left out.

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

Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Council President Shortway announced the names of the Volunteer Ambulance Corps:

1) GLENWOOD POCHUCK VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE CORP
Chief Operations Officer / Captain - Kevin Duffy
1st Lieutenant - Mike Griffins
2nd Lieutenant - Caylee Norris
Sergeant - Caitlyn Jones

2) VERNON TOWNSHIP AMBULANCE SQUAD
Chief - Mike Emmerich
Assistant Chief - JD Christolin
Lieutenant - Peggy Warnet
Vice President - Kaylee Tancredi
Treasurer - Andrea Cocula

Mayor’s Comments

Let me, first, thank you for the opportunity to serve and to represent you as your Mayor / during this past year.

While the position of Mayor in most towns is one that has its own unique group of challenges, this COVID-19 virus has presented issues that made 2020 an even more uniquely challenging year for all mayors.

And while many of these challenges made being Mayor in the year 2020, to sometimes be something other than fun, let me hasten to assure you that while my head may be figuratively bloodied by some of the political sticks and stones that 2020 sent my way, my head is still unbowed, and my will and determination to be the best mayor for you that I can possibly be, are still very strong!

Being your Mayor during this past year was, and continues to be, for me a great honor and a humbling privilege.

One of the things that we humans have learned is that facing challenges is simply part of the price that we pay for the privilege being alive. And I therefore, look forward with eagerness to tackling and successfully navigating those 2021 challenges that we must face together, in order to continue the sometimes hard, but always rewarding, task of MOVING VERNON FORWARD!

In our form of government, the Mayor has a significant degree of authority and influence; however, the Mayor is only one half of this town’s governmental leadership team; the other half is made up of the five members of the Town Council. And I want to ensure that you all know that I consider myself to have been very fortunate to have had a good, forward thinking Council to work with during this past year.

Now, this statement does not mean that the Council and I have agreed on everything; in fact, it would be unrealistic for me or anyone else to expect six independent thinking individuals to agree on everything.

My wife Reba and I have been married 54 plus years, and we don’t agree on everything.

However, what my statement does mean is that on the overwhelming majority of issues, the Mayor and the Council as a collective group were able to discuss the many difficult and challenging issues that face our town; and on most issues, we were able to work through our differences and come together, so as to ensure that our Council meetings did not become the kind of personal, unprofessional, and ego driven political “food fights” that have characterized far too many Vernon Town Council meetings in the past.

In short, we have been able to come together to do most of the things that are necessary to MOVE VERNON FORWARD!

Thank you Council, and thank you Mr. Council President for your leadership!

In spite of our individual and collective struggles in 2020, on this first day of 2021, we find ourselves here together - - we find ourselves among the tough and determined ones; or maybe just the lucky ones, who have survived and escaped from the life changing illness and death that the year 2020 sent into our lives in the form of this COVID-19 virus - - we find that in spite of all of this, in the words of the great American poet, Maya Angelou, WE STILL RISE!

My wife Reba and our family have lived in this beautiful township for the past 40 plus years. However, during this past year as your Mayor I learned something very special about this place that I call home; and that is, when faced with adversity, WE STILL RISE!

OUR RISE was seen in the host of volunteers who serve on municipal boards, committees and commissions, providing their thoughts, ideas, time and efforts to enable our town to provide our residents the types of services that we could never financially afford to provide with them.

So thanks to our host of volunteers, WE STILL RISE!

OUR RISE was also seen in the outstanding work and service provided by our Police Department, which contributed significantly to our town being named one of the Safest Communities in the USA.

So thanks to our outstanding Police Department, WE STILL RISE!

OUR RISE was for sure seen, in the many living examples of the phrase VERNON CARES - - such as a Vernon Girl Scout group building and donating a stigma free food pantry; or Vernon residents and organizations donating, preparing and delivering food for other Vernon residents in need; all to address the critical issue of food insecurity.

These are just a few of the random acts of kindness, and living examples of the phrase VERNON CARES that took place in our town during 2020.

So yes, VERNON CARES and WE STILL RISE!

OUR RISE was seen again, in the many living examples of the phrase VERNON STRONG - - such as our Town’s Board of Recreation, our PAL organization, our School District, other civic and non-civic organizations, and those in our business community, all coming together to let this COVID-19 virus know that we were not going to allow it take away all of the municipal services that brought our Senior Citizens so much joy; or rob our high school seniors of being publicly recognized for their graduation accomplishment; or rob our younger children of all of their traditional holiday fun.

So yes, together we are VERNON STRONG and WE STILL RISE!

OUR RISE was beautifully seen, in each of the plantings and seasonal decorations that were done with so much pride, love and care by our town’s simply outstanding Beautification Committee.

OUR RISE and civic pride is on clear display in the form of the new, creative banners that can be seen all around our town. These banners are the result of a cooperative effort between our Beautification Committee and our Economic Development Advisory Committee. It’s their way of saying, WE STILL RISE!

OUR RISE in 2020 was seen not just in these noted events, but also in the host of other positive things that were done daily by the good people who call Vernon Township home.

I know that 2021 will present us with some difficult challenges; some of which are unknown and unknowable. However, you have my commitment that I will be there to lead, when you need someone to take that dangerous point position in the front of the line towards progress.

I will be there to follow you, when you need someone to give you that gentle push from behind.

And I will be there to walk beside you, when you need someone to look over to for words of comfort, and for the motivation to continue moving forward.

As we did in 2020, we will RISE in 2021, because we are Vernon, and VERNON CARES; and, together we are VERNON STRONG!

On to 2021!! Thank you.

Council Comments

Council President Auberger thanked all of the volunteers in the township saying regardless of the capacity or the organization, they all make the town run. Whether it is the volunteer fire department, the first aid, all the different boards, food pantries or churches, it all works together.

Vice President Auberger thanked Jean Murphy for the time she put into this. He said they didn’t always see eye to eye or vote the same but she would give you all the information and help you see what she was working on was for the betterment of the town as a whole. He will greatly miss Jean and thanked her for her service.

Council Member Weller wished everyone a Happy New Year and said thank you to this amazing town. We all came together oin 2020 and we all faced horrible things between loosing loved ones and jobs but we all came together as a community like we always do in Vernon. We did amazing things even though it was a difficult environment and even though we missed out on a lot of things. Council Member Weller is hoping that 2021 will be an amazing year and we will move things forward

Council Member Pitsker said the volunteers of this town are amazing and the work that they do makes up the gears of the town. Without them the town would not have the passion that it does. He looks forward to working with a lot of them in the future.

Council Member Pitsker expressed regards to Jean Murphy and said thank you. He said she has many dialogues with him and she has always had a perspective that she shared and fed you information for you to help make a balanced decision. Council Member Pitsker said Jean will be missed.

Council Member Pitsker said he brings a business approach to the Council that hopefully will make us stronger in the future. He would like to see us become financially stronger and there is a lot to do on many fronts. He is hoping that the MUA can get their water and sewer squared away. He said he knows that group has saved over $80,000 in the last year just trying to reorganize and make sure we are doing the right thing for the people who use the sewer services. Council Member Pitsker would like to find new businesses for this town. He feels that if we are going to flatten the taxes for tax payers of this town we need to bring in new ratables.

Council President Comments

Council President Shortway commented saying the Governing Body’s authority under the Strong Mayor form of government defined by the Falkner Act and our principle responsibility is to advise the consent. The branches of our municipal government must work together for the good and welfare of our community. Although the pandemic presented multiple challenges on many fronts, it is clear that Vernon became a destination for passive recreation, economic opportunity for property tax relief, its smart growth is clearly evident. We are a year closer to 2023, the SCUMA bonds will increase to 1.5 million dollars annually, all property tax payers are on the hook for this financial obligation. Economic sustainability can be achieved by investing developers, recreation, amenities and creating a unique agro, with a unique art tourism culture with the resorts and other businesses. Together we must implement without hesitation the economic agenda that both the current and previous administrations have proposed. An economic strategy supported by walking, hiking and biking paths connecting established trails to resorts, the municipal complex and the town center. Our agenda includes a bike pump track to provide activities to resident and to guests in the town center. I strongly believe an amphitheater is worth the investment to support the greenway economy. The arts should be supported and encouraged. The short term rental ordinances will finally be fully implemented in this new year. Money will be realized to support municipal services such as safety, open space and recreation. Mountain Creek continues to honor our financial agreement and the resort has satisfied their financial obligations before respective due dates. The MUA reduced operational cost in 2020 by over $85,000 in efforts to provide relief to the sewer users. The MUA and Municipal Government must move forward with hast to implement strategies to control, if not reduce rates. I propose that the business groups form an economic alliance to create a strategy that is in line with our master, open space, recreation and redevelopment plans.

Council President Shortway said as he stated previously, the SCUMA bonds will increase to 1.5 million dollars in 2023 and all of the property tax payers of Vernon, whether on the sewer system or not, will be on the hook for this. He is highly confident that this governing body and mayor will work together for the betterment of our community.

Leave 2020 behind, embrace this new year with hope for a better today with better tomorrows to follow. Happy New Year and let’s go forward together to get the job done.

Adjournment

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

The Reorganization Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 1:43 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Marcy Gianattasio, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: January 25, 2021