Minutes: January 22, 2018

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Monday January 22, 2018 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Jean Murphy presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided to the public and the press on January 5, 2018 and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger and Council President Jean Murphy. Also present were Mayor Harry Shortway, CFO Elke Yetter, Business Administrator Charles Voelker, and Township Attorney Marlin Townes.

Salute to the Flag

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

Swearing In of New Police Officers

Mayor Shortway administered the Oath of Office to Patrolman Matthew Maines, Badge #75, who transferred to Vernon from the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office.

Mayor Shortway administered the Oath of Office to Patrolman Joseph White, Badge#74 previously worked for the Corrections Division of the Sussex County Sherriff’s Office.

Police Chief Mills thanked the Mayor & Council for their continued support to keep staffing levels at 32 officers in the Department.

Council President Murphy asked for motion to take a five-minute recess, it was moved and seconded with all members were in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to re-open the meeting. It was moved and seconded with all members in favor the meeting reopened at 7:11 p.m.

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

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

Seeing no one from the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Minutes

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of December 11, 2017.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Sandra Ooms

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Regular Meeting Minutes of December 11, 2017.

Consent Agenda

Council President Murphy gave a brief explanation of Resolutions #18-75 and #18-76.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolutions ##18-75 and #18-76.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolutions #18-75 and #18-76.

Mayor Shortway commented the Special Olympics is a wonderful event and showcases the hard work the athletes endure and notes that in 2017, a Vernon resident competed and continued on to Europe.

Resolution #18-75: Resolution Authorizing Fireworks to Be Displayed on February 5, 2018 within the Township of Vernon

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A.21:3-1et seq. Explosive and Fireworks, provides that a Municipal Governing Body must authorize the display of fireworks within its boundaries as a pre-condition to such display in accordance with the New Jersey Fire Prevention Code; and

WHEREAS, Mountain Creek Resort has submitted an application to Vernon Township to conduct a fireworks display for the Special Olympic Winter Games on February 5, 2018; and

WHEREAS, the proposed fireworks display will take place at 200 Route 94, in the Waterpark area; and

WHEREAS, Mountain Creek Resort has engaged in a contract with Garden State Fireworks, Inc. Millington, NJ, to perform the public fireworks and special effects display and has provided the required certificate of liability insurance to the Township.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, hereby authorizes the fireworks display for the Special Olympic Winter Games, performed by Garden State Fireworks Inc. on February 5, 2018, at Mountain Creek Resort, located at 200 Route 94, Vernon upon satisfaction of all statutory and departmental requirements.

Resolution #18-76: Appointment to the 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 individual is hereby appointed as a member of the Vernon Township Land Use Board for a term specified as follows:

Kelly Mitchell, Alternate 2, Unexpired term expiring 12/31/2018

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

a. Land Use Board Secretary

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinances

Council Member Murphy read Ordinance #18-07 by title only.

Ordinance #18-07: Bond Ordinance Making a Supplemental Appropriation of $210,000 for the Acquisition of a New Fire Truck Heretofore Authorized to Be Undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey, and Authorizing the Issuance of $200,000 Bonds or Notes of the Township for Financing Such Supplemental Appropriation

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #18-07 with public hearing to be held on February 15, 2018.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: John Auberger
Absent: None
Motion carried to introduce Ordinance #18-07 with public hearing to be held on February 15, 2018.

Council Member Murphy read Ordinance #18-08 by title only.

Ordinance #18-08: Calendar Year 2018 Ordinance to Exceed the Municipal Budget Appropriation Limits and to Establish a Cap Bank (N.J.S.A. 40A: 4-45.14)

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #18-08 with public hearing to be held on February 15, 2018.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Sandra Ooms

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to introduce Ordinance #18-08 with public hearing to be held on February 15, 2018.

Public Hearing/2nd Reading of Ordinances

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #18-01 by title only

Ordinance #18-01: An Ordinance of the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Providing for the Municipal Consent of the Township for Suez Water New Jersey Inc. to Provide Water Service to the Village of Lake Glenwood in the Township of Vernon and for the Laying of Pipes and the Installation of Other Utility Facilities as May Be Necessary

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the public hearing for Ordinance #18-01.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Seeing no members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the public hearing for Ordinance #18-01.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #18-01.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #18-01.

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #18-02 by title only

Ordinance #18-02: Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending Chapter 148 and Chapter 250 of the Code of the Township of Vernon Regarding Potentially Dangerous Dogs

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the public hearing for Ordinance #18-02.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Dan Kadish
All members voted in favor.

Phyllis McPeek, from Vernon, criticized that the fee of $700.00 for the potentially dangerous dog license is too high and suggested $300.00 is more reasonable. Ms. McPeek expressed her concern that residents who are unable to afford the license fee or legal fees may feel only way is to put dog down.

Seeing no more members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the public hearing for Ordinance #18-02.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: John Auberger
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #18-02.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #18-02.

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #18-03 by title only.

Ordinance #18-03: Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending Chapter 250 of the Code of the Township of Vernon Regarding Liquor License Fees

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the public hearing for Ordinance #18-03.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: John Auberger
All members voted in favor.

Seeing no members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the public hearing for Ordinance #18-03.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #18-03.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger Jean Murphy
Nays: Sandra Ooms
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #18-03.

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #18-04 by title only

Ordinance #18-04: An Ordinance Authorizing the Sale of Certain Land in Vernon Township to Be Sold at Public Auction in Accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:12-13 (a)

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the public hearing for Ordinance #18-04.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Dan Kadish
All members voted in favor.

Seeing no members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the public hearing for Ordinance #18-04.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #18-04. Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #18-04.

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #18-05 by title only

Ordinance #18-05: An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey Authorizing the Sale of Property Owned by the Township and Not Required for Public Purposes and More Commonly Known as Block 142.01, Lot 1

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the public hearing for Ordinance #18-05.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members voted in favor.

Sally Rinker, Vernon objected to the minimum price set in sale of Faline Building in Ordinance #18-05. She suggested that new members take careful consideration in determining the fair market price of the public property as if it was their own. Ms. Rinker alleged that the minimum price set may have detrimental effects on value of surrounding properties and suggested that Council President Murphy abstain from voting.

Seeing no more members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the public hearing for Ordinance #18-05.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #18-05.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger Jean Murphy
Nays: Sandra Ooms
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #18-05.

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #18-06 by title only.

Ordinance #18-06: An Ordinance Amending Chapter 5, Article XVI of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the public hearing for Ordinance #18-06.
Moved: Sandra Ooms
Second: John Auberger
All members voted in favor.

Seeing no members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the public hearing for Ordinance #18-06.
Moved: Sandra Ooms
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #18-06.
Moved: Sandra Ooms
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: Dan Kadish
Absent: None
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #18-06.

PUBLIC COMMENTS (On any topic, limited to 3 minutes per person)

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

Bonnie Rubin, expressed her dissatisfaction about the change in meeting time from 7:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Ms. Rubin added the public should be allowed to comment on any subject at both 3-minute public comment sections.

Gary Martinsen, Vernon, stated he provided documents to be distributed to the Council and commented he was wrongly denied being allowed to submit application of an Outdoor Activity Permit. The proposed activity called “End of Winterfest,” from January 27, 2018 - February 25, 2018 was to provide a temporary private ice rink for Vernon residents and Special Olympians at no cost and users would be required to sign waiver of liability. Mr. Martinsen explained the opening date is in memory of mother’s passing and urges Council to make allowance for approval of variance needed.

Mr. Townes explained since this is a pending matter, it is not appropriate for the Council to respond. Mr. Townes suggested this matter be brought to the Land Use Board for decision. Mr. Martinsen acknowledged the issue should be decided by the Land Use Board but noted circumstances kept him from making timely submission.

Noreen Moran, Great Gorge Village, criticized the rate hike imposed by the Vernon MUA. Council President Murphy explained that the issue should be brought before the MUA Commissioners at their next meeting in February.

Seeing no more members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Shortway provided update on conditions at Legends property stating tenants were without hot water for 10 days and on January 19, 2018, NJ Department of Community Affairs(DCA) issued an imminent hazard order giving owner 48 hours to make repairs. The DCA returned on January 22, 2018 to find repairs not yet done and owner contested order causing case to be sent to NJ Office of Administrative Law for hearing. Congressman Gottheimer and Senator Oroho continue to follow up with DCA on conditions at Legends.

Mayor Shortway stated he along with Environmental Commission Chairperson, Mike Furrey met with Greener by Design to discuss professional services contract for work on Masker Marsh, Trail Management, Grant opportunities and property acquisitions.

Mayor Shortway stated he found an error in the Vernon contract with the VTMUA regarding the stipend for the DPW water operator services and that he had requested corrections made to the contract by the MUA.

Mayor Shortway explained Mr. Voelker, BA and Ms. Yetter, CFO met with Max Spann to discuss strategy for auctioning the conforming Township owned properties no longer needed for public use and auction is tentatively scheduled for April 18, 2018. He added the Land Use Board will hold a public hearing on February 14, 2018 for the study regarding Areas in Need of Redevelopment in Town Center Area.

Mayor Shortway stated Township Official continue to work on the 2018 Budget but notes the concern is the amount needed for Reserve for Uncollected Taxes. Of every tax dollar, only $0.23 is dedicated to municipal services and $.77 is for schools and county services. He added the if an individual property tax is not paid, the Township must still pay the school/county portion.

Mayor Shortway noted that Legends, Tall Timbers and Northwoods had various outstanding liens compliance fines. Mayor Shortway stated that Mountain Creek has paid all its 2017 obligations to the Township and is responsible for 2018 payments of $448,481.25 due 1/31/18; $187,000 due 3/1/18 and $211,000 due 6/1/18. He added that Minerals resort owes $66,000 in sewer bills for the last two quarters in 2017. Mayor Shortway remarked that it is not fair for tax-paying residents to cover the taxes owed by all the others who do not pay their share.

Council Comments

Council Member Kadish had no comment

Council Member Van Tassel had no comment

Council Member Auberger had no comment

Council Member Ooms commented that both Public Comment sections on the agenda should be for any topic and added the start time of the Council Meeting should be changed back to 7:30 p.m. to allow more residents to attend and made a motion to change it back. Council President Murphy explained that the item was not on the agenda at this time.

Council President Comments

Council President Murphy explained information previously commented by Sally Rinker tonight was inaccurate. The price in the Ordinance to auction the Faline Building is a minimum price and will not negatively affect surrounding property values but after auctioned sale and enhancement will indeed add value.

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 7:46 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren E. Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: February 15, 2018