Minutes: January 28, 2019

The regular meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on January 28, 2019 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 had been provided to the public and the press on January 3, 2019 and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Roll Call

Present were Council Members Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger and Council President Murphy, Mayor Harry Shortway, Business Administrator Charles Voelker, and Township Attorney Marlin Townes. Council Member Ooms was absent.

Salute to the Flag

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

Presentation

Council President Murphy noted that the Fire Departments had request to come forward and give a presentation regarding the equipment study. Council President Murphy asked if any Council Member objected to the Fire Department coming forward at this time. No objections were raised. Council President Murphy asked the McAfee Fire Department Chief Dan Gros to come forward.

Chief Dan Gros thanked the Council for allowing time to speak on behalf of Vernon #1 Chief Ron Krystofik, Highland Lakes #3 Chief Tom Ferry, Pochuck Valley #4 Tom VanLeuven and the firefighter membership. Chief Gros addressed some comments and concerns that occurred at the last Township Council Meeting. Chief Gros stated the Fire Chiefs did request a study to be done, and a study be performed because the administration was looking to sell apparatus without just cause and without input of the Fire Chiefs. He added a request was made for a study to put a stop to removing much needed life safety equipment without formal discussion. Chief Gros explained the request was for an apparatus allocation study, not a study of the EMS squads. As for the suggested study, the Fire Companies have been addressing some of these issues for well over a year now and will not support this study in its current form and is not what the companies requested. Chief Gros asked Council to support the Fire Departments, as they have in the past and vote no for this study.

Chief Gros mentioned a comment that was made at a previous meeting that the Fire companies blindsided the administration with the $700,000 SCBA replacement and stated it can’t be farther from the truth. The Fire companies started the SCBA replacement process seven years ago under the administration of Vic Marotta. He added the town had no plan in place with addressing the expired SCBA equipment and were relying on grants. Chief Gros explained when the grants were not obtained, replacement was delayed. When the town liaison was asked about a contingency plan, the Fire companies were told if grant was not obtained, the town would bond for the replacement. Chief Gros opined there was a communication breakdown where the Mayor thought the companies blindsided the township which did not happen. He added that the Administration also needs to be aware to have a plan in place to replace the current bottles which were bought used and set to expire very soon and need replacement.

Chief Gros stated the third item that needs clarification is that the Township Fire Marshal is a liaison between the companies and the town but does not make decisions for or direct the companies. He added the liaison’s role is to convey information from the Mayor & Council to the companies. Chief Gros stated the CFO is quoting the same, but said the Fire Companies are not listening to him as he is only the liaison. He claimed the CFO is not a fire chief in this town as we are. Lastly Chief Gros invited the Council to the next monthly meeting of the Fire Chiefs on February 16, 2019 at the McAfee Firehouse at 7:30 pm to see what the companies have been working on. Chief Gros thanked the Council for the opportunity to speak and provided his contact information to the Council if they have any questions.

Council President Murphy commented that Resolution #19-59 was tabled with no mention of certain date to come back. She explained that if it is added to a future agenda, that herself, Council Members Ooms, or Van Tassel are the only members able to pull from the table.

Chief Gros commented he is not familiar with procedure of voting, but the companies do not want to be blindsided. He added that if the Council is not aware already, the resolution has caused great turmoil within the volunteer organizations who stand and work together day in and out and we can’t have such turmoil. Council President Murphy explained there was misinformation given to the volunteers that the Council could vote to bring back Resolution at this meeting. She further explained that only two Council members may attend a fire meeting at a time without legal notice and will discuss who would like to attend.

Mayor Shortway requested to respond Chief Gros’ comments and noted he comes from a long line of Police, Fire and Military and always supports volunteers. He stated he supported the Bond ordinance in 2011 appropriating $1,484,000 or notes for various improvements for our emergency services but did not support a public referendum to purchase the rescue and engine for the Vernon Volunteer Fire Department which the Fire Chiefs stated they needed for public safety. Mayor Shortway explained that the former administration cut funding to the fire companies, but he increased it at a time when the Township is facing difficult financial challenges.

Mayor Shortway explained he was advised in 2016 that 75 SCBAs were needed by our firefighters and there was no funding plan in place and he immediately set out to find the funds. Vernon Township was denied a grant to cover the cost and bonded for the estimated $700,000 for the SCBAs and a new McAfee ladder truck at $1.3 million. Three of the four fire companies air tanks would have expired on February 1, 2018. Mayor Shortway commented that he asked for a SCBA replacement plan from the Chiefs to stagger the purchases to prevent this from occurring in the future and the plan is still forthcoming.

Mayor Shortway stated the Chiefs advised him in 2017 that two new tankers are needed at an estimated cost of $800,000 and once again, Vernon will set out to find a way to provide these trucks at the most economical means possible. Vernon has applied for a grant for one truck and as a secondary plan, Mayor Shortway proposed that the Vernon ladder truck, (after being advised by some of the Chiefs that the truck is not needed and the manufacturer is out of business and parts are difficult to obtain) be sold and the monies received be used to cover the initial costs for the tankers.

Mayor Shortway stated he was advised that the Chiefs requested an independent consultant to evaluate our services to which he agreed, and the chiefs also advised that they are interested in reorganizing the structure of the fire companies, which also he supports.

Mayor Shortway stated when he left office in 2011, there was $112,000 in the fire penalty reserve fund and by 2013 the fund increased to $136,000 but was then reduced to $2,429 by 2014. He explained that without no financial plan to finance the SCBAs and the severely decreased fire trust funds, is the reason he felt he was “blindsided.” Mayor Shortway acknowledged that Vernon firefighters cannot be without SCBAs and the situation was unacceptable and cannot be allowed to happen again.

Mayor Shortway added the $30,000 expense for a study is not favorable but the Chief’s requested it and it makes good sense to study all our EMS services at once to save long term. He expressed support for a plan to be developed that addresses, apparatus, manpower and finances to serve and protect our community in the most economical way possible. Mayor Shortway stated that Vernon’s volunteers do a great job.

Public Comments (On Current Agenda Items Only)

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

Sally Rinker, Vernon requested to comment about the issues brought forward by Fire Chief Gros but as it was not an agenda item, she was asked to comment at the second public comment section. Ms. Rinker commented that the Appointment of Council Member Auberger to the Vernon Municipal Utility Authority (VTMUA) by way of Resolution #19-69 is a conflict per N.J.S.A. 40:14B-15. Ms. Rinker read the statute and offered copies to the Council and Attorney for review. Ms. Rinker commented that Council Member Auberger has abstained from matters with Vernon Fire Department due to a conflict of interest and opined that this appointment would also be a conflict. Attorney Townes explained that there is no conflict present here should the Resolution be passed. He added that should there be an instance where a conflict arose, then Council Member Auberger may abstain from that vote.

Minutes

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve the Regular and Executive Meeting Minutes of January 14, 2019.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark VanTassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Motion carried to approve the Regular and Executive Meeting Minutes of January 14, 2019.

Consent Agenda

Council President Murphy read the title and gave a brief explanation of Resolutions #19-63 through #19-76. Council asked to remove Resolutions #19-69, #19-71 and #19-72 from Consent Agenda.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #19-63 through #19-68, #19-70 and #19-73 through #19-76.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark VanTassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Motion passed to approve Resolutions #19-63 through #19-68, #19-70 and #19-73 through #19-76.

Resolution #19-63: Resolution Accepting the Completion of Road Improvement Project to Barry Drive North—Phase II

WHEREAS, the Township awarded contracts for the Barry Drive North—Phase II Road Improvement Project to Tilcon New York, Inc., Road Safety Systems, LLC and Denville Line Painting awarded by Resolution #18-195, #18-241, #18-242, and #19-57 awarded on August 13, 2018, November 26, 2018 and January 14, 2019 respectively; and

WHEREAS, the Barry Drive North—Phase II Road Improvement Project has been completed, and inspected as per the plans and specifications; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer has submitted a letter dated January 3, 2019 which states that the said contracts have been completed in full and that it is recommended that the Barry Drive North—Phase II Road Project be accepted by the Township Council.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Vernon Township Council accept this project identified as Barry Drive North—Phase II Road Improvement Project as final and complete; and

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

Resolution #19-64: Resolution Accepting the Completion of the Vernon Municipal Building Parking Lot & Recycling Center Project

WHEREAS, the Township awarded contracts for the Vernon Municipal Building Parking Lot & Recycling Center Project to Tilcon New York, Inc. and Denville Line Painting awarded by Resolution #18-193, #19-55 and #19-56 awarded on August 13, 2018 and January 14, 2019 respectively; and

WHEREAS, the Vernon Municipal Building Parking Lot & Recycling Center Project has been completed, and inspected as per the plans and specifications; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer has submitted a letter dated January 3, 2019 which states that the said contracts have been completed in full and that it is recommended that the Vernon Municipal Building Parking Lot & Recycling Center Project be accepted by the Township Council.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Vernon Township Council accept this project identified as Vernon Municipal Building Parking Lot & Recycling Center Project as final and complete; and

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

Resolution #19-65: Resolution Accepting the Completion of Improvements to Wawayanda Road

WHEREAS, the Township awarded contracts for the Wawayanda Road Improvement Project to Tilcon New York, Inc. and Denville Line Painting awarded by Resolution #18-194, #18-243 and #19-58 on August 13, 2018, November 26, 2018 and January 14, 2019 respectively; and

WHEREAS, the Wawayanda Road Improvement Project has been completed, and inspected as per the plans and specifications; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer has submitted a letter dated January 7, 2019 which states that the said contracts have been completed in full and that it is recommended that the Wawayanda Road Improvement Project be accepted by the Township Council.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Vernon Township Council accept this project identified as Wawayanda Road Improvement Project as final and complete; and

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

Resolution #19-66: Resolution Rescinding Resolution #18-233 Awarding Contract to Echelon Services for HVAC Upgrade to Animal Control Facility

WHEREAS, there is a need for HVAC upgrades to the Animal Control Facility in the Township of Vernon (“Township”); and

WHEREAS, the Township duly advertised for public bids by issuing Bid #13-2018 in a fair and open manner, consistent with N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.4 et seq.; and

WHEREAS, the Township received bids for HVAC upgrades to the Animal Control Facility under Bid #13-2018 which was duly advertised and held a public bid opening on October 25, 2018 at 3:00 pm; and

WHEREAS, after the bids were reviewed and recommendations were received from appropriate Township Officials, Echelon Services was determined to be the lowest responsive and responsible bidder; and

WHEREAS, on November 8, 2018, the Vernon Township Council passed Resolution #18-233 awarding a contract to Echelon Services; and

WHEREAS, a determination has subsequently been made that the Township will now need different HVAC upgrades than contained in the specifications in Bid #13-2018; and

WHEREAS, as a result of the Township’s different needs, both the Township and Echelon have mutually agreed not to enter into the contract authorized by Resolution #18-233 for the HVAC upgrades; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that Resolution #18-233 awarding a contract to Echelon Services for HVAC upgrades at the Animal Control Facility is hereby rescinded.

Resolution #19-67: Changing the Custodian of Petty Cash Funds for the Remainder of the Calendar Year 2019 (Police)

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 change the custodian for the following Petty Cash Funds for the remainder of the calendar year 2019 effective February 1, 2019 as follows:

DepartmentCustodianAmount Authorized
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 #19-68: Resolution of the Governing Body of the Township of Vernon Awarding Service Weapon to Retiring Police Chief

WHEREAS, the Township has a retiring police chief, Chief Randy Mills;

WHEREAS, Chief Mills has served the Township with distinction;

WHEREAS, the tradition and past practice has been to award retiring police officers their service weapon;

WHEREAS, the service weapons have very little trade-in value and have a fair market value of approximately $350.00; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council believes it is appropriate to continue the tradition and give the service weapons to the retiring officers.

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the Township hereby awards the service weapon used in the line of duty to Chief Randy Mills effective on the date of his retirement. The Police Department shall complete all necessary paperwork as soon as possible. The award shall be with the gratitude of the Township and shall be considered an employment benefit. The retired officer will assume all obligations relating to the firearm ownership and all liability from the date of the transfer forward.

Resolution #19-70: Resolution in Support of Transferring Enrollment Rosemark Farms, LLC

WHEREAS, the Sussex County Agriculture Development Board (“CADB”) purchased the development easement from Andrew Borisuk, Jr. and Sheila G. Borisuk on October 9, 2009, with the transaction recorded in the Sussex County Clerk’s Office, Deed Book 3235, Page 526; and

WHEREAS, on March 6, 2014, the Borisuk’s sold the farm to Rosemark Farms, LLC with the transaction recorded in Sussex County’s Clerk’s Office, Deed Book 3331, Page 220;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Township Council of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, does hereby express its support and approval for Rosemark Farms, LLC’s requested transfer and enrollment to the New Jersey Agriculture Retention and Development Program in order to be eligible for grants for soil and water conservation and deer fencing.

Rosemark Farms, LLC Block 91, Lot 1.20
Mark Annunziato +/-21 acres

Resolution #19-73: Resolution Authorizing Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Fiscal Grant Cycle July 2014 - June 2020 Form 1B

WHEREAS, the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse established the Municipal Alliances for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse in 1989 to educate and engage residents, local government and law enforcement officials, schools, nonprofit organizations, the faith community, parents, youth and other allies in efforts to prevent alcoholism and drug abuse in communities throughout New Jersey.

WHEREAS, The Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey recognizes that the abuse of alcohol and drugs is a serious problem in our society amongst persons of all ages; and therefore has an established Municipal Alliance Committee; and,

WHEREAS, the Township Council further recognizes that it is incumbent upon not only public officials but upon the entire community to take action to prevent such abuses in our community; and,

WHEREAS, the Township Council has applied for funding to the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse through the County of Sussex;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey hereby recognizes the following:

  1. The Township Council does hereby authorize submission of a strategic plan for the Vernon Municipal Alliance grant for fiscal year 2020 in the amount of:
    DEDR $20,467.00
    Cash Match $5,117.00
    In-Kind $15,350.00
  2. The Township Council acknowledges the terms and conditions for administering the Municipal Alliance grant, including the administrative compliance and audit requirements.

Resolution #19-74: Authorizing a Sidebar Agreement between the New Jersey State Policeman’s Benevolent Association Local #285, the Township of Vernon, and Officer #65 for Payment During Military Leave

WHEREAS, on November 23, 2015, the Township of Vernon agreed to enter into a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Policeman’s Benevolent Association, Local #285 (“PBA #285”), which governs the terms of employment and compensation for police officers for the calendar years 2016 through 2019: and

WHEREAS, PBA #285, agreed to enter into a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Township of Vernon and adopted a resolution voted upon by its members adopting said Agreement; and

WHEREAS, PBA #285 member Officer #65 has been order to report for military duty; and

WHEREAS, the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Township of Vernon and PBA #285 only affords employees compensation during military leave pursuant to State and Federal law; and

WHEREAS, the Township, PBA #285, and Officer #65 all wish to enumerate the terms of his military leave. As a result, it has been determined that a Sidebar Agreement to the Collective Bargaining Agreement is necessary to enumerate the terms of Officer #65’s military leave.

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

  1. The Mayor, Clerk and Township Business Administrator are authorized to sign a Sidebar Agreement with the PBA #285 and Officer #65 in a form similar to that attached hereto. The Township Attorney and/or Labor Attorney may make applicable language changes deemed in the best interest of the Township.
  2. This Resolution shall take effect immediately according to law.

A copy of this resolution as well as the referenced Sidebar Agreement shall be placed on file with the Clerk of the Township.

Resolution #19-75: 2019 Salary for Non-Union Employee

WHEREAS, Ordinance #18-19, Ordinance #17-11, Ordinance #17-06, Ordinance #16-28, Ordinance #16-22, Ordinance #16-19, Ordinance #16-03, Ordinance #14-04, and Ordinance #15-20 amended salary ranges for non-union full time and part time employees.

WHEREAS, the Township Council has determined that the salary for certain positions should be amended.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey that the following persons be compensated at the annual salary or wage, the same being consistent with Ordinance #18-19, Ordinance #17-11, Ordinance #17-06, Ordinance #16-28, Ordinance #16-22, Ordinance #16-19, Ordinance #16-03, Ordinance #15-22 and Ordinance #15-20 retroactive to January 1, 2019.

Position2019 Base Salary
Ordinance #18-19
Municipal Court Administrator$73,500.00

Resolution #19-76: A Resolution Approving Participation with the State of New Jersey Federal Grant Program Administered by the Division of Criminal Justice, Department of Law and Public Safety

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon Police Department wishes to apply for funding of approximately $60,000 with a match of fringe benefits for an approximate project total cost of $377,720.04 for a project under the State of New Jersey Safe and Secure Grant Program, Subaward Period: 2/7/19-2/6/20, Grant #19-1922; and

WHEREAS, the Council of the Township of Vernon has reviewed the accompanying application and has approved said request; and

WHEREAS, the project is a joint effort between the Department of Law and Public Safety and the Vernon Township Police Department for the purpose described in the application.

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

  1. As a matter of public policy the Vernon Township Police Department wishes to participate to the fullest extent possible with the Department of Law and Public Safety.
  2. The Attorney General will receive funds on behalf of the applicant.
  3. The Division of Criminal Justice shall be responsible for the receipt and review of the applications for said funds.
  4. The Division of Criminal Justice shall initiate allocations to each applicant as authorized.

Resolution #19-69

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolution #19-69.

Council Member Kadish opined that Council Members should not serve on the Municipal Utility Authority to prevent lack of influence and noted he will not vote on Resolution #19-69.

Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Jean Murphy

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Present: Dan Kadish
Motion passed to approve Resolution #19-69.

Resolution #19-69: Appointment to the Vernon Township Municipal Utility Authority

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

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE TOWNSHIP OF VERNON, COUNTY OF SUSSEX, and STATE OF NEW JERSEY, that the following individual is hereby appointed as a member of the Vernon Township Municipal Utility Authority, effective 2/02/2019, for a five-year term specified as follows:

John Auberger Seat I
Expiring 2/01/2024

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

a. Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority

Resolution #19-71

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolution #19-71.

Council Member Kadish requested legal advice if he should abstain due to his role as Chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission. Attorney Townes responded that no conflict exists, and Mr. Kadish can vote.

Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Motion passed to approve Resolution #19-71.

Resolution #19-71: Transfer Resolution—Balance Transfers

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon Municipal Reserve Budget requires certain modifications to cover potential expenses that may occur in excess of the original budget.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the following Transfer of Appropriations (Municipal Reserve Budget) in accordance with N.J.S.A 40A-58/59 are hereby approved.

ACCOUNTTRANSFER OUTTRANSFER IN
FROM CURRENT FUND:
10570120A—GENERAL ADMINISTRATION O/E$1,300.00 
10519920—HISTORIC PRESERVATION $1,300.00
TOTAL TRANSFERS$1,300.00$1,300.00

Resolution #19-72 Lightpath

Council President Murphy asked Marilyn Davis and Bill Colintucci to come forward to discuss request of Agreement in Resolution #19-72. Ms. Davis explained that Altice purchased Cablevision Lightpath and would like to offer telecommunication services to businesses in Vernon Township at this time. Mr. Colintucci added the user agreement is a first step to enter market using existing poles and lines to provide higher speed access to data and internet. After approval of the agreement with the Township, Altice will need to gain permission from JCP&L, Century Link and Warwick for access to existing poles and lines. Ms. Davis explained the term of 25 years is needed for the large investment the company will assume and is a beginning stage which can be expanded in the future with both party’s approval.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolution #19-72.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Motion passed to approve Resolution #19-72.

Resolution #19-72: Resolution of the Vernon Township Council Authorizing Execution of an Agreement between the Township of Vernon and Cablevision Lightpath NJ LLC and Its Subsidiary 4connections LLC for Use of the Township’s Public Rights-of-Way for Telecommunication Services

WHEREAS, Cablevision Lightpath-NJ, Inc., predecessor to Cablevision Lightpath NJ LLC, was approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to provide local exchange and interexchange telecommunications services throughout the State of New Jersey by Order of Approval in Docket No. TE97120BB3 on December 5, 1997 and intends to provide telecommunication services in accordance with that Order and the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities; and

WHEREAS, 4Connections LLC has been approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to provide local exchange and interexchange telecommunications services throughout the State of New Jersey by Order of Approval in Docket No. TE02010035 on November 5, 2003, and intends to provide telecommunication services in accordance with that Order and the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to such authority granted by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Cablevision Lightpath NJ LLC and 4Connections LLC (collectively referred to herein as “Lightpath”) may locate, place, attach, install, operate and maintain facilities within Public Rights-of-Way for purposes of providing telecommunications services; and

WHEREAS, Lightpath has proposed an Agreement (the “Agreement”) with the Township of Vernon (“Township”) for Lightpath’s non-exclusive use of the Township’s public rights-of-way for the purpose of owning, constructing, installing, operating and maintaining a telecommunications system, which Agreement shall be for a term of twenty five (25) years; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interests of the Township and its residents to promote competition in the telecommunications market and for the Township, therefore, to grant consent to Lightpath to occupy and use the public rights-of-way in the manner set forth in the Agreement.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, that the Mayor and Township Clerk are hereby authorized to execute a rights-of-way use agreement with Lightpath in a form similar the document attached hereto. The Township Attorney may make applicable language changes deemed in the best interest of the Township

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinances

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #19-04 by title only.

Ordinance #19-04: Ordinance Rescinding Ordinance 18-24 (Titled Ordinance Amending and Supplementing the Salary Ordinance for “Non-Union” Employees)

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to introduce with a public hearing to be held on February 11, 2019.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Motion passed to introduce Ordinance #19-04 with a public hearing to be held on February 11, 2019

Public Hearing/2nd Reading Of Ordinances

Ordinance #19-02: Calendar Year 2019 Ordinance to Exceed the Municipal Budget Appropriation Limits and to Establish a Cap Bank (N.J.S.A. 40a:4-45.14)

Council President read by title Ordinance #19-02.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open public hearing for Ordinance #19-02.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members were in favor.

Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close public hearing for Ordinance #19-02.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members were in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #19-02.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Motion passed to adopt Ordinance #19-02.

Ordinance #19-03: Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending and Supplementing Chapter 94 of the Code of the Township of Vernon Regarding the Police Division

Council President read by title Ordinance #19-03.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open public hearing for Ordinance #19-03.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members were in favor.

Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close public hearing for Ordinance #19-03.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Dan Kadish
All members were in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #19-03.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Dan Kadish

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Motion passed to adopt Ordinance #19-03.

Public Comments (On Current Agenda Items Only)

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

Sally Rinker opined that the Appointment in Resolution #19-69 to the Vernon MUA is a conflict. Ms. Rinker, as a taxpayer and Ambulance Squad member, questioned the need for the $30,000 study of the fire and EMS services in Vernon. She suggested to have the Mayor, Business Administrator, CFO, Fire Official with held from the Chiefs and squad members to accomplish the task of the study. Ms. Rinker claimed that Council Member Auberger supported to study because the Town and companies could not agree. Ms. Rinker noted she received a copy of the RFQ and contract which included jargon about response time and services but not apparatus and opined the study is more about privatizing EMS services. Ms. Rinker commented that per the Township Code, the Council President approves agendas which on January 14 included Resolution #19-59. Ms. Rinker discussed the previous effforts to remove $80,000 in the budget to begin privatization of the EMS squads. Ms. Rinker expressed concern over duplication of services.

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

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Shortway announced the Viking Snow Shoe Invasion held at Mountain Creek was again a great success and thanked the following for their support: Mountain Creek, the Recreation Committee, Mishelle Downtain, Daily Bean, McAfee Ski Shop, Lox of Bagels and our many participants!

Mayor Shortway thanked volunteer Paul Mele for his expertise by installing the new senior center kitchen cabinets which were provided by Sussex County.

Council Comments

Council Member Kadish had no comment.

Council Member Auberger clarified his position on Resolution #19-59. He urged the Town and Fire Companies to work together and decide what apparatus is needed without a study but if unable to come to a decision, then a study is needed.

Council Member Van Tassel had no comment.

Council Member Kadish commented as a former Fire Commissioner, he was a proponent of a 10-year plan created in the 1990s and is still needed today. He stated the reason for his vote against tabling the plan was due to the budgetary needs and goals of the Township in purchasing the needed equipment.

Council President Comments

Council President Murphy noted that Council Member Auberger did not vote on Resolution #19-59. She added that as Council President, she does set the agenda, but all Council Members have the right to review, research and vote on agenda items how they choose. Council President Murphy added that Council was not involved in meetings with the Fire and EMS organizations and issues should be brought to Administration.

Council President read a notice which has been posted to the Vernon Township website home page regarding extensive Block and Lot Changes throughout the Township:

Shortly after February 1, 2019, all property owners in Vernon will receive the property assessment postcard (Chapter 75). Please be advised that all blocks and lots within the township will be changed and identified on the postcards.

This change is due to Vernon’s new tax maps which had to be completed by “NJ Tax Map Regulations and Standards” per the Department of the Treasury, Division of Taxation in order to comply with the revaluation as ordered by the NJ Division of Taxation.

We realize this will be a difficult time for residents as well as the staff in the municipal building. Block and lot identifications have not changed for decades, with the exception of changing from alpha numeric to fully numeric.

Be assured that the change in block and lot numbers will have no impact upon ownership, or identity of parcels. The address is the identity of the structure and/or vacant lot. Blocks and lots are used expressly as a tool to identify parcels.

Please contact Municipal Assessor Lynne Schweighardt with any questions.

Executive Session

Attorney Townes read the Resolution for the Council to enter Executive Session.

Resolution to Go into Executive Session

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

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

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

1. The public shall be excluded from discussion of and action upon the hereinafter specified subject matter.

2. The general nature of the subject matters to be discussed are:

a. Personnel

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to go into Executive Session at 7:42 p.m.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members of the Council were in favor.
Motion carried to enter Executive Session.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to return to Regular Meeting from Executive Session at 8:28 p.m.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Dan Kadish
All members of the Council were in favor.

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:28 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: February 11, 2019