Minutes: January 8, 2018

YouTube video of the January 8, 2018 council meeting »

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:00 p.m. on Monday January 8, 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, Administrator Charles Voelker, and Township Attorney Joshua Zielinski.

Executive Session

Mr. Zielinski read the Resolution for Council to enter Executive Session for discussion on:

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. Pending Litigation—Stone Hill v. Township of Vernon (N.J.S.A.10:4-12 (b) 7) (Anticipated Time of Disclosure April 2018)

3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to enter Executive Session.
Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: John Auberger
All members of Council were in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close Executive Session and reconvene the regular meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Jean Murphy
All members of Council were in favor.

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Monday January 8, 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, Administrator Charles Voelker, and Township Attorney Joshua Zielinski.

Salute to the Flag

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

Proclamations

Mayor Shortway presented a plaque to honor Mary Ellen Vichiconti for receiving the “Hometown Hero” award from Congressman Joshua Gottheimer and thanked her for her volunteer service to Vernon Township.

Presented to Mary Ellen Vichiconti

In appreciation of your ongoing voluntary efforts serving the Vernon Community, Vernon Township hereby recognizes the valuable work done improving the quality of life for all residents and honors you for receiving the New Jersey 5th Congressional District “Hometown Hero” award.

Cervical Health Awareness Month

Council Member Ooms read the Proclamation for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

WHEREAS, cervical cancer is a disease that strikes 12,000 American women each year; and

WHEREAS, cervical cancer most often affects women in the prime of life; and

WHEREAS, regular cervical cancer screening tests are effective in detecting the disease early when it can be effectively treated; and

WHEREAS, cervical cancer vaccines are available that—together with screening tests—provide a formidable and effective means of preventing this disease; and

WHEREAS, increasing awareness among patients and health care providers alike regarding the best use of these prevention tools is a key component is safe-guarding women’s health;

NOW, THEREFORE, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, do hereby proclaim January 2018 as Cervical Health Awareness Month and encourage all our citizens to recognize that cervical cancer is preventable, and to encourage and support the women in our lives in taking charge of their health and availing themselves of the tests and vaccines that have proven so effective in preventing cervical cancer. We have the means to prevent this disease; it is incumbent on all of us to insure we have the will to do so.

Council Member Murphy asked for Kate McNamara from Project Self Sufficiency to discuss their program.

Kate McNamara—describes the mission of Sussex County Project Self Sufficiency is to assist low-income families, single mothers, with legal assistance, job counseling, financial management and job placement, in order to make a more hopeful and successful future. Due to receipt of funding from the “Impact 100 Garden State” grant, Ms. McNamara stated they have purchased a Recreational Vehicle (RV) to bring their services to the communities. The RV will be retrofitted with computer labs, counseling offices and food pantry. Based on federal based statistics, nine towns were chosen to be added to the rotating schedule which the RV will visit including: Vernon, Montague, Sussex, Hamburg, Fredon, Hopatcong, Ogdensburg, Denville and Jefferson. Ms. McNamara asked Council and Administration for suggestions how best to help the residents of Vernon without duplicating any services. The group is also sponsoring a Naming Contest for the new RV to gain more interest in the program.

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: John Auberger
Second: Dan Kadish
All members voted in favor.

Doreen Edwards, Highland Lakes, wished to discuss an item not on the agenda. Ms. Edwards was advised that public comment for non-agenda items was later in the meeting. Ms. Edwards expressed her dissatisfaction at being asked to wait until the second public session.

Christa Gerry, indicated her satisfaction that Mary Ellen Vichiconti has been recognized for her devotion for the betterment of Vernon. Ms. Gerry commented that Mary Ellen is a volunteer who is compassionate, courteous and dedicated who is my hero and expressed thanks to her for her service to the Vernon community.

Sally Rinker, commented that she thought the address of 527 Main Street is incorrect in Ordinance #18-05 and it should be 527 RT 515. Ms. Rinker commented it would be best for the Faline Building to return to the tax rolls but expressed her dissatisfaction about the minimum bid amount and the appraisal process.

Ms. Rinker claimed there are negative impacts for selling at a low price. Ms. Rinker stated it will be impossible to achieve the price of $424,000 that Vernon Township bought the property for but should get a fair price. Ms. Rinker urged the new council members to gather research, and input from others to carefully consider how to proceed to get a fair price with a valid appraisal.

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 Executive Session Minutes of November 13, 2017, Regular Meeting Minutes of November 13, 2017 and Regular Meeting Minutes of November 27, 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 Executive Session Minutes of November 13, 2017, Regular Meeting Minutes of November 13, 2017 and Regular Meeting Minutes of November 27, 2017.

Consent Agenda

Council President Murphy gave a brief explanation of Resolutions #18-71 through #18-74

Council Member Ooms asked to pull #18-71 from Consent Agenda.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #18-72 through #18-74.
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 approve Resolutions #18-72 through #18-74.

Resolution #18-72: Authorizing Change Order #1 of Contract for Guide Rails for Maple Grange Road with J. Fletcher Creamer & Son

WHEREAS, on September 25, 2017, by way of adoption of Resolution #17-181, the Council of the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc. for Guide Rails for Maple Grange Road which contract provided for an expenditure of $43,198.70; and

WHEREAS, in a memo dated December 5, 2017, the Township Engineer states that the contract requires a Change Order #1 by the addition of four supplemental items in total amount of $2,996.00 and reduction of three items in amount of $6,173.00 resulting in an adjusted total contract amount of $40,021.70; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer, in concurrence with the Mayor, recommends approving Change Order No. 1 which will decrease the total contract amount by $3,177.00 to an adjusted total contract amount of $40,021.70.

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 J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc. to $40,021.70; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be forwarded to J. Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc. and the Township Engineer.

Resolution #18-73: Authorizing Change Order #1 of Contract for Milling & Paving Barry Drive North—Phase I with Tilcon New York Inc.

WHEREAS, on September 25, 2017, by way of adoption of Resolution #17-180, the Council of the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to Tilcon New York, Inc. for Milling & Paving Barry Drive North—Phase I which contract provided for an expenditure of $169,899.20; and

WHEREAS, in a memo dated December 11, 2017, the Township Engineer states that the contract requires a Change Order #1 by the reduction of three items in total amount of $13,954.65 resulting in an adjusted total contract amount of $155,944.55; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer, in concurrence with the Mayor, recommends approving Change Order No. 1 which will decrease the total contract amount by $13,954.65 to an adjusted total contract amount of $155,944.55.

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 Tilcon New York, Inc. to $155,944.55; and

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

Resolution #18-74: Authorizing Change Order #1 of Contract for Milling & Paving Maple Grange Road with Tilcon New York Inc.

WHEREAS, on September 25, 2017, by way of adoption of Resolution #17-181, the Council of the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to Tilcon New York, Inc. for Milling & Paving Maple Grange Road which contract provided for an expenditure of $260,677.80; and

WHEREAS, in a memo dated December 11, 2017, the Township Engineer states that the contract requires a Change Order #1 by the subtraction of four items in total amount of $35,565.60 resulting in an adjusted total contract amount of $225,112.20; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer, in concurrence with the Mayor, recommends approving Change Order No. 1 which will decrease the total contract amount by $35,565.60 to an adjusted total contract amount of $225,112.20.

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 Tilcon New York, Inc. to $225,112.20; and

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

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #18-71.

Council Member Kadish made a motion to amend the resolution to modify paragraph, “shall current use of Vernon Township Open Space Trust Funds acquisition of Farmland Preservation easements and preserving Open spaces with a balance of $963,487.38 be revised to include: authorization that funds may also be used for stewardship projects as well as development maintenance of permanent easements of preserved Open Space and passive recreation of Township owned properties, YES or NO.”

Moved: Dan Kadish to amend resolution
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve amendment to Resolution #18-71

Mr. Zielinski stated based on Council Member Kadish’s motion, an interpretive statement will need to be drafted.

Council Member Ooms questioned the definition of development in the revision which in her opinion defies the meaning of the reason money was collected, which was to ensure green space in the future. Council Member Kadish explained the uses will be defined in the ordinance and will only be on preserved land or town owned properties, possible parking lot to ease the parking situation for the Appalachian Trail.

Council President Murphy explained the question is giving the public the right to vote on what the money should be used on and asked Council Member Ooms what suggestions does she propose for use of the funds. Council President Murphy added the funds have only been used for professional costs of The Land Conservancy and appraisals or surveys with nothing to show for it. Council Member Ooms restated the funds should be used as originally intended for future of green space in Vernon Township.

Moved: John Auberger
Second: Dan Kadish

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 approve Resolution #18-71.

Resolution #18-71: A Resolution of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex County, State of New Jersey, Authorizing a Referendum to Allow Expenditures from the Open Space Trust Fund for Recreation and Conservation Purposes

WHEREAS, Vernon Township created an Open Space Trust Fund by Ordinance #00-16, which authorized a municipal tax to fund an Open Space Trust Fund for a period of five (5) years; and

WHEREAS, Ordinance #00-16 limited expenditures from the Open Space Trust Fund to be dedicated to farmland preservation and to preserving open space; and

WHEREAS, the current Open Space Trust Fund has a balance of $966,599.31 as of December 31, 2017; and

WHEREAS, there is no current municipal tax to fund the Open Space Trust Fund; and

WHEREAS, there have been no recent purchases of land or easements using funds from the Open Space Trust Fund; and

WHEREAS, the governing body of the Township of Vernon has proposed modifying the limitations on expenditures from the Open Space Trust Fund; and

WHEREAS, since the Open Space Trust Fund was created by voter referendum and the limitation on the Open Space Trust Fund were linked to that referendum, it is appropriate to seek voter approval to change the restrictions on expenditures from the Open Space Trust Fund; and

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Council desires to ascertain the sentiment of the voters of Vernon Township concerning the modification of eligible projects under the Open Space Trust Funds; and

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

1. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:12-15.7 (d), the Township Council of Vernon Township hereby requests the Sussex County Clerk to print on the official ballot to be used in the General Election to be held on November 6, 2018 the following NON-BINDING public question:

“Should the current use of Vernon Township’s Open Space Trust Fund (farmland preservation and preserving open spaces), which