Minutes: July 13, 2020

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The regular meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on July 13, 2020 via Zoom Webinar in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Harry Shortway presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 7, 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.

Roll Call

Present were Council Members John Auberger, Jean Murphy, Kelley Weller and Council President Shortway. Also present were Mayor Howard Burrell, Business Administrator Charles Voelker, and Township Attorney Josh Zielinski.

Salute to the Flag

Council President Shortway led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.

Proclamation

Designation of July as Park and Recreation Month

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

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

Jessica Paladini, Vernon Township - Asked why Vernon is asking the Engineer to write a grant for the NJDOT Vernon bike and walking trail project. Ms. Paladini said we have applied for the grant several times in the past and have never gotten the grant because we do not have easements where we want to put the trail.

Mayor Burrell answered saying that there are two easements related to the trail. The first easement is an easement from the PAL and the Mayor is having discussions with the owner of the other easement.

Ms. Paladini commented that she is curious why the PAL easement has not been secured as of yet.

Thomas McClachrie, Vernon Township - commented that the Clean Communities Grant of $53,400 is $5000 less than last year.

Mr. McClachrie questioned the creation of a Clerk 3 position. He commented that at a previous meeting there was discussion of requesting Emergency Funding. Mr. McClachrie feels that the Council needs to consider the tax payers who will see a $400 to $500 increase in their taxes without explanation.

Pag Distasi, Vernon Township - feels that the Waste Water Feasibility Committee had a tough job but she believes they came together as a unified group of professionals to address the hard issues. Ms. Distasi said that all the hard issues were not solved but she believed they have established a very well defined course to follow. She said it was a pleasure to work with the group of professionals for the betterment of Vernon.

Ms. Distasi commented on Resolution #20-144 Authorizing the Award of Professional Services Agreement to Review & Evaluate Road Materials and/or Grit That Has Been Staged on Vernon Township Owned Property Located Along Black Creek Drive. After reading the report she feels that more in-depth testing needs to be done and not just surface testing. Ms. Distasi said that since it is a sloping piece of property there should be no problem coming in from the side to test the materials to make sure that there is no environmental contamination.

Ms. Distasi commented on Resolution #20-160 Resolution of Temporary Appointment to the Vernon Township Council Until the Next General Election Held on November 3, 2020. Ms. Distasi said that she is committed to bring Vernon towards prosperity and a safe environment. Ms. Distasi feels that she has the ability to bring people together, make decisions and act on them for the benefit of the whole community, she said that her track record of the last eleven years shows that. Ms. Distasi respectfully submits her application to the Council for the open position on the Council.

Brian Lynch, Vernon Township - referenced the resolution to fill the vacant seat in Vernon Township and he asked for the Council’s support. Mr. Lynch said he is an experienced Council Member for six years and he went through a Government change in Vernon Township.

Seeing no other members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close the meeting for public comments.

Motion: Jean Murphy
Second: John Auberger
All members were in favor.

Resolution

Resolution #20-160: Resolution of Temporary Appointment to the Vernon Township Council Until the Next General Election Held on November 3, 2020

WHEREAS, Councilman Mark Van Tassel was elected to the Council of the Township of Vernon and sworn into office on January 1, 2018 for a four-year term; and

WHEREAS, on June 25, 2020, Councilman Van Tassel resigned from the Council of the Township of Vernon; and

WHEREAS, the resignation of Councilman Van Tassel has created a vacancy on the Council of the Township of Vernon (“Vacancy”); and

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:16-5(b), the Vacancy shall be filed for its unexpired term at the next general election, which will be held on November 3, 2020; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:16-5(b) and N.J.S.A. 40A:16-12, the Council of the Township of Vernon may make a temporary appointment within thirty days of June 25, 2020, to fill the Vacancy until the next general election; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:16-7, the temporary appointment filling the Vacancy shall be by a majority vote of the remaining members of the Council;

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

1. Andrew Pitsker is hereby temporarily appointed as a Council Member to fill the vacancy on the Council of the Township of Vernon created by the resignation of Mark Van Tassel and shall serve until the general election held on November 3, 2020.

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

Council Member Murphy read out loud messages that were between Mayor Burrell and Brian Lynch. Council Member Murphy felt these messages were disturbing. Council Member Murphy said that there were several things she did oppose. She feels that the Council is supposed to be working for the Town and people are making it personal and because they don’t like that she speaks up they are going to criticize members of the public who are stepping up. Council Member Murphy read the names of the people who put in nominations for the vacant Council seat. Council Member Murphy tried to reach out to all of the nominees.

Council Member Auberger would like to thank everyone who put their names in for consideration and he feels that it was nice to see so many people interested to serve the Township.

Council Member Auberger nominated Brian Lynch for the vacant position on the Township Council. Council Member Murphy seconded the motion.
Motion: John Auberger
Second: Jean Murphy

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy
Nays: Weller, Shortway, Mayor Burrell
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion does not carry to approve the nomination of Brian Lynch for the vacant Council position.

Council Member Weller stated that because Brian was very clear how he felt about her when she was running, she did not return Mr. Lynch’s phone call because she chose not to. She also said that no other candidates reached out to her except Andrew Pitsker. Council Member Weller had a long conversation with Mr. Pitsker and she was very impressed with him and all of the things he has done for the MUA and the light show in town. She feels he would be an asset to the Council and he brings a business acumen that not everyone has.

Council Member Weller nominated Andrew Pitsker for the vacant position on the Township Council. Council President Shortway Seconded the motion.

Council President Shortway commented that he had first met Andy Pitsker during the Silver Spruce dilemma and he was very professional, he listened and researched and he helped Council President Shortway explain the situation. As far as the Chinese Light Festival, At the time Council President Shortway was undated with complaints and Mr. Pitsker was able to communicate with neighbors, the police department, the building department and the zoning department to get the light show together. Council President Shortway said that Andy was a huge help with the short term rental ordinance. Council President Shortway said that Andrew is a sitting member of the MUA which is a vital important part of our government, our finances and our budget. Mr. Pitsker is very familiar and recently in the last 18 months he has helped Council President Shortway’s administration, the Mayor’s administration and the MUA and that is why he will vote affirmative for Mr. Pitsker.

Mayor Burrell told Council Member Murphy that he regrets that former Council Member Lynch shared his emails with her and he would not do or say anything that would hurt her. Mayor Burrell would like to do what is necessary to move the town forward. Mayor Burrell was hoping to have 4-0 vote or a 3-1 vote. He would like a Council Member who would join with at least two others or even all of the Council to move things along.

Motion: Kelly Weller
Second: Harry Shortway

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Weller, Shortway, Mayor Burrell
Nays: Auberger, Murphy
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carries to approve the nomination of Andrew Pitsker for the vacant Council position.

Council Member Murphy commented on the Vernon Light Show saying that after it hit Facebook, if Administration at the time, had been forthcoming the residents would not have been so struck by the fact that 100,000 people were coming to town. She expressed that her feelings are not hurt by the Mayor.

Council Member Murphy feels that there are a lot of people who can work together but you have to question things and know what the answers are.

Council Member Murphy said as far as the MUA, Mr. Pitsker has only been on the MUA for a few months and based on the information, paperwork and lawsuits, there is no way he understands the complexities of what is going on with the MUA. Council Member Murphy feels if Mr. Pitsker is doing such a fine job on the MUA than maybe that is what he should stick to. She said we are not elected because we are getting along with everyone on the Council.

Council President Shortway thanked everyone who put their names in for the vacant Council position.

A motion was made by Council Member Auberger to have a five-minute recess at 7:47 p.m. Seconded by Council Member Murphy.

Motion: John Auberger
Second: Jean Murphy
All members were in favor.

A motion was made by Council Member Auberger to resume the meeting. Seconded by Council Member Weller.

Motion: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller
All members were in favor.

Mayor Burrrell swore Andrew Pitsker in to the vacant seat on the Township Council.

Item for Discussion

Waste Water Feasibility Committee Report

Council President Shortway wanted to thank everyone who was on the Waste Water Feasibility Committee. He read the recommendations from the report and said the entire report would be posted on the Township’s Website.

Recommendations:

  • MUA continues. The current majority of commissioners are experts in their respective fields of government service, water, engineering and wastewater. The current commissioners are already analyzing labor, operations, expansion of the SSA, AMP, shared service agreements, PS2 replacement and have already reduced operation costs. A safety study has also been conducted. Report reveals a lack of maintenance.
    • Review operations. Use time and manpower studies to calculate and analyze operational costs in compliance with OSHA and NJDEP regulations.
    • Standard operation procedures be implemented.
  • Complete Asset Management Plan - ASAP
    • Develop a plan to address lift stations.
    • Evaluate force mains.
  • Develop PS2 - ASAP due to poor condition and to accommodate additional EDUs generated by current and future flows.
    • Apply for IT Bank funds - ASAP
    • Feasibility of a transfer station with a private vendor and MCRI.
  • Private interests develop transfer station.
  • It is recommended that the Township Council form a new WWFC in 2021 to determine the state of the MUA at that time and report back to Council by 7/1/2021.

Council Member Murphy asked the Township Attorney Josh Zielinski, if the laws that we were protected under the MUA that prevented Mountain Creek from filing bankruptcy.

Mr. Zielinski responded saying under the Municipal Utilities Act, the Municipality had certain lien rights and those are the lien rights used in the course of the litigation and through the settlement discussions. This ultimately provided the Municipality with the lien rights in the settlement agreement.

Council Member Murphy asked if the Township should not ever think about disbanding the MUA as to not expose ourselves.

Mr. Zielinski will have to research this but he said because we have an MUA we have certain protections under the Utilities Act as well as if the MUA is disbanded there are state statutes.

Council Member Murphy feel that it should be researched in case a future Council thinks about disbanding the MUA again. Council Member Murphy asked if the Council was in agreement to have this researched. She also said that it should be noted that disbanding the MUA should not be discussed again.

Council Members Auberger, Weller and Council President Shortway agreed that research should be done.

Mr. Zielinski said he will look into it and prepare a memo that lays out the statutory protections the Municipality has under the Utilities Act as well as if the MUA is disbanded whether those projects go away or if there are similar protections in other statutes.

Council Member Murphy asked about the missing minutes from the Wastewater Feasibility Committee meetings of May 26, June 9 and June 18.

Council President Shortway said he will have them posted on the Vernon Township website.

Consent Agenda

  • Resolution #20-147: Resolution Authorizing Purchase of Dump Body Equipment through Sourcewell National Cooperative 080818-HPI through Henderson Products Inc.
  • Resolution #20-148: Refund Overpayment (Various Lots and Blocks - Lereta)
  • Resolution #20-149: Refund Overpayment (Various Lots and Blocks - Corelogic)
  • Resolution #20-150: Chapter 159 Resolution Requesting Approval of Revenue and Appropriation Amending the 2020 Budget as a Revenue and Appropriation of $52,455.58
  • Resolution #20-152: Resolution Authorizing Approval to Submit a Grant Application and Execute a Grant Contract with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for the Barrett Road Improvements Project
  • Resolution #20-153: Resolution Authorizing Approval to Submit a Grant Application and Execute a Grant Contract with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for the Vernon Town Center Bike & Walking Trail Project
  • Resolution #20-154: Resolution Honoring the Vernon Township High School Senior Class of 2020 and Extending Designating Main Street as “2020 Senior Drive”
  • Resolution #20-155: Resolution Awarding Wash Bay Water Recycling System - Department of Public Works Through Bid 1-2020 to Nexgen Power Equipment Inc. dba/J & D Sales and Service
  • Resolution #20-156: Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon Rejecting Haigs Service Corporation Bid for #2-2020 Fire Alarm Installation
  • Resolution #20-157: Refund for Totally Disabled Veteran (Block 368 Lot 2 - Stout)
  • Resolution #20-158: Resolution Authorizing Sidebar Agreement to the Township of Vernon and U.A.W. Local 2326 Collective Negotiations Agreement
  • Resolution #20-159: Sidebar Agreement Between the Township of Vernon and U.A.W. Local 2326

Council Member Auberger asked to have Resolution #20-151 removed from the Consent Agenda.

Council President Shortway read the titles of the resolutions

Council Member Murphy asked if a contract is needed for Resolution #20-153.

Township Attorney Zielinski answered that no contract is needed.

Council Member Murphy requested that Resolutions #20-158 and #20-159 be explained.

Business Administrator Voelker explained that Resolution #20-158 change the telecommunicaters in the police department from an eight-hour shift to a twelve-hour shift. Mr. Voelker also explained that Resolution #20-159 adds a Clerk 3 position to the Union contract.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve the consent agenda.
Moved: Kelly Weller
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: Pitsker
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve the consent agenda.

Resolution #20-147: Resolution Authorizing Purchase of Dump Body Equipment through Sourcewell National Cooperative 080818-HPI through Henderson Products Inc.

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

WHEREAS, in accordance with the requirements of the Local Public Contract Law P.L. 2011, C.139 (the “Law” or “Chapter 139” and N.J.S.A.52:34-6.2 the regulations promulgated there under in Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10, the following purchase without competitive bids from vendor with a Sourcewell National Cooperative is hereby approved for municipalities, and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has the need to procure certain dump body accessories for a Freightliner Truck purchase in accord with the Local Publics Contract Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et. Seq., and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has previously acted in accord with New Jersey public procurement statutes and regulations as promulgated by formally joining a recognized and compliant national cooperative, being the Sourcewell National Cooperative, and;

WHEREAS, the regulations as set forth within Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10 have been fully complied with, and;

WHEREAS, the equipment and corresponding Sourcewell National Cooperative contract is 080818-HPI for Henderson Products Inc; and

WHEREAS, the cost savings determination as required under LFN 2012-10 is $36,000.00; and

WHEREAS, the quoted cost under the Sourcewell National Cooperative is contract $70,674.00; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has determined, and certified available funds are available in the amount of $70,674.00 from C-04-20-011-00

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Mayor is hereby authorized to effectuate the purchase of herein approved equipment for the approved cost of $70,674.00 in accord with the provisions of the tenets as established within 40A:11-1 et. Seq.

Resolution #20-148: Refund Overpayment (Various Lots and Blocks—Lereta)

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon, Vernon, New Jersey, that a warrant be drawn to Lereta in the amount of $2,957.86 representing refund for overpayment of the following property taxes:

OWNERBLOCKLOTREFUND AMOUNT
Doremus1708$1,233.89
Schillaci19730$1,723.97
  TOTAL:$2,957.86

Resolution #20-149: Refund Overpayment (Various Lots and Blocks—Corelogic)

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon, Vernon, New Jersey, that a warrant be drawn to Corelogic in the amount of $ 4,671.30 representing refund for overpayment of the following property taxes:

OWNERBLOCKLOTREFUND AMOUNT
Gallo2002$1,535.10
Bailey234128$1,359.99
Reardon234164$798.91
Stachowiak527413$986.30
  TOTAL:$4,680.30

Resolution #20-150: Chapter 159 Resolution Requesting Approval of Revenue and Appropriation Amending the 2020 Budget as a Revenue and Appropriation of $52,455.58

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:4-87 provides that the Director of the Division of Local Government Services may approve the insertion of any special item of revenue in the budget of any county or municipality when such item shall have been made available by law and the amount thereof was not determined at the time of the adoption of the budget; and

WHEREAS, said Director may also approve the insertion of an item of appropriation for an equal amount; and

WHEREAS, the Township has been awarded a $52,455.58 2020 Clean Communities Grant from the New Jersey Department of the Treasury Solid Waste Administration; and wishes to amend its 2020 budget for the difference of the awarded amount as a revenue.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon hereby requests the Director of the Division of Local Government Services to approve the insertion of an item of revenue in the budget of the year 2020 in the sum of $52,455.58 which is now available as a revenue from the New Jersey Department of the Treasury Solid Waste Administration,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a like sum of $52,455.58 is hereby appropriated under the caption 2020 Clean Communities Grant.

Resolution #20-152: Resolution Authorizing Approval to Submit a Grant Application and Execute a Grant Contract with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for the Barrett Road Improvements Project

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Vernon Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey formally approves the grant application for the above stated project.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Municipal Clerk are hereby authorized to submit an electronic grant application identified as MA-2021-Barrett Road Improvements-00649 to the New Jersey Department of Transportation on behalf of Vernon Township.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Municipal Clerk are hereby authorized to sign the grant agreement on behalf of Vernon Township and that their signatures constitute acceptance of the terms and conditions of the grant agreement and approve the execution of the grant agreement.

Resolution #20-153: Resolution Authorizing Approval to Submit a Grant Application and Execute a Grant Contract with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for the Vernon Town Center Bike & Walking Trail Project

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Vernon Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey formally approves the grant application for the above stated project.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Municipal Clerk are hereby authorized to submit an electronic grant application identified as BIKE-2021-Vernon Town Center Bike & Walking-00055 to the New Jersey Department of Transportation on behalf of Vernon Township.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor and Municipal Clerk are hereby authorized to sign the grant agreement on behalf of Vernon Township and that their signatures constitute acceptance of the terms and conditions of the grant agreement and approve the execution of the grant agreement.

Resolution #20-154: Resolution Honoring the Vernon Township High School Senior Class of 2020 and Extending Designating Main Street as “2020 Senior Drive”

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township High School Senior Class of 2020 has worked hard, honed their many talents, and made sacrifices to finish their academic careers in the Township of Vernon; and

WHEREAS, the Class of 2020 has experienced a senior year unprecedented in recent history due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. This has prevented many expected milestones such as attending the prom and having in person award and graduation ceremonies; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon would like to encourage these young people and recognize the great milestone of graduating from high school and beginning their adult and professional lives. While the current circumstances present challenges, the experience gained through the national and state emergency will increase the resiliency of our 2020 graduates to excel throughout their lives; and

WHEREAS, this is the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another for the Class of 2020. This is a time for the Township of Vernon to come together in solidarity to support our future leaders; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon commends the Vernon Township High School Senior Class of 2020 and wishes them well in their future endeavors.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon hereby honors the Vernon Township High School Senior Class of 2020 and authorizes the following:

1. Extended from July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020, the Mayor is authorized to place a temporary street sign stating “2020 SENIOR DRIVE” to recognize and honor the achievements of the Vernon Township High School Senior Class of 2020 above the sign designated Main Street at the following locations: the intersection of Main Street and State Route 94; intersection of Main Street and County Route 515; and at the intersections of Main Street and Guthrie Road.

2. The Mayor is further authorized to restore the street signage to its original condition after September 30, 2020.

Resolution #20-155: Resolution Awarding Wash Bay Water Recycling System—Department of Public Works through Bid 1-2020 to Nexgen Power Equipment Inc. dba/J & D Sales and Service

WHEREAS, there is a need for a Wash Bay Water Recycler at the Department of Public Works; and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Local Public Contracts Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq.) encourages the use of public bidding to benefit taxpayers by ensuring that goods and services are procured in a safe, timely and cost-effective manner; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon received bids for Wash Bay Water Recycler installation under bid 1-2020 duly advertised and held a public bid opening on July 7, 2020 at 9:00 A.M.; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council has reviewed the recommendations of the appropriate Township Officials in connection with the proposals that were submitted; and

WHEREAS, Nexgen Power Equipment Inc. dba/J&D Sales & Service, 8 Alphano Road, Great Meadows, New Jersey, 07838, has provided the lowest bid in the amount of $41,195.00 deemed responsive and responsible to the specifications and legal requirements as provided for within the bid document: and

WHEREAS, the Qualified Purchasing Agent has concurred with the legality of the purchase in accord with the New Jersey Local Publics Contract Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq.); and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer certifies that funds are available in the amount of $41,195.00 from:

Account Number: C-04-20-011-00

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

1. The Mayor is authorized to enter into a contract for Wash Bay Water Recycler at the Department of Public Works under Bid #1-2020 with Nexgen Power Equipment Inc. dba/J&D Sales & Service, 8 Alphano Road, Great Meadows, New Jersey, 07838 in the amount of $41,195.00

Resolution #20-156: Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon Rejecting Haigs Service Corporation Bid for #2-2020 Fire Alarm Installation

WHEREAS, the Township advertised to receive bids for Fire Alarm installation in a Fair and Open manner on June 30, 2020 at 9:00 A.M. under bid #2-2020; and

WHEREAS, the Township received a bid from Haig’s Service Corporation in the amount of $112,280.00; and

WHEREAS, the bidders proposed cost exceeded budgetary allotments in violation N.J.S.A. 40A11-13.2(a); and

WHEREAS, the Township is allowed under N.J.S.A 40A:11-13.2(a) to reject bids in such occurrences.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, that the bid supplied by Haig’s Service Corporation is rejected according to the determination of exceeding cost estimates as provided for in N.J.S.A 40A:11-13.2 (a).

Resolution #20-157: Refund for Totally Disabled Veteran (Block 368 Lot 2—Stout)

WHEREAS, THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS awarded Jack Stout a 100% permanent and totally disabled veteran: and,

WHEREAS, the law exempts said property from taxation.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes the Tax Collector to refund 1st and 2nd quarter 2020 property tax in the amount of $3,386.23 to Corelogic and cancel remaining 2020 property tax.

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the Township Tax Collector.

Resolution #20-158: Resolution Authorizing Sidebar Agreement to the Township of Vernon and U.A.W. Local 2326 Collective Negotiations Agreement

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon and U.A.W. Local 2326 are parties to a collective negotiations agreement, effective from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2020; and

WHEREAS, the U.A.W. represents all regularly scheduled full-time clerical employees excluding such confidential positions as required by law; and

WHEREAS, Article XXII of the collective negotiations agreement establishes the work schedule for full and part-time Public Safety Telecommunicators; and

WHEREAS, the parties have agreed to an addendum to the collective negotiations agreement, which establishes a modified work schedule for full and part-time Public Safety Telecommunicators to effectively have desk coverage in the dispatch center; and

WHEREAS, the Sidebar Agreement to the collective negotiations agreement, attached herein as Exhibit A, modifies Article XXII of the collective negotiations agreement.

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 Council authorizes a Sidebar Agreement, between the Township and
U.A.W. modifying the collective negotiations agreement between the parties, effective from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2020.
2. The Sidebar Agreement will remain in effect until the end of December, 2020 or until a new collective negotiations agreement is signed and executed by the parties.
3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

A copy of this Sidebar Agreement, along with the collective negotiations agreement, will be placed on file with the Clerk of the Township.

Resolution #20-159: Sidebar Agreement between the Township of Vernon and U.A.W. Local 2326

This Sidebar Agreement is made this 13 day of July 2020, by and between the TOWNSHIP OF VERNON (the “Township”) and the U.A.W. LOCAL NO. 2326 (the “U.A.W.”).

WHEREAS, the Township and the U.A.W. are parties to a collective negotiation agreement (CNA), effective from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2020; and

WHEREAS, the parties’ CNA, Article V (Job Steps and Levels; Salaries) provides a list of titles at various Levels, from Level I to V, at Section A; and

WHEREAS, the parties’ CNA, Article V (Job Steps and Levels; Salaries) provides a salary guide for the different levels at Section B, which refers to the salary schedule in the agreement at Schedule A; and

WHEREAS, the Township has determined that it has a need for a new position with the title of Clerk 3; and

WHEREAS, the U.A.W. and the Township have agreed to create the position of Clerk 3, which will be a Level IV position.

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual covenants set forth herein, the Township and the U.A.W. hereby agree as follows:

1. The parties agree that the position of Clerk 3 falls within the CNA’s Recognition Provision, Article I, and the terms and conditions for an employee holding the position and title shall be based upon the CNA;
2. The CNA, Article V, Section A shall be amended to include a new title under Level IV for the title of Clerk 3, with CSC Title Code 02773.
3. Colleen Ragnetti shall have the title of Clerk 3 at Level 4, Step 5 under Schedule A (Hourly 35) of the CNA, which is currently $53,016.16 per year.
4. These amendments shall be effective as of June 16, 2020, 2020.

Resolution #20-151: Resolution Authorizing Award of Contract to Vendor with National Cooperative Contracts for Fire Apparatus

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #20-151.
Moved: Jean Murphy
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Murphy, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: Auberger, Pitsker
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolution #20-151.

Resolution #20-151: Resolution Authorizing Award of Contract to Vendor with National Cooperative Contracts for Fire Apparatus

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

WHEREAS, in accordance with the requirements of the Local Public Contract Law P.L. 2011, C.139 (the “Law” or “Chapter 139” and N.J.S.A.52:34-6.2 the regulations promulgated there under in Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10, the following purchase without competitive bids from vendor with a National Cooperative Contract is hereby approved for municipalities, and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has the need to procure certain specialized fire equipment in accord with the Local Publics Contract Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et. Seq., and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has previously acted in accord with New Jersey public procurement statutes and regulations as promulgated by formally joining a recognized and compliant national cooperative, being the Houston Galveston Area Cooperative, and;

WHEREAS, the regulations as set forth within Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10 have been fully complied with, and;

WHEREAS, the Business Administrator has complied with the public notification provisions of public advertisement and has received no protests in accord with law and regulation, and;

WHEREAS, the equipment and corresponding Houston Galveston Area Cooperative contract proposal from Signal1 Fire an authorized representative for Sutphen Corporation holder of the HGAC Cooperative contract, in the amount of $429,288.20 for a Sutphen Tanker; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer certifies that funds are available in the amount of: $429,288.20

C-04-20-011-00

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Mayor is hereby authorized to effectuate the purchase of herein approved equipment for the approved cost of $429,288.20 through Signal1 Fire an authorized dealer for Sutphen Corporation, holder of the HGAC National Cooperative contract FS12-19.

Public Hearing/2nd Reading of Ordinance

Ordinance #20-13: Ordinance Amending and Supplementing the Salary Ordinance for “Non-Union” Employees

Council President Shortway read by title Ordinance #20-13.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to open public hearing for Ordinance #20-13.
Moved: Kelly Weller
Second: John Auberger
All members were in favor.

Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close public hearing for Ordinance #20-13
Moved: Kelly Weller
Second: John Auberger
All members were in favor.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #20-13.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Weller, Shortway
Nays: None
Abstain: Pitsker
Absent: None
Motion passed to adopt Ordinance #20-13.

Ordinance #20-13: Ordinance Amending and Supplementing the Salary Ordinance for “Non-Union” Employees

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A9-165 permits a municipality to establish salaries, wages or compensation to be paid to the officers and employees of the municipality, and

WHEREAS, on June 11, 2018, the Township Council passed a salary ordinance amending the salary ranges for non-union employees; and

WHEREAS, the Township Council has determined that the salary guideline for non-union employees should be further amended and supplemented in order to establish additional salary ranges/rates of pay.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, that the salary guideline for non-union employees shall be amended and supplemented with the following ranges:

 Min.Max.
FULL TIME:
Assessment of Taxes
Tax Assessor65,500.0085,000.00

All ordinances of the Township of Vernon which are inconsistent with the provisions of the Ordinance are hereby repealed to the extent of each inconsistency.

If any chapter, article, division, section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause, or provision of the Ordinance is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect all remaining portions of this Ordinance.

The Ordinance shall take effect twenty (20) days after final passage, approval and publication after adoption by the Township Council and shall be retroactive to January 1, 2020.

Public Comments

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to opened the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Kelly Weller
Second: John Auberger
All members were in favor.

Brian Lynch, Vernon Township - Thanked John Auberger for nominating him and he appreciates Jean Murphy’s support. He is disappointed that the Township Attorney didn’t listen to the Mayor when he suggested how to have the vote. Mr. Lynch also said that after listening to Council Member Weller say because he didn’t vote for her, this is why she didn’t call him back. He finds it odd that an elected official would publically state that since they weren’t voted for they would not be called back.

Thomas McClachrie - Vernon Township, commented that this time of the year, the west gate at Wawayanda State Park is typically open, but this year it is closed. He said this is an inconvenience for people who have to drive to the east gate.

Martin O’Donnell, Vernon Township - Congratulated Andrew Pitsker for his appointment on the Council. Mr. O’Donnell said that a couple of months ago he bought to the Councils attention education for Local Government. He feels that this fell on deaf ears. Mr. O’Donnell feels that the Council should listen to what people say during public comment and discuss what is talked about during the next meeting.

Peg Distasi - Vernon Township, commented on Resolution #20-141 saying it was discussed if the Environmental Commission has the right to conduct research into the open space areas and any gifting. Ms. Distasi said that it is stated in or ordinance 20-16-26 that this is the Environmental Commission’s responsibility. She believed that the Environmental Commission was denied their right to look at that piece of property.

Ms. Distasi mentioned Resolution #20-144 saying that she has read the report and the company plans to do surface testing. Ms. Distasi said that surface testing did nothing on Silver Spruce and it kept coming back within limit until they did the side auger boring and they found all of the contamination. Ms. Distasi requests that we revisit what testing is being done. She said that because it is a sloping piece of property you can do side boring.

Ms. Distasi said she has noticed photos by sports teams in our town. They are not social distancing or wearing face masks. She is asking residents to please protect our kids, community and country by trying to adhere to the suggestions of the Department of Health.

Ms. Distasi said she is extremely disappointed to how the vote went this evening. It seems to her that we are trying to put on this Council everyone that will say yes and go along with the program and not ask the necessary questions for the right decisions for our community. She said this is not about everyone agreeing and just passing ordinances, this is what is the right decisions for our town.

Jessica Paladini - Vernon Township, commented that even though she is in total opposition of the Council Person that was appointment tonight, the Mayor was 100% correct in his understanding of the process. Ms. Paladini said she cannot even count how many times Mr. Zielinski has given wrong advice to this Council.

Ms. Paladini spoke about the resolution passed at the last Township Council meeting allocating money to the bicycle pump track. She said that was a lawless resolution. Ms. Paladini said that no one knows what the resolution was that was adopted because it wasn’t written, it was amended along the way.

Ms. Paladini spoke about the testing at the DPW storage area saying that she put in an OPRA request for the testing that was done on Wisteria Court and there are a lot of reports and we did so much testing. Another OPRA request showed the scope of work being done for the DPW storage site and she cannot believe the testing does not include soil borings. She said that without doing soil borings you will never know what is in the ground. Ms. Paladini said that prior to the DPW buying the property it was the Baldwin Dump. She feels that the bicycle pump track should be put at Veterans Park which is just as close to the Town Center as the Baldwin Property.

Ms. Paladini said that Port Jervis’s pump track was built on top of an old skate park and all new asphalt was brought in.

Seeing no other members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close the meeting for public comments.
Motion: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller
All members were in favor.

Mayor’s Comments

Mr. Council President and other Council Members, on tonight, I use my report to make one commission appointment and to update you and our residents on four items:

Commission Appointment: I want to first thank Ms. Angela Erichsen for her service on the important Municipal Environmental Commission, and express my understanding of the fact that there are things in all of our lives that take priority over others, and I understand the priority that she has placed on her personal life.

Second, I want to appoint Ms. Catherina Sawaszczyk to fill the unexpired term on this commission that was vacated by Ms. Erichsen. Ms. Sawaszczyk’s term will end on 12.31.22.

Item No. 1: I am pleased to report that on July 6, our town had a smooth and successful re-opening of the Township’s Municipal Center.

Not only was the reopening smooth and successful, but many visitors to the Municipal Center commented about the clean, attractive appearance of the exterior of the Municipal Center. And for this, I offer a huge thanks to the efforts and actions of our outstanding Beautification Committee and our DPW workforce.

We also received quite a few positive comments about the COVID-19 related safety measures that were obvious throughout the interior of the Municipal Center.

While we have not yet received approval from the Department of Health to re-open the Senior Center portion of the Municipal Center for the purpose of serving our seniors, we are working close with the Sussex County Division of Senior Services, under a shared service agreement, to offer our senior population the meals, and to some extent the socialization opportunity, that they enjoyed when our Senior Center was open.

Specifically, we are in the process of putting together the procedures and the amenities which will allow our seniors to pick up takeout meals at the Senior Center, and which will offer them the opportunity socialize, from a proper social distance, while eating their meals at picnic tables under canopy tents located in an area out front of the Senior Center, should they desire to do so.

Item No. 2: July is National Park and Recreation Month, and I take this opportunity to express our town’s appreciation to our outstanding Municipal Director of Recreation and Community Affairs, Ms. Mishelle Downtain, and the town partners that she works so close with to ensure that our parks are beautiful and accommodating to the large variety of recreation activities that are offered in Vernon Township.

I speak of partners such as our DPW, the PAL, the Board of Recreation, the Vernon Chamber of Commerce, the Senior Center Staff, and the Greenway Action Advisory Committee.

Item No. 3: Relates to just one of the most recent reasons that I am so proud to live in, and so honored to be the mayor of, this caring township.

This reason for pride came in the form of the caring act by the Junior Girl Scout Troop 96251, in creating a sustainable community project to assist those in our town who suffer from food insecurity. These Junior Girl Scouts built and located the Little Free Food Pantry just outside of the Tracks Deli on Vernon Crossing Road.

An important fact is that this is a stigma-free pantry which allows those who need food to take food items as their need arises, and allows those who want to donate food items to do so as they desire. This Junior Girl Scout Troop’s slogan for this project is/“Give what you can;/take what you need.”

Item No. 4: There are always things, some positive and some not so positive, that one political administration inherits from the one that preceded it.

Well, my administration has been blessed by the inheritance of some good decisions that were made by the administration of former mayor, and current Council President, Shortway. On tonight I share with you the fruits of one of former mayor Shortway’s decision. And that’s his decision as reflected in the agreement that he negated with Mr. Joe Hession of Mountain Creek. This agreement calls for Mountain Creek to pay off its 28M$ sewer debt in quarterly payments to the township.

I am pleased to report to you that even with two more quarters to go in this year, on July 1, Mountain Creek sent the town a check which resulted in its entire 2020 due payment of 856K$ being paid in full.

On behalf of our town’s homeowner taxpayers, I gladly accept this early payment. Thank you Mr. Shortway for negotiating this agreement; and thank you Mr. Hession and Mountain Creek for keeping your commitment.

Mr. Council President and other Council Members/that ends my meeting report.

Howard L. Burrell, Mayor
Never Let Important Things Get In The Way Of Necessary Things

Council Comments

Council Member Murphy commented that when Harry was Mayor he was certainly not solely involved in the Mountain Creek Settlement Agreement, there were many people involved in that such as the Council, MUA and many attorneys.

Council Member Murphy questioned postage, engineering costs, and litigation on the bills list.

Council Member Murphy asked for the status of the Panorama Wall, the Brook Hollow Bridge and Grandview Drive lot that the Town owns and that Highland Lake was accumulating lake fees.

Mr. Voelker replied that the Brook Hollow Bridge was supposed to be something that the Council was going to be request monthly reports.

Council Member Murphy reminded Council President Shortway when he was asking for Council Members to step up to the MUA, she said that after the Waste Water Feasibility Committee was over, she would be willing to take the spot on the MUA. She said that Council Members are allowed to be on there, so if one Council Member can be on there, there’s no reason two cannot. Council Member Murphy would actually like to be nominated to the MUA because there are vacant seats.

Council President Shortway asked if someone wanted to make a motion to appoint Council Member Murphy to the MUA.

Council Member Auberger made a motion to appoint Council Member Murphy to the MUA, seconded by Council Member Murphy.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Jean Murphy

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Weller, Pitsker
Nays: Shortway
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion passed to appoint Jean Murphy to the MUA.

Council Member Auberger commented that moving forward, we are a Council and we have to come to the best conclusions to move the town and do what is right for the town and the folks of the town.

Council Member Weller thanked all of the candidates that threw their hats into the ring.

Council Member Pitsker thanked the Town Council and the Mayor for his appointment. He knows there is a lot of debate and he felt it was humbling and also interesting to listen to the different sides. Council Member Pitsker hopes to be able to serve the residents of the town in a fair and balanced way. He was impressed to see all of the candidates and its phenomenal to see all of this activity. Council Member Pitsker feels that there is a seat on the bus for all of us to serve and we can all be contributors; he hopes to talk to all of the people who applied for nominations. He said thank you for your considerations.

Council President Comments

Council President Shortway explained that the next step for the Council seat is to get petitions out and returned by August 31, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

Council President Shortway thanked the Mayor for his kind words. He said that Mr. Hession has shown over and over again that he is a person that is willing to invest in Vernon, he is from Vernon and he is a man of his word and he thanked him. Council President Shortway said this is the first time in his twenty -seven years that Mountain Creek isn’t getting a phone call asking where the payment is.

Council President Shortway explained that the Council usually takes off for one meeting during the summer and he would like to take off the next meeting and meet in August. Council President Shortway would like to try to get the meetings back into Council chambers. This will limit the number of people allowed in at one time. Administration is looking to purchase an outside speaker so people have the opportunity to listen to the meeting. We are also going to contact the BOE to inquire about livestreaming the meeting.

The Council was in agreement to cancel the July 27, 2020 Township Council Meeting.

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 Murphy with all members voting in favor.

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 9:02 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Marcy Gianattasio, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: August 10, 2020