All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.

Minutes: July 22, 2010

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 22, 2010 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Mayor Sally Rinker presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 5, 2010, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, and Mayor Sally Rinker. Also present were Township Manager Andrew Katz and Township Attorney Lawrence Cohen. Council Member Harry Shortway gave notification that he was unable to attend.

Resolution to Go into Executive Session

At 6:05 p.m. Mayor Sally Rinker asked for a motion to go into Executive Session. Council Member Michael Pier made a motion to close the meeting to the public and enter into executive session. Motion seconded by Council Member Valerie Seufert with all members voting in favor.

The Acting Municipal Clerk read the following resolution to go into executive session:

WHEREAS, Section 8 of the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 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 is:
    1. Personnel matter regarding two candidate interviews for the position of Municipal Clerk. Executive Session minutes will be released to the public upon the conclusion of this matter or upon the execution of an employment agreement for the Municipal Clerk position.
    2. Personnel matter regarding potential discipline. Due to the confidential nature of this personnel matter, Executive Session minutes will not be released to the public.
  3. It is anticipated that the above-stated subject matter will be made available upon final decision.
  4. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

The Township Council entered into Executive Session at 6:07 p.m.

The meeting was reopened to the public at 7:10 p.m. Present were Council Members Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, and Mayor Sally Rinker. Also present were Township Manager Andrew Katz and Township Attorney Lawrence Cohen.

Salute to the Flag

The Mayor led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.

The Township Attorney Lawrence Cohen commented Council Member Harry Shortway would be participating by telephone conference at this time. Mr. Cohen asked that another roll call taken to include Council Member Harry Shortway.

Roll Call of Members

Council Member Richard Carson, present; Council Member Michael Pier, present; Council Member Valerie Seufert, present; Council Member Harry Shortway, present via telephone; and Mayor Sally Rinker, present.

Presentations and Special Items

Environmental Commission—Open Space

Jessica Paladini, Secretary for the Environmental Commission, commented that Dennis Miranda, Chairman, was unable to attend this evening’s meeting, because he is at the Sussex County Agricultural meeting giving a presentation on the scenic byways. Ms. Paladini gave a power point presentation on the Vernon Township Dedicated Open Space Fund. She said the Open Space Parks Law, formerly known as Open Space Recreation Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund, sets forth the procedures for establishing a dedicated Tax for more broad projects, and a County or Municipality often incurs payment of debt service for any of the purposes. The Open Space Tax is for establishing a dedicated tax program. The original Ordinance was dedicated to preserve the Open Space and Farmland Preservation, and to provide passive recreation opportunities to the community. Ms. Paladini said in the five years, Vernon Township collected the Dedicated Open Space Tax, which the State of New Jersey would provide $300,000. to the Municipality, totaling approximately 1.5 million dollars. The Township did not take advantage of that funding and if it is not spent, stands to lose that money. At the time the Open Space Tax was approved, another referendum was put forth to the residents to construct an athletic complex at the Maple Grange Park. The residents vetoed to spending $1,999,000,000. on the sports complex. The improvements to the sports complex totaled $4,969,141,000. with additional costs incurred for engineering and other studies. The current debt on these bonds is $3,649,615., and does not include the costs for the Town Center sewers. Vernon Township has been planning and creating a Town Center for the last decade. The Land Use Board has been working on updating the Master Plan, Open Space Plan, Bike Path, and Greenway of Open Space for passive recreation. The Four Seasons Greenway, which remains as Open Space and Bike Path, will bring revenue to the Township. To promote ecotourism and bring revenue to Vernon Township the residents must honor our binding referendum on the Open Space Tax.

Public Comments

Mayor Rinker opened the meeting for public comment.

Mike Furrey, Vice President of the Environmental Commission, distributed the Environmental Commission’s Resolution opposing Vernon Township’s Ordinance #10-18 authorizing to modify Ordinance #00-16 for creation of the Open Space Trust Fund. The Environmental Commission did not have the opportunity to give their feedback on this Ordinance.

Dan Boltz, Member of the Environmental Commission and Historic Society, commented the current Township Council’s concerns are handled on a sensible level. He anticipates that the “power play” does not signal several more years of a return to the empire building. Mr. Boltz wished this Township Council the best.

Craig Williams, Glenwood, commented he is a former Chairman of the Environmental Commission, and has served several years on the County and Municipal level for the Open Space Committee. He asked if the debt service addressed in the Ordinance under Section 2F is a new debt service or is it already in existence. Mayor Rinker said it does not specify. Mr. Williams commented that the new debt funds be utilized for the Recreation Committee. He questioned that the Ordinance has open-ended issues as to how the money is spent.

Michele Danzis, Highland Lakes, questioned if the Ordinance placed on the November ballot is to determine if the voters will consent to the money used for other projects. The Township Attorney Lawrence Cohen said the Ordinance placed as referendum on the November ballot is to determine if the majority of the residents want to expand the use of monies. Currently, the money Is used for purchase of Open Space, conservation purposes, and Farmland Preservation and for maintenance only, not to develop any lands. If the Ordinance is passed by the voters in November, then the Open Space and Recreational Committee can make recommendations to use the money for purposes other than Conservation or Farmland Preservation.

Steven Wanczowski, Vernon Resident, commented he is involved with the Vernon Skate Park Organization. He questioned if Ordinance #10-18 is modified for recreational purposes and could the money be used to assist the Vernon Skate Park Memorial Organization, which is a non-profit organization. The Township Attorney Lawrence Cohen said the money would be available for that purpose; however, it is up to the Township Council to agree upon how that money is used.

Janelle Pasafaro, Vernon, commented she is a co-founder of the anti-heroin movement, known as On Board. Heroin use is on the rise and many teenagers have died this year from using it. Vernon needs to do whatever it takes to keep drugs out of the community.

Mary Bradley, Board of Recreation, read a letter from the Recreation Board opposing Ordinance #10-18, and the Bylaws set forth by the Township Council. She stated that the proposed Ordinance jeopardizes the future of the Board of Recreation. Ms. Bradley asked that the Ordinance be tabled until all Commissions and Boards have completed their deliberations. Ordinance #10-18 incorrectly lists that there is one member from the Recreation Commission; Ms. Bradley further stated there is a Board of Recreation not Commission.

Dorothy LeFavre, Pleasant Valley Lake, asked if the State Statutes allows the Township to amend the previous Ordinance for Open Space Funds. The Township Attorney commented that the Council has the right to adopt an Ordinance to place it on the ballot for referendum. Ms. LeFavre asked that the Township Council be objective when considering this Ordinance and let the taxpayers decide how the money should be spent.

Adam Paladini, Board of Recreation, asked what steps the Township Council takes to modify an Ordinance. The Township Attorney Lawrence Cohen commented the Ordinance has a two-step process by introduction, public notice, date set for public hearing, and adoption by majority vote. Mr. Paladini asked if all aspects and parameters written in the ordinance are legal and consistent with the Local and State Tax Laws. The Township Attorney commented this drafted Ordinance is in accordance with State Law permitting it to go to referendum on the November ballot. Mr. Paladini asked if the funds distributed for Open Space is the taxpayer’s money. Mr. Cohen stated the previous ordinance was to allow a certain portion of the tax dollars be used for Open Space. Mr. Paladini asked if the taxpayers’ money will be spent on the list of items set forth by Mr. Shortway. Mayor Sally Rinker said the list of items set forth by Mr. Shortway is a hypothetical list of potential possibilities.

Bill Benneyan, Representative of Mountain Creek and Crystal Springs, commented the Greenway Zone, Multi use areas, and Bike Path needs to connect with the community’s services, and recreation areas, including Skate Parks. The representatives of Mountain Creek and Crystal Springs are ready to participate with time and planning, to see that all involved achieve this objective. Mountain Creek supports the construction of a new Township skate park. It is a huge project, and they are willing to work along with the Skate Park Coalition and Township to make it happen.

Carol Gunn Kadish, Vernon, asked if taxpayer funds will be used to purchase land, to build structures, or make improvements for a non-profit organization existing in Vernon Township. The Township Attorney Lawrence Cohen commented Taxpayers money could not be used towards a non-profit skateboard organization. In the event the voters agree to this Ordinance, the money from the Open Space Trust Fund could be used to build a skate park, because it would be for recreational purposes. He further explained volunteer firefighters and/or rescue ambulance squads can be financially supported by the taxes raised.

Jessi Paladini thanked Carol Kadish for asking the question if taxpayers dollars could be given to a non-profit organization for a skate park. Ms. Paladini commented she supports whole-heartedly having a skate park in Vernon. The Skate Park Coalition group is misled into believing that the Ordinance will pass to build a skate park. She said it is illegal to spend taxpayers money on non-profit organizations.

Brian Lynch, Barry Lakes, agreed that taxpayer money should be used towards something where everyone can get pleasure. It cannot be used towards non-profit organizations. The code does not reflect that the purchase of Open Space be eliminated.

Kevin Whitehead, owner of business in town, commented that this Ordinance should not be passed at this time.

Patrick Tyler, Trustee for the Vernon Skate Park Organization, suggested that the current Open Space proposal is to keep a percentage for the farms, $800,000 for the purchase of Open Space land, and to allocate some of the money towards recreational projects. He commented the Ordinance should be more specific as to how the money could be spent.

Tom McClachrie, Vernon Tax Payer’s Association, commented the Taxpayer’s Association does not support the proposed Open Space Ordinance. The residents have been paying out this tax since 2000 as well as the $10 million spent for recreation. The Council has to decide what the cost services will be for land use, greenway, and recreation infrastructures. Property taxes have increased in the last two years. Mr. McClachrie stated that there are people in this town who are losing their homes, jobs, and getting their work hours cut. The Township has spent millions of dollars on risky projects but never disclosed them to the taxpayers. He said the taxpayers put their trust in the Council and now demands their honesty.

Robert Oliver, Sand Hill Road, commented Ordinance #10-18 necessitates further input from different Boards and Commissions.

Jamie Rickey, Vernon, asked if there are any percentages of farmland tied to the Open Space Fund. The Township Attorney Lawrence Cohen said no. Mr. Rickey asked if any money has been spent on Farmland Preservation. Craig Williams explained that Sussex County has established a Farmland Preservation Fund. The Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders allocated 10% of the Trust to Open Space preservation, and 90% to farmland preservation. The 10% (currently $200,000) of the Trust dedicated to open space preservation distributed is through a competitive grant program open only to Sussex County and the other municipalities in Sussex County.

Elaine Miranda, Highland Lakes, asked the Council to take into consideration amending the Open Space referendum because it is a betrayal of her vote and trust.

Bonnie Ruben, Highland Lakes, commented there was a hiring freeze when the previous Township Manager, Melinda Carlton, hired Brian Palaia. Ms. Ruben said the money received by the State of New Jersey for $292,000 for the Watershed Aid; and with the hiring freeze the Township would have saved an additional savings of $100,000 if a Deputy Manager was not hired. These monies would balance the budget gap of $500,000 and lower the increase of taxes. The Township should reinstate the hiring freeze and eliminate the Deputy Manager position.

John Curry, Glenwood, thanked the Council for having the public address system fixed in the meeting room. Mr. Curry said the public needs to hear what is being said at the meetings.

Ann Rovector, commented that the youth need involvement to eliminate boredom. They are asking adults to what types of activities they can get involved.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti, read into the record why the Vernon residents should elect a Mayor. She asked the Township Council to pass an Ordinance, which will give the residents the right to elect their Mayor.

Phyllis MacPeek, Vernon, commented Vernon Township has licensed over 5,400 dogs in 2009, and to feed and medicate these animals it cost $6.30 per day. The Animal Shelter’s budget allows $950 annually for veterinarian care. Ms. MacPeek thanked the Hamburg Veterinarian and Vernon Veterinarian Clinics who have donated many items to the Vernon Animal Shelter. In addition, she thanked the Vernon Animal Welfare League, for over 35 years, has offered clinic services with the low-cost of spaying and neutering for animals whose owners are on a limited income. The League contributes to the community and ensures the quality of life for the animals.

Gerry Levy, Curtis Drive, commented that the Municipal Government Officials have unilaterally and arbitrarily reduced snow removal funds for private communities received in previous years. These funds were to assist the private community residents eliminating double payment for these services. Being eliminated it became a burden and hardship for all twelve private communities. The residents residing in the private communities have to face an increase in their association dues, because the Township reneged on a policy that has been in effect for many years under the Kelly Law. Mr. Levy urged the Township Council Members and Township Manager seriously reconsider by reinstating the difficulty factor of snow removal for 2009 and subsequent years, as well.

Gary Martinsen, Vernon, commented he does not feel the Open Space Ordinance is ready for referendum. The Township Council appointed people to sit on the different Boards and Commissions to perform the various roles for that specific board. However, not given the opportunity to give their input is disrespectful. Mr. Martinsen asked if the Sign Ordinance was discussed with different businesses in the township, and did they provide their feedback. Council Member Valerie Seufert commented she has worked with the Sign Committee, and the Committee promised to bring it back to the businesses to receive their input. Council Member Seufert asked the Council to table this Ordinance until September.

Trudy Casper, Vernon, commented the people at the rally were happy to see that Mayor Sally Rinker is in favor of the Skate Board Park.

Dennis Miranda, Chairman of Environmental Commission, commented the Environmental Commission approved an Open Space Plan where they conducted mailings to prospective landowners in the Four-Season Greenway to see if the landowners would be willing to sell their land for preservation. The Environmental Commission has also conducted a Vernon Destination Speaker Bureaus where the meetings are opened to the public for question and answer. In addition, the Commission will be improving the community by helping to create a green infrastructure, spearheading environmental education, and helping residents to understand the value of a pleasant, healthy, and beautiful place to live. The Open Space Plan is a component of Vernon’s Master Plan providing benefits for implementation of the four-season greenway to the community. The goal implementing an internal open space network includes bicycle paths, pedestrian access from Warwick, New York to Hamburg, New Jersey. The Environmental Commission is working to achieving these goals, and without the partnership of the Township Council it cannot be done.

Seeing no one else from the public wishing to speak, Mayor Rinker closed the public portion of the meeting.

First Reading on Proposed Ordinances

Ordinance #10-18: An ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex County, State of New Jersey, regarding authorizing a referendum to modify the ordinance restricting expenditures from the Open Space Trust Fund

Mayor Sally Rinker read Ordinance #10-18 by title only.

Council Member Michael Pier made a motion to approve Ordinance #10-18. Seconded by Council Member Valerie Seufert.

Council Member Harry Shortway commented, via telephone, the purpose of this Ordinance is to expand the purposes for which Vernon could spend its open space funds and re-establish an Open Space Committee.

Council Member Michael Pier commented the original Ordinance #00-16 was dedicated to Farmland Preservation and Preservation of Open Space, with an advisory committee, for selecting and purchasing properties. The goals for Preservation of Open Space are for hiking, bicycling, paddling, cross country skiing, fishing, and recreational pursuits. Council Member Pier stated additional hiking trails are needed because the current trails (namely, Appalachian Trails) are heavily traveled and becoming damaged. Township Attorney Lawrence Cohen stated the 2000 adopted Ordinance allows the money to be used for dedicated Farmland Preservation and to preserve the Open Space. The money is not to be used for constructing bike paths or anything of that nature. Mr. Cohen further stated this Ordinance leaves a loophole as to whether or not a piece of property purchased from the Open Space fund could improve bike paths. Mayor Rinker commented that Vernon Township was obligated to have an Open Space and Recreation Committee as stated in the Ordinance if the Open Space Tax exists. Council Member Valerie Seufert commented the Open Space Committee was formed when the voters approved the Open Space Tax. Council Member Pier said Ordinance 10-18 allows the Council to follow the Master Plan to moving forward with bike trails and bringing in tourists. There is a 20-acre tract being appraised at the request of the Township for open space and passive recreation. He said the committee would oversee the use of the funds where a dog park and skate park could be in place. Council Member Pier said there was no promise of property made to Steve Wanczowski.

Council Member Valerie Seufert commented the taxpayers should decide what the funds should be used for. The Township Council would have to decide if the money can be spent. Any item placed for referendum has to be in by August or wait until the following year unless the Township has a special election, which could be a costly factor.

Council Member Richard Carson commented it is a difficult decision to make regarding this Ordinance. He read the six points to this Ordinance. First, there has been no purchase of farmland or open space. Second, the voters said they defeated the subsequent Open Space Tax referendums #06-26 & 07-18 because the township was not purchasing Open Space with the money it already had. Third, the proposed ordinance is misleading since there is nothing to modify to be in line with the State Statute. Fourth, the Open Space Recreation Farmland and Historic Preservation law is clear and was quoted earlier in the presentation. Fifth, the Ordinance will provide hiring more staff to maintain the fields. This would result in more taxpayer expenses for lighting, electricity, maintenance, etc. Sixth, an item overlooked on this Ordinance referenced the point of eminent domain.

Mayor Rinker commented the Ordinance does not contain enough facts without definitive parameters, and what the voters are voting on. She said that Ordinance #10-18 introduced tonight to modify Ordinance #10-16 is a very curious attempt to overturn the binding referendum. Mayor Rinker commented the majority of the voters already voted on the original Ordinance regarding the use of the Open Space Funds. She is not in favor of referendums to overturn referendums. Mayor Rinker commented that she and Dennis Miranda, Chair of the Environmental Commission, met with the Hardyston Township Council last month where Mr. Miranda appealed to the Manager and Council to join Vernon by approving a resolution for the scenic by-way. The Hardyston Council and Manager were pleased and eager to join hands with Vernon and agreed to approve the resolution. They were excited and stated how great it would be to combine the two towns by walkways, bike paths, and the scenic by-way. Mayor Rinker stated that this Ordinance had no proper time for inquiries, discussion, investigation, and information felt she could not support it as an elected official. This Ordinance should have involved all committees to obtain their input.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway
Nays: Richard Carson, Sally Rinker
Abstain: None

Mayor Sally Rinker stated Council Member Harry Shortway ended his participation by phone call at the meeting at 9:35 p.m.

A short recess was held at this time.

Resolutions Requiring Separate Action

Resolution #10-161: 2009 Annual Audit

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:5-4 requires the governing body of every local unit to have made an annual audit of its books, accounts and financial transactions, and

WHEREAS, the Annual Report of Audit for the year 2009 has been filed by a Registered Municipal Accountant with the Municipal Clerk pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:5-6, and a copy has been received by each member of the governing body; and

WHEREAS, R.S. 52:27BB-34 authorizes the Local Finance Board of the State of New Jersey to prescribe reports pertaining to the local fiscal affairs; and

WHEREAS, the Local Finance Board has promulgated N.J.A.C. 5:30-6.5, a regulation requiring that the governing body of each municipality shall, by resolution, certify to the Local Finance Board of the State of New Jersey that all members of the governing body have reviewed, as a minimum, the sections of the annual audit entitled “Comments and Recommendations”; and

WHEREAS, the members of the governing body have personally reviewed, as a minimum, the Annual Report of Audit, and specifically the sections of the Annual Audit entitled “Comments and Recommendations,” as evidenced by the group affidavit form of the governing body attached hereto; and

WHEREAS, such resolution of certification shall be adopted by the Governing Body no later than forty-five days after the receipt of the annual audit, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:30-6.5; and

WHEREAS, all members of the governing body have received and have familiarized themselves with, at least, the minimum requirements of the Local Finance Board of the State of New Jersey, as stated aforesaid and have subscribed to the affidavit, as provided by the Local Finance Board; and

WHEREAS, failure to comply with the regulations of the Local Finance Board of the State of New Jersey may subject the members of the local governing body to the penalty provisions of R.S. 52:27BB-52, to wit:

R.S. 52:27BB-52: A local officer or member of a local governing body who, after date fixed for compliance, fails or refuses to obey an order of the director (Director of Local Government Services), under the provisions of this Article, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both, in addition shall forfeit his office.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, hereby states that is has complied with N.J.A.C. 5:30-6.5 and does hereby submit a certified copy of this resolution and the required affidavit to said Board to show evidence of said compliance.

Moved: Richard Carson
Seconded: Valerie Seufert

Mr. Bud Jones, Auditor for Vernon Township, of the firm Nisivoccia and Company, LLP was available to answer any questions.

Council Member Richard Carson asked if improvements were made to the comments and recommendations in the annual audit since they appeared to be a replicate of last years. Mr. Jones said the report was presented in September of last year, which did not give ample time to resolve those recommendations; and he is hopeful that all recommendations will be resolved this year.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-161 was approved.

Presentation

Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program

Marcia Lynn, retired from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, commented she has worked at the September 11 cleanup; and with hazardous waste and noise pollution. Both she and Hal Pugach, Executive Director of Camp Louemma, want to convert the 160-acre property into a viable eco-friendly green campus. Vernon Township High School does not have a pool of their own for their students who are involved in the swimming program. Mr. Pugach has graciously agreed to allow the students to use Camp Louemma’s pool all year long providing the high school pays the insurance. Ms. Lynn stated she learned that the high school pays over a million dollars annually for utilities. The Township and Taxpayers would save millions of dollars annually by installing solar panels that is unobtrusive and environmentally friendly. Ms. Lynn and Mr. Pugach are willing to work with the Township, from the money saved, to provide a skateboard park and other recreational facilities for young adults and children. Ms. Lynn said that they are applying for a federal grant to redo and enclose the pool.

Hal Pugach, Executor of Camp Louemma, stated the camp is a non-profit 501c3 organization that has a long affiliation with Vernon Township. Next year the camp celebrates their 75th anniversary in Vernon. The Camp serves to under-privileged population. There are Federal Sustainable Grants available, which require collaboration between Townships, Communities, and Non-Profit Organizations. Mr. Pugach stated he is willing to collaborate with the Township toward constructing several facilities that would help Camp Louemma as well as the citizens of Vernon Township. There is a need for an Olympic size swimming pool. Right now, Vernon High School students have to travel to Sussex Vocational Technical School or another facility for their swim team. Camp Louemma is in the process over the next year or two to replace the pool. In doing so, they would like to collaborate with the Township possibly build a winterized facility where the students and residents can use year round, and the campers use seasonally. Mr. Pugach asked that Camp Louemma and the Township work together to obtain a sustainable community grant so everyone comes out a “winner.”

Mayor Rinker said that he contact Township Manager Andrew Katz to discuss this further.

Approval of Minutes

June 24, 2010 Regular Meeting Minutes

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Richard Carson

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Abstain: Michael Pier

June 24, 2010 Executive Session Minutes

Mayor Sally Rinker motioned to table the June 24, 2010 Executive Session minutes to the next Council Meeting; seconded by Council Member Valerie Seufert.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Abstain: Michael Pier

Resolutions Requiring Separate Action

Resolution #10-158: Authorizing the Approval of Bills List

BE IT RESOLVED that the following bills listed are hereby approved:

Disbursement
Journal
FundAmountMajor Vendor
#1Current$1,019,621.30Vernon BOE
#2Current$4,529.94 
#3Current$1,053,353.64Vernon BOE
#4Grant$2,155.63 
#5Capital$236,000.00Transfer of Funds
#6Recreation$3,575.00 
#7Outside Services$6,056.07 
#8Other Trust$8,255.94 
#9Other Trust$209.19 
#10Sewer Operating$363.47 
#11PVL Dam Assmt$70,817.15Print & Int
#12PVL Dam Assmt$2,453.21 
#13Dog Trust$21,657.72 
#14Dog Trust$80,000.00Transfer of Funds
 Payroll$311,732.031st Pay in July
 Total$2,820,780.29 

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Richard Carson

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-158 was approved.

Resolution #10-159: Authorizing the Township to Reimburse Black Creek Sanctuary Condominium Association, a Qualified Private Community, for Certain Road Services, as Defined by N.J.S.A.40:67-23.2, for the Year 2009 in the Amount of $4,303.01

WHEREAS, the Black Creek Sanctuary Condominium Association is a qualified community pursuant to the definitions established in N.J.S.A. 40:67-23.2 (e), in which there exists private roads; and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40:67-23.3 requires the Township to provide for or reimburse the Community for certain services as the Township provides on public streets and roads; and

WHEREAS, the Director of Public Works has calculated the reimbursement cost for this Community to be $4,303.01 for the year 2009 which the Community has agreed to per the attached executed letter dated June 23, 2010;

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified the availability of funds for said purpose.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey that the reimbursement be approved to reimburse Black Creek Sanctuary Condominium Association for the year 2009 in the amount of $4,303.01 per N.J.S.A. 40:67-23.3; and

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

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Michael Pier

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-159 was approved.

Resolution #10-160: Authorizing the Township to Reimburse Lake Pochung Outing Association, a Qualified Private Community, for Certain Road Services, as Defined by N.J.S.A.40:67-23.2, for the Year 2009 in the Amount of $10,757.53

WHEREAS, the Lake Pochung Outing Association is a qualified community pursuant to the definitions established in N.J.S.A. 40:67-23.2 (e), in which there exists private roads; and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40:67-23.3 requires the Township to provide for or reimburse the Community for certain services as the Township provides on public streets and roads; and

WHEREAS, the Director of Public Works has calculated the reimbursement cost for this Community to be $10,757.53 for the year 2009 which the Community has agreed to per the attached executed letter dated June 23, 2010;

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified the availability of funds for said purpose.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey that the reimbursement be approved to reimburse Lake Pochung Outing Association for the year 2009 in the amount of $10,757.53 per N.J.S.A. 40:67-23.3; and

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

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Michael Pier

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-160 was approved.

Resolution #10-162: Authorizing Placement of Temporary Signage

WHEREAS, Christ Community Church in Highland Lakes, New Jersey has requested permission from the Township Council to place temporary signage across Breakneck Road from the church property and a residential property for the Vacation Bible School to be held August 16 - 20, 2010;

WHEREAS, approval has been received from the property owner, Ms. Laura Branigan;

WHEREAS, the temporary signage requested to be displayed will be one (1) banner displayed measuring 3’ by 18’ from July 23, 2010 - August 16, 2010.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, that Christ Community Church in Highland Lakes, New Jersey is granted permission to place temporary signage, as described above, across Breakneck Road, from July 23, 2010 - August 16, 2010, in association with the Church’s Vacation Bible School event to be held August 16 - 20, 2010.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that any and all signage placed pursuant to this Resolution shall be removed on the day following the event.

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Richard Carson

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-162 was approved.

Resolution #10-163: Authorizing the Township Manager to Submit an Application and Execute an Agreement and Any Amendment Thereto with the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Green Acres Program, for the Stanhill Conservation Project, Block 141 Lot 16

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Green Acres Program (“State”), provides loans and/or grants to municipal and county governments to nonprofit organizations for assistance in the acquisition and development of lands for outdoor recreation and conservation purposes; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon desires to further the public interest by obtaining funding in the amount of $125,000 from the State to fund the following project: Stanhill Conservation, Block 141 Lot 16, at a cost of $500,000; and

NOW, THEREFORE, the governing body resolves that Andrew Katz or the successor to the office of the Township Manager is hereby authorized to:

(a) Make application for such a loan and/or such a grant,

(b) Provide additional application information and furnish such documents as may be required, and

(c) Act as the authorized correspondent of the above name applicant; and

WHEREAS, the State shall determine if the application is complete and in conformance with the scope and intent of the Green Acres Program, and notify the applicant of the amount of the funding award; and

WHEREAS, the applicant is willing to use the State’s funds in accordance with such rules, regulations and applicable statues, and is willing to enter into an agreement with the State for the above named project;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Township Council,

  1. That the Manager of the above named body is hereby authorized to execute an agreement and any amendment thereto with the State know as Stanhill Conservation;
  2. That the applicant has its matching share of the project, if a match is required, in the amount of $375,000;
  3. That, in the event the State’s funds are less than the total project cost specified above, the applicant has the balance of funding necessary to complete the project;
  4. That the applicant agrees to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations in its performance of the project; and
  5. That this resolution shall take effect immediately.

Moved: Richard Carson
Seconded: Valerie Seufert

Council Member Valerie Seufert asked if the appraisal was completed. Township Manager Andrew Katz said that it was and he has the appraisal report. Council Member Seufert asked if the Council could receive a copy of the appraisal; she also asked how Vernon arrived at the amount of $500,000. Dennis Miranda commented that is the maximum amount the Township is applying for the project. The Township is applying for a grant of $125,000. and the cost of the property is $500,000. where the remaining balance from the Township’s funds is $375,000. The Township is seeking funds from the County grant to reduce the cost.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-163 was approved.

First Reading on Proposed Ordinances

Ordinance #10-17: An ordinance modifying the code of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey regarding signs

Mayor Sally Rinker read Ordinance #10-17 by title only.

Council Member Valerie Seufert asked the Council to table this Ordinance until September. She said that the Sign Committee has not had the opportunity to review the ordinance with the Township Manager, Township Attorney, and with the business owners.

Motion: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Sally Rinker

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Public Hearing and Adoption of Proposed Ordinances

Ordinance #10-11: An ordinance granting a franchise expansion and permission for United Water Vernon Sewage Inc. and United Water Great Gorge Inc., to lay their sewer pipes beneath such public roads, streets and alleys as may be necessary for their corporate purposes and to construct and maintain sewer pipes and manholes on and along public streets in the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey

Mayor Rinker read Ordinance #10-11 by title only. First reading was held on June 24, 2010.

Council Member Valerie Seufert made a motion to approve Ordinance #10-11. Seconded by Council Member Richard Carson.

Mayor Rinker opened the meeting for public hearing on this ordinance.

Gary Martinsen, Vernon, asked Mayor Rinker if she owns property where it has connection to the sewer system. Mayor Rinker said she did not. Mr. Martinsen stated the list he has contains the blocks and lots indicating properties connected to the water system. Council Member Seufert recused herself since her employer owns property on Church Street. Township Attorney Lawrence Cohen commented this Ordinance is to grant franchise to extend the water and sewer lines. Mayor Rinker stated none of her properties are listed in this Ordinance.

Mr. Martinsen stated this Ordinance should go to referendum because it will have a large impact to the residents. The project could cost the township $2.2 million, if not more. He stated the performance measure on this project has to prove Return on Investment (ROI), and if it does not have a positive ROI than it will fall upon the taxpayers who will have to subsidize that money until all customers are connected to the system.

Thomas McClachrie, Vernon Taxpayers Association, stated any project costing over $500,000. in debt for one year should go to referendum. The Vernon Taxpayers Association is against this $500,000. debt.

There being no other comments from the public, the Mayor closed the public hearing.

Council Member Michael Pier stated he resides in the condominiums and uncertain if his property is affected by this Ordinance. Council Member Valerie Seufert recused herself since her employer has property located on Church Street.

Council Member Richard Carson made a motion to table this Ordinance for further discussion, which was seconded by Mayor Rinker.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Abstain: Valerie Seufert

The Township Attorney commented this Ordinance will be tabled and does not have to be placed back on the agenda. The Ordinance does not have to be reopened for public hearing unless there is new information and the Council could reopen it for public hearing, if so desired.

Ordinance #10-12: An ordinance amending the Township of Vernon salary ordinance to add salary ranges for the new title of confidential administrative assistant to the township manager

Mayor Rinker read Ordinance #10-12 by title only. First reading was held on June 24, 2010.

Council Member Richard Carson made a motion to approve Ordinance #10-12. Seconded by Council Member Valerie Seufert.

Council Member Valerie Seufert asked why the Ordinance states salary ranges when it is a specific amount. Township Attorney Lawrence Cohen commented a salary sets forth the salary range established by the employer. The actual salary set is by resolution.

Mayor Sally Rinker opened the meeting for public hearing on this ordinance.

Robert Oliver asked if the township has salary ranges for different positions. If not, why not. Township Manager Andrew Katz commented Vernon does not have salary ranges only Collective Bargaining Units. Mr. Oliver asked if Vernon Township would consider salary ranges for all non-collective bargaining employees.

Bonnie Rubin, Highland Lakes, asked what is a Confidential Administrative Assistant, and when did the Township Council determine this new title. The Township Manager stated he was not part of the process, but there is a position within the Manager’s Office to have a Confidential Administrative Assistant. Civil Service conducted the desk audit where they recommended that there be a Confidential Administrative Assistant. Ms. Rubin asked if there is an employee in the office that fits this position. Mr. Katz said yes, and this will result in a reclassification of the employee.

Thomas McClachrie, Vernon Taxpayers Association, commented it is understandable for a desk audit to achieve a higher pay raise. At this juncture, the Township cannot afford to pay non-contractual employees pay raises. He said both the Police and the Contractual Municipal Employees have to negotiate a new contract, and set the standard of not giving employees pay raises. Secondly, later in the year professionals and non-contractual employees will request pay raises. The Vernon Taxpayers Association asked that this position be excluded.

There being no other comments from the public, the Mayor closed the public hearing.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Ordinance #10-13: An ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, amending Chapter 250 of the code of the Township of Vernon regarding liquor license fees

Mayor Sally Rinker read Ordinance #10-13 by title only. First reading was held June 24, 2010.

Council Member Valerie Seufert made a motion to approve Ordinance #10-13. Seconded by Council Member Richard Carson.

Mayor Rinker opened the meeting for public hearing on this ordinance.

Thomas McClachrie, Vernon Taxpayers Association, commented in the last five years there have been higher fees for electrical inspections, deck installations, driveway cuts, and liquor licenses have never been increased. He thanked the Council for the increases.

There being no other comments from the public, the Mayor closed the public hearing.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Adjournment

There being no further items of business to be conducted on the Regular Meeting agenda, a motion for Adjournment was made by Council Member Richard Carson. Motion seconded by Council Member Valerie Seufert with all members voting in favor, no one opposed.

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Andrea Bates
Acting Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: October 14, 2010