Minutes: July 22, 2019

The regular meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:00 p.m. on July 22, 2019 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Jean Murphy presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 3, 2019 and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Roll Call

Present were Council Members Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger and Council President Murphy, Business Administrator Charles Voelker and Municipal Clerk Lauren Kirkman.

Executive Session

Municipal Clerk Kirkman read the Resolution for the Council to enter Executive Session.

Resolution to Go into Executive Session

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

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

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

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

2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is:

a. Litigation

3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to go into Executive Session at 6:02 p.m.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members of the Council were in favor.
Motion carried to enter Executive Session.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the Executive Session and reconvene the Regular Meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Patrick Curreri
All members of the Council were in favor.

The regular meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on July 22, 2019 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Jean Murphy presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 3, 2019 and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Roll Call

Present were Council Members Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger and Council President Murphy, Business Administrator Charles Voelker, and Township Attorney Josh Zielinski.

Salute to the Flag

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

Promotions and Swearing In of New Police Officers

Police Chief Young commented that his command staff of Captain Kimkowski, Lieutenant Fischer, Lieutenant Haw and himself are all Vernon Township High School graduates as well as a majority of officers.

Police Chief Young announced that Detective Shaun Fitzgerald has been promoted to the position of Sergeant of the Vernon Police Department. He added he was a Narcotic Investigative Officer, Detective since 2012, PBA President for ten years, and first Humane Officer for Vernon Township. Mayor Shortway administered the Oath of Office to Sergeant Fitzgerald who came forward with his family.

Police Chief Young announced that Jake Costello has been hired to the Vernon Police Department as a Patrol Officer. He has a Criminal Justice degree from Seton Hall University, is a member of the NJ National Guard and previously worked as a Sussex County Corrections Officer and in the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office. Mayor Shortway administered the Oath of Office to Patrolman Costello who came forward with his family.

Police Chief Young announced that Joseph Roccasanta has been hired to the Vernon Police Department as a Patrol Officer. He has a Criminal Justice degree from William Paterson University and previously worked as a Sussex County Corrections Officer and in the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office. Mayor Shortway administered the Oath of Office to Patrolman Roccasanta who came forward with his family.

Police Chief Young commented the Police Department recently held successful community events: Coffee with a Cop and Ice Cream with a Cop and announced the upcoming Vernon Night Out on August 7, 2019 at Maple Grange Park.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to take a brief recess at 7:12 p.m.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members of the Council were in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to return to meeting at 7:17 p.m.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members of the Council were in favor.

Public Comments (On Current Agenda Items Only)

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

Christa Geary, Vernon, commented she did further research on possibility of health concerns from turf fields recently mentioned at meetings. She stated studies noted concerns that rubber material contains chemicals and petroleum products which are linked to life threatening illnesses. She added asbestos is normally not used in the manufacturing of tires, but fibers may exist in the recycled material. Ms. Geary explained studies are limited and costly and the EPA reports failed to measure the concentration of chemicals which are known to vaporize during the summer heat but continues the research. Ms. Geary noted reports that breathing vapors and skin contacts have been connected to cancer in humans and cause breathing hazards in children. She added that athletes could face skin abrasions which could lead to infections or serious health concerns. Ms. Geary stated that children are growing up in an ever increasing toxic environment and everyone’s number one priority should be to keep them safe. She opined that politics can be ugly and criticism against Council Members will not solve any issues this town faces. Ms. Geary quoted, “A house divided is doomed to fail unless some concessions are made.”

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

Minutes

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of June 24, 2019.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Sandra Ooms

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of June 24, 2019.

Items for Discussion

a. Ordinance 7-12: An Ordinance Amending §250-9 of the Vernon Township Administrative Code

Council President Murphy explained the item for discussion is an amendment to the Administrative Code regarding increasing fees as recommended by Administration for field use.

Mayor Shortway recused himself from the discussion and left the meeting due to a potential conflict.

Council Member Ooms questioned the difference between the $75.00 charge and the $25.00 charge for Vernon residents. Council President Murphy asked Recreation Supervisor Mishelle Downtain to come forward to explain fees. Ms. Downtain explained $75.00 is charged to not non-profit organized groups and $25.00 is charged to Vernon residents/families who wish to rent the field space for family fun. She added the Ordinance was written in 2007 and can be revised to be better defined when these amendments are added. Council Member Ooms asked if $25 increase is enough. Ms. Downtain explained Vernon needs to be competitive with nearby towns and noted that that average rentals/year range between $8,000 - $13,000 with 2015 being highest at $21,000. Ms. Downtain added Vernon organizations do not get charged and the fields are primarily rented seven days a week from March into November.

Council President Murphy stated the Vernon will never recoup all the funds needed to replace the fields in ten years, but an increase will keep in line with other towns. She suggested to have the proposed Ordinance on the next agenda for Introduction.

Consent Agenda

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Resolutions #19-157 through #19-159.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark VanTassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion passed to adopt Resolutions #19-157 through #19-159.

Resolution #19-157: Refund for Exempt Property (Block 337 Lot 8—Police & Firemen’s Retirement System)

WHEREAS, certain properties were deemed exempt as of January 1, 2019

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 & 2nd quarter 2019 property tax in the amount of $3,451.08 to NJHMFA.

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

Resolution #19-158: Approval to Submit a Grant Application and Execute a Grant Contract with the New Jersey Department of Transportation for the Breakneck Road—Phase II 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-2020-Breakneck Road - Phase II Improvemen-00494 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.

Certified as a true copy of the Resolution adopted by the Township Council on this 22nd day of July, 2019.

Resolution #19-159: Supporting Designating the “Franklinite” as the Official Mineral of New Jersey

WHEREAS, Bill No. S-1959/A-3594 supplementing chapter 9A of Title 52 of the Revised Statutes, designates “Franklinite” as the official mineral of the State of New Jersey is being considered for adoption by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, New Jersey has a long history of mineral mining, including two world-famous zinc mines in Sussex County, at Franklin and at Ogdensburg; and

WHEREAS, in 1968, New Jersey passed a resolution declaring the Borough of Franklin the “Fluorescent Mineral Capital of the World.”

WHEREAS, in order to pay recognition to the scientific, economic, and historic importance of Franklinite, it is fitting and appropriate to designate Franklinite as the official mineral of the State of New Jersey.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, hereby supports Bill No. S-1959/A-3594 designating “Franklinite” as the official mineral of the State of New Jersey and urges the Legislature to approve and pass the bill for the reason expressed herein.

Public Hearing/2nd Reading of Ordinances

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #19-07 by Title.

Ordinance #19-07: Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending and Supplementing Chapter 99 of the Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Vehicles and Traffic”

Council President Murphy announced Ordinance #19-07 public hearing needs to be tabled because further approval is needed from Sussex County.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to Table the public hearing for Ordinance #19-07 to September 9, 2019.
Moved: Sandra Ooms
Second: Patrick Curreri

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion passed to table Ordinance #19-07 to September 9, 2019.

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #19-15 by title.

Ordinance #19-15: Bond Ordinance Providing for the Installation of Turf Fields at Maple Grange Park in and by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey, Appropriating $872,750 Therefor and Authorizing the Issuance of $692,750 Bonds or Notes of the Township for Financing Such Appropriation

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open public hearing for Ordinance #19-15.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members were in favor.

Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close public hearing for Ordinance #19-15.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members were in favor.

Council Member Curreri commented the reason the toxicity issue was discussed was to increase awareness but noted he does not think the health risks are reason enough not to install the turf which was confirmed by the Township Engineer’s report. He explained timeline of information about the replacement of the Maple Grange Fields:

March 11, 2019 - his first meeting on the Council with assumption fields had to be replaced
April 15, 2019 - Council told if not approved now, fields would not be installed for at least four more months
April 23, 2019 - Council received initial G-Max tests done of fields
May 10, 2019 - Council received the remainder of G-Max tests, letter from Cory Stoner, Twp. Eng. which only contained minimal information about $1,000,000 project
May 30, 2019 - Council told by other Engineer from Pellow & Associates that fields needed to be replaced
June 7, 2019 - Council received ledger and shared services agreement for history of fields
June 24, 2019 - Council voted to introduce Ordinance pending receipt of answers to posed questions
June 18, 2019 - Council received answers as requested

Council Member Curreri thanked Council President Murphy and Council Member Ooms for slowing down the decision process to thoroughly review the information needed. He opined that the 37 page report received on July 18, 2019 by Mr. Stoner does reflect the need to replace the fields. He added it is disappointing that this project should have brought the community together but instead the Council was demonized for asking questions and issue was politicized. He added the recall effort of the Council President saying she did not care about the children’s safety was far from the truth. Council Member Curreri sated his support for the Ordinance noted he has reservations of the process and questioned other Council members what they have heard from our residents.

Council President Murphy thanked Council Member Curreri for bringing the issues forward. Council President Murphy expressed concern over the disconnect between the request for the information and the information received as well as the time it took to receive same. Council President Murphy stated she understands now the concerns of the Township Engineer that the G-Max test results are not the only criteria to follow. She noted that the Engineer reported that in the United States there are up to 13,000 synthetic turf fields which isn’t a high number since Vernon has four in our town alone. Council President Murphy expressed her disappointment with the Mayor for not providing all the necessary information in March. Council President Murphy indicated it should not have been an issue for the Council to get the information they requested. Council President Murphy noted this was politically motivated and turned the issue into a mudslinging embarrassment.

Council President Murphy proposed an idea for the future as there is going to be another field that needs replacement in two years. Council President Murphy asked the Council if they were in agreement to creating an Ordinance to add question on the November ballot to dedicate a 1/2 cent per $100 of assessed value annually for Recreation or future field replacement, so the residents are able to vote on the issue. Council President Murphy noted that it would ensure money going to a recreation fund for the future. Council President Murphy indicated there was a need to act on this quickly and schedule a special meeting as the deadline for submission of the question to the ballot she believed was August 27, 2019. Council President Murphy asked the Township Attorney if an ordinance could be introduced this evening to provide for a dedicated fund for the future. Council President Murphy noted this was not tied to this field but was for the future for a fund if it should pass the public gets to speak.

Council Member Curreri questioned what the estimated amount to be collected is. Council President Murphy stated amount would be based on Revaluation assessed values which has not yet been determined. Council Member Auberger stated the tax needs to be a dedicated fund. Council President Murphy noted it could be specific. Council President Murphy noted other proposals include a 510c3 through Economic Development. Council President Murphy stated that installation of a Pump Track was an idea of Dan Kraus, whom she referred him to economic development. Council President Murphy noted the EDAC is working on the bandshell/amphitheater. Council President Murphy indicated the money could be used for a pump track. Council Member Van Tassel added it cannot hurt to put question on the ballot for residents to decide. Council Member Ooms explained the average house would pay approximately $12.00/year for the ballot question plus $8.00/year for Ordinance #19-15 plus upcoming football and school turf fields totaling almost $30/household for turf fields.

Council Member Van Tassel asked would it be just for fields or for recreation in general. Council President Murphy explained it would be for recreation and noted the previous ballot question approved 30% of Open Space funds for maintenance of Open Space lands but was not specific to Recreation making those funds unusable. Council President Murphy stated the idea was to put a question on the ballot to ask the public if they would like to vote to have a fund for recreation or if needed called open space, that will be left to the attorney, so the people could vote for it so there is something. She added the Mayor’s proposal of a Short Term Rental Ordinance to collect funds was too confusing, this would be a dedicated fund that is protected. Council Member Auberger stated that protecting the money was the key. Municipal Clerk Kirkman noted that should the Council introduce the Ordinance today July 22, 2019, the Ordinance must be adopted by August 6, 2019 to allow the estoppel period and meet the deadline to add to the November ballot. Attorney Zielinski stated that if someone wants to bring the ordinance forward from the floor they may do so. Council President Murphy stated she would bring it forward. Council Member Curreri stated he would support it but had questions.

Council Member Ooms questioned if CFO Bright, who was present in the audience, could provide an estimate of the proposed Ordinance using today’s assessments. Ms. Bright came forward and stated 1/2 cent per $100 assessed value equals $129,000 annually. Council President Murphy added any funds collected could be used in two years when the football field will need replacement. The Council discussed how many years would the charge need to run to have substantial money. Council Member Ooms indicated it would need to be for 10 years to have $1 million for the next fields.

Attorney Zielinski declared a Point of Order that Ordinance #19-15 must be closed out before any action is done on newly Proposed Ordinance. Council discussion ensued that the information needed to introduce a new Ordinance is the amount to be collected and number of years tax will be collected.

Council President Murphy explained it was important to discuss the potential new Ordinance prior to voting on Ord #19-15. Council President Murphy noted that the Council had released money for the trails but that the easements were not in place so perhaps some of that money could be used, if the Township could not move forward with the trails.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #19-15.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: Sandra Ooms
Absent: None
Motion passed to adopt Ordinance #19-15.

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinances

Council President Murphy questioned if the new ordinance needed to be called open space if there were potential grant opportunities in doing so and it would have to be clear this money was protected. Council President Murphy noted the Council’s request for it to run for 10 years and one half a cent for one hundred dollars of assessed value. Attorney Zielinski acknowledged the proposed Ordinance for Introduction: Ord #19-18 - Ordinance to collect 1/2 cent per $100 assessed value for recreational purposes for ten years. She added the ordinance should be written to allow acceptance of grant opportunities. Council President Murphy questioned scheduling a special meeting to accommodate the estoppel period. Clerk Kirkman discussed the notice for the hearing and advertising in the newspaper. Council President Murphy questioned if the ordinance could be introduced tonight. Attorney Zielinski indicated the ordinance could be introduced tonight and be as specific as possible so no amendments are required. Council President Murphy asked further details were required other than the amount of money and the amount of time in which it would run. Council President Murphy polled the Council if they would like the ordinance to say open space or just recreation. Council Member Curreri indicated if it was for open space there was a possibility of getting more grant money. Attorney Zielinski stated he was not convinced that open space money can be used for recreation. Council President Murphy polled the Council to see if they would agree that it would be for recreation not open space unless it was required. Council Member Curreri stated the Township cannot apply for some grants because the Township did not have an active open space tax. Attorney Zielinski recommended the ordinance solely be for recreation. Council President Murphy questioned Township Engineer Stoner if he was aware if Ordinance can include Open Space. Attorney Stoner stated he was he was not aware. Council Member Ooms the question of using the open space. Council President Murphy polled the council that it would be for recreation. Council President Murphy questioned if it was legally acceptable for the ordinance to be introduced. Attorney Zielinski opined his belief that it was legal to introduce an ordinance from the floor. Attorney Zielinski advised if he found a subsequent issue he would advise the council first thing Tuesday.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #19-18.

Clerk Kirkman read the ordinance title to permit a question to be added to the ballot: An Ordinance to collect a tax of 1/2 cent per one hundred (100) dollars of assessed value for recreational purposes with tax to be collected for ten (10) years
Moved: Jean Murphy
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None

Clerk Kirkman stated motion passed to introduce Ordinance 19-18 with a public hearing to be held on August 5, 2019.

The Council discussed potential times for a meeting to be held. Council Members were asked to check availability for time and attendance at Special Meeting of August 5, 2019.

Public Hearing of Proposed Ordinances

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #19-16 by title.

Ordinance #19-16: Bond Ordinance Appropriating $1,165,918, and Authorizing the Issuance of $856,777 Bonds or Notes of the Township, for Various Improvements or Purposes Authorized to Be Undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open public hearing for Ordinance #19-16. Moved: John Auberger Second: Patrick Curreri All members present voted in favor.

Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close public hearing for Ordinance #19-16.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members present voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #19-16.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Patrick Curreri

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #19-16.

Council President Murphy read Ordinance #19-17 by title.

Ordinance #19-17: An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending Chapter 89 of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Personnel Policies” to Create Article IV Entitled “Anti-Nepotism Policy”

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open public hearing for Ordinance #19-17.
Moved: Sandra Ooms
Second: John Auberger
All members present voted in favor.

Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close public hearing for Ordinance #19-17.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members present voted in favor.

Council Member Ooms noted she had requested an Anti-Cronyism Ordinance be drafted but since it has not been received she requested that Ordinance #19-17 be amended to include Anti-Cronyism in the Ordinance and make some changes to it.

Attorney Zielinski explained it is difficult to define Cronyism and that New Jersey has enacted Pay to Play laws for professional services that require disclosure of political contributions to combat cronyism.

Council Member Ooms read excerpt from a cronyism ordinance from another municipality in another state: “...forbids participation in an employment decision involving a close friend, business partner or other professional, political or commerce relationship that would lead to preferential treatment or compromise the appearance of fairness.”

Council Member Van Tassel noted that Vernon is a Civil Service Town and questioned if that was designed to prevent nepotism. Attorney Zielinski explained that Civil Service is intended to combat nepotism or favoritism because applicants must test for a position and qualify to be appointed. He added that it is truly a policy decisions for the Council to make if they want to formally adopt an anti-nepotism policy. Council President Murphy questioned if the way the ordinance was drafted would still permit a person to be appointed if qualified under Civil Service. Council President Murphy confirmed that if they tested into the position this ordinance allows them to do so. Attorney Zielinski indicated it did so. Attorney Zielinski stated Ordinance can be amended to add a caveat clarify Civil Service aspect to employees. Council President Murphy noted that can be done for comfort.

Council Member Ooms made a motion to amend the ordinance to indicate any part to be found unconstitutional. Attorney Zielinski reviewed section two which contained similar language to Council Member Ooms’ proposal. Attorney Zielinski indicated it was up to the Council how to proceed. Council Member Ooms indicated she felt the language already included covered it. Council Member Ooms questioned about civil service. Attorney Zielinski indicated it could be changed. Council Member Van Tassel indicated he would like to see it added. Attorney Zielinski stated there would need to be one vote to add cronyism and a second vote to amend it regarding civil service.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion regarding adding the anti-cronyism language.

Council Member Ooms made a motion to amend Ordinance #19-17 to add Cronyism in title and a paragraph with definition of Cronyism. Council Member Curreri questioned if this would open the Township up to more litigation. Attorney Zielinski stated, he did not believe it would do so more so. Discussion ensued amongst the Council as to how to implement this concept, would that mean council members could not vote because they were perceived to be friends with someone.

No second was made. The motion failed for a lack of a second.

Council President Murphy suggested to start with Ordinance for nepotism as it is harder to define Cronyism; for example, who is a close friend. Council discussion whether need for an amendment to the Ordinance clarifying Civil Service employees. Council President Murphy stated her understanding was that if you are testing into a position under Civil Service you cannot be denied the position because a family member works in the department as you were qualified under civil service. Council Member Ooms questioned the civil service aspect and is this required. Discussion ensued about the comment attributed to the Mayor that the Ordinance was illegal. It was noted the ordinance was not illegal. Attorney Zielinski noted the Ordinance as written is lawful and Civil Service will not conflict with it but an amendment can be added. Council Member Ooms opined that even with Civil Service if you test into the position and are a family member you can get the job. However, she noted if it is not a Civil Service position that you test into you cannot get the job if you are related. Council President Murphy reiterated that Attorney Zielinski stated the ordinance was lawful as written. Council President Murphy questioned do we add civil service or leave it as is. Consensus was to leave the ordinance as written.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #19-17.
Moved: Patrick Curreri
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: Mark Van Tassel
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #19-17.

Public Comments (Limited to 3 minutes on any topic)

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

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

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Shortway reported that the Vernon Farmer’s Market was postponed due to excessive heat and rescheduled for Saturday July 27, 2019. He reported that Sussex County Libraries were available as cooling centers during heat wave, but no feedback was received as to how many residents utilized the service.

Council Comments

Council Member Auberger had no comments.

Council Member Van Tassel had no comments.

Council Member Ooms had no comments.

Council Member Curreri had no comments.

Council President Comments

Council President Murphy asked Council members to review proposed Short Term Rental Ordinance imposing a tax dedicated for recreation. She suggested revising the ordinance that it add a provision that owner must register with the Fire Official for fire safety inspections similar to home sales or rentals. Council President Murphy indicated in doing this it would help the Township determine how many short term rental properties there were in town and also address the safety concerns. Council President Murphy indicated that in doing this the Township could determine any potential income to be earned from the tax before creating a new position and hiring an employee for this work. Council President Murphy noted there does not seem to be a consensus on how many units are out there. Council President Murphy commented that at the last council meeting, the council asked the business administrator for additional information and ordinances from other towns which had not yet been received. Council President Murphy stated by putting something in effect it would be an issue of going to the fire marshal’s office as the number of units in Vernon is questionable.

Council President Murphy reported that the individual who turned off the lights at the last Council Meeting has been identified and noted for safety reasons, Police will be present at future meetings with large number of attendees.

Council President Murphy commented to Council that she had considered using the Open Space funds already released instead of introducing the ballot question ordinance and suggested having further discussion in future.

Council President Murphy explained there is a chance that the second Council meeting in August may be cancelled and that Administration should provide agenda submissions in time for the August 12th 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 and was seconded by Council Member Curreri with all members voting in favor.

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:34 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: August 12, 2019