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

Minutes: July 24, 2017

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:30 p.m. on Monday July 24, 2017 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Jean Murphy presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided to the public and the press on January 5, 2017 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 Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel and Council President Jean Murphy. Council Member Sandra Ooms was absent. Also present were Mayor Harry Shortway, CFO Elke Yetter, Administrator Charles Voelker, Township Attorney Joshua Zielinski, Attorney Eric Perkins and Attorney Louis Mudugno.

Executive Session

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

Resolution to Go into Executive Session

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

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

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

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

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

a. Pending Litigation—Beverly Budz, Edward Nitch, Richard Carson, Angi Metler, Dale Disney v. Township of Vernon; Mountain Creek Bankruptcy (N.J.S.A.10:4-12 (b) 7) (Anticipated Time of Disclosure November 2017)

3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to enter Executive Session.
Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members present were in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close Executive Session at 7:15 pm.

At 7:15 p.m. Council President Murphy asked for a motion to end Executive Session and return to open session at 7:30 pm.
Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members present were in favor.

The Council returned to Open Session at 7:30 p.m.

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:30 p.m. on Monday July 24, 2017 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Jean Murphy presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided to the public and the press on January 5, 2017 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 Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel and Council President Jean Murphy. Council Member Sandra Ooms was absent. Also present were Mayor Harry Shortway, CFO Elke Yetter, Administrator Charles Voelker and Township Attorney Joshua Zielinski.

Salute to the Flag

Council President Murphy led the assemblage to the salute to the flag.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to move the presentations up in the agenda.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members voted in favor.

Presentations

Septic System Regulations

Brian Decker, local excavator, came forward to explain procedures in septic repairs that residents are experiencing when selling or buying homes. A home inspector and septic inspector is hired and uses cameras to see status of existing leech field and seepage pits. He added DEP rules approved April 2, 2012, disallowed repair of existing seepage pits causing major replacements necessary sometimes costing from $17,000-$30,000. He further added before the new rules took effect, some gray water systems could be upgraded legally with a new leech field. Mr. Decker commented that southern Jersey is not experiencing the high number of septic repairs as northern Jersey because the difference in soil, ledge rock and water table. He noted that the DEP has told homeowners to try to repair systems per their rules, causing unnecessary expenses when there is little chance it will work here due to the conditions in our area.

Council President Murphy questioned how many leech fields are passing which Mr. Decker answered approximately 50 % and noted that systems are not lasting as many fail after 10 years. Council President Murphy commented Vernon needs to bring information about rules experienced differently by north and south Jersey to the Senator’s attention.

Council Member Rizzuto questioned purpose of this presentation. Council President Murphy explained it is educational for the public. Council Member Rizzuto opined that the information given to him was if a system is in good working order, with no gray water tank and no cesspool, there is no reason to change with change of ownership. He noted that residences have issues like small lots, leech field issues or poor perc ability, but he was stating that the state is making it a requirement of mortgage approval.

Council President Murphy stated the presentation was for educational purposes for the public and for increased awareness of issues when selling or buying homes. Mr. Decker noted that 90% of people don’t have the money upfront and must pay for the septic repair costs at closing leaving little equity left with the sale. Council Member Wetzel commented he wished he was hooked up to the sewer system. Council President Murphy stated the purpose of presentation was to explain that the mortgage companies are not requiring the major repairs, it is the newest DEP regulations and expressed concern that the DEP has not recognized how their regulations are affecting our residents.

Greener by Design

Mayor Shortway and GAAC Chairperson Mike Furrey introduced Bob Cacace, Frank Pinto and Ben Spinelli of Greener by Design, an asset management company, who are advisors for Municipalities on Open Space, property acquisition, planning and land conservancy. Mr. Spinelli stated the company has experience with county, state and federal agencies, has managed conservation groups, and handled Green Acres acquisitions for trail ways. Mr. Spinelli added Vernon is a diverse town and based on the long-term needs will work to use Vernon’s existing assets and characteristics with land conservancy to plan for recreational and economic opportunities for the future. He added that Vernon is a unique four-season destination that attracts visitors year-round creating great opportunities but plans are needed to preserve the quality of life for the residents. Mr. Spinelli explained that open space lands can be used to offer additional recreational amenities as well as recharge the water supply for well systems while maintaining the rural character and real estate value. As advisors, Greener by Design can meet individually with Township officials, community boards and perform a community survey to best understand the needs and long-term goals for the best economic future.

Council Member Kadish commented Vernon is currently 49% open space and future of farming in Vernon is threatened due to lack of state programs to encourage farming partnerships. Mr. Spinelli commented in Blairstown, the Food Channel Alliance, Farm Link or Grow Warren programs to encourage farming and promote agricultural presence. Council Member Wetzel stated he attended a conference in Pennsylvania for the Heritage Commission about tourism, trails and historic sites and commented Pennsylvania is way ahead of Vernon in terms of taking advantage of our assets.

Council Member Rizzuto explained how Vernon is 70% protected by the Highlands Act and trying to convince the residents of Vernon to gain more open space properties is matter of redundancy and opined we need to gain property by grants instead. Mr. Spinelli explained there are Green Acres grants available at pre-Highlands Act values which can have agriculture land in perpetuity and restates based on Vernon’s long-term plans. Council President Murphy stated Vernon currently has approximately $900,000 in the open space account which can be used for acquisitions for farmland, open space or parcels for trails, no more burden on taxpayers. Council Member Kadish added the issue is funding as Vernon has faced problems with the Appalachian Trail parking which the federal government has declined to help.

Public Comments

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members voted in favor.

Pat Lasorsa, Barry Lakes, commented the purchase of the sewer system originally was to benefit the entire town of Vernon and the project didn’t come to fruition. He mentioned the Council decided to approve the study of expansion and questions why the burden is only on the users and not the entire town. Mr. Lasorsa commented there are documents that prove Great Gorge Village Association has never owned the lift station yet the town moved to sue them anyway. Council President Murphy explained this is under litigation and cannot be commented on.

Council Rizzuto stated he understands the initial sewer plans included increases in growth in areas for more users and this past year the Council approved the study for more expansion for possibility of potential users.

Mayor Shortway stated that in the early 2000s, Mountain Creek planned major development of 1500 more condominiums and then the recession hit and they were never built. He added that the water and sewer lines were constructed in Town Center but cannot be developed without water. Mayor Shortway explains the Township is searching for new developers and is very sensitive to the concerns of the ratepayers. Council President Murphy indicated that the residents with private septic systems do not feel they should contribute any more to the cost of the sewer system and any expansion of the system will require more debt.

Jamie Rickey, commented he has come before the Township in the past for approvals for events on his property and has decided to not allow any alcoholic beverages at future events. This decision has decreased number of events and lowered the income for the property. Mr. Rickey stated he submitted a written request to the Township requesting the Council to waive the Township requirement of the taxes being current on the property as a requirement to getting a pre-scheduled temporary event permit on his property as had been previously done in the past. Mr. Zielinski explains the Council has a history of granting such waivers and it is Council’s decision to enforce Township Code or grant a waiver. Council Member Wetzel commented if Council decides to waive are we then setting a precedent for other individuals. Mr. Rickey explained the properties consist of one 2 1/2 acre parcel with a house; one 5-acre parcel with a farm house and the surrounding parcel is owned by the state. He added he is in process of re-establishing the farm assessed status selling hay and composting for raised gardens and notes there is huge potential for food production.

Council Member Rizzuto commented that this is the third time you have come before the Council requesting a waiver and added other taxpayers wonder why the Council has granted a waiver multiple times as they too are facing difficult times. Mr. Rickey states it is only a waiver that taxes need to be current to issue permit and not a waiver to pay taxes and requests again for the 90-day waiver in order to hold one possibly two events. Mayor Shortway states he is very sensitive when residents ask for exceptions to our code and Council can make that decision but these actions put Vernon in a sensitive situation.

Council Member Wetzel made a motion to give Mr. Rickey a 30- day waiver of current tax status in order to issue a temporary activity permit. Council Member Rizzuto made a second to the motion with the understanding the event is to raise funds to make the taxes current. Council President Murphy questioned if this waiver is approved will the taxes be made current. Mr. Rickey explained he did not refund a deposit owed to the persons running the event from last year so he will not be receiving any new funds for hosting the event. However, he would earn funds through vending at the event but he stated he would not have the funds to make the taxes current.

Moved: Dick Wetzel
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dick Wetzel
Nays: Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Jean Murphy
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Motion failed.

Sally Rinker, claimed that the septic presentation was purposely set up by Council Member Murphy to challenge Council Member Rizzuto. Ms. Rinker explained at the meeting of July 10, Ordinance #17-10 establishing a dog license fee was to be introduced but council members were uncertain to move forward. She opined that Council Member Ooms exercised her right and duty as an elected official to voice concerns of complications over the large fee of $700.00. Ms. Rinker felt Council President Murphy exhibited disrespect chastising Ms. Ooms for wanting to postpone the Ordinance and wasting taxpayer’s money. Ms. Rinker commented that notice is not required on tabled ordinances and that Ms. Murphy is focused on her agenda regardless of public input. Ms. Rinker commented that the council is a 5-member voting body and elected to represent the needs of the entire Township and opined that Council President Murphy berates anyone who disagrees with her opinion.

Seeing no more members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members voted in favor.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Shortway commented our community is beginning to turn for the better even in the shadow of Mountain Creek’s debt reorganization. Real estate is moving, small businesses are opening and enjoying success and prospective businesses are contacting the administration office every week.

Mayor Shortway quoted an article from The New Yorker from 2015: “American craft breweries collectively now sell more than 16.1 million barrels of beer annually, outpacing, for the first time, Budweiser. This isn’t the only evidence that small-scale businesses are making a comeback. Over the last ten years, the long-running decline of small farms has levelled out. Over all, since 1990, small businesses (with, generally, fewer than five hundred employees or less than $7.5 million in annual receipts) have added millions of employees, while big businesses have shed millions.”

Mayor Shortway stated that the Assessor, with Council Members Murphy and Rizzuto and himself attended a meeting with the County Tax Board to discuss the ordered tax revaluation for the 2018 tax year. Mayor Shortway noted that the objective is the fair and equitable distribution of the tax burden, not to raise taxes and noted that Vernon has not performed a revaluation since 2009. The Township Council approved Ordinance #14-11 for the preparation of a Development Phase of a new Digital Tax Map at a cost of $200,000 for this revaluation which are now complete and submitted to the state for approval.

Mayor Shortway explained that successful tax appeals have a three-fold negative impact on municipal budgets. First, the municipality, as the collector of taxes for the school district, county and special districts, must fund the full cost of the legal defense of the assessment. Second, since State law guarantees to the county and school district 100% of their levies, the municipality bears the full cost of any re-imbursements resulting from the appeal (as well as the full burden for any uncollected taxes). Third, the result will be further decline in the property tax base used to support municipalities, county governments and school systems.

Mayor Shortway commented that the third trail day was held last Saturday and volunteers successfully blazed a trail parallel to Sand Hill Rd so hikers can enjoy over 100 acres of township property. The work was stalled on Saturday due to a mother bear and her cubs who were enjoying the trail.

Mayor Shortway explains his administration’s agenda is to develop a true four season recreation community that offers free hiking, biking, and performing arts programs, and to construct pathways for alternate means of transportation. He adds that pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure such as sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails, can all be used for transportation, recreation, and fitness and have been shown to create many benefits for their users as well as the rest of the community such as increased economic activity and higher property values.

Mayor Shortway described the objective is to connect Veterans Memorial Park, State property, several farms, the municipal building and the Police Athletic Building, with mid to low income housing and a proposed 55-unit age restricted apartment complex to the town center. A trail is proposed initiating from Veterans Memorial Park to Commerce Drive with various loops that contain an ADA compliant boardwalk around a municipal amphitheater that connects to the town center which in the future will receive redevelopment area designation to promote growth. He added the amphitheater /band shell and boardwalk will be constructed adjacent to the municipal building due to the availability of parking, access to the senior center, and building facilities and sewer connection for future outdoor facilities.

The entire trail will be approximately 1.84 miles with an anticipated additional .5 mile to account for loops around botanical gardens and art sculptures and will be constructed of mixed materials including stone dust, asphalt and wood on municipal property and VTMUA easements. It will include Alpha and Omega Drives where a restricted age living complex is proposed and pedestrian traffic will enjoy easy access to the senior center and band shell.

Mayor Shortway explained the Township is searching for grants with the assistance of Congressman Gottheimer’s staff, Green Acres, Highlands Preservation, USDA and Sustainable NJ and awarded monies will allow Vernon Township to construct bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure for the health and well-being of its residents and guests. He noted that socio-economic and cultural trends point to higher demands for walkable and bike-able communities, yet Vernon currently lacks adequate facilities for safe walking and biking into its town center which will require additional development.

Mayor Shortway estimated the initial cost for a 2.3-mile mixed surface trail is $210,000.00 and the band shell is estimated at $200,000.00 with maintenance for both at $4,000.00 annually. The pathway to a sustainable Vernon is clear and it consists of trails that promote connect ability to commerce and community.

Mayor Shortway discussed the personnel ruling by Civil Service for Ms. Downtain’s duties, responsibilities and tasks received late last Friday and read the determination, “Ms. Downtain is considered to be serving provisionally in the title, Recreation Supervisor, pending promotional procedures. This action is effective February 27, 2017. As required by NJ Administrative Code 4A:3-3.5(c), within 27 days as of this night the appointing authority shall either effect the required change or reassign her duties and responsibilities to an employee with the appropriate civil service title.”

Mayor Shortway explains there are no employees currently with the appropriate title and noted that this ruling will have a direct effect on the following on-going projects.

  • A Playground at Veterans Memorial Park
  • Sustainable Jersey Certification
  • Community Garden Makeover
  • Trail Challenge
  • NJ State Fair Display
  • Town Calendar for 2018 (Business supported)
  • Senior Center 25th Anniversary
  • Grants for bike and hiking trails, and the band shell.
  • Field scheduling and coordination for youth athletics
  • Coordination of effort with PAL, GAAC, Beautification, Recreation and other committees, Community Garden, Dog Park, Sussex County Chamber of Commerce’s Sussex County Day, etc.

Mayor Shortway stated that Ms. Downtain will receive a RICE notice later this week to advise her of her rights so that we may discuss this matter at the next council meeting and the ruling will be forwarded tomorrow to each member of the council.

Mayor Shortway commended Vernon’s Emergency Services for the outstanding protection they provide to our community and points out on July 21, 2017 the men and women of our police, fire and first aid squads responded to a house fire, mutual aid with West Milford fire and a drowning where four police officers and two firefighters gallantly continued to dive in 12 feet of water in an attempt to save the victim. Mayor Shortway noted that the Township’s police, fire and first aid squads constantly show their dedication, devotion, and service to others and Mayor Shortway thanked them.

Consent Agenda

Council President Murphy gave a brief explanation of Resolutions #17-144 thru #17-151.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #17-144 thru #17-151.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Motion carried to approve Resolutions #17-144 thru #17-151.

Resolution #17-144: Resolution Authorizing Fireworks to Be Displayed on August 5, 12, 19 & 26, 2017 within the Township of Vernon

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A.21:3-1et seq. Explosive and Fireworks, provides that a Municipal Governing Body must authorize the display of fireworks within its boundaries as a pre-condition to such display in accordance with the New Jersey Fire Prevention Code; and

WHEREAS, Mountain Creek Resort has submitted four applications to Vernon Township to conduct fireworks displays on August 5, 12, 19, & 26, 2017 for Saturday Family Picnics; and

WHEREAS, the proposed fireworks display will take place at 200 Route 94 behind the Red Tail Lodge; and

WHEREAS, Mountain Creek Resort has engaged in a contract with Garden State Fireworks, Millington, NJ, to perform the public fireworks and special effects displays and has provided the required certificate of liability insurance to the Township.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, hereby authorizes the fireworks display, performed by Garden State Fireworks Inc. on August 5, 12, 19, & 26, 2017 for Saturday Family Picnics, at Mountain Creek Resort located at 200 Route 94, Vernon, NJ upon satisfaction of all statutory and departmental requirements.

Resolution #17-145: Authorizing of Maintenance Service Contract with Gramco Business Communications in the Amount Not to Exceed $975.00

WHEREAS, there exists a need for a maintenance service contract for the Digital Recording System in the Municipal Council Chambers/ Court Room; and

WHEREAS, the Township has determined that Gramco, the Township’s current contractor providing these services, is qualified to continue providing the Township with such services; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified that funds are available for this purpose in the 2017 Municipal Budget; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township desires to award a maintenance contract to Gramco Business Communications, 1149 Bloomfield Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07012 and the Chief Financial Officer has certified that the value of the contract will not exceed $17,500.00; and

WHEREAS, the term of the contract will be from August 31, 2017 through August 30, 2018, with a total contract price not to exceed $975.00.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, the Mayor is authorized to execute a maintenance contract with Gramco Business Communications, for an amount not to exceed $975.00.

Resolution #17-146: Authorizing of Maintenance Service Contract with Specialty Underwriters, LLC in the Amount Not to Exceed $3,422.00

WHEREAS, there exists a need for a maintenance service contract for various Municipal owned office equipment not covered under a manufacturer’s warranty: and

WHEREAS, the Township has determined that Specialty Underwriters, LLC, the Township’s current contractor providing these services, is qualified to continue providing the Township with such services; and

WHEREAS, the maintenance contract includes the Xerox large map copier, a Hewlett Packard Designjet plotter used for tax maps and a Kyocera large copier in Animal Control; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified that funds are available for this purpose in the 2017 Municipal Budget and has certified that the value of the contract will not exceed $17,500.00; and

WHEREAS, Vernon desires to award a maintenance contract to Specialty Underwriters, LLC. pursuant to a contract under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.4 and/or N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.5; and

WHEREAS, the term of the contract will be from July 25, 2017 through July 24, 2018, with a total contract price not to exceed $3,422.00; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, the Mayor is authorized to execute a maintenance contract with Specialty Underwriters LLC, for various Municipal owned office equipment not covered under a manufacturer’s warranty for an amount not to exceed $3,422.00.

Resolution #17-147: Authorizing Change Order #1 of Contract for Sewer Connection to Municipal Building

WHEREAS, on May 8, 2017 by way of adoption of Resolution #17-111, the Council of the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to Earth-Tec Associates, Inc. for the Sewer Connection to the Municipal Building which contract provided for an expenditure of $56,560.00; and

WHEREAS, in a memo dated July 5, 2017, the Township Engineer states that the contract requires a Change Order #1 by the addition of two supplemental items totaling $1,110.82 resulting in an adjusted total contract amount of $57,670.82; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer, in concurrence with the Mayor, recommends approving Change Order No. 1 which will increase the total contract amount by $1,110.82 to an adjusted total contract amount of $57,670.82.

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified funds available for the increase in Account #3095715.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that it hereby approves the Township Engineer’s recommendations and authorizes the Mayor to execute said Change Order No. 1 for said project increasing the total contract amount with Earth-Tec Associates, Inc. to $57,670.82; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be forwarded to Earth-Tec Associates, Inc. and the Township Engineer.

Resolution #17-148: a Resolution Authorizing the Execution of a Discharge of CDBG Mortgage for Block 268.21/Lots 35 and 36 - 60 Birch Drive

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon holds a mortgage for Daniel Voigtman and Carol Voigtman for the premises known as Block 268.21, Lots 35 and 36 located at 60 Birch Drive, Vernon, NJ, in conjunction with dwelling renovation through the CDBG Emergency Housing Repair Program (“Mortgage”); and

WHEREAS, Daniel Voigtman and Carol Voigtman have satisfied the conditions of the Mortgage and the Mortgage can be discharged; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mayor and Township Clerk are hereby authorized to sign a Discharge of Mortgage for Lots 35 and 36/Block 268.21 and to have same filed with the County Recording Officer.

Resolution #17-149: Authorizing Approval of Sussex County Contribution to the Vernon and Glenwood-Pochuck Ambulance Squads

WHEREAS, Vernon Township is in receipt of Request for Certification for Rescue Squad Contribution of $2,800.00 per squad from the County of Sussex; and

WHEREAS, per a resolution approved by the Board of Chosen Freeholders on February 28, 2001, Sussex County established policy to appropriate aid to Emergency Rescue Squads for the benefit of the county residents; and

WHEREAS, the policy stated that prior to approval, the appropriate municipality must approve the Emergency Rescue Squad seeking financial assistance.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that it hereby approves the Certification for Rescue Squad Contribution to the Vernon and Glenwood -Pochuck Ambulance Squads within Vernon Township and approves the receipt of financial assistance in the amount of $2,800.00 per squad for the calendar year 2017; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be forwarded to Sussex County Administrative Center, Vernon and Glenwood-Pochuck Ambulance Squads.

Resolution #17-150: Resolution Authorizing the Application to the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice

“Body Armor Replacement Program”

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Police Department wishes to apply for funding to the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice for the Body Armor Replacement Fund Program, and

WHEREAS, the grant project consists of reimbursement for up to 50% of the expenses incurred to purchase new issue or replacement bullet proof vests for police officers, and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township will submit the necessary documentation to the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice, for a fifty percent (50%) reimbursement.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Vernon Township declares its support for the “2017 Body Armor Replacement Program” Grant to outfit bullet proof vests for our newly hired police officers or replacement vests for our current police officers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, that the Mayor, Chief Finance Officer and Township Clerk are hereby authorized to execute and sign any and all documents in order to effectuate the receipt of the Grant monies between the Township of Vernon and the Office of the Attorney General, Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice, for the “2017 Body Armor Replacement Program” Grant.

Resolution #17-151: Resolution Authorizing Extension of 2017 Third Quarter Grace Period Due Date Only

WHEREAS, the 2017 TAX RATE has been certified to the Collector of Taxes late; and,

WHEREAS, the Collector of Taxes recommends that the 2017 third quarter grace period due date be extended to August 21, 2017; after that date, interest will revert back to August 1, 2017 and will be charged at the rate of 8% on the first $1,500.00 and 18% on any remaining balance above the $1,500.00.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, hereby authorize and direct the Township Collector of Taxes to extend the grace period for the 2017 third quarter ONLY to August 21, 2017.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that interest will be calculated as noted above.

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinances

Council President Murphy read ordinance 17-14 by title only.

Ordinance #17-14: An Ordinance to Amend and Supplement Chapter 5, Article VII of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon to Establish the Division of Emergency Services

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #17-14 with public hearing on August 14, 2017.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Jean Murphy

Council President Murphy stated she still has questions and would like to discuss this Ordinance with Administrator Voelker further.

Council Member Rizzuto stated that in view of the services the Township was receiving from St. Clare’s he asked for this ordinance to be tabled or withdrawn as there are too many questions. Council Member Rizzuto questioned the copayments section of the ordinance.

Council President Murphy suggested sending the comments on the ordinance so the Council can get all the answers to the Administrator or Attorney. Attorney Zielinski indicated that the ordinance can be reworked based upon the Council’s concerns.

Council Member Rizzuto asked legally if Council tables ordinance, is it okay to make extraordinary changes or is withdrawing the ordinance better. Council Member Rizzuto expressed concern that residents may choose to wait until volunteers are serving rather than use paid service. Attorney Zielinski explained if the council chooses to table, they can introduce the ordinance with amendments at the next meeting. He added the other option is if the Ordinance is withdrawn, after it is reworked with everyone’s comments; it can be reintroduced at a later date

Council Member Kadish questioned the job description and salary of coordinator and questioned what would happen if there were a change of government. Council Member Rizzuto questioned why this was added to the agenda after Wednesday. Council Member Rizzuto indicated that when he was Council President the agenda was done by Wednesday and not changed except in an emergent matter.

After council discussion, Council Member Kadish withdrew his motion to introduce Ordinance #17-14 due to questions by all Council Members which still need to be answered.

The motion was withdrawn to introduce ordinance 17-14.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to table Ordinance #17-14 to be reintroduced on August 14, 2017was made and seconded as noted below:

Motion to table Ordinance #17-14
Moved: Jean Murphy
Second: Dan Kadish
All members voted in favor.

Motion carried to table Ordinance #17-14 and to be reintroduced August 14, 2017.

Council President Murphy suggested all Council submit any questions to Mr. Voelker prior to Ordinance being introduced. Mr. Zielinski confirmed there was no motion to introduce Ordinance #17-14.

Public Hearing/2nd Reading of Ordinances

Council President Murphy read ordinance 17-12 by title only.

Ordinance #17-12: An Ordinance Authorizing a Special Emergency Appropriation of $1,000,000 for the Revaluation of Real Property by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the public hearing for Ordinance #17-12.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
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 public hearing for Ordinance #17-12.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #17-12.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #17-12.

Council President Murphy read ordinance 17-13 by title only.

Ordinance #17-13: An Ordinance Authorizing the Conveyance of Block 120, Lot 19.03 to the County of Sussex

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the public hearing for Ordinance #17-13.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
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 public hearing for Ordinance #17-13.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Patrick Rizzuto
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #17-13.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #17-13.

Council Comments

Council Member Kadish had no comments.

Council Member Rizzuto commented that earlier in meeting, Mayor Shortway spoke about the proposed band shell in a location near the Municipal building at a cost of $200,000 but questions why the change of location. Originally the plan for the Band Shell was at Maple Grange Park but number of parking spaces was problem and questions the logic in this decision. Council Member Rizzuto questioned the status of the appraisal for the Faline Building that the Council had requested. He added that he suggested a revenue stream using the Department of Public Works with a contract extension but received no response from Mayor. Council Member Rizzuto explained how he voted against the purchase of the Wisteria property initially, and Township has spent $30,000.00 in the review but has yet to be brought to the Council for a decision noting a possible waste of taxpayer funds. He further questioned why the presentation by Greener By Design was added to agenda. Mayor Shortway explained it is an option to replace other contractor, Land Conservancy, which Mr. Rizzuto said is unfortunate.

Council Member Rizzuto commented he is further contemplating the request by Mr. Rickey to waive code to have temporary event due to fact that the event is for the Cub Scouts. Ms. Kirkman noted the Cub Scout event was in 2016. Mr. Rizzuto stated he would not reconsider the motion at this time.

Council Member Wetzel has no comment.

Council President Comments

Council President Murphy stated the Ordinance for Dangerous Dog License fee will be on August 14, 2017 agenda clarified that there is only one in town and is not breed related. Mr. Zielinski added it only occurs when dog has been adjudicated to be dangerous by a Judge and in this recent incident a man lost a finger leading to the Judge’s decision.

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 9:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: August 28, 2017