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

Minutes: June 23, 2014

YouTube video of the June 23, 2014 council meeting »

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 23, 2014 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Brian Lynch presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 8, 2014, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Brian Lynch. Also present were Township Business Administrator William Zuckerman who was also serving as Acting Mayor, CFO Elke Yetter and Township Attorney Kevin Kelly.

There was no Executive Session.

Salute to the Flag

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

Public Comment

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to open the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Patrick Rizzuto
All members were in favor.

Christa Geary stated that it would be prudent that other members of the Council would pay attention to the comments of Jean Murphy and Dan Kadish regarding Camp Sussex. Ms. Geary stated that both Dan and Jean are leaders and not blind followers and should be shown courtesy when they speak.

Doreen Edwards, Highland Lakes, stated that at the last meeting she attended it was asked by one of the members of the Council if they would buy a parcel without an inspection. Ms. Edwards noted that is done during the negotiation process. Ms. Edwards commented that when the Township Council took office residents were demanding the Township do something about the drug problem in town and now that the Township is doing something persons are trying to start a petition to stop it.

Gary Martinsen commented that fireworks, hosted by the fire department were going to be held on July 5, 2014. Mr. Martinsen recommends the event which he said was always fantastic.

Theresa Vihti, Glenwood, stated that where Camp Sussex is located would be perfect for an Chestnut forest. Ms. Vihti stated it would be great for families and children. Ms. Vihti noted she had seen a group going forward with another petition against the project. Ms. Vihti expressed distress that such a small group of people could not see good in anything. Ms. Vihti said the talk about town on this project was very good. Ms. Vihti expressed hope that the persons starting a petition would be thwarted in their efforts. Ms. Vihti noted negotiations and inspections were necessary.

Art Elvaney, stated he felt it was a good idea to purchase Camp Sussex and hoped the town would not pay a lot for the property.

Closed to Public Comments

Seeing no other members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Lynch asked for a motion to close the public portion of the meeting.
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dan Kadish
All members were in favor.

Acting Township Mayor’s Report

Acting Mayor Bill Zuckerman stated he would like to provide a status report for the various projects. Acting Mayor Zuckerman stated that the E-ticket machines had been installed and were running, DPW is currently working on road improvements. Acting Mayor Zuckerman stated the contract for fleet maintenance software would be anticipated for the next meeting and that the credit card machine was up and running in the Court. Acting Mayor Zuckerman noted the tax maps were on the agenda and that the envelope mailer stuffer for the tax collector was also in and running.

Approval of Minutes

It was moved and seconded as noted below to approve the following minutes:

May 29, 2014 Regular Meeting Minutes

Moved: Jean Murphy
Seconded: Dan Kadish

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Motion carried to approve minutes for May 12, 2014.

Consent Agenda

Council President Lynch gave a brief explanation of Resolutions #14-90 - #14-97.

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to adopt Resolutions #14-90 - #14-97.

Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Patrick Rizzuto

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch (14-90 to 14-95 only)
Nays: None
Abstain: Brian Lynch (14-96 and 14-97 only)

Resolutions #14-90 - #14-97 were adopted.

Resolution #14-90: Chapter 159 Resolution Requesting Approval of Revenue and Appropriation Amending the 2014 Budget as a Revenue and Appropriation of $46,210.09

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

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

WHEREAS, the Township has been awarded a $46,210.09 Clean Communities Grant from the State of New Jersey Solid Waste Administration; and wishes to amend its 2014 budget for this amount as a revenue.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon hereby requests the Director of the Division of Local Government Services to approve the insertion of an item of revenue in the budget of the year 2014 in the sum of $46,210.09 which is now available as a revenue from the State of New Jersey Solid Waste Administration, and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a like sum of $46,210.09 is hereby appropriated under the caption 2014 Clean Communities Grant.

Resolution #14-91: Chapter 159 Resolution Requesting Approval of Revenue and Appropriation Amending the 2014 Budget as a Revenue and Appropriation of $4,092.24

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

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

WHEREAS, the Township has been awarded a $4,092.24 Fiscal Year 2013 Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant from the United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance; and wishes to amend its 2014 budget for this amount as a revenue.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon hereby requests the Director of the Division of Local Government Services to approve the insertion of an item of revenue in the budget of the year 2014 in the sum of $4,092.24 which is now available as a revenue from the United States Department of Justice and;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a like sum of $4,092.24 is hereby appropriated under the caption 2013 Federal Bulletproof Vest Grant.

Resolution #14-92: Resolution Authorizing Fireworks to Be Displayed on July 5, 2014, 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, Tall Timbers Property Owners Association has submitted an application to Vernon Township to conduct a fireworks display on July 5, 2014; and

WHEREAS, the proposed fireworks display will take place at the Tall Timbers Oak Boat Launch/Lake Area grounds at 8:30 pm; and

WHEREAS, the Tall Timbers Property Owners Association has engaged in a contract with Garden State Fireworks, Inc., to perform the public fireworks and special effects display and has provided the required certificate of liability insurance.

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. and sponsored by the Tall Timbers Property Owners Association on July 5, 2014, upon satisfaction of all statutory and departmental requirements.

Resolution #14-93: Authorizing Professional Services Contract with Vital Communications, Inc. in the Amount Not to Exceed $15,600.00

WHEREAS, there exists a need for professional services for the Township of Vernon for the purpose of Computer software and services for Tax Assessment/CAMA, Tax Collection and Internet Access including tax billing and customer support; and

WHEREAS, the Township has determined that Vital Communications, Inc., 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 subject to the adoption of the 2014 Municipal Budget; and

WHEREAS, the Local Public Contracts Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1, et seq.) requires that the resolution authorizing these “Professional Services” without competitive bids must be publicly advertised; and

WHEREAS, Vernon desires to appoint Vital Communications, Inc., 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 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 July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, with a total contract price not to exceed $15,600.00; and

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

  1. The Township of Vernon is authorized to engage Vital Communications, Inc., for the purpose of Computer Services for Tax Assessment/CAMA, Tax Collection and Internet Access; and
  2. The Mayor and Township Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to execute a Professional Services Contract with Vital Communications, Inc., in an amount not to exceed $15,600.00.

This Professional Services Contract is awarded without competitive bidding (1) as a “Professional Service” under the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law and/or (2) for the provision or performance of goods or services for the support or maintenance of proprietary computer hardware and software.

A copy of this Resolution shall be published in the New Jersey Herald by the Township Clerk as required by law within ten (10) days of its passage and a true copy of same and the Professional Services Contract shall be available for inspection in the office of the Township Clerk.

Resolution #14-94: Resolution Authorizing the Application to the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety for a Seatbelt Enforcement Program, “2014 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Statewide Labor Day Crackdown”

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Police Department wishes to apply for funding to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “2014 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Statewide Labor Day Crackdown” Grant; and

WHEREAS, the grant project consists of enforcement overtime campaign from August 15, 2014 through September 1, 2014 to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving, to offer deterrence through enforcement , to arrest impaired drivers and to issue summonses for motor vehicle violations; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township will initially incur the cost of the program, not to exceed $5,000.00 and then submit the necessary documentation to the Division of Highway Traffic Safety for total reimbursement.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Vernon Township declares its support for the “2014 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Statewide Labor Day Crackdown” Grant from August 15, 2014 - September 1, 2014 to increase awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving; 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 New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety for the “2014 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Statewide Labor Day Crackdown” Grant.

Resolution #14-95: Authorizing of Maintenance Service Contract with Specialty Underwriters, LLC in the Amount Not to Exceed $3,105.00

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 Chief Financial Officer has certified that funds are available for this purpose subject to the adoption of the 2014 Municipal Budget; 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 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 May 19, 2014 through May 18, 2015, with a total contract price not to exceed $3,105.00; 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 $3,105.00.

Resolution #14-96: Authorizing Volunteer Fire Department Junior Membership

BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, Sussex County, New Jersey, that all documentation is in order and the following junior fire department membership approval is hereby granted for Carrie Ellen Goritski, Vernon Township Fire Department (McAfee Fire Department).

Resolution #14-97: Authorizing Volunteer Fire Department Transfer of Membership

BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, that the following fire department membership transfer is hereby granted for Robert Michael Shirhall, to McAfee Fire Department from Vernon Township Fire Department.

Introduction/1st Reading of Ordinances

Ordinance #14-13: Refunding Bond Ordinance Authorizing the Issuance of $5,600,000 Refunding Bonds of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey

Council President Lynch read Ordinance #14-13 by title only.

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #14-13 with a public hearing to held on July 14, 2014. Council President Lynch asked if there were any comments from the CFO and Administrator. Administrator Zuckerman stated that the township would be saving over $200,000 over the life of the bond with virtually no cost except the labor of the Administrator, CFO and Clerk.

Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Seconded: Dan Kadish

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None

Motion carried to introduce Ordinance 14-13 with a public hearing on July 14, 2014.

Public Hearing/2nd Reading of Ordinances

Ordinance #14-11: An Ordinance Authorizing a Special Emergency Appropriation of $200,000 for the Preparation of Tax Maps by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey

Council President Lynch read Ordinance #14-11 by title only.

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to open the public hearing on Ordinance #14-11.

Moved: Jean Murphy
Seconded: Dan Kadish

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None

Bonnie Rubin, Highland Lakes, questioned why this was called an emergency. Council President Lynch stated the Township did not deem it an emergency; it was part of the State statute to allow the payments to be spread over the next several years.

Seeing no other members of the public come forward regarding Ordinance #14-11, Council President Lynch asked for a motion to close the public hearing.

Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Seconded: Dan Kadish
All members stating aye.
A roll call vote was taken:

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #14-11.

Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None

Motion carried to adopt Ordinance 14-11.

Ordinance #14-12: Bond Ordinance Appropriating $2,350,000, and Authorizing the Issuance of $2,066,000 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 Lynch read Ordinance #14-12 by title only.

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to open the public hearing on Ordinance #14-12.

Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Dick Wetzel
All members stated aye.

Seeing no members of the public come forward regarding Ordinance #14-12, Council President Lynch asked for a motion to close the public hearing.

Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #14-12.

Moved: Dick Wetzel
Seconded: Jean Murphy

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel w/comment, Brian Lynch
Nays: None

Motion carried to adopt Ordinance 14-12.

Council Member Wetzel commented that with the interest rates so low now was the time to move forward.

Council Comments

Council Member Wetzel stated he had no comments.

Council Member Rizzuto stated each year the Township will have a fireworks celebration at the Lounsberry Hollow Middle School which would be sponsored by two of the Township Fire Departments. Council Member Rizzuto asked that the public support the fire departments by buying the tickets at the gate. Council Member Rizzuto stated this was one of the single biggest fundraisers of the year for the departments. Council Member Rizzuto wished them well and hoped the community avail themselves of this opportunity.

Council Member Kadish stated he had no comments.

Council Member Murphy asked if Attorney Kelly would like to address Resolution 14-02. Council Member Murphy stated that there was some confusion about resolution 14-02. Attorney Kelly noted that resolution 14-02, adopted on January 1, is required to be adopted at the beginning of the year for the Township’s meeting schedule. Attorney Kelly noted it was comprised of Regular and Work Sessions. Attorney Kelly noted that there were two versions; one containing the words that formal action may be taken at Regular and Work Sessions and the other version stated that formal action may be taken only at Regular Meetings. Attorney Kelly indicated the one published, posted and in the minutes includes the statement that action can be taken and regular and work sessions. Council Member Murphy stated the words “or work session” is not the version that was voted on but it was in the minutes. Council Member Murphy expressed that the version without work sessions should be the one the Township is using. Council Member Murphy questioned why this was changed. Attorney Kelly indicated that Sue Nelson was the Clerk at that time. Council Member Rizzuto suggested that the Council simply reaffirm and vote again on the resolution as published to avoid confusion. Attorney Kelly indicated the Council could adopt it again, notice it again and publish it again. Council Member Murphy indicated if the Council is going to have action at all work sessions she would like the Township Attorney present at all work sessions. Council President Lynch stated we can have a resolution drafted for the next meeting including action at work sessions and that the Township Attorney be present at all work sessions. Council Member Murphy indicated that turns work sessions into regular meetings. Council President Lynch noted that at most work sessions we need to have a consensus to move forward and we cannot wait weeks to get another meeting. Council Member Murphy stated it was very troubling that the words were added. Council Member Kadish indicated that he felt taking action at a work session is inappropriate but sometimes necessary and a special notice is required. Council Member Murphy stated the point is that the resolution was changed without Council approval and that is wrong.

Council President Lynch stated that the issue in town right now is the idea that the Township may purchase Camp Sussex. Council President Lynch indicated that the Council gave authorization to the Mayor for negotiations about the purchase of Camp Sussex not to purchase Camp Sussex. Council President Lynch stated he thought it would be in the best interest of the Township if the Council could get the information about the purchase of Camp Sussex before any decision is made either way. Council President Lynch indicated that the purchase of Camp Sussex is something that has been in the open space plan for a long time, long before the current council except Council Member Kadish. Council President Lynch stated that former Mayor Sally Rinker had signed the Open Space Addendum which included Pochuck Mountain Greenway and to purchase Camp Sussex. Council President Lynch stated he has not made a determination to purchase this property because at this point the Council does not have all the information.

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 Lynch, seconded by Council Member Rizzuto with members voting in favor.

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:11 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC
Municipal Clerk