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

Minutes: March 24, 2014

YouTube video of the March 24, 2014 council meeting »

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 24, 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 Mayor Vic Marotta, Township Business Administrator William Zuckerman 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 Comments

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to open the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

Christa Gerry thanked Council Member Kadish and Council Member Murphy and stated they had her respect.

Closed to Public Comments

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

Township Mayor’s Report

Mayor Marotta discussed the negotiations with Mountain Creek and the PILOT bond. Mayor Marotta indicated that a proposed ordinance would be expected in approximately May regarding the PILOT bond.

Mayor Marotta discussed the MUA and a possible easement from the New York Susquehanna Rail Road. Mayor Marotta stated he was looking for an amicable way to address this issue.

Mayor Marotta discussed the Turtle Creek Institute which would be a Cultural Center and Museum that may be built in Vernon. Mayor Marotta indicated that the building would be about 10 acres and would include homeopathic medicine, research center, and planetarium. Mayor Marotta indicated that the project would involve over 220 Native American tribes and represent a symbiotic relationship between the Township’s recreational visitors and museum patrons.

Mayor Marotta noted that he had hired Dan Perez as his personal attorney regarding the petition. Mayor Marotta stated some questions lingered regarding the petition process and the status of the deputy clerk. Mayor Marotta reported that he has thanked Mr. Perez for his work and released him. Mayor Marotta noted that the petitioners requested to rescind ordinance 14-01. Mayor Marotta also formally requested for the Township to rescind the ordinance. Mayor Marotta stated that the Township has many other issues to deal with and he did not wish the Township to waste time and energy on this issue.

Kevin Kelly, the Township Attorney, having a possible executive session at the meeting on Monday, March 31 to discuss the issues raised by Mayor Marotta.

A Motion was made and all voted in favor to have a work session, regular meeting with executive session on Monday, March 31 commencing at 6:30 p.m.

Approval of Minutes

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

January 13, 2014 Regular Meeting Minutes

Moved: Jean Murphy
Second: 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 January 13, 2014.

January 17, 2014 Special Meeting Minutes

Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

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 January 17, 2014.

January 13, 2014 Executive Session Minutes

Moved: Dick Wetzel
Second: 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 January 13, 2014.

January 23, 2014 Executive Session Minutes

Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

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

Motion carried to approve minutes for January 23, 2014.

January 27, 2014 Executive Session Minutes

Moved: Jean Murphy
Second: 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 January 27, 2014.

January 31, 2014 Executive Session Minutes

Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

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 January 31, 2014.

Consent Agenda

Council President Lynch gave a brief explanation of Resolutions #14-48 through 14-52. Council President Lynch asked for a motion to adopt Resolutions #14-48 through 14-52.

Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dan Kadish

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

Resolutions #14-48 through 14-52 were adopted.

Resolution #14-48: Authorizing the Application to the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse through the County of Sussex for the Municipal Alliance Grant for 2014 in the Amount of $20,467.00

WHEREAS, The Township of Vernon Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey recognizes that the abuse of alcohol and drugs is a serious problem in our society amongst persons of all ages: and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon Council further recognizes that it is incumbent upon not only public officials but upon the entire community to take action to prevent such abuses in our community; and

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Alliance Committee is eligible to apply for funding to the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, through the Sussex County Department of Human Services, in the amount of $20,467.00 for alcohol and drug abuse prevention services.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey that:

  1. The Council of the Township of Vernon does hereby authorize submission of an application for the Municipal Alliance Grant for fiscal year 2014 in the amount of $20,467.00.
  2. The Township of Vernon acknowledges the terms and conditions for administering the Municipal Alliance grant, including the administrative compliance and audit requirements.

Resolution #14-49: Emergency Temporary Appropriations

WHEREAS, an emergent condition has arisen in that the Township is expected to enter in contracts, commitments or payments prior to the 2014 budget and no adequate provision has been made in the 2014 temporary budget for the aforesaid purposes, and

WHEREAS, N.J.S. 40A:4-20 provides for the creation of an emergency temporary appropriation for said purpose, and

WHEREAS, the total emergency temporary appropriation resolutions adopted in the year 2014 pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 96, P.L. 1951 (N.J.S.A. 40A:4-20) including this resolution total $526.600.00,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Governing Body of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, (not less than two-thirds of all the members thereof affirmatively concurring) that in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:4-20:

1. Emergency temporary appropriations be and the same are hereby made in the amount of $526,600.00 as follows:

Environmental Commission—OE$ 300.00
Economic Development—OE300.00
Municipal Clerk—S&W8,000.00
Finance—OE11,000.00
Assessment of Taxes—OE5,000.00
Group Insurance—OE289,000.00
Building & Grounds—S&W3,000.00
Animal Control—S&W17,000.00
Sewer Utility Expense193,000.00
 $ 526,600.00

2. Said emergency temporary appropriations will be provided for in the 2014 budget.

3. That one certified copy of this resolution be filed with the Director, Division of Local Government Services.

Resolution #14-50: Authorizing Agreement Supporting the Watershed Coaltion Seeking Tax Equity for the Newark Watershed Property

WHEREAS, the Townships of West Milford, Hardyston, Jefferson, Rockaway, Vernon and the Borough of Kinnelon all have significant lands within their municipality known as the Newark Watershed and owned by the City of Newark; and

WHEREAS, notwithstanding that these lands are most sensitive and protected, and that each municipality is the steward of such land, the municipalities sacrifice significant ratable for the preservation of said land and its favorable tax treatment pursuant to the laws of the State of New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, these “host” communities have collaborated to form a “Watershed Coalition” with the goal of obtaining equity with respect to these watershed lands by way of a partnership with the City of Newark, legislative initiatives and /or legal review; and

WHEREAS, the Township of West Milford has retained the services of the Princeton Public Affairs Group, Inc., as the lead lobbyist in an effort to achieve the goals of the Watershed Coalition.

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

  1. The Township Council strongly supports the Watershed Coalition and its mission to obtain equity with respect to these watershed lands by way of a partnership with the City of Newark, legislatives initiatives and /or legal review.
  2. Copies of this Resolution shall be forwarded to our State Legislators and the Municipal Clerks of each member municipality of the Watershed Coalition.

Resolution #14-51: Authorizing the Mayor and Municipal Clerk to Sign a Lease Agreement with the County of Sussex for Nutrition Site Premises for Senior Citizens

WHEREAS, Vernon Township has available space in the Senior Citizen Center; and

WHEREAS, there is a continuing need for space to offer meals to accommodate approximately 75 senior citizens per day; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has offered, for appropriate compensation, to allow the County of Sussex to utilize a portion of the Senior Citizen facility for the Vernon Nutrition Site Operation project as per attached lease agreement for the year 2014; and

WHEREAS, the lease agreement is attached hereto and made a part hereof; and

WHEREAS, the compensatory amount for the use of this facility is $22,700.00 for the agreement year.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, New Jersey as follows:

  1. That the Township Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes and directs the Mayor and Township Clerk to execute the lease agreement between Vernon Township and the County of Sussex for use of the Vernon Township Senior Citizen Center for the Vernon Nutrition Site Project.
  2. A certified copy of this Resolution shall be submitted to the Clerk of Sussex County and Thomas H. Neff, the Director of the NJ Division of Local Government Services.

Resolution #14-52: Urging Governor Christie and the New Jersey Legislature to Enact Legislation that Will Permanently Extend the 2% Cap on Interest Arbitration Awards before April 1, 2014

WHEREAS, pursuant to the sunset provision contained in P.L. 2010 c. 105 the 2% cap on interest arbitration awards is set to expire on April 1 2014; and

WHEREAS, this law empowers county and municipal governments through the State to effectively control public safety employment salaries and personnel costs by capping interst arbitration awards at 2% for base salaries, which includes step increments and longevity pay; and

WHEREAS, county and municipal governments dedicate a substantial portion of their overall annual operating budgets for employee salaries, wages, health benefits, and other personnel costs ; and

WHEREAS, county governments face a restrictive 2% property tax cap levy where counties must prepare two comprehensive cap calculations and use the more restrictive one; and

WHEREAS, failure to extend the 2% cap on interest arbitration awards will force county governments to further reduce or even eliminate essential services, critical personnel, and long-overdue infrastructure improvement projects; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of county and municipal governments and property taxpayers throughout the State struggling to make ends meet to permanently extend the 2% cap on interest arbitration awards.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the Township of Vernon urges Governor Chris Christie and the New Jersey State Legislature to enact legislation that will permanently extend the 25 cap on interest arbitration awards before April 1, 2014; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of the Resolution are forwarded to the Honorable Chris Christie, Governor of the State of New Jersey, Office of the Governor, P.O. Box 001, Trenton, NJ 08625; the Honorable Stephen M. Sweeney, President of the New Jersey State Senate, District 3, Kingsway Common, Suite 400, 935 Kings Highway, West Deptford, NJ 08086; the Honorable Vincent Prieto, Speaker of the General Assembly, District 32, 1249 Paterson Plank Rd., Secaucus, NJ 07094; the Honorable Steven V. Oroho, State Senator-District 24, 115 Demarest Road, Suite 2B, Sparta, NJ 07871; the Honorable Parker Space, Assembly Representative-District 24, 115 Demarest Road, Suite 2B, Sparta, NJ 07871; the Honorable Alison Littell McHose, Assembly Representative, 115 Demarest Road, Suite 2B, Sparta, NJ 07871; the Municipal Clerk of all Sussex County municipalities and John G. Donnadio, Esq.; Executive Director, New Jersey Association of Counties, 150 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08608.

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinance

Council President Lynch read Ordinance #14-05 by title only.

Ordinance #14-05: An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon in the County of Sussex, New Jersey Authorizing the Purchase of Various Equipment and Repairs in, by and for the Township Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:56-1 and Appropriating Therefore the Sum of $112,000.00 and Providing that Such Sum So Appropriated Shall Be Raised from the Capital Fund Account of the Township

It was moved by Council Member Dan Kadish, seconded by Council Member Dick Wetzel to introduce Ordinance #14-05 upon first reading with a public hearing to be held on April 28, 2014.

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

Motion carried to introduce Ordinance 14-05 with a public hearing to be held on April 28, 2014.

Council Comments

Council Member Murphy stated it was nice to see employees of Mountain Creek out cleaning the highway.

Council Member Kadish discussed that he had received a copy of report regarding the New Jersey water supply which indicated that some communities were unable to expand their water service areas until more water was found. Council Member Kadish indicated that Vernon used to monitor some wells but since the County had taken over the Health department he did not believe that was being done. Council Member Kadish expressed concern over the issue. Mayor Marotta indicated that the planner was addressing the water deficit issue and would keep the Council posted.

Council Member Rizzuto complimented the Police department for apprehending the felon at who were alleged to have robbed PNC Bank. Council Member Rizzuto also complimented the employees at the PNC Bank as well.

Council Member Wetzel indicated that there were continued discussions with the Native American tribes and questioned if Camp Sussex was a possible site for their facility. Mayor Marotta indicated that the size of the building being proposed required sewer lines.

Council President Lynch congratulated Chief Mills and Detective Talt in catching the alleged thieves. Council President Lynch noted that he had previously requested an updated emergency action plan for the Township as hurricane season was approaching. Mayor Marotta indicated he would have the OEM (Office of Emergency Management) follow up. Council President Lynch requested that when Mountain Creek was prepared if they could come forward with more information. Council President Lynch indicated his satisfaction with the budget submitted by the CFO. Council President Lynch reminded people to change the batteries in the smoke and fire detectors. Council President Lynch also noted that CO detectors need to be changed every 10 years as the build up of CO in the detector can cause false readings over time. Council President Lynch indicated a firefighter had been killed in Wallington in the line of duty. Council President Lynch thanked the emergency personnel of the Township, noting that when they leave for duty they have every intention of returning home, however sometimes that is not the case.

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren E. Kirkman, RMC
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: April 28, 2014