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

Minutes: March 26, 2012

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:33 p.m. on March 26, 2012, in the Vernon Township Municipal Building, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 9, 2012, 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 Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Brian Lynch. Also present were Mayor Vic Marotta, Business Administrator Jerry Giaimis, Township Attorney Kevin Kelly, and CFO Bill Zuckerman.

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 to public comments at this time.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel
All were in favor.

Mary Bradley & Cheri Shortway—spoke about the “Couch to 5K” run that was beginning and will end on June 10 (for 8 weeks) for Vernon Day. They noted that the information is posted on the Vernon website. They are hoping to get a lot more people involved by starting slowly and working up to the run. Ms. Bradley noted that the soccer tournament over the weekend was a great success. There were 75 soccer teams that played at the Maple Grange fields and the high school fields. She noted that the local businesses got a lot of customers, as well as the concession stand. She offered kudos to Jennifer Polizzi, the soccer coach; and the DPW for the excellent condition of the fields.

Debra Carasella—spoke about the dog park. She lives across the street from the dog park and has concerns over plans that were discussed in the newspapers about signs, lack of trees, and port-o-potties. The Council President advised that he would look into the issues and get back to her.

Bill Costabile—discussed the storm drain issues in his neighborhood (120 Waywayanda Road in Barry Lakes). Mayor Marotta advised Council that Mr. Costabile had filed a tort claim with the Township. Mr. Costabile feels that the DPW caused the drainage/flooding problems, noting that the issues were created in 2004 and it has gotten progressively worse.

Gary Martinsen—spoke about the sign ordinance. He found a problem in the documents (A-frame signs are not allowed, but pedestal signs are). He passed out pictures of pedestal signs (sandwich board signs). He asked about temporary illumination and was told that it was not allowed.

Closed to Public Comments

No one else wished to speak at this time, and the Council President asked for a motion to close the public portion of the meeting.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel
All were in favor.

Approval of Minutes

February 27, 2012 Executive Session Minutes

Moved: Eddie Dunn
Second: Daniel Kadish

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Executive Session Minutes of 2/27/12 were approved.

February 27, 2012 Amendment to Regular Meeting Minutes

Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Amendment to the Minutes of 2/27/12 were approved.

March 12, 2012 Regular Meeting Minutes

Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Eddie Dunn

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel
Nays: None
Abstain: Brian Lynch
Minutes of 3/12/12 were approved.

Resolutions #12-62 and #12-70 through #12-75

Council President Lynch gave a brief explanation of all resolutions.

Council President Lynch asked to vote on Resolution #12-74 separately.

The Council President asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #12-62, #12-70 through 12-73, and 12-75.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Resolutions #12-62, 12-70 through 12-73, and 12-75 were approved.

Resolution #12-62: Authorizing the Award of a Contract for a Concession License at Maple Grange Park and Veterans Park

WHEREAS, there is a need to award a contract for a concession license at Maple Grange Park and Veterans Park; and

WHEREAS, the Township has issued specifications and contract documents soliciting formal proposals through the competitive contracting process for this license; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon received and opened one proposal for the above mentioned license on March 9, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. in the Vernon Township Municipal Building; and

WHEREAS, the bid was received and reviewed by the Qualified Purchasing Agent and the Vernon Township Municipal Clerk for the specified bid requirements; and

WHEREAS, the Committee formed to evaluate these proposals, which includes the Township Administrator, the Director of Community Affairs and Recreation, and the QPA, recommends awarding the contract to Vernon Township Police Athletic League, Inc. at the price of $4,000.00.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Vernon Township Council, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, that a license to operate the concessions at Maple Grange and Veterans Parks be awarded to Vernon Township Police Athletic League, Inc.; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Mayor of Vernon Township is hereby authorized to execute the contract for this concession license.

This Resolution shall take effect immediately according to law.

Resolution #12-70: Authorizing the Approval of Bills List

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

Disbursement
Journal
FundAmountMajor Vendor
#1CURRENT$847,088.95BD OF ED
#2CURRENT$116,752.32TRANSFER FUNDS
#3CURRENT$1,386,865.40BD OF ED
#4CURRENT$499.46VTMUA
#5GRANT$4,761.91 
#6CAPITAL$15,625.12 
#7P & Z$2,397.25 
#8OUTSIDE SERVICES$99.38 
#9OUTSIDE SERVICES$152.86 
#10RECREATION$2,750.00 
#11OTHER TRUST$2,066.53 
#12SEWER OPERATING$30.14 
#13DEVELOPER’S BONDS$38,050.42 
#142ND PAY IN MARCH$294,339.30 
  $2,711,479.04 

Resolution #12-71: Fund Balance Transfer

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon Municipal Budget requires certain modifications to cover potential expenses that may occur in excess of the original budget.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the following Transfer of Appropriations (2011 Municipal Budget) in accordance with N.J.S.A 40A-58/59 be hereby approved.

FROM: TO: 
Current Budget: Current Budget: 
Assessment of Taxes—O/E$20,000.00Utilities—O/E$20,000.00
Total Current Budget Transfers$20,000.00Total Current Budget Transfers$20,000.00

Resolution #12-72: Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Interlocal Service Agreement with the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority for the Services of the Department of Public Works

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon Township, a Municipal Corporation of the State of New Jersey and the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority (VTMUA), a municipal utilities authority established pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:14-B-1 et. seq. have determined that an Interlocal Service Agreement for the services of the Department of Public Works is in the best interest of the parties; and

WHEREAS, the specific services, payment arrangements, and term of agreement, have been negotiated and set forth in a written Interlocal Service Agreement between the Township and VTMUA.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, and State of New Jersey that the Mayor is hereby authorized to execute the Interlocal Service Agreement between the Township and VTMUA for the services of the Department of Public Works in accordance with the mutual terms and conditions of the attached Interlocal Service Agreement.

This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption according to law.

Resolution #12-73: Authorizing the Collective Bargaining Agreement with American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and Vernon Township

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has agreed to enter into a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (“AFSCME”), which shall govern the terms of employment and compensation for the Department of Public Works for the calendar years 2012 through 2015; and

WHEREAS, AFSCME, has agreed to enter into a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Township of Vernon and shall be adopting a resolution voted upon by its members adopting said Agreement.

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 Council authorizes a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Township and the AFSCME.
  2. The Mayor and Township Business Administrator are authorized to sign the Collective Bargaining Agreement on behalf of the Township.
  3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

A copy of this resolution as well as the referenced Collective Bargaining Agreement shall be placed on file with the Clerk of the Township.

Resolution #12-75: Authorizing the Issuance of Not Exceeding $3,809,000 Bond Anticipation Notes of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, State of New Jersey

BE IT RESOLVED By the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, as follows:

Section 1. Pursuant to a bond ordinance of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex (herein called “local unit”) entitled: “Bond ordinance providing for the acquisition of sanitary sewerage collection and transmission facilities in and by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey, appropriating $4,000,000 therefor and authorizing the issuance of $3,809,000 bonds or notes of the Township for financing such appropriation”, finally adopted on November 14, 2011 (#11-22), Bond Anticipation Notes of the local unit in a principal amount not exceeding $3,809,000 shall be issued for the purpose of temporarily financing the improvement or purpose described in Section 3 of said bond ordinance, including (to any extent necessary) the renewal of any Bond Anticipation Notes heretofore issued therefor.

Section 2. The following matters in connection with said Bond Anticipation Notes are hereby determined:

  1. All notes issued hereunder shall mature at such times as may be determined by the chief financial officer or the interim chief financial officer (the “chief financial officer”) of the local unit, provided that no note issued pursuant to Section 1 shall mature later than (i) one year from the date of the first such note issued pursuant to the respective ordinances referred to in said Sections, and (ii) three years from the date of the first note issued pursuant to each such respective ordinance unless the local unit shall have paid and retired amounts of such notes sufficient to allow it, in accordance with provisions of Section 40A:2-8 of the Local Bond Law, to renew a portion thereof beyond the third anniversary date of the first of such notes;
  2. All notes issued hereunder shall bear interest at such rate or rates as may be determined by the chief financial officer of the local unit; and
  3. The notes shall be in the form prescribed by resolution heretofore adopted by the governing body of this local unit determining the form of Bond Anticipation Notes issued pursuant to the Local Bond Law, and any such notes may be signed or sealed by officers of the local unit in any manner permitted by Section 40A:2-25 of said Local Bond Law notwithstanding that said form or resolution may otherwise provide.

Section 3. The chief financial officer of the local unit is hereby authorized and directed to determine all matters in connection with said notes not determined by this or a subsequent resolution, and the chief financial officer’s signature upon said notes shall be conclusive as to such determinations.

Section 4. The chief financial officer of the local unit is hereby authorized to sell said Bond Anticipation Notes from time to time at public or private sale in such amounts as the chief financial officer may determine at not less than par and to deliver the same from time to time to the purchasers thereof upon receipt of payment of the purchase price plus accrued interest from their dates to the date of delivery thereof and payment therefor.

Section 5. Any instrument issued pursuant to this resolution shall be a general obligation of the local unit, and the local unit’s faith and credit are hereby pledged to the punctual payment of the principal of and interest on said obligations and, unless otherwise paid or payment provided for, an amount sufficient for such payment shall be inserted in the budget and a tax sufficient to provide for the payment thereof shall be levied and collected.

Section 6. The chief financial officer of the local unit is authorized and directed to report in writing to the governing body at the meeting next succeeding the date when any sale or delivery of notes pursuant to this resolution is made, such report to include the amount, description, interest rate and maturity of the notes sold, the price obtained and the name of the purchaser.

Section 7. The chief financial officer of the local unit is hereby authorized and directed to do all other matters necessary, useful, convenient or desirable to accomplish the delivery of said notes to the purchasers thereof as promptly as possible, including (i) the preparation, execution and dissemination of a Preliminary Official Statement and Final Official Statement with respect to said notes, (ii) preparation, distribution and publication, if necessary, of a Notice of Sale with respect to said notes, (iii) execution of a Continuing Disclosure Undertaking, with respect to said notes in accordance with Rule 15c2-12 promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and (iv) execution of an arbitrage and use of proceeds certificate certifying that, among other things, the local unit, to the extent it is empowered and allowed under applicable law, will do and perform all acts and things necessary or desirable to assure that interest paid on said notes is not included in gross income under Section 103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

Section 8. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

The Council President asked for a motion to approve Resolution #12-74.
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Eddie Dunn

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel
Nays: None
Abstain: Brian Lynch
Resolution #12-74 was approved.

Resolution #12-74: Authorizing Change Order #2 To KME Corp., Inc. for Refurbishing a Highland Lakes Fire Department Pumper

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to refurbish a Highland Lakes Fire Department pumper via resolution #11-223 to Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corp. Inc., for $167,776.00; and

WHEREAS, change order #1 was recently awarded and reflected several additional items that were not in the original specification and unforeseen but were required for the vehicle, which totaled $8,635.00; and

WHEREAS, additional items (cracks in the cab grill and seat riser that requires welding) were not in the original specification and unforeseen at the time, are required; and

WHEREAS, according to NJAC 5:30-1.3, the total amount of all change orders may not exceed 20 percent of the original contract award; and

WHEREAS, this change #2 order plus change order #1 does not exceed the 20 percent threshold; and

WHEREAS, the Qualified Purchasing Agent and Highland Lakes Fire Department Chief recommend that this change order be approved per the attached proposal; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, that this change order #2 be approved. The Chief Financial Officer has certified a total amount of $1,330.00 in account #3094305; and

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

Ordinances

1st Reading on Ordinance #12-04 by Title Only

The Council President asked for a motion to approve Ordinance #12-04 on 1st reading by title only.
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Daniel Kadish

Council Member Dunn asked if the ordinance included boats, all-terrain vehicles, etc. He was advised that it did.

Council Member Rizzuto noted that the enforcement of the existing code by the zoning officer had been problematic; and the changes take into effect the large recreational bent of the Township while allowing for better enforcement.

Council Member Dunn asked if this new ordinance will encompass enough of the varied issues/uses, and if abandoned vehicles are addressed. He was advised that all are handled.

Mayor Marotta noted that about 300 homes own a recreational vehicle, and that the old ordinance did not adequately and fairly address all issues.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Ordinance #12-04 was approved on 1st reading.

Ordinance #12-04: An ordinance amending code of Vernon—Recreational Vehicles, etc.


1st Reading on Ordinance #12-05 by Title Only

The Council President asked for a motion to approve Ordinance #12-05 on 1st reading by title only.
Motion: Eddie Dunn
Second: Daniel Kadish

Council President Lynch thanked all who came out to the work session on the sign ordinance on March 22. He wanted the public to know that changes may need to be made at a later time to fit the changing needs of the town.

Mayor Marotta asked Mr. Kelly if any minor changes and/or typographical errors can be done without re-introduction. Mr. Kelly advised that minor changes would not require re-introduction.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Ordinance #12-05 was approved on 1st reading.

Ordinance #12-05: An ordinance amending code of Vernon—Signs


1st Reading on Ordinance #12-06 by Title Only

The Council President asked for a motion to approve Ordinance #12-06 on 1st reading by title only.
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Daniel Kadish

Council President Lynch noted that this was a long time coming and in proper perspective. He pointed out a typographical error relative to draft sites/fire lanes.

Council Member Kadish felt that Knox boxes should be optional. The Council President advised that they are optional, but at the director of the fire official. The issue was raised over “shall” vs. “may” in regard to the need for a Knox box. The Council President asked for those changes to be made.

A roll call vote was taken to approve as amended:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Ordinance #12-06 was approved as amended on 1st reading.

Ordinance #12-06: An ordinance revising code—Fire Prevention


1st Reading on Ordinance #12-07 by Title Only

The Council President asked for a motion to approve Ordinance #12-07 on 1st reading by title only.
Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Brian Lynch

Mayor Marotta explained that this is not an increase in the budget, which will be clear when the budget is presented. It will not increase taxes, but is banking some extra savings.

Mr. Zuckerman advised that this is not setting aside dollars, but is only a “paper transaction” for a reserve.

The Mayor added that this is only available for 2 years, and was recommended by the auditor.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Ordinance #12-07 was approved on 1st reading.

Ordinance #12-07: Calendar year 2012 ordinance to exceed the municipal budget appropriation limits and to establish a cap bank (N.J.S.A. 40A:4-45.14)


Introduction of the 2012 Municipal Budget

Resolution #12-76: Introduction of the 2012 Budget

The Council President asked for a motion to approve Resolution #12-76.
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Resolutions #12-76 was approved.

Resolution #12-76: Introduction of Year 2012 Municipal Budget

BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, New Jersey, that the following statements of revenues and appropriations shall constitute the Municipal Budget for the year 2012.

GENERAL REVENUE
Total Revenues$23,240,290.00
GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS
Total Appropriations$23,240,290.00

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all items of revenue and appropriations, including unexpended balances of 2011 appropriations in the approximate sum of $7,840.56 are hereby approved.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the said budget be published on March 30, 2012, in the New Jersey Herald and that a hearing on the 2012 Budget and 2012 Tax Resolution will be held at the Vernon Municipal Building on April 23, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. or as soon thereafter as the matter may be reached.

Resolution #12-77: Self-Examination of 2012 Municipal Budget

The Council President asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #12-77.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel

Council President Lynch asked Mr. Zuckerman to explain this resolution to the Council. Mr. Zuckerman did so, noting the volume of budgets the Division of Local Government Services has to examine has, therefore, allowed certain municipalities to do a self-examination.

The Mayor added that it is because of the good fiscal condition of Vernon Township that allows us to fall into that category. He thanked Mr. Zuckerman and Mr. Giaimis for their hard work on the budget.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Resolutions #12-77 was approved.

Resolution #12-77: Self-Examination of 2012 Municipal Budget [as required by DCA]

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:4-78b has authorized the Local Finance Board to adopt rules that permit municipalities in sound fiscal condition to assume the responsibility, normally granted to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services, of conducting the annual budget examination; and

WHEREAS, N.J.A.C. 5:30-7 was adopted by the Local Finance Board on February 11, 1997; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:30-7.2 through 7.5, the Township of Vernon has been declared eligible to participate in the program by the Division of Local Government Services, and the Chief Financial officer has determined that the local government meets the necessary conditions to participate in the program for the 2012 budget year.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the governing body of the Township of Vernon that in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:30-7.6a & 7.6b and based upon the Chief Financial Officer’s certification, the governing body has found the budget has met the following requirements:

  1. That with reference to the following items, the amounts have been calculated pursuant to law and appropriated as such in the budget:
    1. Payment of interest and debt redemption charges
    2. Deferred charges and statutory expenditures
    3. Cash deficit of preceding year
    4. Reserve for uncollected taxes
    5. Other reserves and non-disbursement items
    6. Any inclusions of amounts required for school purposes.
  2. That the provisions relating to limitation on increases of appropriations pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:4-45.2 and appropriations for exceptions to limits on appropriations found at N.J.S.A. 40A:4-45.3 et seq., are fully met (complies with CAP law).
  3. That the budget is in such form, arrangement, and content as required by the Local Budget Law and N.J.A.C. 5:30-4 and 5:30-5.
  4. That pursuant to the Local Budget Law:
    1. All estimates of revenue are reasonable, accurate and correctly stated,
    2. Items of appropriation are properly set forth
    3. In itemization, form, arrangement and content, the budget will permit the exercise of the comptroller function within the municipality.
  5. The budget and associated amendments have been introduced and publicly advertised in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Local Budget Law, except that failure to meet the deadlines of N.J.S.A. 40A:4-5 shall not prevent such certification.
  6. That all other applicable statutory requirements have been fulfilled.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution will be forwarded to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services upon adoption.

2012 Budget Presentation

Mayor Marotta made the following statement:

“Vernon’s 2012 Municipal Budget is far below the State mandated tax levy and appropriations cap. We are approximately $1.7million below the levy cap and $115,714 below the allowable appropriations cap. This budget will produce an average municipal tax bill of approximately $5,948.75. Noteworthy is the fact that Vernon Township only accounts for 22% of this bill. Of the 22%, 4% is the reserve for uncollected taxes which is a state mandated calculation that must be incorporated into our budget document. The remaining 78% goes to support the Vernon Township School District and the Sussex County government.”

Under appropriations, he advised that over 50% of the discretionary expenses of the budget are directed to the Vernon Township Police Department and the Department of Public Works and the insurance provided therein. Over 2/3 of those expenditures are directed toward the collectively bargained salaries and benefits of those employees.

Under health insurance premiums he noted that the Township experienced some appropriations savings this year. Due to the hard work and the aggressive marketing of our health insurance brokers, we saw a significant reduction in these costs for the first time in many years. Though we cannot say for certain what the future will hold in this area, this is the first time this Township has truly seen a drastic savings.

As for pension costs, they have been somewhat of a roller coaster in recent years. Much of the current problem can be attributed to past Trenton practices of not making the required pension payments, allowing deferments and over-anticipating revenues under the guise of tax relief which means the fund now requires greater contributions to meet its obligations. The amount we pay toward the Public Employees Retirement System is a double-digit increase from last year while the Police & Fire Retirement System is showing a significant decrease. The state credits the recently enacted pension contribution laws with the decrease. We have no way of knowing how the state calculated the initial bill we received, and the subsequent decrease; so it is difficult to comment on what, if any, impact the law really had. While the decrease is significant from 2011, it is a mere 1% decrease from 2010. As a result, due to the constant fluctuations of the bills being sent by Trenton since 2010, we have to be careful not to make knee jerk budgetary reactions to what appears on the surface to be a dramatic savings.

As for revenues, a majority of the revenues in the municipal budget come from the amount to be raised by taxes. The second primary source of revenue is what is often known as State Aid. In 2012 the State of New Jersey provided flat state aid which makes up approximately 11% of the municipal revenues. The word “aid” is somewhat of a misnomer in that the monies received from the state are our energy tax receipts that New Jersey municipalities are entitled to. We should be receiving far in excess of what we receive but we are faced with state legislative policy decisions that make this impossible for now.

He advised that the impact on the average residential structure assessed at $222,633 is $1,302.40 to provide for municipal operations for the year or slightly less than $110.00 per month. As a comparison to last year, the average Vernon taxpayer will pay approximately $24 less in the municipal portion of their tax bill. This is the first time in nearly two decades that taxpayers have seen a reduction in their municipal taxes.

The Mayor offered the following summary: “In closing, it is my belief that the budget appropriations and revenue projections, as contained in the 2012 budget for Vernon, will enable the Township to meet the public’s demand and need for services. As a municipal government we have a responsibility to function in the realities of levy caps and reduced staffing and find new ways to be efficient. This is a fluid process that occurs every day of the week as we look for different ways to conduct business. In the last few months we have embraced this role and secured shared services arrangements in the area of fire prevention, financial services, and purchasing services. We continue to work toward this and are confident that more are on the horizon.

Two percent levy caps make for nice talking points and look good on the state campaign trail but this does not make the cost of government decrease nor does it limit a potential tax increase to two percent. Vendors such as utility companies, IT equipment, vehicle manufacturers, office supplies, health insurance companies, etc. do not limit their increases to 2% as a result of a state mandated levy cap. These increases are often well in excess of 2% and we have to pay this regardless. Offsetting these increases require creativity, efficiency, and a municipal staff willing to work with the administration. This has happened and we are confident we can continue this trend.

Further, the budget is structured in a fiscally responsible manner to ensure the financial well being of our municipal government, addressing policy issues of the past, and addressing future needs as best as possible. Operating in an efficient manner requires sound leadership reflected in the policy decisions of the governing body and the consistent good management practices found throughout the organization. The 2012 budget will enable the municipal organization to continue to operate in the most efficient way possible given the current economic conditions, state mandates and declining state aid.”

Mr. Giaimis gave a power point presentation showing the 2011/2012 accomplishments. It was noted that the DPW’s efforts during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars. He advised that the reductions in health insurance costs amounted to $400,000. Unpaid taxes are $200,000 less than last year.

The Mayor added that we anticipate a $130,000 increase in revenues due to the shared services arrangements; and that we have been approached by many towns for additional share services opportunities.

Mayor Marotta thanked Jerry Giaimis and Bill Zuckerman for their efforts and hard work on this budget.

Mr. Zuckerman noted that the budget would be posted on the website tomorrow and published in the paper this Friday.

Council Business

Council President Lynch praised the preparation of this document, noting the progress from last year. He thanked the staff for all their efforts and cooperation.

Council Member Dunn felt we have tremendous leadership, and that the result is unprecedented. He felt the Council was under-appreciated for the direction that we are all going in.

Council Member Rizzuto echoed Mr. Dunn’s comments, adding that he knew the financial challenge ahead of the Council in July. He pointed out that no services have been cut despite the savings. He congratulated everyone on a job well done.

Council Member Wetzel noted that the unemployment rate in Vernon had gone down as well. (The Mayor noted a 20% decline, per the NJ Department of Labor.)

Council Member Kadish tried to lighten the mood with a quick joke about the CFO being referred to as “Dr. No.”

Council President

The Council President noted that the work sessions had been quite productive and asked for a motion for work sessions at 6:30 p.m. prior to regular meetings when there were no planned executive sessions. He asked for that to start with the April 9 meeting, with the subject being Capital Improvements for Roads.

Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Eddie Dunn
All were in favor.

Mr. Lynch praised the PAL for the wonderful job over at Maple Grange over the weekend at the parks—there were a lot of volunteers and everyone was smiling. He asked Jeanne Buffalino to spread the work and told Randy Mills how well it went.

He advised that the Mayor had presided over the historic signing of the United Water sewerage operations. The Mayor noted that this was held on Friday, March 23, at 10:00 a.m., with the United Water officers signing the contracts of sale. He added that this will set in motion the MUA and its operations. He explained the reasoning for the sale, and that United Water is committed to providing water to the Town Center; that the A&P has already made plans to be able to utilize gallonage; and advised with some figures that will be a part of going forward with the MUA.

Mr. Lynch noted how proud he is with the area of progress for the Township.

Mayor Marotta advised that over the next 2 years, all monies spent on the SCMUA will be recouped and will eventually pay for itself. He added that we are current with all bond and other payments with the SCMUA for the first time in decades.

Council Member Rizzuto noted that he had his first experience with a working fire scene at Legends, and was impressed with the professionalism and efficiency of all fire personnel from Vernon Township and surrounding towns, as well as the Police Department as first responders.

Council Member Kadish asked about the injured fireman. Council President Lynch advised that the fireman suffered a serious eye injury, but that he was doing better than they had thought possible. He thanked Mr. Giaimis for his quick response which was instrumental in the injury being less severe. The Mayor noted that Mr. Giaimis made sure that Workman’s Compensation was instituted. The fireman suffered a detached retina but he will not lose his eye nor his eyesight.

Council Member Wetzel also noted that the DPW should receive kudos for their work on Pochuck Road.

Council Member Kadish asked if the capital improvements for roads would include a new tractor.

Council Member Dunn suggested savoring this moment with the budget and the sewer system. He felt it was amazing how outstanding leadership can do so much, noting his military experience in relationship to leadership.

Council President Lynch noted that his grandmother had passed away at 101 on St. Patrick’s Day. He thanked everyone for all the many condolences he received.

Adjournment

There being no further items of business to be conducted at the Regular Meeting, a motion for Adjournment was made by Council Member Rizzuto. Motion seconded by Council Member Dunn, with all members voting in favor.

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 9:19 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Nelson, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: May 14, 2012