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, 2018

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Monday March 26, 2018 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, 2018 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 Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger and Council President Jean Murphy. Also present were Mayor Harry Shortway, CFO Elke Yetter, Business Administrator Charles Voelker and Township Attorney Joshua Zielinski.

Salute to the Flag

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

Proclamations

Vernon Court Administrator Donna Zuidema came forward and read Proclamations honoring Community Dispute Resolution Volunteers: Carol King; John Hackett, and Lynn Negele. Ms. Zuidema also read a letter from Judge James Devine thanking the three individuals for volunteering as Community Dispute Resolution Trained Mediators for many years.

Proclamations Honoring Community Dispute Resolution Volunteers

Carol King

WHEREAS, it is the Township’s continued pleasure and honor to recognize citizens in our community for their special actions and continuing service; and

WHEREAS, there are many that step forward in dedication and commitment to provide service above oneself in the daily life of our community; and

WHEREAS, the Community Dispute Resolution Committee was established in 1997 as a means to provide residents that have minor disputes resolved without having to go through the formal court system; and

WHEREAS, Carol King is a trained mediator and the liaison of the program since its inception in 1997 serving 21 years; and

WHEREAS, Carol a resident since 1983, has a volunteering heart, serving on the Vernon Chamber of Commerce, Warwick Valley Kennel Club, Juvenile Conference Committee, Republican Organization, Vernon Day Committee, Earthfest Committee, State Insurance Committee for Continuing Education, and the Sussex County Disabilities Council along with visits to nursing homes with her therapy dog, working on Rotary projects and hosting church bible studies; and

WHEREAS, Carol holds a BA in Zoology, with 9 years’ experience in industrial pharmacology, international and domestic cosmetic marketing and product development, along with 2 years employment for disabled people, along with her 36 years as an insurance broker and agent, is fluent in both Spanish and French; and

NOW, THEREFORE, the Council and Mayor of the Township of Vernon on behalf of all citizens in our community, take this opportunity to recognize and honor Carol King for her continued service and dedication to the residents of the Township of Vernon and the Community Dispute Resolution Committee. We all thank Carol for giving of her time, talent and experience to our community.

Given under my hand in these free United States in the Township of Vernon, State of New Jersey on the 26 day of March, two thousand eighteen, and to which I have caused the Seal of the Township of Vernon to be affixed and have made this proclamation public.

John Hackett

WHEREAS, it is the Township’s continued pleasure and honor to recognize citizens in our community for their special actions and continuing service; and

WHEREAS, there are many that step forward in dedication and commitment to provide service above oneself in the daily life of our community; and

WHEREAS, the Community Dispute Resolution Committee was established in 1997 as a means to provide residents that have minor disputes resolved without having to go through the formal court system; and

WHEREAS, John Hackett is a trained mediator of the program for 17 years, prompting him to join the committee as a way to give back to the community; and

WHEREAS, John, a resident since 1984, raising 5 children with his wife Eileen and noting that one of his sons is a Vernon Township Police Officer; and

WHEREAS, John, with his years of experience and expertise, working as the Senior Human Resource Manager at an engineering consulting firm in New York and now as an independent Human Resource Consultant; and

WHEREAS, John holds a BS in Communication Arts, an MA in Professional Studies in Human Resources and Management and who is in the process of completing his MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management; and

WHEREAS, John serves as Chair of Business Outreach for the Engineering EXPO Committee and Vice President of the Board of Directors for Keep Rockland Beautiful, both of which are New York non-profit organizations, along with holding a membership in the Society of Human Resources Management.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Council and Mayor of the Township of Vernon on behalf of all citizens in our community, take this opportunity to recognize and honor John Hackett for his continued service and dedication to the residents of the Township of Vernon and the Community Dispute Resolution Committee. We all thank John for giving of his time, talent and experience to our community.

Given under my hand in these free United States in the Township of Vernon, State of New Jersey on the 26th day of March, two thousand eighteen, and to which I have caused the Seal of the Township of Vernon to be affixed and have made this proclamation public.

Lynne Negele

WHEREAS, it is the Township’s continued pleasure and honor to recognize citizens for their special actions and continuing service in our community; and

WHEREAS, there are many that step forward in dedication and commitment to provide service above oneself in the daily life of our community; and

WHEREAS, the Community Dispute Resolution Committee was established in 1997 as a means to provide residents that have minor disputes resolved without having to go through the formal court system; and

WHEREAS, Lynne Negele is a trained mediator of the program for 17 years; and

WHEREAS, Lynne, retired after 42 plus years as a registered nurse, has not slowed down, and is currently involved in the Franklin Borough dispute program, the Friends of the Library Sussex/Wantage Branch, and the Friends of Wantage Animal Shelter; and

WHEREAS, Lynn’s past volunteering included 20 plus years working with disabled children at Camp Fatima’s summer program, Citizens Opposed to Prisons in Parks and the Board of Trustees for the Tri-State Actors Theater; and

Whereas, Lynne enjoys membership in the American Ballet Theatre, American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty law Center and the League of Women Voters and Network.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Council and Mayor of the Township of Vernon on behalf of all citizens in our community, take this opportunity to recognize and honor Lynne Negele for her continued service and dedication to the residents of the Township of Vernon and the Community Dispute Resolution Committee. We all thank Lynne for giving of her time, talent and experience to our community.

Given under my hand in these free United States in the Township of Vernon, State of New Jersey on the 26th day of March, two thousand eighteen, and to which I have caused the Seal of the Township of Vernon to be affixed and have made this proclamation public.

Child Abuse Prevention Month

Council Member Ooms read the Proclamation for Child Abuse Prevention Month.

WHEREAS, we all have a responsibility as individuals, neighbors, community members and citizens of the Township of Vernon to help create healthy, nurturing and safe experiences for children; and

WHEREAS, healthy and safe childhoods help produce confident and successful adults; and

WHEREAS, child abuse and neglect often occur when people find themselves in stressful situations, without community resources, and don’t know how to cope; and

WHEREAS, incidences of child abuse and neglect can be reduced by making sure all families have the support they need and deserve to raise their children in a healthy environment; and

WHEREAS, it is recognized that no person can do everything but that everyone can do something, and together we can create change for the better; and

WHEREAS, effective prevention programs succeed because of partnerships among nonprofit organizations, government agencies, volunteer organizations, schools, service clubs, houses of worship, law enforcement agencies, and the business community; and

NOW, THEREFORE, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, do hereby proclaim April 2018 as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in the Township of Vernon, and urge our citizens to engage in activities that strengthen families and communities to provide the optimal environment for children to learn, grow and thrive so that all children have the benefit of happy, healthy and safe childhoods.

Given under my hand in these free United States in the Township of Vernon, on this 20th day of April 2018, and to which I have caused the Seal of the Township of Vernon to be affixed and have made this proclamation public.

Fair Housing Month

Council Member Kadish read the Proclamation for Fair Housing Month.

WHEREAS, April 11, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 as amended, which enunciates a national policy of Fair Housing with regard to race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap and national origin, and encourages fair housing opportunities for all; and

WHEREAS, the Sussex County Association of Realtors is committed to highlighting the Fair Housing Act by continuing to address discrimination in our community, to support programs that will educate the public about the right to equal housing opportunities, and to plan partnership efforts with organizations to help assure everyone of their right to fair housing; and

WHEREAS, the National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics commits all Realtors to providing equal professional services without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, sexual orientation, gender identity, and national origin.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, do hereby proclaim that April 2018 being Fair Housing Month, which begins a year-long commemoration of the Fair Housing Act in the Township of Vernon and urge all citizens to wholeheartedly recognize this celebration throughout the year.

Given under my hand in these free United States in the Township of Vernon, on this 20th day of April, two thousand eighteen, and to which I have caused the Seal of the Township of Vernon to be affixed and have made this proclamation public.

Ordinance #18-11: An Ordinance to Refer the Revocation of the Historic Designation Granted to the Property Known as Block 144.01, Lot 7 (Formerly Block 144, Lot 3) and the Amendment of the Master Plan to the Vernon Township Land Use Board

Council President Murphy made a motion to table Ordinance #18-11.
Moved: Jean Murphy
Second: Mark Van Tassel

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

Motion carried to table Ordinance #18-11.

Presentations

Mayor’s State of Township

Move Vernon Forward—Mayor Shortway described Vernon Township as a recreational community with a population over 20,000 covering 68 square miles showcasing farms, trails and open space and relying on resort visitors. In 2017, the major challenges included maintenance of Township assets including the sewer system, municipal building roof costing $227,000 and fire suppression system repairs due to poor water pressure. For 2018, challenges continue with sewer debt, unpaid taxes/foreclosures, the Mountain Creek Bankruptcy, vacant buildings and increasing the fund balance. Mayor Shortway noted that Mountain Creek paid all 2017 obligations but did not yet pay their 2018 contributions. Notably continued challenges include compliance of Township Codes and Resolutions from developers and their financial obligations. Currently there are 156 liens on Legends with 103 municipal liens totaling over $1,000,000 with a Judge ordered vacation of tenants by April 9, 2018. Vernon Township has foreclosed on 125 parcels with tax liens dating back to 1996, which taxpayers had to contribute to the county and school taxes. Mayor Shortway noted the Township is now moving forward with an Auction to put them back on the tax rolls and increase value. One property called Northwoods, located just north of Mountain Creek, owes $169,000 in taxes and $588,000 in fines for which the owner has been sent numerous notices of violations.

Mayor Shortway detailed litigation expenses in 2017 including the Mountain Creek Bankruptcy, Tax Appeals including National Winter Activity Center, Land Use Board appointment of Ms. Paladini, Ownership of Lift Stations and Legends Safety Violations. Mayor Shortway noted that the litigation for Vernon Environmental Commission Petition Initiative Review was dismissed with prejudice as was litigation for Mid-American Salt. Mayor Shortway added the reason for Legends litigation is because the units are not zoned for permanent use and conditions are unsanitary and unsafe and government is responsible to protect the welfare of its people.

Mayor Shortway stated it is the Municipal Government’s responsibility to provide services in the most cost effective means possible and noted that NJ is consistently on top for the highest property taxes in the Nation. Outside influences that affect our taxes include the County’s Solar Panel issue, the County Central Dispatch system which Vernon does not benefit from and the County ordered Revaluation. Vernon pays the lowest municipal taxes when compared to other Sussex County municipalities with Police Departments. Vernon’s average tax bill in 2017 was $5,657.01 with the municipal portion being $1,392.00 or 19%. Mayor Shortway explained comparisons of neighboring towns tax rates and personnel costs showing Vernon comes in the lowest.

Moving Vernon Forward, Mayor Shortway explained the Town Center Redevelopment Study is completed for the Township to be able to offer incentives for developers for new construction and increase sewer users. The Administration is engaged with Suez for Phase 3 to bring water into Main Street.

Mayor Shortway stated that the former administration during 2013-2015, excessively drew down on the Fund Balance by $1,238,529 to stabilize the Budget in its effort not to raise taxes. In 2017, the current administration increased the Fund Balance by $239,942 and Vernon’s Moody’s credit rating is strong at Aa3.

Mayor Shortway detailed the a main goal is for sustainable economic development that includes Farmland Preservation, Agricultural & Ecological Management leading to Agra & Ecotourism. He added Vernon wants to concentrate growth into the Town Center, provide senior housing, provide cultural resources and create a true-four season destination. Vernon is Moving Forward with a Greenway Initiative to expand trail systems through Vernon, encompassing the Appalachian Trail Community. Mayor Shortway added Vernon was awarded a 2018 Municipal Aid Grant from NJDOT in amount of $235,000 for Wawayanda Road improvements.

Mayor Shortway summarized his presentation stating it is the obligation of this Administration to formulate and propose solutions so we can realize economic growth and tax stability. Progress is a choice and Vernon residents have been penalized by decades of political strife and urged all of Vernon to go forward with due diligence and create opportunities for our community.

Public Comments (On Current Agenda Items Only)

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: John Auberger
All members were in favor.

Dave Lally, Sussex, commented he lives in the community where there has continuously been large number of truckloads of material being dumped. Mr. Lally expressed he is in favor of the Soil Fill Ordinance but suggested that fine schedule in the proposed ordinance be revised to $2,000/day per truck of 50 cubic yards plus $2000 for every truck to encourage stoppage. Mr. Lally stated the owner is involved in a court case and continues to dump numerous truckloads with no information on origin. He added there are legitimate companies or farmers which should be exempt from the ordinance. Council President Murphy stated the Zoning Officer and Township Engineer are present and can answer any questions about the Ordinance.

Jessi Paladini, commented that the Mayor specifically mentioned the lawsuit Paladini v. Vernon but did not mention any others or mention ethic charges against the Township Attorney and Mayor. Mr. Zielinski stated there are no ethic charges filed against himself or Mayor Shortway and the comment is defamatory.

Ms. Paladini opined that there is no provision in the law, Municipal Land Use Law, Township Code nor the State Historic Preservation Statutes for what the Council is trying to do with the Board of Education (BOE) Building on RT 515 and claimed she discussed issue with the Land Use Board Attorney on March 14, 2018. Ms. Paladini opined that Council President Murphy is in conflict on action on the BOE building if in past she ever did business with new owner Bruce Zaretsky. Ms. Paladini opined that Council Member Auberger also is in conflict for action on the BOE building due to having a leadership role involved in property within 200 feet of structure and offered case law Twp. of Montclair v. Marlboro Manor.

Sally Rinker, commented that Council Member Ooms requested a work session to discuss the details of the 22 p-age Ordinance #18-10 regarding Abandoned Properties but now has been condensed to six pages and changed to Ordinance #18-14. Ms. Rinker objects to the provision that the Township or taxpayers shall rehabilitate properties and could cause legal issues due to constantly changing ownership by banks or investors. Ms. Rinker suggested that Council remove paragraph “F” 130-7 which gives the Township authorization to use taxpayer funds to rehab abandoned unfit buildings.

Mr. McFarlan, Sussex, objected to the provision in Ordinance #18-09 Charitable Solicitations which requires a written receipt for roadway solicitations because it would be too difficult and suggested to change wording to “may give” written receipts.

Lisa Anderson, Glenwood, commented that Ordinance #18-11 would set a bad precedent allowing Historic designation to be removed from properties and would have lasting effects by erasing Vernon history.

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: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Minutes

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of February 26, 2018.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Dan Kadish

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Sandra Ooms, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Regular Meeting Minutes of February 26, 2018.

Items for Discussion

Abandon Property Ordinance

Mr. Zielinski explained that the entire state is in a foreclosure crisis since 2008, causing many municipalities to adopt ordinances requiring abandoned property owners to register and pay fee providing increased revenue for code enforcement and the general budget. All property, once recorded by deed, shows prior and current owners responsible for maintenance and registration. Mr. Zielinski rebutted a misconception by explaining that the nothing in the Ordinance compels or requires the Town to perform rehabilitation but gives the right and ability should it become necessary. Council President Murphy stated the Ordinance will address properties such as Northwoods and patio homes on RT 94 which have been dilapidated for many years. She added Wantage Township has 149 registered vacant properties and has collected $200,000 in fees/fines.

Council Member Kadish questioned what the effect of abandoned properties has on taxes or are there attempts by owners for reassessment. Mr. Zielinski said most properties are owned by banks who keep taxes current to maintain 1st priority lien status but added if parcel is privately owned with back tax debt, township can foreclose. He added that this Ordinance does not give the Township the ability to take property due to abandonment.

Council Member Ooms requested section “F to be removed from the Ordinance. Mr. Zielinski further explained ”F reserves the rights granted but does not compel the Township to do it. Council President Murphy added she is not in favor of taking any property but reminded the Council that the existing Code lacks property maintenance enforcement. Council Member Kadish suggested leaving possibility of rehabilitation open as there may be grants available for funding these expenses.

Council Member Auberger made a motion to remove Section “F” from draft of Ordinance #18-14.
Motion: John Auberger
Second: Sandra Ooms

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to remove Section “F” from draft of Ordinance #18-14.

Council President Murphy read Ordinance 18-14 by title only.

Ordinance #18-14: An Ordinance to Repeal and Replace the Code of the Township of Vernon, Chapter 130, “Abandoned Properties; Unfit Buildings”

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to Introduce Ordinance #18-14 with a public hearing to be held on April 9, 2018.
Motion: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Sandra Ooms

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Introduction of Ordinance #18-14 with the public hearing to be held on April 9, 2018.

Consent Agenda

Council President Murphy announced that Resolution #18-111 was pulled from the agenda by Administration and gave a brief explanation of Resolutions #18-110 and #18-112 through #18-117.

Council Member Ooms requested Resolution #18-117 to be removed from Consent Agenda.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #18-110 and #18-112 through #18-116.
Moved: Dan Kadish Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger* to all except #18-115, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: John Auberger Resolution #18-115 only
Absent: None

Motion carried to approve Resolutions #18-110 and #18-112 through #18-116.

Resolution #18-110: Authorizing Tax Sale Premiums to Escheat to the Township Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54-5-33

WHEREAS, The 2012 Tax Sale took place on October 25, 2013; and

WHEREAS, the Tax Sale Law requires that after five years if a redemption has not occurred, that the Premium be escheated to the Treasurer of the municipality.

Tax Sale Certificate #12/20, issued 10/25/13 on Block 151.24 Lot 3. Premium in the amount of $3,600.00; and

Tax Sale Certificate #12/028, issued 10/25/13 on Block 188.01 Lot 5 C0003. Premium in the amount of $500.00; and

Tax Sale Certificate #12/023, issued on 10/25/13 on Block 153.21 Lot 8. Premium in the amount of $1,300.00; and

Tax Sale Certificate #12/048, issued on 10/25/13 on Block 268.06 Lot 16. Premium in the amount of $8,100.00; and

Tax Sale Certificate # 12/005, issued on 10/25/13 on Block 72 Lot 2 & 1.02. Premium in the amount of $3,100.00; and

Tax Sale Certificate # 12/014, issued on 10/25/13 on Block 126.13 Lot 6. Premium in the amount of $1,700.00

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, that all premiums remaining on Tax Title Liens sold at or prior to the 2012Tax Sale be hereby Escheated to the Township of Vernon Treasurer, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 54:5-33.

Resolution #18-112: Authorizing Contract with Certain Approved State Contract Vendor Konica Minolta State Contract 40464

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon may by resolution, and without advertising for bids or obtaining quotations, purchase any goods or services under the State Contract; and

WHEREAS, the Township has the need on a timely basis to purchase or lease goods and services utilizing State contracts; and

WHEREAS, the Township intends to enter into contracts with the attached referenced State vendor through this resolution and properly executed contract, which shall be applicable to all the conditions to current State contracts.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, authorizes the Qualified Purchasing Agent to lease certain goods and services from the approved State vendor listed below, pursuant to all conditions of the individual State contract; and

CONTRACT/COMMODITYVENDORVENDOR CONTRACTEXPIRATION
CopiersKonica Minolta4046401/11/2019

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the governing body of Vernon Township pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b) (the certification of available funds), states that the Chief Finance Officer shall either certify the full maximum amount against the budget at the time the contract is awarded, or no contract amount shall be chargeable or certified until such time as the goods or services are ordered or otherwise called for prior to placing the order, and a certification of availability of funds is made by the Chief Finance Officer; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the duration of the lease contract between the Township of Vernon and the referenced state vendor shall be from April 1, 2018 to March 30, 2023; and

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

Resolution #18-113: Resolution Ratifying and Authorizing Health Benefit Coverage Reimbursements

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon (“Township”) has elected to provide its current employees and eligible retired employees with health benefits through the State Health Benefits Program (“SHBP”); and

WHEREAS, the following retirees do not meet the State’s criterion for the Township to make direct payments to the SHBP for their health benefits: Craig Roland; Thomas Pinand; and Robert Oakley; and

WHEREAS, the retirees now are required to personally make direct payments to the SHBP for their health benefit coverage; and

WHEREAS, the Township has determined that it is in the best interests of the Township and the retirees for the Township to provide reimbursements to the retirees; and

WHEREAS, reimbursements have been remitted to the retirees since February 2018; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the Administration is authorized to provide reimbursements to retirees Craig Roland; Thomas Pinand; and Robert Oakley for their direct payments to the SHBP for health benefits. The payments that have been made since February 2018 are also hereby ratified.

Resolution #18-114: Resolution Authorizing the Option for Employees of the Township of Vernon to Waive Health Insurance Benefits

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon (hereinafter “Township”) is continually seeking to reduce expenditures where appropriate; and

WHEREAS, the Township provides health benefit coverage to all regular full time employees; and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:10-17.1 authorizes municipalities to permit employees to waive health care coverage when such employees are covered for health care under the coverage of a spouse; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to statute, the Township may pay to the waiving employee an amount equal to not more than 25% or $5,000.00, whichever is less, of the amount saved by the Township when coverage is waived; and

WHEREAS, the Township desires to implement such a cost efficiency measure for the year 2018; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the Township of Vernon hereby implements the following provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:10-17.1:

  1. Any employee who elects to waive health care coverage pursuant to this Resolution shall be paid a sum equal to 25% or $5,000.00, whichever is less, of the health care premium savings received by the Township. Payment of sums required under this Resolution shall be made to the Employee on a monthly basis, each payment being one twelfth of the total sum due.
  2. An employee shall be eligible for such waiver and payment only upon compliance with, and under the terms of, the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:10-17.1.
  3. An employee shall be eligible to, or required to, resume coverage pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:10-17.1.
  4. This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption according to law.

Resolution #18-115: A Resolution of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, Authorizing a Change Order to the Contract for the Fire Apparatus HGAC Contract FS12-17

WHEREAS, the Township previously awarded a contract to Spartan ERV through the Houston Galveston Area Cooperative contract FS12-17, under National Cooperative purchase requirements, set forth within New Jersey Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10; and,

WHEREAS, in connection with the purchase, the McAfee Fire Department has advised that the vendor had offered a $5,553.00 pre-pay discount to the Township for the chassis portion; and,

WHEREAS, the Township has determined this is not financially in the best interests of the Township and recommends no pre-pay discount; and

WHEREAS, the adjusted price as unforeseen is in the amount of $5,553.00 higher; and,

WHEREAS, pursuant to Memorandum, dated March 22, 2018, the Township’s Business Administrator has brought the need for a change order to perform this work to the Township Council and finds the adjustment necessary and has recommended passage of the change order in the amount of $5,553.00; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:30-11.3, the change order has not caused the originally awarded contract price to be exceeded by more than 20 percent; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:30-11.8, the need for this change order is due to an unforeseeable problem which could not be foreseen at the time the specifications were approved and contract was entered into; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 5:30-11.8, this change order constitutes a minor modification to resolve a minor problem.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, that it authorizes a written amendment to the contract with Spartan ERV at a total cost not to exceed $5,553.00 as set forth in the change order proposal submitted.

This resolution will take effect immediately upon its passage.

Resolution #18-116: Authorizing Contracts with Certain Approved Sussex County Cooperative Contract Vendors

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon may by resolution, and without advertising for bids or obtaining quotations, purchase any goods or services under the Sussex County Cooperative; and

WHEREAS, the Township has the need on a timely basis to purchase goods and services utilizing Sussex County Cooperative Contracts, duly authorized under law to extend contract pricing to local units, per N.J.A.C. 5:34-7 et. Seq.; and

WHEREAS, the Township intends to enter into contract for Ice Control Materials authorized under Sussex County Cooperative Purchasing award, dated September 13, 2017 and valid through July 31, 2018; and

WHEREAS, the County of Sussex has extended pricing authorized under the cooperative for the following companies and prices units:

CommodityCompanyUnit Price
Rock SaltMorton Salt
123 North Wacker Dr.
Chicago, Il. 60606
$52.32/ton
Snow Grit284 Aggregates LLC
10 Route 284
Sussex, N.J. 07461
$11.00/ton
Stavola Construction Materials
175 Drift Rd
Tinton Falls, N.J. 07724
$9.17/ton
Eastern Concrete Materials
3620 Rt 23 North
Hamburg, N.J. 07419
$10.66/ton

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, authorizes the Qualified Purchasing Agent to purchase certain goods and services from those approved Sussex County Cooperative Contracts extended to municipal units, pursuant to all conditions of the individual State contracts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b) (the certification of available funds), states that the Chief Finance Officer shall either certify the full maximum amount against the budget at the time the contract is awarded, or no contract amount shall be chargeable or certified until such time as the goods or services are ordered or otherwise called for prior to placing the order, and a certification of availability of funds is made by the Chief Finance Officer; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the duration of the contracts between the Township of Vernon and the referenced state vendors shall be to July 31, 2018; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, if the Sussex County Cooperative extends the contracts based on the prices charged above that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon will also authorize purchases from these contracts for the extended terms.

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

Resolutions Requiring Separate Action

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #18-117.

Council Member Ooms questioned if the funds in this resolution are coming from fund balance. Ms. Yetter explained the funds do not come from fund balance but from unused line items as detailed in resolution.

Moved: John Auberger
Second: Sandra Ooms

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve Resolutions #18-117.

Resolution #18-117: Transfer Resolution—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 (2017 Municipal Budget) in accordance with N.J.S.A 40A-58/59 and hereby approved.

FROM: TO: 
CURRENT FUND BUDGET: CURRENT FUND BUDGET: 
Social Security- OE$35,000.00  
Defined Contribution Retirement Program OE$5,000.00  
Group Insurance- OE$70,000.00  
Fleet Maintenance- S&W$15,000.00  
Buildings & Grounds- OE$25,000.00  
Total Current Budget Transfers$150,000.00  
    
  Police- SW$50,000.00
  Road Repairs & Maintenance-SW$25,000.00
  Road Repairs & Maintenance- OE$75,000.00
  Total Current Budget Transfers$150,000.00

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinances

Council President Murphy read Ordinance 18-12 by title.

Ordinance #18-12: Ordinance to Amend and Supplement Chapter 89 of the Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Personnel Policies”

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #18-12 with a public hearing to be held on April 9, 2018.
Motion: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Sandra Ooms

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve introduction of Ordinance #18-12 with a public hearing to be held on April 9, 2018.

Council President Murphy read Ordinance 18-13 by title.

Ordinance #18-13: 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 $15,750.00 and Providing that Such Sum So Appropriated Shall Be Raised from the Capital Improvement Fund Account of the Township

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #18-13 with a public hearing to be held on April 9, 2018.
Motion: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve introduction of Ordinance #18-13 with a public hearing to be held on April 9, 2018.

Council Member Ooms confirmed funds are from the 2018 Capital Improvement Fund.

Council President Murphy read Ordinance 18-15 by title.

Ordinance #18-15: An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Creating Chapter 484 of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Soil Fill Placement” & Amending Chapter 250 of the Code of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon to Include Soil Fill Permit Fees and Escrows

Council President Murphy asked if the Township Engineer could review this ordinance.

Mr. Cory Stoner, Township Engineer explained the Ordinance controls unregulated placement of fill which is not regulated by Sussex County Soil Conservation District nor any other Township Ordinance. The Ordinance creates Chapter 484 in the Township Code detailing requirements for minor or major permits needed for Soil Fill. Application requests information on soil placement, environmental concerns, impact to neighbors, stormwater and soil erosion. Minor permits are approved by the Zoning Officer and are for soil fill up to 500 cu. yds. Major permits are for soil fill over 500 cu yds. and require 200 foot notice, public hearing and approval by the Land Use Board. Mr. Stoner added there are possible 5 exceptions/exemptions to consider: Farming, residential septic or housing construction, site plan or subdivision, state mandated cleanups and temporary storage of soil which is lawfully permitted. Enforcement includes a maximum fine of $2,000/day for each separate offense as detailed. Mr. Stoner explained intent of Fill Ordinance is not to monitor quarry process used in driveways, or rock used in construction or septic foundation.

Council President Murphy questioned the need for Escrow for the permit. Mr. Stoner stated the escrow amount depends on the extent of the project and if not needed will be returned to the applicant. Council Member Ooms questioned if Ordinance requires testing of soil fill. Mr. Stoner explained Council can review the Ordinance and require certification of soil for minor and major permits but added that only the NJDEP can determine soil contamination.

Mr. Zielinski explained that the applicant will have to sign the application verifying that the Soil is Clean Fill per regulations in State statute. Mr. Stoner further explained that Sussex County Soil Conservation District only inspects on soil disturbances more than 5000 sq. yards which would be a “major” permit for Vernon. The proposed Ordinance is needed for any unregulated fill sites less than the 500 cubic yds. Mr. Stoner confirmed exemption of farming to be added and Ordinance will include requirement of source of material noted on application and soil must meet Clean Fill State Statute

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #18-15 with all corrections as discussed and with a public hearing to be held on April 9, 2018.
Motion: Sandra Ooms
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to approve introduction of Ordinance #18-15. Ms. Kirkman questioned if Ordinance needed to be referred to the Land Use Board which Mr. Zielinski indicated that was not necessary.

Public Hearing/2nd Reading of Ordinances

Council Member Murphy read the ordinance by title only.

Ordinance #18-09: Ordinance to Amend and Supplement Chapter 428, Article III of the Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Charitable Solicitations”

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the public hearing for Ordinance #18-09.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: John Auberger
All members voted in favor.

Sally Rinker, claimed that the Ordinance does not resemble the state statute because language was included that no two groups could solicit two miles from one another. Ms. Rinker asked the Council to consider reaffirming the state statute and questioned need for Ordinance as it will defeat purpose of fundraising for charitable organizations who rely on these funds.

Randy Mills, Vernon Township Police Chief, clarified confusion of language in the proposed Ordinance as well as the need. By law, every Township must adopt an Ordinance per Title 39:4-60 for Charitable Organizations to hold Roadway Solicitations. The proposed section was added to the Township’s existing Solicitation Ordinance. Chief Mills stated the only addition to the Ordinance not in the State Statute was a requirement that no two groups could solicit two miles from one another so not to impede the flow of traffic. Chief Mills explained applicants must annually receive state or county approval when on their roadways as well as Township approval from the Police Department. Chief Mills added the Vernon Traffic Officer has offered assistance to all groups to help with event applications to prevent traffic impediment and keep the volunteers safe.

Council Member Kadish suggested putting mobile sign in roadway but Chief explained Vernon does not own one, but other existing signage will suffice. Council Member Ooms requested to remove requirement of a written receipt as it would be difficult in the roadways. Clerk Kirkman explained that the Ordinance covers all solicitation in the Township not just roadside solicitation. Mr. Zielinski explained that any substantive changes would require Ordinance to be reintroduced and re-advertised causing delays for volunteer groups. Mr. Zielinski noted that if the Council chooses to adopt the Ordinance as written, changes can be made at a later time with a new Ordinance.

Larry McFale, suggested a receipt should be kept in the Ordinance for other solicitations and will write a letter to Council with other comments for future changes and suggested corrections.

John Cosh, Assistant Chief to Pochuck Valley Fire Department, commented that Chief Mills did explain all the Ordinance requirements as written to the Fire Chiefs whom all agreed and further stressed the importance for Council to approve as soon as possible so not to delay fundraising events.

Seeing no more members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the public hearing for Ordinance #18-09.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #18-09.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Dan Kadish, Mark Van Tassel, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: John Auberger
Absent: None
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance 18-09.

Public Comments

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

Jessi Paladini, commented that Historic Preservation Commission Member Paul Mele said that the contract purchasing the Board of Education Building by Bruce Zaretsky contains a contingency guarantee that the Historic Designation is removed from the building before buying. Ms. Paladini opined that there is no provision in the law to do this permanently and that Council President Murphy and Council Member Auberger could be in conflict in voting on this issue.

Lisa Anderson, questioned if the Redevelopment Study had any Historic Elements added to the Plan when it went before the Land Use Board.

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

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Shortway made no further report.

Council Comments

Council Member Auberger made no comment.

Council Member Van Tassel made no comment.

Council Member Kadish made no comment.

Council Member Ooms thanked Mayor Shortway for his presentation and requested further information or plan on how to reduce the debt in the future.

Council President Comments

Council President Murphy announced the Building Department will consider staggering hours opening earlier to better accommodate contractors and the public. Mr. Voelker added the Department employees have agreed to alter hours to open earlier, 7:00 a.m., starting in next couple weeks.

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 9:08 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes Approved: April 23, 2018