Minutes: March 30, 2020*

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this council meeting was held via a Zoom Webinar. View the YouTube video of this special council meeting »

The special meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on March 30, 2020 via Zoom Webinar in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Harry Shortway presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on March 24, 2020 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. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the Township Budget. Official Action will be taken.

Roll Call

Present were Council Members John Auberger, Jean Murphy, Mark Van Tassel, Kelley Weller and Council President Shortway. Also present were Mayor Howard Burrell, Business Administrator Charles Voelker and CFO Donelle Bright and Township Attorney Josh Zielinski

Salute to the Flag

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

Public Comments (For Current Agenda Items Only, Limited to 3 minutes per person)

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to open the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Mark Van Tassel
Second: John Auberger
All members were in favor.

Jessica Paladini - told the Council and Mayor that the people of Vernon are looking for a plan. She asked where people should go to get tested for the Corvid-19. Ms. Paladini is concerned because people need to know what to do and who to call.

Mayor Burrell directed Ms. Paladini to the Sussex County Health Department. Mayor Burrell said that unless you are showing signs of symptoms you cannot get tested.

Ed a local resident from Vernon is concerned that he has seen a lot people with out of state license plates in Vernon. He said that Vernon has some summer communities and a resort complex that is still open for business. Ed asked how Vernon is handling the out of town people who are coming into Vernon to stay at their second homes to get out of the cities.

Mayor Burrell said that because word is out that Vernon has a low number of cases or Corvid-19 right now, it is a good place to come and hide out. The Mayor said that Vernon Township is trying to find ways to address this issue. Mayor Burrell is not sure what legal powers the town will have to force people out of their second residences.

Township Attorney Josh Zielinski added that he and the Mayor will continue to be in touch with the Governor to find a suitable solution for this.

Seeing no other members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Kelly Weller
Second: John Auberger
All members were in favor.

Minutes

March 9, 2020 Regular Minutes
March 9, 2020 Special Budget Meeting

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve the above meeting minutes.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All were in favor. Motion carried.

Consent Agenda

  1. Resolution #20-93: Refund Overpayment (Block 267 Lot 33—Milewski)
  2. Resolution #20-94: Refund for Totally Disabled Veteran (Block 578 Lot 5—(Corelogic)
  3. Resolution #20-95: Refund for Totally Disabled Veteran (Block 594 Lot 25—Sanchez)
  4. Resolution #20-96: Total Disabled Veteran (Block 594 Lot 25—Sanchez)
  5. Resolution #20-100: Authorization to Endorse a Treatment Works Approval Application to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for Construction of an On-Site Wastewater Treatment and Disposal System Alteration at Hidden Village Condo Association Located at Block 451 Lot 12 (Formerly Block 192.03 Lot 1)
  6. Resolution #20-101: Resolution Authorizing a Sidebar Agreement with U.A.W. Local No. 2326
  7. Resolution #20-102: Authorizing the Cancellation of Outstanding Checks Over Six Months Old to Municipal Cash Balances
  8. Resolution #20-104: Resolution Authorizing Use of Three-Year Average for Tax Collection Rate and Reserve for Uncollected Taxes Calculation
  9. Resolution #20-105: Emergency Temporary Appropriations
  10. Resolution #20-106: Resolution Authorizing Consent to the Transfer and Assignment of Vernon Township Cable Franchise Agreement from Service Electric Cable TV of NJ, Inc to CSC TKR, LLC
  11. Resolution #20-107: Resolution Approving a Settlement Agreement between Vernon Township and Employee #866
  12. Resolution #20-108: A Resolution Approving Participation with the State of New Jersey Federal Grant Program Administered by the Division of Criminal Justice, Department of Law and Public Safety

Council President Shortway read the titles of the resolutions.

Council Member Auberger asked if resolution #20-103 could be removed and voted on separately.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve the consent agenda.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Van Tassel, Weller, Shortway
Nays:
Abstain:
Absent:
Motion carried to approve the consent agenda.

Resolution #20-93: Refund Overpayment (Block 267 Lot 33—Milewski)

BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon, Vernon, New Jersey, that a warrant be drawn to Wells Fargo in the amount of $3,702.88 representing refund for overpayment of 4th qtr. 2019 property taxes for Block 267 Lot 33 also known as 5 Windbeam Rd., Sussex, New Jersey.

Resolution #20-94: Refund for Totally Disabled Veteran (Block 578 Lot 5—(Corelogic)

WHEREAS, THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS awarded to Julio Maldonado a 100% permanent and totally disabled veteran: and,

WHEREAS, the law exempts said property from taxation.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes the Tax Collector to refund 1st quarter 2020 property tax in the amount of $2,071.23 to Corelogic.

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the Township Tax Collector.

Resolution #20-95: Refund for Totally Disabled Veteran (Block 594 Lot 25—Sanchez)

WHEREAS, THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS awarded Jesse Sanchez a 100% permanent and totally disabled veteran: and,

WHEREAS, the law exempts said property from taxation.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes the Tax Collector to refund 1st quarter 2020 property tax in the amount of $1,037.03 to Jesse Sanchez.

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the Township Tax Collector.

Resolution #20-96: Total Disabled Veteran (Block 594 Lot 25—Sanchez)

WHEREAS, THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS awarded Jesse Sanchez a 100% permanent and totally disabled veteran: and,

WHEREAS, as of said date the law exempts said property from taxation,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon hereby authorizes the Tax Collector to cancel the taxes for 2020 in the amount of $1,555.53 for Block 594 Lot 25 also known as 41 Butternut Rd., Vernon, New Jersey.

FINALLY, BE IT RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this Resolution be forwarded to the Township Tax Collector.

Resolution #20-100: Authorization to Endorse a Treatment Works Approval Application to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for Construction of an On-Site Wastewater Treatment and Disposal System Alteration at Hidden Village Condo Association Located at Block 451 Lot 12 (Formerly Block 192.03 Lot 1)

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) is responsible for administering the Treatment Works Approval (“TWA”) program, which establishes and implements minimum standards for building, installing, modifying, and operating treatment works; and

WHEREAS, N.J.A.C. 7:14A-22.2 and 22.3 requires the filing of a TWA permit application with the NJDEP for building or modifying a sewer connection or extension; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 58:10A-1 et seq., a municipality must endorse such application for review by the NJDEP; and

WHEREAS, Hidden Village Condo Association is requesting approval to construct an On-site Wastewater Treatment and Disposal System alteration at System located at Block 451 Lot 12 (formerly Block 192.03 Lot 1) per plans submitted by Houser Engineering, LLC, dated January 30, 2020.

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer has reviewed the plans submitted and recommends the Township Council endorse the submission per letter dated March 17, 2020.

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

  1. The Township will endorse the submission of the TWA application for the aforesaid project.
  2. The Township Mayor is hereby authorized to sign the TWA on behalf of the Township.
  3. This Resolution shall be made a part of the application submitted to the NJDEP.
  4. This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption according to law.

Resolution #20-101: Resolution Authorizing a Sidebar Agreement with U.A.W. Local No. 2326

WHEREAS, the U.A.W. Local No. 2326 (hereinafter “UAW”), serves as the majority representative for full-time clerical employees of the Township of Vernon (“Township”); and

WHEREAS, the Township determined the need to create a new position within the salary guide of the collective negotiations agreement between the parties for the title of Assessing Aide which will be a Level IV position; and

WHEREAS, UAW has ratified and executed the sidebar agreement on March 2, 2020; and

WHEREAS, the Township is desirous of agreeing to and ratifying the sidebar agreement.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the sidebar agreement creating the position of Assessing Aide is hereby agreed to by the Township.

Resolution #20-102: Authorizing the Cancellation of Outstanding Checks Over Six Months Old to Municipal Cash Balances

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has determined that the following Township checks have been outstanding for a period in excess of six months:

GENERAL ACCOUNT #639403719:

24156/4/2019Ronald Meyer$350.00
24257/8/2019Ronald Meyer$200.00
24328/5/2019Ronald Meyer$200.00
244710/10/2019Ronald Meyer$50.00
244910/10/2019Jasmin Vonsee$5.00
245711/5/2019Jasmin Vonsee$100.00
  TOTAL$905.00

THEREFORE, be it resolved that the above outstanding checks be restored to the Township cash balances.

Resolution #20-104: Resolution Authorizing Use of Three-Year Average for Tax Collection Rate and Reserve for Uncollected Taxes Calculation

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex realized 95.81% of current tax collections for the year 2019, and

WHEREAS, the tax collection percentage was adversely impacted by tax appeals, and

WHEREAS, the percentage of cash collections on current taxes for the three prior years was as follows:

YearPercentage
201696.46%
201796.35%
201895.58%

AND WHEREAS the Mayor and Council believe the tax collections for the year 2019 will improve over the year 2020.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council that permission be requested by the Director of the Division of Local Services to permit the Township to anticipate a current tax collection percentage experience up to 96.13% for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Resolution #20-105: 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 2020 budget and no adequate provision has been made in the 2020 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 2020 pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 96, P.L. 1951 (N.J.S.A. 40A:4-20) including this resolution total:

CURRENT FUND $3,115,497.00

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:

DescriptionTemp Emergency Appropriations
GENERAL ADMINISTRATION - S&W$14,333
GENERAL ADMINISTRATION - O/E$8,667
MAYOR & COUNCIL - S&W$4,000
MAYOR & COUNCIL - O/E$333
CLERK - S&W$12,667
CLERK - O/E$1,667
FINANCE - S&W$18,333
FINANCE - O/E$3,333
TECHNOLOGY - O/E$3,333
COLLECTION OF TAXES - S&W$14,000
COLLECTION OF TAXES - O/E$2,000
ASSESSMENT OF TAXES - S&W$16,000
ASSESSMENT OF TAXES - O/E$5,333
LEGAL SERVICES - O/E$30,000
ENGINEERING SERVICES - O/E$2,167
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT O/E$83
ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION - O/E$83
HISTORIC PRESERVATION - O/E$83
BEAUTIFICATION COMMITTEE - O/E$333
ARTS COMMITTEE - O/E$83
GAAC Committee- OE$33
LAND USE BOARD - S & W$13,333
LAND USE BOARD - O/E$7,000
BUILDING DEPARTMENT - S&W$35,417
BUILDING DEPARTMENT - O/E$3,333
WORKERS COMP. INSURANCE - O/E$100,000
GROUP INSURANCE - O/E$300,000
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE - O/E$875
OTHER INSURANCE - O/E$145,000
POLICE DEPARTMENT - S&W$335,174
POLICE DEPARTMENT - O/E$11,581
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS - S&W$35,667
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS - O/E$725
911 COMMUNICATIONS - S&W$1,250
VOLUNTEER EMERGENCY SERVICES$30,000
FIRE PREVENTION - S&W$12,667
FIRE PREVENTION - O/E$1,667
TWP. PROSECUTOR - O&E$2,333
ROAD REPAIRS & MAINT. - S&W$93,333
ROAD REPAIRS & MAINT. - O/E$100,000
RECYCLING S&W$2,100
RECYCLING - O/E$833
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS - S&W$4,167
BUILDINGS & GROUNDS - O/E$8,667
FLEET MANAGEMENT - S&W$20,000
FLEET MANAGEMENT - O/E$25,000
ANIMAL CONTROL - S&W$15,000
ANIMAL CONTROL - O/E$1,333
SEN CITIZENS - S&W$2,517
SEN. CITIZENS - ACTIVITIES -O/E$10,563
RECREATION - S&W$5,050
RECREATION - O/E$6,000
MAINTENANCE OF PARKS - S&W$11,667
MAINTENANCE OF PARKS - O/E$1,667
MUNICIPAL COURT - S&W$14,333
MUNICIPAL COURT - O/E$767
UTILITIES O/E$43,333
SEWER UTILITY-SCMUA 
SOCIAL SECURITY - O/E$56,667
DEFINED CONTRIB RETIREMENT PROGRA$667
G.A. - DRIVE SOBER or GET PULLED$1,833
SHARED SERVICE - ANIMAL CONTROL$833
SHARED SERVICE - FINANCE$2,763
SHARED SERVICE - ADMINISTRATION$4,375
SHARED SERVICE - DPW SERVICES$15,833
SHARED SERVICES - SENIOR CITIZENS$2,308
2020 TEMP EMERGENCY APPROPRIATIONS$1,624,497

2. Said emergency temporary appropriations will be provided for in the 2020 budget.

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

Resolution #20-106: Resolution Authorizing Consent to the Transfer and Assignment of Vernon Township Cable Franchise Agreement from Service Electric Cable TV of NJ, Inc to CSC TKR, LLC

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon through Ordinance #13-19 granted municipal consent to the issuance of a Cable Franchise Agreement with Service Electric Cable T.V. of New Jersey, Inc. which was finalized April 16, 2014; and

WHEREAS, Service Electric Cable T.V. of New Jersey, Inc. has entered into as asset purchase agreement with CSC TKR, LLC (Buyer) of all assets owned, used or held in connection with the business; and

WHEREAS, in connection with the transaction, Municipal Consent to the transfer and assignment is requested by the Buyer to confirm Agreement will remain in full force and effect in accordance with its terms following such transfer and assignment.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon authorizes the Mayor to sign the Consent of the Transfer of the Cable Franchise Agreement from Service Electric Cable T.V. of New Jersey to CSC TKR, LLC; and

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

Resolution #20-107: Resolution Approving a Settlement Agreement between Vernon Township and Employee #866

WHEREAS, Employee #866 (“employee”) is employed by Vernon Township (“Township”) as a Police Officer; and

WHEREAS, the Township and Employee have agreed to a Settlement Agreement to fully and finally resolve all matters related to the employment relationship between them; and

WHEREAS, the Settlement Agreement was executed by employee; and

WHEREAS, the Township wishes to ratify and execute the Settlement Agreement;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED as follows:

  1. The Township approves the Settlement Agreement between the Township and Employee# 866; and
  2. The Mayor and Clerk are authorized to execute the Settlement Agreement between the Township and Employee related this matter, and to perform such other ministerial tasks as needed to effectuate the provisions of this resolution on behalf of the Township

Resolution #20-108: A Resolution Approving Participation with the State of New Jersey Federal Grant Program Administered by the Division of Criminal Justice, Department of Law and Public Safety

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon Police Department wishes to apply for funding of approximately $60,000 with a match of fringe benefits for an approximate project total cost of $302,565 for a project under the State of New Jersey Safe and Secure Grant Program, Subaward Period: 2/7/20-2/6/21, Grant #20-1922; and

WHEREAS, the Council of the Township of Vernon has reviewed the accompanying application and has approved said request; and

WHEREAS, the project is a joint effort between the Department of Law and Public Safety and the Vernon Township Police Department for the purpose described in the application.

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

  1. As a matter of public policy the Vernon Township Police Department wishes to participate to the fullest extent possible with the Department of Law and Public Safety.
  2. The Attorney General will receive funds on behalf of the applicant.
  3. The Division of Criminal Justice shall be responsible for the receipt and review of the applications for said funds.
  4. The Division of Criminal Justice shall initiate allocations to each applicant as authorized.

Resolution #20-103: Approving Active Volunteer Fireman for Membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association (Taylor)

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve resolution #20-103.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Murphy, Van Tassel, Weller, Shortway
Nays:
Abstain: Auberger
Absent:
Motion carried to approve resolution #20-103

Resolution #20-103: Approving Active Volunteer Fireman for Membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association (Taylor)

WHEREAS, the Township Council recognizes the extraordinary contributions made by volunteer firefighters to our community and seeks to encourage their full participation in professional organizations; and

WHEREAS, Kyle Taylor, an active firefighter and member of the Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department #1, is requesting approval to submit an application for membership to the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, Sussex County, New Jersey hereby approves Kyle Taylor for membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association.

Introduction of the 2020 Municipal Budget

Resolution #20-97: Governing Body Certification Pursuant to P.L. 2017, C.183 of Compliance with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve resolution #20-97.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Van Tassel, Weller, Shortway
Nays:
Abstain:
Absent:
Motion carried to approve resolution #20-97

Resolution #20-97: Governing Body Certification Pursuant to P.L. 2017, C.183 of Compliance with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:4-5 as amended by P.L. 2017, c.183 requires the governing body of each municipality and county to certify that their local unit’s hiring practices comply with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., (April 25, 2012) before submitting its approved annual budget to the Division of Local Government Services in the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs; and

WHEREAS, the members of the governing body have familiarized themselves with the contents of the above-referenced enforcement guidance and with their local unit’s hiring practices as they pertain to the consideration of an individual’s criminal history, as evidenced by the group affidavit form of the governing body attached hereto.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, hereby states that it has complied with N.J.S.A. 40A:4-5, as amended by P.L. 2017, c.183, by certifying that the local unit’s hiring practices comply with the above-referenced enforcement guidance and hereby directs the Clerk to cause to be maintained and available for inspection a certified copy of this resolution and the required affidavit to show evidence of said compliance.

Resolution #20-98: Self-Examination of 2020 Budget Resolution

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve resolution #20-98.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Murphy, Van Tassel, Weller, Shortway
Nays:
Abstain:
Absent:
Motion carried to approve resolution #20-98

Resolution #20-98: Self-Examination of 2020 Budget Resolution

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 2020 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.

Resolution #20-99: Introduction of 2020 Budget

Council Member Murphy commented that because the Mayor has decided to use $1,000,000 of the fund balance to try to offset the budget, she would like to make it clear that she cannot support the introduction of the budget. Council Member Murphy said she could support it if there were $500,000 in cuts to the budget. She feels that the anticipated revenue will be affected by the Corvid-19 pandemic and we need to reduce unnecessary spending. Council Member Murphy would still like to cap the non-union employee’s increases at 2%. She commented on the raise for the Business Administrator and the stipend for the Payroll Clerk, Council Member Murphy commented on the new part time employee asking if that employee is related to someone in the department. Council Member Murphy feels that all unnecessary educational classes should be removed from the budget and some of the committee’s and commission’s budgets should be reduced to $500.00 each. Council Member Murphy asked if Public Safety needs protective equipment. She asked is the Municipal Services Act can be reduced and she feels that all non-emergent items should be removed from the Capital Budget. Council Member Murphy feels we should automate our online services as soon as possible.

Council President Shortway commented that Mountain Creek will be making their tax payments and paying their financial obligations.

Council Member Auberger agrees with Council Member Murphy. He does not want to see the fund balance being used and he would like to see where cuts can be made.

Council Member Murphy commented that the fund balance should be at $4.1 million and it will be at $2.7 million after the budget is approved.

Mayor Burrell commented that this budget would be an $.81 per month increase per household. He feels that the fund balance is a savings account or a rainy day account.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve resolution #20-99.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Auberger, Van Tassel, Weller, Shortway
Nays: Murphy
Abstain:
Absent:
Motion carried to approve resolution #20-99

Resolution #20-99: Introduction of 2020 Budget

BE IT RESOLVED that the Local Municipal budget of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, New Jersey for the fiscal year 2020 be approved by the Governing Body of the Township of Vernon, and the Clerk is hereby instructed to advertise in the New Jersey Herald on April 10, 2020 and that a final public hearing before passage will be held on April 27, 2020 at 7:00 P.M. at the Municipal Building 21 Church Street, Vernon and that said budget shall authorize total general appropriations of $27,625,944.94 and the anticipated revenues of $9,694,731.91 leaving an amount to be raised by taxes for municipal purposes of $17,931,213.03.

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinances

Ordinance #20-10: An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending and Supplementing Chapter 509 of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Taxation” to Provide for an Annual Allocation of the Hotel and Motel Room and Transient Accommodation Occupancy Tax

Council President Shortway read by title Ordinance #20-10.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Ordinance # 20-10 for introduction.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: John Auberger, Mark Van Tassel, Kelly Weller, Harry Shortway
Nays: Jean Murphy
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carries to approve Ordinance #20-10 for introduction.

Public Comments (On any topic, limited to 3 minutes per person)

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to open the meeting for public comments.
Motion: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members were in favor.

Jessica Paladini commented that the Zoom webinar is a great way to have a meeting and she would like to see it happen more.

Seeing no other members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close the public portion of the meeting.
Motion: John Auberger
Second: Kelly Weller
All members were in favor.

Mayor’s Comments

Mayor Burrell commented that there were three new cases of Corvid-19 today in Vernon and two more deaths. Mayor Burrell spoke about individuals who do not want to follow rules. He said that some individuals removed sighs that he posted at the Maple Grange Park in reference to social distancing. In response to these acts of vandalism, the Mayor has ordered the removal of the basketball backboards and the removal of the soccer goals from the playing fields. The signs will be remade and reposted. The Mayor does not want to close the park because of the people who cannot follow the rules of social distancing.

Council Comments

Council Member Murphy commented that when payroll changes are put through, it would be a wise decision for the Council to pass a resolution that requires that the Payroll Clerk reference a union contract, an ordinance or a resolution number on the payroll change form. She feels that this will keep everything in line when payroll changes are made.

Council Member Murphy asked if there is a process to clean the turf fields and keep them sanitized.

Council Member Murphy would like to know if banning short term rentals is being considered right now. She said that the hotels are closed and people who are coming into the communities could be a concern for their neighbors.

Council Member Van Tassel commented that everyone stays safe, healthy and wash your hands.

Council Member Weller thanked the Mayor for his updates. She asked if the Mayor if he has a public Facebook page and if not, would that be something he would considered having. Council Member Weller said she copies Vernon information onto her own Facebook page for the public to see.

Mayor Burrell responded saying he has considered a Facebook page but he is not very savvy when it comes to Facebook. This is not something he is considering doing right now.

Council Member Auberger thanked the businesses and the people who are supporting the businesses hoping to feed some of the people in town.

Council President Comments

Council President Shortway wishes everyone good health. He said to please follow the guidelines from the Center of Disease Control, including wash your hands. Council President Shortway said that he will not open the messages from residents he is receiving through private messages because they can be subject to OPRA. He said any municipal business communications should be sent to him at his Vernon Township email hshortway@vernontwp,.com. Council President Shortway said he will make every attempt to respond to these emails or if need be forward them to the Mayor and the Business Administrator.

Council President Shortway mentioned an article in the New Jersey Herald, “Mountain Creek Offers Help to Local Businesses Impacted by Shutdown.” He said that the Joe Hession and his team from Mountain Creek are committed to our community and it is understandable that there are harbored negative feelings because of the previous owners. Council President Shortway said he gives the new Mountain Creek team a chance to change those perceptions. Council President Shortway said that Mountain Creek is owned and is being operated by a new team and he has experienced Joe Hession’s sincerity during negotiations in regards to the bankruptcy. Mountain Creek paid its first quarterly 2020 sewer obligation early and provided even more funds that were due. Joe Hession has assured Council President Shortway that even though they too were financially impacted by this crisis, their obligations will be paid on time and in the full amount. Joe Hession and many of his team grew up in Vernon and as our community has done throughout the years we help one another.

Council President Shortway mentioned The Track Deli, delivery volunteers, an Eagle Scout and others who carry on the tradition of aiding one another during a crisis. This is truer today during the Covid-19 pandemic than ever before.

Council President Shortway told everyone god bless you and stay healthy.

Adjournment

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

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Marcy Gianattasio, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: April 13, 2020