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

Minutes: May 22, 2017

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 22, 2017 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, 2017 and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Dan Kadish, Sandra Ooms, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel and Council President Jean Murphy. Also present were Mayor Harry Shortway, Administrator Charles Voelker and Township Attorney Joshua Zielinski.

Executive Session

Township Attorney Zielinski, read the resolution for Executive Session:

Resolution to Go into Executive Session

WHEREAS, the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 permits the exclusion of the public in certain circumstances; and

WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon as follows:

1. The public shall be excluded from discussion of and action upon the hereinafter specified subject matter.

2. The general nature of the subject matters to be discussed are:

a. Pending Litigation - Paladini v. Township of Vernon; Beverly Budz, et.al. v. Township of Vernon; Mountain Creek Bankruptcy (N.J.S.A.10:4-12 (b) 7) (Anticipated Time of Disclosure August 2017)
b. Contract Negotiations - MUA N.J.S.A.10:4-12 (b) 7 (Anticipated Time of Disclosure December 2017)

3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to go into executive session.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to Close Executive Session and reconvene the meeting at 7:30 p.m.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dan Kadish
All members voted in favor.

The Council returned to open session at 7:30 p.m.

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 22, 2017 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, 2017 and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Dan Kadish, Sandra Ooms, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel and Council President Jean Murphy. Also present were Mayor Harry Shortway, CFO Elke Yetter, Administrator Charles Voelker, Township Attorney Joshua Zielinski.

Salute to the Flag

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

Proclamations

Council President Murphy asked Council Member Wetzel to read the Proclamation for Father Bill Collins (St. Jude the Apostle Church).

Rev. William B. Collins

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, St. Jude the Apostle Church was formed in 1965 as a mission of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Franklin; and

WHEREAS, Rev. William B. Collins, “Father Bill,” has been the Pastor of St. Jude the Apostle Church in Hamburg since November 1, 1988; and

WHEREAS, after 29 years of service to his parish, the Paterson diocese, the township and Sussex County, Father Bill will be retiring and returning to his native County Galway, Ireland; and

WHEREAS, Father Bill, has faithfully served his community with distinction and compassion for these many years and Father Bill, an avid golfer, is a truly asset to the citizens he serves.

NOW, THEREFORE, the Council and Mayor of the Township of Vernon on behalf all citizens in our community, take this opportunity to recognize and honor Rev. William B. Collins, “Father Bill,” for his continued service and dedication to the residents of the Township of Vernon and the parish of St. Jude the Apostle Church. We all thank Father Bill and wish him much health and enjoyment in his retirement.

Given under my hand in these free United States in the Township of Vernon, State of New Jersey on this 22nd day of May, two thousand seventeen, and to which I have caused the Seal of the Township of Vernon to be affixed and have made this proclamation public.

Council President Murphy asked Council Mayor Shortway to read the Proclamation for Artstanding

Artstanding

Whereas, arts education enables students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, imagination and creativity, discipline, alternative ways to communicate and express feelings and ideas which supports academic success across the curriculum as well as personal growth outside the classroom; and

Whereas, the mission of the Vernon Education Foundation is to foster, promote and enhance traditional and innovative approaches for excellence in education in the Vernon Public Schools and to encourage community-wide interest and involvement in and support of the Vernon Public Schools; and

Whereas, the Foundation will be sponsoring the 3rd Annual event, “Artstanding: A Student’s Journey through the Arts” which will feature the student work of Vernon Township School district’s K-12 Fine, Practical and Performing Arts Departments; and

Whereas, a greater investment in the Arts is an effective way to equip today’s students with the skills they will need to succeed in the jobs of tomorrow.

Now therefore be it Proclaimed, the Township wishes to congratulate the students of the Arts on their exceptional work and urges our citizens to attend and celebrate the cultural riches of our community and support our young students by attending this event.

ARTSTANDING
A Student’s Journey through the Arts
May 30, 2017
5:30 - 8:30 pm
Lounsberry Hollow School

Executive Session

Township Attorney Zielinski, read the resolution for Executive Session:

Resolution to Go into Executive Session

WHEREAS, the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 permits the exclusion of the public in certain circumstances; and

WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon as follows:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon as follows:

1. The public shall be excluded from discussion of and action upon the hereinafter specified subject matter.

2. The general nature of the subject matters to be discussed are:

a. Pending Litigation - Paladini v. Township of Vernon; Beverly Budz, et.al. v. Township of Vernon; Mountain Creek Bankruptcy (N.J.S.A.10:4-12 (b) 7) (Anticipated Time of Disclosure August 2017)
b. Contract Negotiations - MUA N.J.S.A.10:4-12 (b) 7 (Anticipated Time of Disclosure December 2017)

3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

At 7:39 p.m., Council President Murphy asked for a motion to go into executive session.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to Close Executive Session and reconvene the meeting at 8:14 p.m.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dan Kadish
All members voted in favor.

Public Comments

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

Sally Rinker, Vernon, thanked Council Member Ooms for helping to make public the full text of ordinances being introduced. Ms. Rinker expressed dissatisfaction with Mayor Shortway and Council President Murphy. Ms. Rinker claimed she had paid $100,000 per year for many years in taxes and currently pays $60,000/year ands her family runs a recreational sport shop in town. Ms. Rinker commented that she donated the first property for the trail system and she has served as an elected official and still does. Ms. Rinker explains the town is facing complex issues and feels people living, working or volunteering in Vernon need to feel good about Vernon and added when we all can pull in the same direction it will be better for Vernon.

Vic Marotta, commented that he agrees with Ms. Rinker. Mr. Marotta explained there are rules and statutes that need to be followed and questioned the appointment of the bankruptcy attorney.

Laurie Studley, stated, she along with Cherie Shortway was a coach of the Couch to 5K program and read a quote from William Penn about showing kindness in life. Ms. Studley stated that she along with the other coaches, the Vernon PAL and the Runners Club ran this program to introduce running and notes that 30 minutes of exercise a few days a week is beneficial for improved health. She added some joined to lose weight, some to improve health, and added this year included pregnant participants and more men than ever. Ms. Studley explained every participant was encouraged to write a journal of accomplishments during the 8-week journey and commented this year was the most determined and encouraging group and motto of program was “not quitting” and looking and dealing with adversity head on. Ms. Studley explained that one runner, Linda Pier, is the mother to Jimmy Pier who was chosen to be the recipient of the proceeds of the 5-K race and the caring selfless family donated two baskets to the cause. All past and present runners of Couch to 5K program stood to be recognized.

Jeanne Buffalino, thanked Cherie Shortway and Laurie Studley and the Runners Club for their passion, knowledge and time to coach the 69 runners in the Couch to 5K program. On May 7, 2017, 217 participated in the 5K and Ms. Buffalino thanked Scott Berge who DJ’d, the Vernon Police for directing traffic, the Vernon DPW, Mishelle Downtain and the Recreation Board who helped make the day a success. The $4,000.00 raised, from the event were presented to Jimmy Pier, who suffered a tragic accident causing a spinal cord injury. Ms. Buffalino praised the hard work and community support for this family.

Beverly Budz, Highland Lakes, stated it has been 14 months since she has come forward to discuss the No Net Loss Grant which she wrote, secured and implemented and stated she made numerous attempts to assist in the care of the trees. She added her desire and dire concern about the trees being neglected. Ms. Budz commented on the grant and its requirements.

Jessica Paladini, Sunset Ridge, asked the Council to support the Ordinance before them that gives the residents near the Appalachian Trail Boardwalk relief after all these years.

Seeing no one further wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members voted in favor.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Shortway comments that Vernon welcomes businesses who exude loyalty and longevity and praises Highland Flowers who serve our community so well. Mayor Shortway noted that recently, many “out of town” illegal signs were placed in various places in Vernon. Mayor Shortway explained that Highland Flowers offered a sunflower to every person who helped in removing these illegal signs. Mayor Shortway thanked Highlands Flowers for their assistance noting they are good citizens.

Mayor Shortway explained Mountain Creek filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for reorganizing and our attorney was in Court to represent the Township. Mayor Shortway added we will work through this bankruptcy and Vernon will come out stronger.

Minutes

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve the minutes of April 20, 2017 and April 24, 2017.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members voted in favor.

Motion carried to approve minutes of Joint Meeting with MUA April 20, 2017 and Regular Meeting Minutes April 24, 2017

Items for Discussion

Appraisal Pricing

Council Member Ooms commented that the price of $4,500.00 plus $150.00 hour for additional work is too expensive for the appraisal for the Faline building and says she has other names of appraisers to use for “AS IS” appraisal. Mayor Shortway feels township should let market decide and feels we shouldn’t go forward until next year. Council Member Rizzuto questions why we are rushing to possibly get the $90,000 price and suggests waiting and get appraisal with possibility of water and sewer for best price. Council Member Rizzuto added the assessment on property is far greater than are asking price and we should be trying everything to get the most we can on this property as well as the other foreclosed parcels. Council President Murphy asked Ms. Ooms for the list of other appraisers which she said will forward.

Consent Agenda

Council President Murphy gave a brief explanation of Resolutions #17-115 through #17-120, #17-123 and #17-124.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #17-115 through #17-120, #17-123 and #17-124.

Council Member Kadish made a motion to remove Resolution #17-120 from consent agenda.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Patrick Rizzuto
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #17-115 through #17-119, #17-123 and #17-124.
Moved: Dan Kadis Second: Sandra Ooms

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 approve Resolutions #17-115 through #17-119, #17-123 and #17-124.

Resolution #17-115: Authorizing the Award of Contract for Professional Services

WHEREAS, there is a need for Professional Services to the Township of Vernon for Attorneys; and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5 specifically exempts professional services from provisions of public bidding as provided in the Local Public Contracts Law; and

WHEREAS, said specified professional services are to be rendered or performed by a person or persons authorized by law to practice a recognized profession, and whose practice is regulated by law within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended; and

WHEREAS, the performance of said professional services requires knowledge of an advanced field of learning acquired by a prolonged formal course of specialized training and study as distinguished from general academic instruction or apprenticeship and training; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon is desirous to enter into an agreement with these professionals as a fair and open contract pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Finance Officer has certified in writing that the value of the contracts are available for these purposes subject to the adoption of the 2017 Municipal Budget; and

WHEREAS, the Local Public Contracts Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended, requires that this Resolution be publicly advertised.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that they hereby authorize and approve the award of contracts of a Professional Service Contract pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1 et seq. to provide Services in accordance with the attached Contracts for Professional Services pursuant to a non-fair and open contract to the following:

1. Special Bankruptcy: Louis A. Modugno, Esq. of Mc Elroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the award of contract shall be contingent upon the completion and receipt of the following:

  1. A fully-executed professional services contract detailing the scope of services, established fees for said professional services, mandatory Equal Opportunity Language and Affirmative Action Certificate; and
  2. Receipt of all statutorily mandated “pay to play” political contribution forms pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.4 et seq.; and
  3. New Jersey Business Registration Certificate; and
  4. Upon the aforementioned professional being a member in good standing in his respective profession.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Municipal Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to execute, seal and deliver the attached Contracts for Professional Services on behalf of and in the name of the Township of Vernon and that the Municipal Clerk shall publish the award of contract as required by law with ten (10) days of passage of this Resolution.

Resolution #17-116: Resolution Authorizing Fireworks to Be Displayed on July 1, 2017 within the Township of Vernon

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A.21:3-1et seq. Explosive and Fireworks, provides that a Municipal Governing Body must authorize the display of fireworks within its boundaries as a pre-condition to such display in accordance with the New Jersey Fire Prevention Code; and

WHEREAS, Highland Lakes and Vernon Fire Departments have submitted an application to Vernon Township to conduct a fireworks display on July 1, 2017; and

WHEREAS, the proposed fireworks display will take place on the Lounsberry Hollow School grounds on property owned by the Vernon Township Board of Education and further requests closure of Sammis Road for the event; and

WHEREAS, the Fire Departments have engaged in a contract with Garden State Fireworks, Inc., to perform the public fireworks and special effects display and has provided the required certificate of liability insurance.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, hereby authorizes the fireworks display with special effects, performed by Garden State Fireworks, Inc. and sponsored by the Highland Lakes and Vernon Fire Departments on July 1, 2017 upon satisfaction of all statutory and departmental requirements.

Resolution #17-117: Salary Increase for Non-Union Part Time Dispatcher (Duffy)

WHEREAS, Ordinance #16-03 amended salary ranges for non-union full time and part time employees.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey that the following persons be compensated at the hourly salary or wage, the same being consistent with Ordinance #16-03 retroactive to May 1, 2017.

PositionName2017 Base Salary
Ordinance #16-03
Part Time Public Safety Tele-communicatorKevin Duffy$17.00 per hour

Resolution #17-118: Resolution Establishing Salary for Non-Union Employees 2017

WHEREAS, Ordinances #15-20, #16-03, #16-28 and #17-06 established salary ranges for non-union full time and part time employees.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey that the following titles be compensated at the hourly salary or wage, the same being consistent with Ordinance #15-20, #16-03, #16-28 and #17-06 retroactive to May 1, 2017.

Position2017 Base Salary
Ordinance #15-20
Full Time Animal Control Officer$32,500.00 annual
Ordinance #16-28
Part Time Summer Seasonal$12.00 per hour
Ordinance #17-06
Part Time Administrative Assistant$17.00 per hour
Part Time Zoning Code Enforcement$20.00 per hour

Resolution #17-119: Authorizing Change Order #1 of Contract for Proposed Improvements to Sammis Road - Guide Rails to Ficor Co., Inc.

WHEREAS, on November 14, 2016 by way of adoption of Resolution #16-244, the Council of the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to Ficor, Co., Inc. for Guide Rails for Sammis Road which contract provided for an expenditure of $27,508.40; and

WHEREAS, in a memo dated May 3, 2017, the Township Engineer states that the contract requires a Change Order #1 of three (3) additions totaling $748.72 resulting in an adjusted total contract amount of $28,257.12; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer, in concurrence with the Mayor, recommends approving Change Order No. 1 which will increase the total contract amount by $748.72 to an adjusted total contract amount of $28,257.12.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that it hereby approves the Township Engineer’s recommendations and authorizes the Mayor to execute said Change Order No. 1 for said project increasing the total contract amount to $28,257.12,with Ficor Co. Inc.; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be forwarded to Ficor Co. Inc and the Township Engineer.

Resolutions Requiring Separate Action

Resolution #17-120: Authorizing Change Order #1 of Contract with Billy Contracting & Restoration Inc. for Municipal Roof Replacement

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolution #17-120.

Council Member Rizzuto questioned why did Vernon move forward with the construction of the roof prior to awarding contract with council approval. Clerk Kirkman explained the Council did approve award of bid already and that this was a change order on original contract due to increase in materials needed. Council Member Rizzuto commented the contract was set and questioned if any more further approvals will be coming. Administrator. Voelker explained there was an option in the original proposal on type of shingles which we decided to use asphalt to save money and there was a required addition of snow guards on all roofs near sidewalks causing the need for the change order.

Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Sandra Ooms

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 approve Resolution #17-120.

Resolution #17-120: Authorizing Change Order #1 of Contract with Billy Contracting & Restoration Inc. for Municipal Roof Replacement

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2017 by way of adoption of Resolution #17-79, the Council of the Township of Vernon awarded a contract to Billy Contracting & Restoration, Inc. to replace the roof at the Municipal Building which contract provided for an expenditure of $231,700.00 which included an allowance up to of $30,000.00 for changes to original bid specifications; and

WHEREAS, per the Township Project Architect, a Change Order No. 1 was required during construction which includes additional materials, labor and supplies of snow guards in amount of $3,240.00 and asphalt shingles in net amount of $4,955.00 for total of $8,195.00 and was recommended to be installed for increased safety and durability, and

WHEREAS, the Township Project Architect, in concurrence with the Mayor and Business Administrator, recommends approving Change Order No. 1 for the betterment and safety of those working or visiting the Municipal Building.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that it hereby approves the Township Project Architect’s recommendation and authorizes the Mayor to execute said Change Order No. 1 for said project allowing expenditures of $8,195.00 to Billy Contracting & Restoration, Inc., and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be forwarded to Billy contracting & Restoration, Inc., and the Township Project Architect.

Resolution #17-121: 2016 Annual Audit

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolution #17-121.
Moved: Sandra Ooms
Second: Dan Kadish

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 approve Resolution #17-121.

Resolution #17-121: 2016 Annual Audit

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:5-4 requires the governing body of every local unit to have made an annual audit of its books, accounts and financial transactions, and

WHEREAS, the Annual Report of Audit for the year 2016 has been filed by a Registered Municipal Accountant with the Municipal Clerk pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:5-6, and a copy has been received by each member of the governing body; and

WHEREAS, R.S. 52:27BB-34 authorizes the Local Finance Board of the State of New Jersey to prescribe reports pertaining to the local fiscal affairs; and

WHEREAS, the Local Finance Board has promulgated N.J.A.C. 5:30-6.5, a regulation requiring that the governing body of each municipality shall, by resolution, certify to the Local Finance Board of the State of New Jersey that all members of the governing body have reviewed, as a minimum, the sections of the annual audit entitled “Comments and Recommendations”; and

WHEREAS, the members of the governing body have personally reviewed, as a minimum, the Annual Report of Audit, and specifically the sections of the Annual Audit entitled “Comments and Recommendations,” as evidenced by the group affidavit form of the governing body attached hereto; and

WHEREAS, such resolution of certification shall be adopted by the Governing Body no later than forty-five days after the receipt of the annual audit, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:30-6.5; and

WHEREAS, all members of the governing body have received and have familiarized themselves with, at least, the minimum requirements of the Local Finance Board of the State of New Jersey, as stated aforesaid and have subscribed to the affidavit, as provided by the Local Finance Board; and

WHEREAS, failure to comply with the regulations of the Local Finance Board of the State of New Jersey may subject the members of the local governing body to the penalty provisions of R.S. 52:27BB-52, to wit:

R.S. 52:27BB-52: A local officer or member of a local governing body who, after date fixed for compliance, fails or refuses to obey an order of the director (Director of Local Government Services), under the provisions of this Article, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, may be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both, in addition shall forfeit his office.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, hereby states that is has complied with N.J.A.C. 5:30-6.5 and does hereby submit a certified copy of this resolution and the required affidavit to said Board to show evidence of said compliance.

Resolution #17-122: Corrective Action Plan 2016 Audit

Council President Murphy explained pursuant to state fiscal affairs law, the CFO is to prepare a corrective action plan for all findings. There were three recommendations, all have been addresses in this plan. The resolution approves the corrective action plan as submitted by the CFO.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve Resolution #17-122.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dan Kadish

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 approve Resolution #17-122.

Resolution #17-122: Corrective Action Plan 2016 Audit

WHEREAS, the 2016 Annual Audit Report was delivered in May 2017 and regulations promulgated by the Local Fiscal Affairs Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:5 requires that the Chief Financial Officer prepare a Corrective Action Plan covering all findings and recommendations in the audit report; and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:5 further requires approval of the Corrective Action Plan within 60 days of audit receipt by the Township Council;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the Corrective Action Plan for the 2016 Annual Audit Report prepared by the Township Chief Financial Officer and attached hereto as “Appendix A” be approved.

Appendix “A” Township of Vernon

Corrective Action Plan for the 2016 Audit Report

1. Findings: The various departments/offices of the Township are responsible for the issuance of permits and licenses; collection of taxes, utility charges, and permit and license fees; and recording of collections.

Recommendation: Adequate segregation of duties be maintained with respect to the recording and treasury functions.

Corrective Action: The Township has reviewed the Cost/Benefit of having a separate Cashier function, where residents would have to go to make payments. At this time, the benefits and logistics of having a central cashier do not outweigh the costs. Budget constraints do not allow the hiring of additional employees to ensure that each employee have a separate duty, however management intends to cross-train more employees to allow for more segregation of duties.

Implementation Date: Late Fall/Early Winter 2017

2. Findings: The Township migrated to a new tax billing and collections software in April 2016. As a result of the migration, the billing for the second half of the year was calculated incorrectly by the new software, resulting in approximately $121,000 of under-billing and approximately $5,000 of delinquent tax balances were inadvertently added to certain Township owned property and certain lots that were combined in 2015. Under the direction of the Chief Financial Officer, audit adjustments have been made to reverse these incorrect adjustments. Also, the tax title lien receivable ledger generated by the new software does not agree to the Township’s general ledger.

Recommendation: The Tax Collector take extra care to ensure that all adjustments posted to taxes are valid and tax title lien receivable balances are reconciled with the Treasurer’s records on a monthly basis.

Corrective Action: The Tax Collector will take additional reconciliation and cross-checking steps at billing time to ensure that the adjustments posted are valid. The 570 tax title liens that were entered into the new tax billing software have been reviewed with the subsidiary ledger sheets and are in the process of being reconciled with the Treasurer’s records. Once this reconciliation is complete, the receivable balance will be reconciled monthly with the Treasurer’s records.

Implementation Date: June 2017

3. Findings: It is noted that a grant amendment was not formally approved by the grantor as required by the grant agreement or by the Township’s governing body.

Recommendation: Extra care be taken to ensure that grant amendments are formally approved by the grantor as required and by the governing body.

Corrective Action: All departments and commissions or committees involved in grant writing will be notified about the importance of having the proper procedures in place regarding the execution of the grants, the related reporting requirements and the process for grant amendments. All grant amendments will be formally approved by the governing body.

Implementation Date: May 2017

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinances

Council Member Murphy read Ordinance #17-08 by title only.

Ordinance #17-08: Bond Ordinance Appropriating $3,775,500, and Authorizing the Issuance of $3,009,000 Bonds or Notes of the Township, for Various Improvements or Purposes Authorized to Be Undertaken by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #17-08.
Moved: Dick Wetzel
Second: Dan Kadish

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

Council Member Rizzuto questioned why the list of expenditures is not included in ordinance and commented that in prior discussions, some expenses were supposed to be deferred. Council Member Rizzuto commented that he schedule of vehicles should be looked at again, questioned why we need pool car for recreation and suggests deferring purchases for another year. Council Member Rizzuto indicated he would like the traffic messaging trailer taken out and the baseball field groomer removed from the Ordinance. Also, Council Member Rizzuto commented the water down payment was removed from current budget but water hookup is still in ordinance which could be deferred. Council Member Ooms stated that Council approved a bond ordinance last year that included fire suppression and water hookup and questions why it is in again and feels vehicle purchases can be deferred for another year. Council Member Ooms stated the bond was too high and that she wanted it reduced and defer as much as possible. Mayor Shortway explained the pool car is for all departments to use for training, the groomer is for the baseball fields so volunteers don’t need to do bring rakes for the children to play ball, the fire suppression funds are needed to run an air test first, then a water test when water finally hooked up. Mayor Shortway added these requests have been discussed numerous times at the budget meetings. Ms. Yetter explains once projects are completed that were bonded, the remaining balance is canceled and added if the grant is not received for the Fire truck, the Township will not go bond until the Township knows whether they are getting the grant. Ms. Yetter noted that conditions in the field have dictated additional expenses, i.e. abandoned tanks, broken pipes.

Council Member Rizzuto motioned to table the ordinance until the next meeting for it to be reworked and lowered.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Sandra Ooms

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

Motion carried to table Ordinance #17-08 and to place it on the June 12, 2017 agenda for introduction. Mr. Zielinski explains if the Ordinance is not introduced at the next meeting, it will expire.

Public Hearing/2nd Reading of Ordinances

Ordinance #17-07: An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey Amending §99-25 of the Vernon Township Code and Allowing Only Resident Permit Parking on Carol Drive, Old Glenwood Circle, Meadowlark Drive, Cove Court, Vlietstra Drive, Thistle Avenue, Ivy Place and Ann Place and Designating Parking Areas along CR517

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to open the public hearing for Ordinance #17-07.
Moved: Dick Wetzel
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members voted in favor.

Mary Timchak, feels it is a burden for residents to have to get permits for their visitors every time they want to visit. Council Member Murphy explained we are not looking to ticket your visitors and is sorry for the inconvenience but many residents came forward with their concerns of the Trail visitors parking on these roads. Ms. Timchak commented that outhouses, barrels, signs are an eyesore which was once a very pristine area.

Ms. Cobley, 3 Meadowlark, understands the concern of Ms. Timchak but hopes Council votes for this ordinance so the residents can feel some relief.

Seeing no more one from the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the public hearing for Ordinance #17-07.
Moved: Sandra Ooms
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members voted in favor.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #17-07.
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Sandra Ooms

Council Member Rizzuto commented this is an unfortunate situation Vernon was put into but praises Chief Mills for his leadership and his staff for their hard work in recognizing the problem and working to find a remedy without creating too much of a hardship on our residents. He adds that this ordinance is a good first step but should be revisited in future and more responsibility should be on the Appalachian Trail Conference, and state for alternatives to defocus the attraction of the boardwalk. Council Member Wetzel suggests using Rickey Farm property for a parking lot and possibly charging a parking fee and Mr. Rizzuto adds starting at RT 94 end of Trail might be better for everyone.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Jean Murphy
Nays: Dan Kadish
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #17-07.

Council Comments

Council Member Kadish stated he had no comment.

Council Member Ooms stated he had no comment.

Council Member Wetzel stated he will see everyone at the Memorial Day Parade.

Council Member Rizzuto questioned when the port-a-johns will be removed from the Appalachian Trail which Mr. Voelker answered they were removed last Thursday and the barrels will be removed after permit system begins.

Council President Comments

Council President Murphy had no comment.

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 9:11 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: June 26, 2017