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

Minutes: October 14, 2010

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:03 p.m. on Thursday, October 14, 2010 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Mayor Sally Rinker presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 5, 2010, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, and Mayor Sally Rinker. Also present were Township Manager Jerry Giaimis and Township Attorney John Ursin. Council Member Harry Shortway arrived late to the meeting.

Resolution to Go into Executive Session

At 6:03 p.m. Mayor Sally Rinker asked for a motion to go into Executive Session. Council Member Valerie Seufert made a motion to close the meeting to the public and enter into executive session. Motion seconded by Council Member Michael Pier with all members voting in favor.

The Municipal Clerk read the following resolution to go into executive session:

WHEREAS, Section 8 of the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 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:

  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 is:
    1. Personnel matter regarding a candidate interview for the position of Municipal Clerk. Executive Session minutes only with respect to the successful candidate will be released at the conclusion of the matter or upon the offer of employment to the successful candidate.
    2. Legal matter regarding former employee. Executive Session minutes to be released upon the conclusion of this matter.
    3. Potential Litigation matter regarding the Lake Conway Dam. Executive Session minutes to be released upon the conclusion of this matter.
    4. Potential Litigation matter Highland Lakes reimbursement issue. Executive Session minutes to be released upon the conclusion of this matter.
    5. Contract negotiations with respect to Mt. Creek. Executive Session minutes will be released upon conclusion of the matter or after the execution of a contract.
    6. Contract negotiations with respect to Stanhill Conservation Project. Executive Session minutes to be released upon conclusion of the matter or after the execution of a contract.
    7. Personnel matter, regarding the Department of Public Works, there is no anticipated release of executive session minutes.
  3. It is anticipated that the above-stated subject matter will be made available upon final decision.
  4. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

The Township Council entered into Executive Session at 6:05 p.m.

The meeting was reopened to the public at 7:15 p.m. Present were Council Members Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert and Mayor Sally Rinker. Also present were Township Manager Jerry Giaimis and Township Attorney John Ursin. Council Member Harry Shortway was absent.

Council Member Harry Shortway joined the meeting at 7:16 p.m.

Salute to the Flag

The Mayor led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.

Presentations

Police Department Promotions:

Police Chief Roy Wherry spoke about Officer Stephen Moran’s employment history with the Vernon Police Department. Mayor Rinker read the Oath of Office for the promotion of Officer Moran from Sergeant to Lieutenant. Officer Moran is also a member of the Police Pipes and Drums of Morris County.

Police Chief Roy Wherry spoke about Officer Scott Alsberge’s employment history with the Vernon Police Department. Mayor Rinker read the Oath of Office for the promotion of Officer Alsberg from Patrolman to Sergeant.

Police Department Retirement:

Mayor Rinker honored Captain Kenneth Kuzicki by sharing some of his career accomplishments. Police Chief Roy Wherry asked Captain Kuzicki’s son, Patrolman Ken Kuzicki, to present his father with his retirement plaque.

The Police Pipes and Drums of Morris County performed.

McAfee Fire Department:

The Mayor asked the McAfee Fire Department to attend a Council meeting to address their need for equipment. The McAfee Fire Department Ex-Chief Ken Clark spoke regarding this issue due to his experience and knowledge of the Jaws of Life equipment. Mr. Clark stated that the department has been requesting the equipment for many years. The equipment is old and slow and subject to fail. Mr. Clark explained several advantages that the new equipment has versus the old equipment. The tools can be purchased through the Morris County Cooperative Program at approximately $35,000.

Council Member Shortway stated that this project has to go to the top of the list of projects.

Council Member Valerie Seufert asked if any additional money had been set aside for this project. The Township Manager and Chief Financial Officer, Bill Zuckerman, are currently exploring the funding mechanisms for this.

Mayor Rinker made a motion for the Township Manager to find additional funding alternatives for these items, seconded by Council Member Seufert.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Harry Shortway, Valerie Seufert, Sally Rinker
Nays: None

Bus Accident on Route 638:

Chief Wherry was asked to step forward to speak about the school bus accident that occurred this week. He thanked the school bus driver for her operation of the bus and her compassion for helping the children. He collectively thanked all the emergency service departments for their service on the scene.

Council Member Carson stated that he felt the scene on a mass causality basis went flawlessly as Chief Wherry stated, unfortunately, with the loss of only one life.

Mayor Rinker stated that she spoke with Dr. Alfieri at the Board of Education and he stated that the very next day, although she did not drive, the bus driver rode the bus with the children to provide assurance by seeing her there.

The Township Manager on behalf of Dr. Alfieri thanked the Police Department and the volunteer personnel for the assistance that day. The school district was very pleased and proud of how the situation was handled.

Public Comments

Mayor Rinker opened the meeting for public comment.

Jeanne Jameson, President of Highland Lakes, commented on the costs of winter maintenance responsibilities along private roadways in Vernon Township.

Doreen Edwards, Highland Lakes, commented on the inefficiency of current snow removal equipment and maintenance in her neighborhood.

Harold McPeek, Vernon, commended dispatcher, Robin Addesa, for a job well done during the recent bus accident on Rt. 638.

Robert Oliver, Vernon, questioned a potential conflict of interest in regard to Council Member Harry Shortway and the PAL.

Thomas McClachrie, Vernon, questioned the score given in regard to what funds will be received by Vernon Township from the State of New Jersey next year. Township Manager, Jerry Giaimis stated that Vernon received a score minimum of 99% and further explained this information will be posted on the Township’s website. Mr. McClachrie requested an update on tax sales. Township Attorney, John Ursin informed Mr. McClachrie the first round of tax foreclosures has been filed and gave an approximate completion date in early 2011. Mr. McClachrie commented the Vernon Taxpayer’s Association supports the change in government to a Mayor/Council format.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti, Nutley Avenue, reported there will be a change of government forum on Monday, October 18th at 7:30 p.m. at the McAfee firehouse in Vernon sponsored by the Committee of Petitioners.

Gary Grey, Vote SOS Member, commented on the low voter turnout for May elections as well as the expenses incurred, as opposed to November elections.

Mike Furrey, Vote SOS Member, questioned Mayor Rinker in regard to her involvement in petitioning for signatures. Mayor Rinker commented that it is her Democratic right as an American citizen to do so.

Jessi Paladini, Sunset Ridge, commented on Council Member Shortway and the conflict of interest with the PAL. Ms. Paladini also questioned the Township Attorney on the cost of certifying the petition after it was rejected due to invalid signatures. Ms. Paladini also commented on the inappropriateness of council members and municipal employees joining Vote SOS on Facebook.

Gary Martinsen, Vernon, questioned if a trust fund can be used to purchase a new Jaws-of-Life and suggested it can be stored in McAfee.

Edward Williams, Highland Lakes, offered his 5 minutes for public comment to Jessi Paladini.

Eddie Dunn, Highland Lakes, commented regarding the forum of SOS. Mr. Dunn stated that Vernon’s government is broken, and that Vernon residents need to come together for the good of the town.

John Curry, Glenwood, commented on poor planning on the part of Regular Republicans on the Township Council.

Craig Benda, Highland Lakes, commented on his disappointment in the Mayor and asked her to step down and resign her post as Council Member.

Jean Murphy, Glenwood, commented on a recent meeting she attended where the message sent from the County and State level said Vernon should not be allowed to go non-partisan. Ms. Murphy stated that Vernon is our town, not theirs.

Josephine Curry, Glenwood, commented on her embarrassment of Republicans. Ms. Curry commended Mayor Rinker for doing a fantastic job.

Pete Hagedoorn, Vernon, questioned non-premise sign ordinance to put 13 roadside signs up to notify the town of registration for little league. Signs will be up for a maximum of 28 days. Signs are 24” long and 18” high.

A motion was made by Council Member Valerie Seufert for approval for Vernon Little League to put up temporary signs for 28 days providing they are taken down after the 28 days, seconded by Council Member Richard Carson.

A roll call vote was taken on the approval of the Temporary Signs.
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Motion carried. Temporary Signs were approved as presented.

The Mayor asked where the Township is with the Sign Ordinance. Council Member Seufert stated there have been draft ordinances created. The chair of the Sign Committee and Council Member Seufert will be meeting with the Township Attorney on Tuesday to go over the changes. A meeting will then be scheduled with the business community to review the changes and the ordinance will then come before the Council for approval.

Mayor Rinker made a motion to close the meeting to the public, seconded by Council Member Valerie Seufert. All members were in favor.

Seeing no one else from the public wishing to speak, Mayor Sally Rinker closed the public portion of the meeting.

A 5 minute recess was taken.

Approval of Minutes

Council Member Richard Carson made a motion to approve the July 22, 2010. Motion seconded by Michael Pier.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Mayor Rinker
Nays: None
Abstain: Harry Shortway

Council Member Valerie Seufert made a motion to approve the Regular Meeting on August 12, 2010. Motion seconded by Richard Carson.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Mayor Rinker
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Township Manager’s Report

Township Manager Jerry Giaimis, commented with respect to the forum that was set for October 21, 2010. Mr. Giaimis explained there were some conflicts regarding the date for the forum and further explained there was no ill intent and apologized for any inconvenience this conflict may have caused.

The Township Manager recommended the Executive Session on October 28, 2010 start at 5:00 p.m. because of a lengthy presentation by the water and sewer engineer. With Council approval the Township Clerk will be directed to advertise the change in meeting time.

Council Member Valerie Seufert made a Motion to advertise the Executive Session on October 28, 2010 to begin at 5:00 p.m. Mayor Rinker seconded with all members in favor.

The Township Manager distributed bus schedules for the new shuttle bus service which is now underway. There was a request from TransOption to place a 6ft. by 2ft. yellow sign advertising the new bus service in front of the A&P shopping plaza.

The Township Manager reported the HVAC System would have a two week delay due to an error by the engineer’s office opening bids on the Tuesday after a federal holiday, which is against state regulations. All costs incurred for re-advertising will be incurred by the engineer’s office. All those who submitted bids were notified.

Mr. Giaimis discussed the municipal reimbursement for snow plowing the private communities of Vernon Township. The communities disputed the Township’s calculations for the reimbursement. It is proposed that Vernon Public Works take over snowplowing responsibilities, thereby eliminating any future conflict. A decision on this proposal will need to be made by the end of November 2010. There are two options for suggested for implementing this change. Option #1 would have a total operating cost of $319,000 and Option #2 would have an operating cost of $293,760.

Township Attorney’s Report

Township Attorney John Ursin provided a follow up to the Township Manager’s report since he has been involved in the Municipal Services discussions. Although the Council may decide to change the way that the communities are handled for 2011-2012, there are still 2 years of services that need to be addressed. The past 12 years have been marked by an insufficient amount of documentation and analysis; he is working on providing more documentation and analysis on how this year and next year’s reimbursements will be handled.

Mr. Ursin stated that at the last Council meeting one of the larger issues facing the township is that Mt. Creek’s letter which was to expire October 1, 2010. The letter of credit has been renewed and replaced. Mr. Ursin felt that the Township is in significantly better condition than it was one month ago. The Township will continue to work with Mt. Creek to complete the sewer line project.

Mr. Ursin addressed a concern from a member of the public regarding the Township entering into a contract with United Water for water for the Town Center. To date there is no contract although United Water did make a presentation about the issue. The sewer engineer is still involved and researching the project.

Both the Township Manager and Mr. Ursin will continue to work on the issues of possibly auctioning off properties in the Town Center for development. They are getting closer to the point where the Council can make a decision in the near future.

Resolutions Requiring Separate Action

Resolution #10-195: Authorizing the Approval of Bills List

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

Disbursement
Journal
FundAmountMajor Vendor
#1Current$1,149,173.66Vernon BOE
#2Current$596.16 
#3Current$910,303.58Vernon BOE
#4Current$878,871.18Vernon BOE
#5Planning & Zoning$600.00 
#6Capital$1,769.00 
#7Capital$2,990.70 
#8Grant$4,866.75 
#9Grant$4,117.58 
#10Recreation$31,970.00Money Transfer
#11Recreation$2,161.38 
#12Other Trust$2,177.62 
#13Other Trust$30.84 
#14Other Trust$3,435.94 
#15Outside Services$6,455.95 
#16Outside Services$730.91 
#17Sewer Operating$501.38 
 Payroll$286,630.833rd Pay in Sept
 Total$3,287,383.46 

Moved: Richard Carson
Seconded: Valerie Seufert

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-195 was approved.

Resolution #10-196: Total Disabled Veteran

WHEREAS THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS on July 2, 2009 awarded Galvano, Charles a 100% permanent and total disabled veteran; and

WHEREAS, the law exempts said property from taxation.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon authorizes the Tax Collector to cancel the taxes for the 3rd & 4th quarters of 2010 in the amount of $2,806.03. Re: Block 74.10 Lot 2 Location 3 Appleseed Road

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

THIS RESOLUTION shall take effect immediately upon adoption according to law.

Moved: Harry Shortway
Seconded: Valerie Seufert

Council Member Valerie Seufert asked if the Township is notified if this disabled resident moves, or does it stay on the tax roll until the property is sold. Mr. Ursin stated that the Tax Collector tracks the owner of the property and if it has been sold.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-196 was approved.

Resolution #10-197: Approving Active Volunteer Fireman for Membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association

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, Dave S. Vesely, an active firefighter and member of the Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department, Pochuck Valley Company #4, 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 Dave S. Vesely for membership in the New Jersey State Firemen’s Association.

Moved: Valerie Seufert
Seconded: Richard Carson

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-197 was approved.

Resolution #10-198: Authorizing a Memorandum of Agreement with Signature Information Solutions for “Inquiry Only”Access to Certain Tax Collectors Tax and/or Utility Records via Vital Communications

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon received a request from Signature Information Solutions seeking electronic “look only” inquiry access to the public tax records administered by the tax collector; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township’s tax records are currently maintained in an electronic format by Vital Communications Inc. of Trenton, New Jersey; and

WHEREAS, upon authorization, Signature Information Solutions, agrees to use this information for the sole purpose of providing tax search information to the title industry; and

WHEREAS, Signature Information Solutions also agrees to protect the information obtained and to not re-sell or re-distribute this same information or make available to a third party except as needed for the purpose of providing information for tax searches to the title industry.

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

  1. Vernon Township will authorize Vital Communications, Inc. to provide look up information access to Signature Information Solutions, LLC for Vernon Township property tax and/or utility records.
  2. Signature Solutions shall be subject to Vital Computers policies and procedures.
  3. Signature Solutions waives any claim that it may have against Vernon Township in connection with Vital Communications, Inc.’s policies and procedures.
  4. Signature Information Solutions, agrees to use this information for the sole purpose of providing tax search information to the title industry, agrees to protect the information obtained and to not re-sell or re-distribute this same information or make available to a third party except as needed for the purpose of providing information for tax searches to the title industry.
  5. The Township of Vernon shall not incur any charges for providing this access or means of information exchange to Signature Solutions.

Moved: Michael Pier
Seconded: Harry Shortway

Township Manager Jerry Giaimis stated that this is a read only access and that there is no cost to the Township.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-198 was approved.

Resolution #10-199: Duplication of 2010 Billing

WHEREAS, THE 2009 County Board Judgment has combined the following Block and Lots for the year 2009;

WHEREAS, this has resulted in creating a duplication for the 2010 taxes;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, that the Tax Collector is hereby authorized and directed to cancel the 2010 duplicate taxes.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, THAT A CERTIFIED COPY OF THIS Resolution be forwarded to the Tax Collector.

BlockLotNameLocationAmount
1559Highland Lakes Country Club167 Breakneck Rd$298.10
15510Highland Lakes Country Club169 Breakneck Rd$295.59
155.0586&87-90Highland Lakes Country Club & Comm.39 Wenatchee Rd$921.84
207.1613&14-17Highland Lakes Country Club & Comm.409 Cherry Ridge Rd$929.36

Moved: Michael Pier
Seconded: Valerie Seufert

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Resolution #10-199 was approved.

Public Hearing and Discussion on Proposed Ordinances

Ordinance #10-19: An ordinance granting a franchise expansion and permission for United Water New Jersey Inc., to lay its water pipes beneath such public roads, streets and alleys as may be necessary for its corporate purposes and to construct and maintain water pipes on and along public streets in the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey

Mayor Rinker read Ordinance #10-19 by title only. First reading was held on September 13, 2010.

Council Member Richard Carson made a motion to approved Ordinance #10-19, seconded by Council Member Harry Shortway.

Mayor Rinker opened the meeting for public hearing on this ordinance.

Township Attorney John Ursin clarified that this ordinance is to allow Valley View Apartment to allow them to supply them with a water source that is not contaminated. There is no cost obligation to the township. They have to expand the franchise in order to apply to the BPU.

Tom McClachie, Vernon Taxpayers Association, requested that there should be something stated in the ordinance the financial obligation of the Township.

There being no comments from the public, the Mayor closed the public hearing.

Council Member Richard Carson made a motion to close the meeting to the public. Council Member Harry Shortway seconded with all members in favor.

Council Member Carson asked that the record reflect that Mr. Ursin stated that there is no cost to the Township.

There was no Council discussion.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Richard Carson, Michael Pier, Valerie Seufert, Harry Shortway, Sally Rinker
Nays: None
Ordinance #10-19 was approved.

Council Business

Council Member Michael Pier stated he had a draft copy the agenda from the July 22, 2010 Council Meeting showing Ordinance #10-19 which calls for a referendum to change the Charter of the Township to allow the voters to elect the mayor directly. He asked Mr. Ursin what the difference was between this ordinance and the referendum that is going to be on the November 2nd ballot.

Mr. Ursin stated when the public was requesting an ordinance be drafted that he started working on it. This ordinance would allow the council to place on the ballot a referendum question to have the mayor elected directly. The statue of the optional forms of government provides for 5-6 different options. When the ordinance began to be circulated there were more that was being requested. Those items could not be placed on the ballot by ordinance it had to be done by petition.

Council Member Shortway asked that if the referendum does not pass can the Council pass this Ordinance to put the question on the ballot for the voters to elect a Mayor. Mr. Ursin stated yes. Council Member Shortway stated that he would support that option.

Council Member Richard Carson stated that he attended the MAC program at the Glen Meadow School for a peer support program. The emphasis of the program is to have a core group of student that are used as mentors to help other students. It will be about a 5 week course. Council Member Carson also stated that the Narcotics Anonymous program at St. Thomas has been very well attended.

Council Member Seufert asked fellow Council Members and members of the public to show each other respect.

Mayor Sally Rinker added that if we just keep politics out of this room, we would all stand a better chance.

Adjournment

There being no further items of business to be conducted on the Regular Meeting agenda, a motion for Adjournment was made by Mayor Rinker. Motion seconded by Council Member Valerie Seufert with all members voting in favor.

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 9:32 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Andrea Bates
Acting Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: December 16, 2010