Minutes: October 17, 2019

YouTube video of the October 17, 2019 council meeting »

The regular meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on October 17, 2019 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 had been provided to the public and the press on January 3, 2019 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

Present were Council Members Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger and Council President Murphy, Attorney Josh Zielinski, Mayor Harry Shortway, and Business Administrator Charles Voelker.

Salute to the Flag

Council President Murphy led the assemblage for the salute to the flag.

Moment of Silence

Council President Murphy held a Moment of Silence for Edward Buruchian who had passed away. Mr. Buruchian was dedicated to serving his community as a founder, trustee and volunteer of the Vernon Police Athletic League, Glenwood Pochuck Ambulance Squad and was a former Chief of the Vernon Fire Department.

Proclamations

Council Member Curreri read the Proclamation for Veterans Day.

Veterans Day

Whereas, the freedoms we enjoy as Americans have been purchased and maintained at a high price throughout our history; and

Whereas, since the establishment of the original 13 states, Americans have been willing to fight and die to preserve their individual rights as guaranteed in the United States constitution and the Bill of Rights; and

Whereas, we owe a great debt to those who have served in defense of this nation; and

Whereas, throughout generations, their sacrifices have preserved our unique form of government dedicated to human rights and respect for the individual; and

Whereas, for many, that sacrifice has ended in permanent injury or death, yet their spirit remains in the continued preservation of our freedoms and the promise of liberty established as an example for all the oppressed persons of the world; and

Whereas, in honor of these dedicated men and women, we pledge our continued defense of our nation so that their sacrifice will stand before the entire world as a tribute to the spirit and determination of a people dedicated to the principles of freedom and democracy.

Now therefore be it Proclaimed that, the Vernon Township Council do hereby urge all our citizens to honor our veterans and rededicate themselves to the preservation of our liberties under the Constitution. Given under my hand in these free United States in the Township of Vernon, State of New Jersey on this 17th day of October, 2019 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 read the Proclamation for Polio Awareness Month.

Polio Awareness Month

WHEREAS, Rotary International, founded on February 23, 1905 in Chicago, Illinois, USA, is the world’s first and one of the largest non-profit service organizations; and

WHEREAS, there are over 1.2 million Rotary club members comprised of professional and business leaders in over 35,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas; and

WHEREAS, the Rotary motto “Service Above Self” inspires members to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards, and promote good will and peace in the world; and

WHEREAS, Rotary International, in 1985, launched PolioPlus and spearheaded the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which today includes the World Health Organization, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to immunize the children of the world against Polio; and

WHEREAS, Polio cases have dropped by 99.9 percent since 1988 and the world stands on the threshold of eradication of the disease; and

WHEREAS, to date, Rotary has contributed more than $1.7 billion and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than 2 billion children in 122 countries; and

WHEREAS, Rotary is currently working to raise an additional $150 million, which—if realized—will be tripled by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a total of up to $450 million over the next three years; and

WHEREAS, these efforts are providing much needed operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment, and educational materials for health workers and parents; and

WHEREAS, in addition, Rotary has played a major role in decisions by donor governments to contribute more than $8 billion to the effort; and

WHEREAS, there are 20 Rotary club members in the Vernon Township Rotary Club sponsoring service projects to address such critical issues as poverty, health, hunger, illiteracy, and the environment in their local communities and abroad.

NOW THEREFORE, the Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, New Jersey, do hereby proclaim October 24, 2019—and the date of October 24 henceforth annually—as World Polio Day in Vernon, New Jersey and encourage all citizens to join the Township, Rotary International, and our local Vernon Rotary Club in the fight for a Polio-free world.

Council Member Ooms read the Proclamation for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

WHEREAS, Breast Cancer is a serious threat to women’s health across New Jersey and the nation, and

WHEREAS, increased public awareness of this disease, its risk factors, and its symptoms may save lives as women across New Jersey learn to recognize the warning signs of Breast Cancer; and

WHEREAS, Breast Cancer is treatable when detected early and prompt treatment can significantly reduce the suffering and deaths caused by this disease; and

WHEREAS, in order to promote Breast Cancer awareness during the Month of October Pink Ribbons have become an increasingly recognized sign of courage, support and hope for a cure.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the MONTH OF OCTOBER shall be proclaimed BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH in the Township of Vernon and the displaying of Pink Ribbons during the Month of October is a wonderful way to encourage citizens to stand together against this disease.

Public Comments (On Current Agenda Items Only)

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

Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members present voted in favor.

Minutes

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of September 9, 2019 and September 23, 2019.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Patrick Curreri, Sandra Ooms (for Sept 9, 2019 only), Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: Sandra Ooms (for September 23, 2019 minutes only)
Motion carried.

Items for Discussion

A. Sewer Discussion

Council President Murphy requested clarification of amount still owed in 2019 by Mountain Creek after their initial payment of $907,000 per the agreement as there are conflicting balances of $967,000 and $948,000 in the Agreement and Appendix B. She questioned if Ordinance must be amended to record the exact amounts owed for replacement of Pump House as noted in the Appendix B.

Attorney Zielinski stated he will confirm with the Chief Finance Officer and Mountain Creek on amount currently owed and stated that the Ordinance does not need to be amended but the amount for the Pump House replacement must be determined.

Council President Murphy explained that everything is predicated on the pump house replacement which was said to take eighteen months to build and emphasized the amount owed needs to be documented for future Township Councils.

Mayor Shortway stated he was unaware of this discussion and must confer with the CFO and MUA on status of pump house. He added that the Vernon Municipal Utility Authority (MUA) was planning to handle the pump house replacement but has been delayed due to personnel changes. Mayor Shortway explained the system is operated and maintained by the VTMUA but recommended that the Township should manage the pump house replacement project to maintain control of the Township’s asset.

Attorney Zielinski explained the purpose of the Ordinance is to create a law to enact a fee to collect a percentage fee from Mountain Creek for recreational activities. He further explained the appendix of the settlement is intended to show what the obligations are going to be paid by the collection of those fees. For the purpose of ensuring future Councils are aware of what the obligations are, Attorney Zielinski added the Council can choose to amend the Ordinance to include the updated Appendix B but cautioned the Council that there are risks with amendments tied to the settlement agreement. Council President Murphy questioned if the Ordinance can be amended to add the amount for the pump house only. Attorney Zielinski explained that it is included as an obligation and an amount does not need to be added. Council President Murphy stated that in 2018, the pump house was in need of emergency replacement at an estimated cost of $ 2.1 million and wanted the Council to be aware of the situation.

Council Member Curreri questioned why the Township should manage the replacement of the pump house without the MUA and how does it affect the taxpayers. Mayor Shortway noted that the project has been delayed due to MUA issues and recommended the Township should maintain control of its assets and handle the replacement process. Attorney Zielinski recommended that Council request a MUA official to attend the next meeting to provide the current status on the pump house replacement.

B. Ordinance Amending Chapter 99, Article III and Schedule VI of the Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Vehicle Exclusions” and Chapter 99, Article XIV Entitled “Traffic Controls for Street and Highway Construction and Maintenance Operations”

Council President Murphy read the title of the proposed Ordinance and questioned if there is a need to contact the county and possibly New York for approval. Mr. Voelker stated he will follow up with the Township Engineer for the County’s response on request of certification and added that Vernon may need to contact the NJDOT before moving forward. He added that Chief Young contacted Hardyston Police Department.

Mayor Shortway expressed concern of the damage that trucks are causing to Lake Wallkill Road as well as decreased quality of life for our residents. Council Member Auberger recommended the Ordinance, that while prohibiting four ton trucks, should allow local deliveries to be made.

Mr. Cory Stoner, Township Engineer came forward to explain that the proposed Ordinance will require coordination among many state and local entities and may take many months or years to gain approvals. Mr. Voelker noted that at a previous discussion with Sussex County on request to move forward with making RT 23 and RT 94 as a truck route, the County did not provide support.

C. Ordinance Amending Chapter 99, Article I, II and VIII of the Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “General Provisions”

Council President Murphy read the title of the proposed Ordinance which regulates the ban of trailers being parked on Township residential streets. Mayor Shortway explained the regulation involves the potential hazards of overnight parking of trailers. Council Member Auberger suggested the ban be from dusk to dawn. Lieutenant Jason Haw came forward to add that the Police do not want to add restrictions to any local businesses but must be reasonable in residential areas and suggested possibility of 48 hour exception with Police discretion. Attorney Zielinski stated he will make the necessary adjustment as discussed and to include definitions of Title 99 statute regarding overnight parking.

Regarding previous discussion item of limiting truck traffic, Lt. Haw noted that Hardyston already has restriction in effect on RT 515, and explained purpose of Ordinance is to restrict trucks on Sisco Hill.

D. Ordinance Amending and Supplementing Chapter 330, Article XI of the Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Zoning”

Council President Murphy explained the proposed Ordinance, which will need to be sent to the Land Use Board for review, would restrict sales of vaping products which are currently legal in New Jersey for ages 21 or older to purchase. Council Member Ooms noted that alcohol and cigarettes are far more dangerous and suggested that Vernon wait for actions by the State.

Rebecca Dorney, Center for Prevention and Counseling came forward to express concern that according to records in 2017-2018, the CDC reported that 78% of youth are using vaping products even though the law states the minimum age to purchase is 21.

Alice McAloney and Tracy Storms Mazuko came forward from Tobacco Free for Healthy NJ, who both attended a Government Task Force on October 3, 2019 which discussed nine recommendations to handle the Vaping epidemic.

Top priority is to ban flavored, including menthol, e-Cigarette smoking devices and products. Recommendation to increase penalties on unauthorized sales online and strengthen point of sale retail practices with warning signs of dangers. Increased compliance of age restriction to purchase by increasing number of inspectors. Recommendation for Community to enact Ordinance to ban sale of vaping products and devices. Ms. McAloney noted that Morristown passed a law to remove products from pharmacies, gas stations, and only allow vaping products at licensed Vape stores at annual fee of $1000.00 to prevent underage purchases.

Ms. Storms explained Vernon needs to determine what is in the best interest of this community. She noted that as of yesterday, the CDC has reported 33 fatalities of adults and youth with two being in NJ and also 1200 documented situations with illnesses. Ms. Storms opined that vaping is creating a new generational nicotine dependency with easier to use products. She added the concern that one Jule pod equals one pack of cigarettes and it takes 100 cigarettes to become addicted.

Council President Murphy added that there are grants available to school districts to buy vaping detectors. Ms. Dorney stated that the issue is real in Vernon and the community needs to create a strategic framework to address the issue as it affects the children’s everyday life in school.

Council Member Curreri questioned who regulates the vape stores per the state laws and is there new legislation pending. Council President Murphy noted that Montgomery Township also has adopted a Vaping License Ordinance creating a fee which uses funds collected for education and enforcement. She explained the Morristown Ordinance is a viable one for Vernon which must go the Land Use Board for review and suggested the speakers ask to be added to the Board’s agenda. Council Members agreed to send the Morristown Ordinance as sample to the Land Use Board for their review and comments.

Items for Discussion and Possible Introduction

A. An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending Chapter 509 of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Taxation” to Include Transient Accommodations

Council President Murphy read the title of the Short Term Rental(STR) Ordinance and noted the Council received a copy of Hopatcong’s Ordinance to review. Council Member Auberger questioned if the Ordinance needs to be reviewed by the Land Use Board prior to introduction. Attorney Zielinski explained the two proposed ordinances are not Zoning Ordinances as one allows for collection of hotel tax revenue and the other allows for the registration and inspection of Short Term rentals, but it can be reviewed by the Land Use Board at the governing body’s discretion.

Mayor Shortway commented that due to the inability to adopt the STR Ordinance in 2019, the next administration will need to determine how to proceed. He stated he spoke to a software company who can permit, track, register Vernon rentals for $30,000 annually. Mayor Shortway recommended Council move forward with this Ordinance for safety inspections, estimated revenue of $158,000 and increased monthly hotel tax. Also, he noted that additional STR funds could be dedicated for specific Township needs for tourism or assets.

Council Member Curreri commented the estimated revenue of $40,000 is positive but questioned the type of STR being taxed. He stated there are owner occupied units that rent out one room, those renting entire house or foreclosed homes being flipped which creates valid argument as to need for Land Use Board to review. Council Member Curreri added that the cost of the software is excessive when number of rentals is unknown. Council President Murphy noted the meeting in Warwick on October 21, 2019 to discuss their proposed STR law which she and Council member Curreri will be attending for information. Council Members agreed to send proposed Ordinance to the Land Use Board for review.

Consent Agenda

Council President Murphy gave brief explanation of Consent Agenda and noted there are two additional Resolutions, #19-206 and #19-207 added. Council Member Auberger requested #19-205 be separated out. Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Resolutions #19-197 through #19-204, and #19-206-207.

Council Member Ooms questioned why is Vernon Authorizing a vendor contract in Resolution #19-201 when Vernon purchased crack sealer equipment to do this type of work. Mayor Shortway explained that we decided to hire an outside firm because the DPW is involved in other road projects and this is more efficient, so work is done before winter.

Mr. Stoner added it is more feasible to hire an outside vendor for this particular job for efficiency and economic reasons. Council Member Auberger added that the DPW is tied up with Lake Pochung and Higgins roadway projects and also preparing the Township streets for winter.

Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion passed to adopt Resolutions #19-197 through #19-204, and #19-206-207.

Resolution #19-197: Authorizing Assignment of Tax Title Liens to Tall Timbers Property Owners Association

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon is the holder of certain tax sale certificates acquired under and by virtue of N.J.S.A. 54:5-34: and,

WHEREAS, it is deemed financially beneficial to and in the best interests of the municipality to sell such tax sale certificates:

WHEREAS, notice of assignment has been posted in three public places within the Township of Vernon and published in the New Jersey Herald as required by law.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE Mayor and Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, hereby authorize the sale by assignment of the various tax sale certificates held by it set out on the schedule annexed hereto, to:

Tall Timbers Property Owners Association
100 Tall Timbers Road
Sussex, N.J. 07461

For the consideration therein set forth which sum shall also include the lien for unpaid subsequent taxes for the periods set forth, all as provided for and permitted under N.J.S.A. 54:5-113.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Mayor and Municipal Clerk be and are hereby authorized and empowered to make, execute and deliver any and all assignment forms or other legal documents which may be necessary or desired to effectuate the various sales permitted by this Resolution.

Resolution #19-198: Resolution to Renew a Contract to Thomson Reuters-West

WHEREAS, there exists a need for the Township to maintain the most current version of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated; and

WHEREAS, the Township currently has a contract with Thomson Reuters authorized by resolution 16-243 through November 3, 2019; and

WHEREAS, after review of pricing and services it is cost effective for the Township to continue the on-line version of the Statutes Annotated rather than maintain paper books; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b), shall certify amounts chargeable to this contract at the time when such services are ordered or otherwise called for; and

WHEREAS, Thomson Reuters is offering a contract from November 4, 2019 through November 3, 2022 with a total contract price not to exceed $150.00 per month during the first twelve months; $154.50 per month during the second twelve months; $159.14 per month during the final twelve months.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, the Mayor, Clerk and CFO are authorized to execute a contract with Thomson Reuters, A West Corporation, for maintenance of the New Jersey Statues Annotated.

Resolution #19-199: Authorizing Application and Execution of the “2019 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Year End Holiday Crackdown” Grant Administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Police Department wishes to apply for funding from the National Highway Safety Administration “2019 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Year End Holiday Crackdown,” Grant; and

WHEREAS, the grant project consists of an enforcement overtime campaign from December 6, 2019 through January 1, 2020 to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving, to offer deterrence through visible enforcement, to arrest impaired drivers, and to issue summonses for relevant motor vehicle violations; and

WHEREAS, Vernon Township will initially incur the cost of the program not to exceed $5,500.00 in Account# 9-01-25-240-02 and then will submit the necessary documentation to the Division of Highway Traffic Safety for total reimbursement.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, Vernon Township declares its support for the “2019 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Year End Holiday Crackdown” Grant from December 6, 2019 through January 1, 2020 to increase awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, that the Mayor, Certified Municipal Finance Officer and Township Clerk are hereby authorized to execute and sign any and all documents in order to effectuate the receipt of the Grant monies between the Township of Vernon and the Division of Highway Traffic Safety for the “2019 Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Year End Holiday Crackdown” Grant.

Resolution #19-200: Authorizing the Use of Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council for Proposed Improvements to Lake Pochung Road

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need for contracting services for Proposed Improvements to Lake Pochung Road; and

WHEREAS, the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council advertised and received bids for roadway milling, paving, catch basin castings and complete line stripping; and

WHEREAS, the bids received allowed for vendors to extend their pricing to municipalities who are a member of the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council, a State regulated County Contract Purchasing System; and

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Engineer recommends the Township Council award contracts for milling and paving, catch basin castings and complete line striping (subject to final approvals from the New Jersey Department of Transportation) through the use of the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council to the following contractors:

  1. Milling & Paving: Tilcon New York, Inc. (Contract #6) in an amount of $224,171.50; and
  2. Catch Basins & Manhole Castings: General Foundries, Inc. (Contract #14) in an amount of $1,555.00; and
  3. Traffic Striping: Denville Line Painting, Inc. (Contract #36) in an amount of $8,410.10;

WHEREAS, the Certified Municipal Finance Officer of the Township of Vernon has certified that the funds for these contracts are available in Account #C-04-19-016-01.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the vendors, Tilcon New York, Inc, General Foundries, Inc. and Denville Line Painting, Inc. be utilized for the Improvements to Lake Pochung Road through the respective Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council contracts at the amounts not to exceed listed herewith, subject to the final approval from the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

This Resolution shall take effect immediately according to law.

Resolution #19-201: Authorizing the Award of Contract for Crack Fill & Sealing of Walkway Paths at Maple Grange Park within Vernon Township

WHEREAS, there exists a need to crack fill and seal the existing walkway paths at Maple Grange Park in Vernon Township; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer has solicited formal quotes for these services, of which Advanced Pavement Technologies, Inc., Vernon, NJ was the lowest cost of the two (2) quotes received; and

WHEREAS, the Township Engineer recommends awarding a contract to Advanced Pavement Technologies, Inc., 17 Old Rudetown Road, Vernon, NJ who submitted the pricing of $8,143.65 for the services specified, and

WHEREAS, the Certified Municipal Finance Officer certifies $8,143.65 is available in Open Space Fund Account #T-17-56-851-00 for these purposes.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey, the Mayor, Clerk and CMFO are authorized to execute a contract with Advanced Pavement Technologies, Inc., not to exceed $8,143.65 for crack fill and Sealing at Maple Grange Park walkway paths.

Resolution #19-202: Authorizing the Use of Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council for Proposed Improvements to Higgins Drive & Walsh Way

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need for contracting services for Proposed Improvements to Higgins Drive & Walsh Way; and

WHEREAS, the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council advertised and received bids for roadway milling, paving and complete line stripping; and

WHEREAS, the bids received allowed for vendors to extend their pricing to municipalities who are a member of the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council, a State regulated County Contract Purchasing System; and

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Engineer recommends the Township Council award contracts for milling and paving and complete line striping through the use of the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council to the following contractors:

1) Milling & Paving: Tilcon New York, Inc. (Contract #6) in an amount of $84,527.50; and 2) Traffic Striping: Denville Line Painting, Inc. (Contract #36) in an amount of $487.20;

WHEREAS, the Certified Municipal Finance Officer of the Township of Vernon has certified that the funds for these contracts are available in Accounts C-04-16-015-05 and 9-01-26-290-20.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the vendors, Tilcon New York, Inc. and Denville Line Painting, Inc. be utilized for the Improvements to Higgins Drive & Walsh Way through the respective Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council contracts at the amounts not to exceed listed herewith.

This Resolution shall take effect immediately according to law.

Resolution #19-203: Resolution Ratifying Memorandum of Agreement with American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and Vernon Township

WHEREAS, the collective negotiations agreement between the Township of Vernon and AFSCME New Jersey Council 63 (hereinafter referred to as “Union”) expired on December 31, 2018; and

WHEREAS, the Township and the Union have been negotiating the terms to a successor collective negotiations agreement; and

WHEREAS, the Township and the Union have negotiated and agreed upon the terms to a successor collective negotiations agreement set forth in the Memorandum of Agreement executed on October 4, 2019 attached hereto as exhibit A; and

WHEREAS, the terms to the Memorandum of Agreement was ratified by the members of the Union on October 7, 2019; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon is desirous of ratifying the agreed upon terms to the successor collective negotiations agreement set forth in the Memorandum of Agreement executed on October 4, 2019; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex and State of New Jersey that the Memorandum of Agreement executed on October 4, 2019 with AFSCME New Jersey Council 63 for the period from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2021 is hereby ratified.

Resolution #19-204: Consent to Application for Site Plan Approval by Vernon Township Police Athletic League (PAL) for Improvements Proposed on Vernon Township Owned Block 401 Lot 4

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Police Athletic League (PAL) is proposing the construction of a new athletic facility at their current facility located on Block 395 Lot 4 in the Township of Vernon (“Property”); and

WHEREAS, the proposed improvements on the Property will require the construction of additional parking; and

WHEREAS, a preliminary design prepared by Robert L. Campbell Associates dated September 2019 and last revised October 2, 2019 illustrates constraints on the Property that limit the areas for potential parking; and

WHEREAS, the preliminary design proposes the construction of parking along an access driveway that travels across Block 401 Lot 4 in the Township of Vernon (“Township Property”), and

WHEREAS, an easement from Vernon Township is required for the construction of parking the Township Property; and

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township PAL agrees to grant an easement along the east side of the Property for the Township’s planned bike and walking trail, provided the Vernon Township PAL is permitted to connect their planned athletic facility to the bike and walking trail; and

WHEREAS, consent from the Vernon Township Council is needed to permit the Vernon Township PAL to make an application to the Vernon Township Land Use Board for the proposed parking to be located on the Township Property.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the Vernon Township Council consents to the Vernon Township PAL making an application to the Township Land Use Board to include the use of a portion of the Township Property for parking for the Vernon Township PAL’s planned new athletic facility as represented on the plans prepared by Robert L. Campbell Associates dated September 2019 and last revised October 2, 2019

This Resolution shall take effect immediately according to law.

Resolution #19-206: Authorizing the Mayor to Continue the Incentive to Employees Who Enroll in an Alternate Health or Prescription Plan

WHEREAS, Health and Prescription Costs for employees and retirees are rising year after year and account for approximately 14% of the municipal budget; and

WHEREAS, the Township is offering two alternative health insurance plans and one alternative prescription plan for its employees; and

WHEREAS, the Township and employee will see a savings for switching to the optional plan; and

WHEREAS, beginning in 2017 the Township offered an incentive of 1/3 of the Township’s net savings for each employee who elects to switch to an alternate health or prescription plan for the plan year and it is the wish of the Township to continue that program for the plan years January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020;

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

  1. The Mayor of the Township of Vernon is hereby authorized to continue the 2017 Memorandum of Understanding with the PBA Local No 285 and the UAW Local 2326 which created the mechanism of which to allow the incentive to be paid.
  2. The change to the Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual adding the addendum to offer this incentive to non-union employees is also continued.
  3. This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon passage in accordance with law.

Resolution #19-207: Resolution Authorizing the Option for Employees of the Township of Vernon to Waive Health Insurance Benefits

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

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

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

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

WHEREAS, the Township desires to implement such a cost efficiency measure for the year 2020; and

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

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

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

Council President Murphy gave a brief explanation and asked for a motion to adopt of Resolution #19-205.
Moved: Mark Van Tassel
Second: Patrick Curreri

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: John Auberger
Absent: None
Motion passed to adopt Resolution #19-205.

Resolution #19-205: Authorize the Award of an Extraordinary Unspecifiable Services Contract with Discovery Benefits Inc. for Prescription Reimbursement Services for Retirees and Their Dependents

WHEREAS, there is a need for Third Party Administrator for Prescription Reimbursement Services for Retirees and their Dependents for the Township of Vernon; and

WHEREAS, this the Township of Vernon received a proposal as a required disclosure proposal from Discovery Benefits Inc. 4321 20th Ave S., Fargo, ND 58103 in accord with N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.4 et seq., and

WHEREAS, the services qualify as an award of a contract without the receipt of formal bids as an Extraordinary Unspecifiable Service N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-5(a)(ii) and N.J.A.C. 5:34-2.3(b); and

WHEREAS, the certification of an Extraordinary Unspecifiable Service as demanded by to N.J.A.C. 5:34-2.1 et seq., has been complied with and attached to resolution; and

WHEREAS, Discovery Benefits has completed and submitted a Business Entity Disclosure Certification and a Political Contribution Disclosure form which certifies that Discovery Benefits Inc. has not made any reportable contributions to a political or candidate committee in the Township of Vernon in the previous one year, and that the contract will prohibit Discovery Benefits Inc. from making any reportable contributions through the term of the contract, and

WHEREAS, the purchasing agent has concurred with the legality of the purchase in accord with the New Jersey Local Publics Contract Law (N.J.S..40A:11-1 et seq.); and

WHEREAS, the Certified Municipal Finance Officer of the Township of Vernon has certified that the cost of this contract will not exceed $15,000.00 annually.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the Township of Vernon authorizes the Mayor or designee to enter into a contract with Discovery Benefits Inc. 4321 20th Ave S., Fargo, ND 58103 for Third Party Administrator for Prescription Reimbursement Services for Retirees and their Dependents for a three (3) year contract in accord with the attached fee proposal.

Introduction/1st Reading of Proposed Ordinances

Council President Murphy read the ordinance by title and asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #19-22 with a public hearing on October 28, 2019.

Ordinance #19-22: Ordinance Providing for the Improvement of Various Roads in and by the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, New Jersey, Appropriating $50,000 Therefor, Constituting Proceeds of Obligations of the Township Heretofore Issued

Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion passed to introduce Ordinance #19-22 with a public hearing on October 28, 2019.

Council President Murphy read the ordinance by title and asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #19-23 with a public hearing on October 28, 2019.

Ordinance #19-23: Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending Chapter 94 of the Code of the Township of Vernon Regarding the Police Division

Moved: Sandra Ooms
Second: John Auberger

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion passed to introduce Ordinance #19-23 with a public hearing on October 28, 2019.

Council President Murphy read the ordinance by title and asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #19-24 with a public hearing on October 28, 2019.

Ordinance #19-24: An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending and Supplementing Chapter 413 of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Parks and Recreation Areas” to Prohibit Use of Electronic Smoking Devices in Township Parks

Moved: John Auberger
Second: Sandra Ooms

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion passed to introduce Ordinance #19-24 with a public hearing on October 28, 2019.

Public Hearing/2nd Reading of Ordinances

Ordinance #19-07: Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending and Supplementing Chapter 99 of the Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Vehicles and Traffic”

Council President Murphy read the title of Ordinance #19-07 asked Mr. Voelker for an update on the proposed Ordinance. Mr. Voelker explained the Township Engineer sent a letter to Sussex County based on the field survey report. Mr. Stoner stated he will follow up with the Assistant County Engineer for status but noted the County Freeholders may also need to adopt a Resolution before returning a decision back to Vernon Township.

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to table Ordinance #19-07 to the October 28, 2019 Council Agenda.
Moved: Patrick Curreri
Second: Sandra Ooms

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion passed to table Ordinance #19-07 to the October 28, 2019 Council Agenda.

Council President Murphy read the title of Ordinance #19-21 asked for a motion to open the public hearing.

Ordinance #19-21: An Ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, Amending And Supplementing Chapter 5 of the Municipal Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Administration of Government” to Update the Rules of Order and Procedure Governing Council Meetings

Moved: John Auberger
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members were in favor.

Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close public hearing for Ordinance #19-21.
Moved: Patrick Curreri
Second: John Auberger
All members were in favor

Council President Murphy asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #19-21.
Moved: Mark VanTassel
Second: John Auberger

Council Member Ooms asked for clarification on wording in section F(1) stating that the public must be invited. Council President Murphy stated Vernon already does this by inviting public to come forward during public comments sessions during council meetings.

Mayor Shortway questioned the definitions of profanity, obscenity as stated in Ordinance and possibility of exposing the Township to legal matters. Attorney Zielinski explained that based on section F(2) the Township is not limiting anyone’s first amendment rights.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Sandra Ooms, Patrick Curreri, Mark Van Tassel, John Auberger, Jean Murphy
Nays: None
Abstain: None
Absent: None
Motion passed to adopt Ordinance #19-21.

Public Comments (Limited to 3 minutes on any topic)

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

Lieutenant Jason Haw, Vernon Police, thanked the Council for their support for the Vernon PAL to build a proposed structure for indoor turf fields. He explained the building will be a great community asset which will fill the need for teams to locally train and practice indoors during winter weather.

Seeing no further members of the public wishing to come forward, Council President Murphy asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: John Auberger
Second: Mark Van Tassel
All members voted in favor.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Shortway reported that the Maple Grange Field replacement project is 95% complete. He reported that the Warwick Turnpike Road Improvement project is complete, under budget and thanked the Engineer, DPW and Police for an outstanding job in their coordination as the roadway is a heavily traveled difficult thoroughfare for many.

Mayor Shortway reported that the Lake Pochung, Higgins Drive and Walsh Way road repair projects will all begin next week to be completed before endo of the year. Mayor Shortway noted that Vernon will have completed $1.5 million of construction within the last two months.

Council Comments

Council Member Auberger made no comments.

Council Member Van Tassel made no comments.

Council Member Curreri made no comments.

Council Member Ooms made no comments.

Council President Comments

Council President Murphy questioned if the Revised Personnel Manual has been completed. Mr. Voelker stated the manual is close to being finalized and should be provided to Council possibly tomorrow and Council should contact him for any clarifications.

Council President Murphy commented that the proposed Ordinance to allow feather flags should be sent to the Land Use Board for their review.

Council President Murphy requested an update on the Township Revaluation. Mayor Shortway stated the company has increased manpower so all inspections can be done by November. Mr. Voelker reported that additional information was added to the Township website & social media encouraging the residents to call for an appointment if they have not yet been inspected. Council President Murphy stated that she has been told that inspectors have not yet come to some properties.

Council President Murphy commented that revisions may be need to the Vacant Property Ordinance and the Soil Placement Ordinance. Attorney Zielinski commented that he is working with the Engineer, Zoning Officer and Land Use Administrator for amendments and clarifications to the Soil Fill Ordinance due to issues that developed from applications received. He stated the Ordinance may be ready to introduce on November 14, 2019.

Council President Murphy commented that due to minimum wage increase in effect on January 1, 2020, the Township will need to amend by Resolution.

Council President Murphy questioned when the preliminary budget meetings will be in November and asked that Council be provided dates when scheduled.

Council President Murphy explained why the Mayor’s Report was moved to the end of the Council Agenda noting that the Mayor’s report was at beginning of agenda but was moved by request because of public criticism in 2018 so business meeting could be run civilly.

Council President Murphy commented a letter to the Editor in a newspaper claiming a candidate was stealing other candidate signs. She explained that if signs were too placed in state roadway right of ways, the NJDOT will remove those signs to prevent injuries by maintenance personnel. She added the state has a dumpster located on RT 23 in Sussex where these signs may be retrieved by candidates. Council Member Auberger commented that 15 years ago, a Vernon DPW employee was struck by a projectile from fencing caught in a roadside mower causing a severe injury.

Council President Murphy noted that information about Council Members posting on social media is misleading as four of five members are not on social media.

Council President Murphy noted that Council has all its regular meetings this year as well as additional special meetings with only one being rescheduled, nothing was cancelled.

Council President Murphy requested clarification on recent DEP correspondence regarding Lake Conway Dam. Mr. Stoner came forward to explain the NJDOT response was due to annual inspection report submitted and explained why the Dam was rated in poor condition. He said the state wants to rate the Lake Conway Dam as a higher level Dam based on inundation studies. Mr. Stoner added the studies are reviewing the possibility if there is a large storm and since the results are still outstanding the rating can only be listed as poor. Mr. Stoner explained the Township must continue to mow the embankments and maintain the integrity of the dam.

Council President Murphy commented the Township approved Resolution#18-127 in 2018 reaffirming the Designation of McAfee Village as a Redevelopment Area and questioned the Mayor of the status. Mayor Shortway explained he must speak to the Township Planner for status update.

Adjournment

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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:58 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: November 14, 2019