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

Minutes: September 10, 2012

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:30 p.m. on September 10, 2012, in the Vernon Township Municipal Building, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 9, 2012, 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 Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, and Dick Wetzel. Also present were Mayor Vic Marotta, Business Administrator Jerry Giaimis, and Township Attorney Kevin Kelly. Council President Brian Lynch was absent.

Acting Council President

The Clerk asked for a motion to appoint the Acting Council President in Mr. Lynch’s absence. Motion was made to appoint Council Member Patrick Rizzuto.
Motion: Dick Wetzel
Second: Eddie Dunn
All were in favor.

Salute to the Flag

The Wallkill Valley Legion Memorial Post #8441 presented the flags in tribute to the 11th anniversary of 9-11. Acting Council President Rizzuto led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.

Moment of Silence

Mr. Rizzuto asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of the victims of 9-11. As the most recent service member on Council, he asked Mr. Dunn for his comments on the tragedy.

Council Member Dunn recounted how he remembered everything about that day, noting that he was there on day 3 at Ground Zero to assist the rescue workers. At that time, he was a member of our armed forces and knew that he would be deployed to Iraq (and was in 2004). He asked all to reflect on how all our lives were affected by that horrific day.

Public Comments

Acting Council President Rizzuto opened the meeting to public comments at this time.

Lynn VanGorder—spoke as a member of the petitioners group against the salary ordinance #12-01. She asked if the ordinance number needed to be included to make the public questions valid. Mr. Kelly advised that state statute dictates the language of the public question. Ms. VanGorder also asked about an interpretive statement. Mr. Kelly noted that the statute does not address an interpretive statement.

Diane Wexler—noted that at the work session on Camp Sussex a second work session was proposed. She asked if the second work session had been held or scheduled. (It had not.)

Gary Martinsen—asked Mr. Kelly to verify the statute he was referring to (N.J.S.A. 40A:9-167). He talked, again, about putting the meeting videos on the website; noting he had made an open offer to anyone who could provide them, and that he would then post them himself.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti—spoke to Mayor Marotta and Mr. Giaimis about the Environmental Commission issue. She read from a letter sent from the DEP stating that the pillows contained iron and related bacteria that can give off a sheen and be mistaken for a petroleum product. She feels that the Township Council should be addressing this and resolving this.

Acting Council President Rizzuto noted that the pillows were not on Vernon property, and therefore the Council has no jurisdiction. He advised that the Newark Watershed owned that property and that they should be contacted.

Council Member Wetzel explained who owned the area for the pipeline, which was bought from 13 families (including his) who got $300.00 for their individual properties.

Beverly Budz—noted that petroleum hydrocarbons were noted by the DEP from tests taken in December of 2011. She noted that tests of the pillow samples would cost about $800.00, and that the water tests taken were $200.00. She advised that tar balls were also evident in that area.

Closed to Public Comments

The Acting Council President asked for a motion to close the public portion of the meeting.
Moved: Eddie Dunn
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members present were in favor.

Mayor’s Report

  • Mayor Marotta advised that all had been given copies of the financial reports through August, and that they were right on target.
  • He advised that the municipal building took a direct lightning hit on September 4, causing extensive damage:
    • The electrical locking system was completely destroyed—being researched for solutions
    • 10 computers and several servers were fried—new ones were being ordered where necessary—Mr. Giaimis noted our IT person had worked around the clock to make repairs where possible.
    • The computer for the HVAC system was damaged
    • Some phones and window air conditioners were damaged
    • About $50,000 in damage had been determined so far
    • The insurance company had been contacted (we have some coverage) and Mr. Giaimis had met with them today. Mr. Dunn asked about back-up systems—Mr. Giaimis noted it was being looked at.
  • The Mayor advised that all department heads’ budgets had been discussed for 2013 and preliminary numbers have been developed.
  • IT upgrades will be budgeted across the boards (planned before the recent problems).
  • The Police Dept. has met with some success on the Highland Lakes burglary situation. He planned future commendations. The success was due to a coordinated effort from the Highland Lakes security, Highland Lakes citizens, and police dedication, including an arrest of a suspect responsible for at least 6 break-ins.
  • The Mayor noted that there were 2 proclamations on tonight’s agenda for Council’s consideration, including the Pochuck Valley Farms 100-year anniversary. He advised that it was at the Farms where his political career got started.
  • He advised that he was in receipt of a letter relative to the refund of escrow funds from the trustee of the former Mayor.
  • He noted that he had signed the sewer funding agreement with Mt. Creek, and that it was available to anyone wishing a copy (noting that Council had received copies as well). He highlighted certain aspects of the agreement for the Council and the public.

Proclamations

Acting Council President Rizzuto noted that while women have made great strides in helping eradicate breast cancer, he has not heard a similar outcry for prostate cancer and strongly urged all men to have themselves checked for this disease. He read the following proclamation:

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

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

WHEREAS, while the causes of Prostate Cancer are still unknown, men with certain risk factors may be more likely to develop the disease and most men who suffer from Prostate Cancer are over the age of 65 and those whose fathers, brothers, or sons have had the disease are also at greater risk, and African American men experience both the highest incidence and the highest mortality rates; and

WHEREAS, increased public awareness of this disease, its risk factors, and its symptoms may save lives as men across New Jersey learn to recognize the warning signs of Prostate Cancer as listed at http://www.Cancer.gov and

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

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the MONTH OF SEPTEMBER shall be proclaimed PROSTATE CANCER AWARENESS MONTH in the Township of Vernon and that we encourage citizens to stand together against this disease.

Mr. Rizzuto asked for a motion to endorse this proclamation.
Moved: Eddie Dunn
Second: Daniel Kadish
All were in favor.

Mr. Rizzuto read the second proclamation:

WHEREAS, Pochuck Valley Farms was started in 1912 by Lewis Martin as a dairy and fruit farm, and was sold to his sons Charlie and Allen in 1942, and was then purchased in 1972 by Harry R. Vance after working there since 1946 at the age of 14; and

WHEREAS, the Old North Vernon Methodist Church was built in 1863 on land that was donated by Gabriel Houston in 1862, the original farmhouse would later become the Apple Valley Inn, the Houston’s home now serves as a B&B, his former distillery is now the Candy Apple Shoppe; and the church building was sold to Mr. Martin in 1933 whose family converted it into a fruit packing house and farm stand; and

WHEREAS, Pochuck Valley Farms currently offers (from the last week in August through October 31) pick-your-own apples, pears, plums, pumpkins, gourds, and other vegetables ready at the time, also accommodating schools and other groups in the fall, and offers apple cider starting on September 15 each year along with their popular apple cider cinnamon sugar donuts, and hayrides; and

WHEREAS, Mr. Vance’s wife Barbara, sons Russell and Robert, daughters Michelle and Diana, and son-in-law Leon also work at the farm and store, opening at 5:00am every morning, closing at 5:00 p.m. on weekends and 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, only closing on Christmas day, with Robert also running a farm stand on Rt. 206 in Augusta; and

WHEREAS, Pochuck Valley Farms has maintained an old-fashioned country store atmosphere that also offers a bakery where they make pies, breads, cookies, and more; and

WHEREAS, the Vance family sold the property’s development rights in December 2010 (for 177 acres total) to the New Jersey Farmland Preservation Program, ensuring that it would stay a farm forever; and

WHEREAS, Pochuck Valley Farms has been the center of community life in Glenwood for 100 years and will have a centennial celebration on September 15, 2012, at 11:00am.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the following be proclaimed:

September 15, 2012 as POCHUCK VALLEY FARMS DAY in Vernon Township

Mr. Rizzuto asked for a motion to endorse this proclamation.
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All were in favor.

Approval of Minutes

Executive Session Minutes of July 23, 2012

Moved: Eddie Dunn
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Dick Wetzel
Nays: Daniel Kadish
Abstain: Patrick Rizzuto
Absent: Brian Lynch
The Executive Session minutes of 7/23/12 were approved.

Regular Meeting Minutes of August 27, 2012

Council Members Kadish and Wetzel advised that they had not received these minutes.

A motion was made to table these minutes to the meeting of September 24, 2012.
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel Nays: None
Absent: Brian Lynch
The minutes of 8/27/12 were tabled to 9/24/12.

Consent Agenda—Resolution #12-175—Approval of the Bills List

Acting Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion adopting Resolution #12-175
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

Council Member Kadish asked about the large payment to Earth Tec from the Capital fund, noting the various ordinances listed. Mayor Marotta explained that these were old ordinances that had been approved for re-purposing.

Council Member Kadish also asked about the Heaven Hill Farms payments for summer flowers. The Mayor noted that he would look into it and advise the Council Member accordingly.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel
Nays: None
Absent: Brian Lynch
Resolutions #12-175 was adopted.

Resolution #12-175: Authorizing the Approval of Bills List

BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE FOLLOWING BILLS LISTED ARE HEREBY APPROVED:

Disbursement
Journal
FundAmountMajor Vendor
#1CURRENT$1,101,676.12BD OF ED
#2CURRENT$33,078.45 
#3CURRENT$829,410.16BD OF ED
#4CAPITAL$274,063.37EARTH TEC
#5GRANT$5,164.25 
#6P & Z$5,994.00 
#7P & Z$48.00 
#8RECREATION$361.82 
#9RECREATION$800.00 
#10OUTSIDE SERVICES$48.00 
#11OTHER TRUST$2,500.00 
#123RD PAY-AUGUST$299,999.79 
  $2,553,143.96 

Ordinances

2nd Reading on Ordinance #12-15 (Canistear Road) by Title Only

The Council President asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #12-15 on 2nd reading.
Motion: Eddie Dunn
Second: Daniel Kadish

Open to Public Comments on Ord. #12-15 Only

Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members present were in favor.

Eva Ferlato—asked what a capital ordinance is. The Mayor noted that there were 2 phases of the Canistear Road project, with the 1st phase completed, and that this was for the 2nd phase. The project was to repave the entire length of the roadway.

Closed to Public Comments

Moved: Eddie Dunn
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members present were in favor.

A roll call vote was taken on Ord. #12-15:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel
Nays: None
Absent: Brian Lynch
Ordinance #12-13 was adopted.

Ordinance #12-15: Ordinance of the Township of Vernon in the County of Sussex, New Jersey authorizing the making of various improvements and repairs in, by and for the township pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:56-1 and appropriating therefore the sum of $320,000 and providing that such sum so appropriated shall be raised from the capital improvement fund of the township


2nd Reading on Ordinance #12-16 (Sale of 23 Acorn Drive) by Title Only

The Council President asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #12-16 on 2nd reading.

Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel

Open to Public Comments on Ord. #12-16 Only

Moved: Dick Wetzel
Second: Eddie Dunn
All members present were in favor.

No one wished to speak.

Closed to Public Comments

Moved: Dick Wetzel
Second: Eddie Dunn
All members present were in favor.

A roll call vote was taken on Ord. #12-16:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel
Nays: None
Absent: Brian Lynch
Ordinance #12-16 was adopted.

Ordinance #12-16: An ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, authorizing the sale of certain property owned by the township and not required for public purposes and more commonly known as 23 Acorn Drive, Block 102.10, Lot 9


Council Comments

Council Member Dunn congratulated the Mayor, the Police Dept. and the Highland Lakes community for their efforts in the burglary arrests, noting that it was very well coordinated.

Mr. Dunn asked for a clarification on the environmental issue—if the substances were toxic in the quantities found. He wanted to know the facts, and acknowledged that it is a passionate issue.

Council Member Kadish noted that the facts have been difficult to get from the proper agencies. He felt the Environmental Commission needs to develop a plan to move forward on how to resolve the issue, perhaps with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti spoke, noting she may have been mistaken on the black goop vs. the brown algae, as they are 2 different things. She added toluene had been identified.

Council Member Wetzel agreed with Mr. Dunn and Mr. Kadish on the environmental issue. He noted that the pipeline walkers and the Environmental Commission should make a joint effort in handling this issue. He congratulated the Police Dept. for their efforts. He also congratulated the Vance family on their 100th anniversary at the Pochuck Valley Farms—he has known the family for many years.

Council Member Rizzuto noted that the pipeline is a federal project, and felt that questions and problems should be directed to the Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, he felt that the property owners of the potentially contaminated areas should be the ones to press for answers, since the Township is not the owner—proper channels need to be followed to get results.

Mrs. Vichiconti started speaking again and was advised that she did not have the floor.

Adjournment

There being no further items of business to be conducted by the Council at the Regular Meeting, a motion for Adjournment was made by Council Member Dunn. Motion seconded by Council Member Wetzel, with all members present voting in favor.

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Nelson, RMC
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: September 24, 2012