Minutes: September 22, 2011*

Township Council Special Meeting

The Special Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:31 p.m. on Thursday, September 22, 2011 in the Vernon Township Municipal Building, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey, with Council President Brian Lynch presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on September 18, 2011, 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 Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Brian Lynch. Also present were Mayor Vic Marotta and Township Attorney Kevin Kelly. Council Member Daniel Kadish arrived at 6:43 p.m., and Council Member Eddie Dunn was absent.

Salute to the Flag

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

Council President Lynch advised that the public comment segment would be moved further down the agenda to right before adjournment.


Motion to approve Resolution #11-176—on Canistear Road:
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel

Mayor Marotta noted that there were no changes in the contract, but that the original resolution had contained two typos (the contract numbers were incorrect), and the DOT required correct information.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Resolution #11-176 was adopted.

Resolution: #11-176: Resolution to Amend Resolution #11-164: Authorizing the Use of the Morris County Co-Op for Proposed Improvements to Canistear Road Phase I

WHEREAS, the Township Council approved Resolution #11-164 authorizing the use of the Morris County Co-Op for Proposed Improvements to Canistear Road Phase 1; and

WHEREAS, inadvertently there were a few typographical errors, specifically the contract numbers to be used in the Morris County Co-Op for the vendors Denville Line Painting, Inc. and M.L. Ruberton; and

WHEREAS, a line item for Traffic control to be completed by Tilcon, New York, Inc. is no longer required since these activities will be completed by the Vernon Township Department of Public Works; and

WHEREAS, it was the intent of the Township Council to award the contract to the Morris County Co-Op vendors named in the approved Resolution #11-164.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, that Resolution #11-164 hereby be amended to correct the contract numbers for the Morris County Co-Op vendors and to delete the line item for Traffic Control as follows:

Tilcon, New York, Inc. Contract #6 Category A
Superpave HMA Surface Course$407,550.00
HMA Milling$38,500.00
Asphalt Price Adjustmentestimated $52,000.00
Denville Line Painting, Inc. Contract #36 Category A Option C
Traffic Stripes$22,599.00
M.L. Ruberton Contract #26
Beam Guide Rail$45,000.00
Tangent Guide Rail Terminals$16,490.00

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

Motion to approve Resolution #11-177—Emergency for Storm Damage:
Moved: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel

Mayor Marotta noted this Resolution was for emergency funding to address the severe storm damage. He advised that the State allows these emergencies for safety issues without wasting time with the normal bidding process, allowing municipalities to sign contracts and make repairs as quickly as possible. He added that one item is about $70,000 lower than the engineering estimate (Earthtek), and that it might be possible that one other issue might be lower than estimated. The Mayor advised that most repairs would be addressed by the DPW.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Resolution #11-177 was adopted.

Resolution: #11-177: Resolution Re: Emergency Situation Pertaining to Public Health and Safety as a Result of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee and Authorizing the Award of Contracts for the Required Materials and Services without Public Bidding in Accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:11-6 and N.J.S.A. 40:4-46

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has and maintains bridges; roadways and drainage systems throughout the municipality; and its residents are serviced by hundreds of wells and septic systems throughout the Township of Vernon; and

WHEREAS, the rain, flooding and wind that arrived on August 27, 2011 from Hurricane Irene currently affects numerous residents; and public and private infrastructures throughout the Township of Vernon; and

WHEREAS, the additional rain from the remains of Tropical Storm Lee on September 7-8, 2011 has caused additional widespread flooding; road closures and evacuations in areas not previously affected by Hurricane Irene; and

WHEREAS, materials, labor, contractors and specialized services and equipment has and will be needed as the Township continues to respond to the situations as they are located or discovered after the water recedes; and

WHEREAS, currently there are bridges, drainage systems, and neighborhoods destroyed and/or damaged, roads washed out, and wells requiring testing to ensure potable water is being pumped; and

WHEREAS, the Township Mayor, Administrator, Engineer and Road Department have concerns that additional issues will emerge as municipal staff continues to work through the immediate issues and uncover underlying and hidden damages and/or resultant health issues in the weeks ahead; and

WHEREAS, to invocate the bidding process, publication of notice to prospective bidders, receipt of bids, and the awarding of contracts for these situations by itself would cause delay in the needed procurement of a solution, thereby placing in jeopardy the health and welfare of the Township’s population, the continued disruption of vehicular traffic and the risk of additional costs as failed infrastructures continue to degrade beyond what is currently observed.

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

  1. The determination that the weather conditions as a result of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee has resulted in many public and private infrastructures being damaged; to delay any of the needed repairs or public health activities at this time to permit normal public procurement activities would allow time for continued damage to occur. This resultant delay in the procurement of the materials and service should the public bidding mechanism be utilized will result in additional time and cost before the repairs can be made and is hereby determined to be an emergency situation within the meaning and intent of the local public contracts law. N.J.S.A. 40A:11-6 and N.J.S.A. 40:4-46, in that it places in jeopardy the general public of the Township.
  2. The Township Purchasing Agent is hereby authorized and directed to award contracts on an emergent basis to source and procure all necessary materials and services, including but not limited to professional and non-professional, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:11-6 and the Mayor and Township Clerk are authorized to execute any said contracts on behalf of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon.
  3. The Township CFO is hereby directed to confirm availability of funds with the Township Purchasing Agent prior to any expenditure of funds.
  4. Any vendor that will exceed the $17,500.00 pay-to-play threshold has or will complete the appropriate pay-to-play forms and is therefore eligible for an award in excess of the pay-to-play threshold.
  5. The Township Purchasing Agent will receive and submit to the State of New Jersey the required Emergency Procurement Report as well as any additional documents required for these purposes.
  6. The Township Council hereby authorizes the Mayor, Clerk, and Elected and Appointed Municipal Personnel to proceed with all accounting, paperwork, and execution of documents necessary to apply and/or accept any Federal, State, Local and other assistance offered to offset the costs associated with these emergent repairs and conditions.
  7. Certified copies of this Resolution shall be forwarded to the Township Purchasing Agent; the Township CFO, the Township Engineer; and the Township Administrator.


Ordinance #11-21: An ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey, amending the code of the Township of Vernon: supplementing Chapter 1 “General Provisions”; replacing Chapter 5 “Administration of Township Government”; changing the municipal election from May to November each year; supplementing Chapter 500 regarding roads; replacing Chapter 413 regarding parks and recreation; supplementing Chapter 89 regarding retirement benefits; and deleting Chapter 244

Council President Lynch noted that this was the fourth meeting to work on the Administrative Code—he asked Mr. Kelly to begin the review with Council.

Council Member Kadish arrived at this time. 6:43 p.m.

Mr. Kelly began with some potential changes for Council to consider:

5-6, C. (1)—the section on “Meetings of Council”—rescheduling of meetings. It was agreed to leave the first sentence as is (that deals with the organization meeting in January) and delete the rest of the paragraph.

5-6, D. (1)—the section on “Special Meetings”—the last sentence will be deleted entirely. Mr. Kelly noted that the ACLU had an issue with the wording that appeared to be contrary to the Open Public Meetings Act.

5-6, D. (4)—the entire paragraph will be deleted due to similar concerns.

5-6, E.—“Attendance by personnel.”—Mayor Marotta questioned his attendance, as he understood that his attendance was not mandatory. The decision was made to delete the word “Mayor” from the listing.

Mayor Marotta noted that an issue had been raised by the Historic Preservation Commission as to who they communicate their information to—the Council, the Land Use Board, etc. He advised that the Chairman, Charles Bates, had raised the question.

5-91—Historic Preservation Commission, “Duties” section was looked at to see what was stated. B & C seemed to address the issue (which had been reviewed at the August 30 work session).

Council Member Kadish asked to look at 5-40, A.—signature of ordinances and resolutions. He felt that the Council President should sign them. After a brief discussion, it was decided to leave as is for now.

5-35 (Tax Assessment), and 5-36 (Tax Collection) were discussed relative to which department they reported to. It was determined that they belonged under the Dept. of Finance (and not under Dept. of Administration). They will be renumbered as 5-50 and 5-49 respectively, making Personnel 5-35 (from 5-37).

Article VIII—Office of the Clerk—Mr. Kelly noted that nowhere in the code did it allow for where the office of the Registrar of Vital Statistics should be. As the Clerk presently serves in this capacity he suggested Registrar be listed as a duty of the Clerk (5-44, G). All agreed.

5-87 Open Space—Mr. Kelly explained how this section was being addressed, and that it is not statutorily required. The way it is currently listed would leave it open for future review.

Article XVI—Historic Preservation Commission—Mayor Marotta suggested that the Chairman, Charles Bates, be allowed to address Council at this time with his concerns about the way this is addressed in the new Code. Mr. Bates advised that he had read through the Code and felt that it was drastically different from the old one for the HPC. He did not see where it explained who the Commission is and what they do, as well as other information. There was a brief discussion on the content of the new vs. the old code. Mr. Kelly advised that he would cross-reference the two codes to be sure nothing was omitted.

Council Member Kadish asked about the Municipal Alliance Committee and/or the Board of Recreation—if they have secretaries and if minutes were required, as well as if they have a budget. Mayor Marotta advised that no secretaries were budgeted for this year for either group.

Robert Oliver advised that the Board of Recreation had a secretary (volunteer) and produced minutes for the last two years.

Council suggested that the Board of Recreation add a clause as 5-96 B to elect a Chairman and select a secretary with no compensation.

Mr. Kadish asked about 89-6 Defined Contribution Retirement Plan—per Mayor Marotta, the only member who qualifies for the Public Employees Retirement System is Mr. Lynch as he was already elected prior to the cutoff date, all others do not qualify and could be in the DCRP.

Mayor Marotta asked Mr. Kelly if all the changes agreed to would interfere with a 2nd reading on September 26. Mr. Kelly advised that there were almost no substantive changes, and therefore they would not interfere with the 2nd reading/public hearing and possible adoption.

Open to Public Comments

Robert Oliver—had questions about the Board of Recreation. He noted that he had spoken to Mr. Marotta earlier in the day, and was concerned with checks and balances being in place. For example, he was concerned with the responsibility for hiring and firing, as well as the wishes of the Board vs. what the Director actually does.

There was a brief discussion on these points.

Charles Bates—Historic Preservation Commission Chairperson—asked that the code affecting them be discussed with them first. Mayor Marotta explained that the time line required a new code to be adopted within 90 days from taking office, and therefore Council had 4 meetings that were open to the public, and no one was excluded from discussions.

Tom McClachrie—had a question on Council voting as noted in the code—5-11 D(2)(c) where it addresses abstentions. He asked if these changes would impact the budget, including the lack of an Open Space Commission.

Gary Martinsen—agreed that each group should have been included on the discussions of the new code. He expressed concern that the Open Space Commission was removed.

Closed to Public Comments

The Council President closed the public comments segment at this time.

Council Member Kadish asked about delineation of repairs, costs, start dates, end dates, final costs, etc. on a chart for the emergency projects.

Mayor Marotta noted that Finance was working on those numbers as required by the State.

The Council President advised that Vernon Crossing Road would be closed at Rt. 94/Vernon Crossing/Church and at Rt. 515/the Cider Mill the next morning.

The Mayor explained the nature of these immediate issues: fears of the roadways being undermined. He noted that it would be about 10 days to complete Breakneck Road; the Maple Grange would be open by Tuesday or Wednesday; that the Butternut repairs would be done mostly by the DPW, including cleaning the creek, but that the State would be doing the paving.

Mayor Marotta reviewed the problems that arose due to DEP regulations, which prevented maintenance of the waterways that could have prevented at least the scale of damage from the Hurricane and subsequent Storm Lee.

Mr. Kadish suggested a Resolution to the State for the September 26 agenda, but agreed to wait for the October 13 meeting.


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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:42 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Nelson, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: October 13, 2011