Minutes: September 27, 2021

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The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on September 27, 2021 via Zoom Webinar in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Harry Shortway presiding.

STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE

Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided to the public and the press on January 6, 2021 and on September 23, 2021 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 John Auberger, Toni Cilli, Andrew Pitsker, Kelly Weller and Council President Harry Shortway. Also present were Mayor Howard Burrell, Business Administrator Charles Voelker, and Township Attorney Josh Zielinski.

SALUTE TO THE FLAG

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

PUBLIC COMMENTS (For Current Agenda Items Only, Limited to 3 minutes per person)

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to open the meeting to public comments.
MOVED: John Auberger
SECOND: Andrew Pitsker
All members present voted in favor.

Seeing no members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close the meeting for public comments.
MOTION: Kelly Weller
SECOND: John Auberger
All members were in favor.

DISCUSSION ITEM

Hybrid Meetings

Township Administrator Voelker started the discussion explaining that we tried to set up the courtroom to be able to site the maximum amount of people. With the assistance of Council Member Pitsker we set it up so the members of the Council and the Mayor could be seen on camera and we can do the six-foot distancing. For spacing purposes, in the remainder of the courtroom, we can fit twenty-five seats. In the event that we have a family of two enter the meeting, they can move their chairs together.

Mr. Voelker explained that we have a mask mandate when you enter the Municipal Building and we want to continue that therefore, mask will be required for anyone that comes into the meeting. The question is do we want to have participants once seated wear their mask the entire time or would we allow the masks to be taken off only when a person is speaking.

Mr. Voelker explained that the only people who will be seen on the camera are the Mayor and the members of the Governing Body. There will not be cameras that will show who is in the courtroom. The monitors face the dais and the table right below the dais.

Mr. Voelker expressed that since there will be a limit of twenty-five in the room, we will have to have someone to act as Sergeant of Arms to monitor the door. He has discussed this with the Chief of Police and he will have an officer there for this purpose. If someone leaves the meeting, we will let another person in but the door will be locked when we hit the twenty-five person maximum.

Mayor Burrell said we have put a lot of thought into this and we are doing it in a way that is appropriate rules of the Governor. He explained that in the Municipal Building anytime someone leaves their office that have to wear a mask. We do not have to wear a mask in our offices.

Council Member Weller said masks are required when you enter the municipal building. Masks should remain on unless someone is speaking, then they can drop the mask to speak.

Council Member Cilli agrees with Council Member Weller and she hopes that people respect that a mask will be required unless you are going to speak.

Council Member Shortway asked if we have more than twenty-five people in the public can we turn people away from the meeting.

Vice President Auberger said it is no different than if we were back to normal, you have a maximum number of people allowed due to fire regulations.

Township Attorney Zielinski explained that it is the same as the maximum capacity of a room.

Council Member Cilli said anyone that does not want to wear a mask can stay home and watch the meeting through Zoom that is why she feels that the hybrid meeting is the best option.

Council Member Pitsker said we are trying to do the hybrid meeting while maintaining the health and welfare of the citizens and ourselves. We do not know what is going to happen with this new variant, so best thing we can do is to protect everybody. The rights of an individual may be impeded but this is for the benefit of all. If someone does not want to wear a mask then that is not in compliance and we have to look at the safety of all.

Council President Shortway said if a Councilperson is uncomfortable coming to the meeting, they can still participate on Zoom remotely.

Council President Shortway asked for a voice resolution to start hybrid meetings at the first meeting in October with these requirements:

Maximum of Twenty-Five public participants
Six-Foot distance in between chairs (family members can move their chairs together)
Masks are required unless speaking for public comment

Vice President Auberger made a motion for a voice resolution to start hybrid meetings at the first meeting in October with these requirements:

Maximum of Twenty-Five public participants
Six-Foot distance in between chairs (family members can move their chairs together)
Masks are required unless speaking for public comment

MOVED: John Auberger
SECOND: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
AYES: Auberger, Cilli, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
NAYS:
ABSTAIN:
ABSENT:
Motion passed to approve the voice resolution with requirements.

Short Term Rentals

Township Administrator Voelker explained that ordinance #20-09 under the definitions for Short-Term Rental or STR the ordinance reads:

SHORT-TERM RENTAL or STR - means the accessory use of a dwelling unit for occupancy by someone other than the unit's owner or permanent resident for a period of thirty (30) or less consecutive days, up to a cumulative total period of not to exceed one hundred eighty (180) days in a calendar year, which dwelling unit is advertised or held out to the public as a place regularly rented to transient occupants.

Mr. Voelker said that when this ordinance was first passed there was a question as to whether or not some wording in that particular definition had been missed. After discussing the wording with the Council President, it was discovered that the word "consecutive" was left out of "not to exceed one hundred and eighty (180) days in a calendar year." Without the word "consecutive," we may be running into a situation where the cap for the 180 days would be reached. Going into 2022 all of the registered STRs in the Township would be aware that we are changing this and we can go beyond the 180-day cap.

Council President Shortway said that with any ordinance or any law it is a good idea that we have it out there then we get to reevaluate it or reassess it to see if there are problems and is it working. Council President Shortway asked CFO Donelle Bright if financially this ordinance has been successful as far as revenue stabilizing taxes.

CFO Bright answered yes it has been.

Council President Shortway said he has not received any complaints regarding AirB&B's or short-term rentals being bad neighbors.

Administrator Voelker said he has not had any complaints from the police. He did receive a few calls from the condominiums at Great Gorge from the manager of Comet Management. He took action against the owners of the condo which were less strict or not as harsh if we were the ones to take action. That seemed to set the tone and we had no other problems in that area. Mr. Voelker explained that we have a hot-line set up through the management company and they received about five or six calls that he believes were questions people had.

Mayor Burrell feels that it seems that the feedback we are getting from this particular ordinance solved quite a few problems. When this ordinance was first discussed, people had all kinds of complaints but those have gone away and he cannot imagine people not reporting problems. Short-term rentals are up.

Council Member Pitsker feels that the only clarification on the short-term rentals has to be that a single tenant cannot lease that short-term rental for more that 180 consecutive days. This is to avoid anyone making it into a long-term situation. He thinks the wording needs to be adjusted slightly. He believes that this was the original intent of this ordinance, not to have someone overstaying the term which could have already happened due to Covid.

Council President Shortway said he has not received any negative feedback on the ordinance. The way it is structured, part of the hotel occupancy tax is supporting open space, replacing turf fields and recreation.

Vice President Auberger said it sounds like this needs to be done.

Council Member Pitsker asked if we really want to concern ourselves with short-term rentals going over 180 days or should we make it 360 days.

Council Member Cilli said we do not want those kinds of homes in our town.

Council Member Pitsker said he wanted to see both sides incase anyone says if we are going to have that kind of premium for a short-term rental, we are getting the income from it but at the same time it is not good business to do that way.

Council Member Cilli asked how do we know that anyone is staying more than 180 days and who is policing this?

Mr. Voelker said our management company can check on how many individuals are taking advantage of it. Usually, they only have the numbers of individuals who are renting over the course of a period of time. The idea is that they know who is renting and for how long.

Council Member Cilli asked what stops someone from renting for 180 days, they can stop renting for one day and then go back in.

Mr. Voelker said State law regarding this is if someone was not using a platform such as AirB&B, and was renting through a licensed real estate agent, they would not have to pay the tax and would be able to rent it longer.

Council Member Cilli said her and Council Member Weller have received complaints about a really nice neighborhood big parties are happening. She feels that people do not know about the hotline.

Mr. Voelker said the hotline information is right on our website and it is also on the registration placard that is in the rental's window.

Council President Shortway said we do want to enforce the rules we have. We do not want full time residents at a disadvantage.

Township Attorney Zielinski said we have to add the word consecutive to 180-days in the ordinance.

PRESENTATION

Vernon Township Municipal Utility Authority - Update and Expansion

Mike Furrey, Chairman of the MUA presented a Power Point presentation:

1995 Master Plan

  • The Town Center Concept
  • Balance Growth
    • Environmental Protection
    • Multi-core, center-based development

Town Center Projects

  • Vernon and MCRI entered into an agreement July 26, 2004 to finance improvements.
    • Infrastructure
    • SCUMA treatment plant improvements
    • Additional 265,000 gpd allocation for new development

VTMUA - History

  • Wastewater System is series of pump & lift stations to SCUMA
  • VTMUA established in 2010
  • 2011 Sewer System purchased from Suez - $4M ord. 11-22
  • 2012 financial agreement between MCRI and TWP

VTMUA Accomplishments Last 2 Years

  1. No rate increase for 2 years
  2. Lowered Expenses by nearly $600,000
  3. Established management structure that led to increased efficiencies
  4. Lowered connection fees 50%
  5. Completed asset management plan
  6. Increasing sewer service area
  7. PS2 project will begin in spring 2022
  8. Started public water system project

Key Issues

  • Resolution 13-202 (2013) raised min. flow from 265,000 GPD to 461,000
  • Avg. flow was approx. 210,000 GPD. We are paying to treat air not water!!
  • Unused allocation cost township approx. $300,000 year
  • $2.5M over the last 8 yrs.
  • Pump station was to be upgraded by MCRI in 2013
  • MCRI defaulted
  • MCRI Chapter 11
  • Mountain Creek agreed to finance pump station in 2018 financial agreement
  • Planning has begun
  • Mountain Creek has paid all financial obligations to date.
  • Debt payment increases from 1M to 1.5M in 2023
  • Need water to create wastewater
  • Attract commercial interests
  • Generate wastewater to meet minimum allocations set in 2013
  • We need to beat the clock!!!

Why Infrastructure Investments?

  • The town center plan incorporated development that requires continued community infrastructures such as water and wastewater treatment

Water Main Installation Project Limits

  • Water main on Route 515 is part of larger distribution system expansion project
  • Shaded areas represent existing / future water service areas
  • Sussex County is paving Route 515 within Vernon, Spring of 2022
  • Additional distribution mains will be needed north on Route 94 towards Vernon Inn
  • "Dry water mains" exist on Main Street and on Route 94
  • Other water system improvements are required to expand distribution area

Future Required Water System Improvements to Suez system
*Which may be required prior to activation of dry water mains

  1. Upgrade or install new wells
  2. Construct 0.2 MG water tank near town center

OR

  1. Upgrade or install new wells
  2. Create high pressure loop
  3. Install altitude valve at existing tank ("tank C")
  4. Install parallel well discharge piping

Route 515 Water Main Construction Schedule

  • Design phase - November 2021
  • Bid phase - award January 2022
  • Construction phase - completion May 2022
  • County paving - Spring of 2022

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

  • Municipalities permitted to finance water & sewer
  • Cost to complete TC water project $3,000,000
  • Vernon awarded $2.2M
  • Deadlines
    • 2023 SCUMA bonds increases to $1.5M per year thru 2033.
    • County to repave Route 515 in early 2022.
    • Government recipients may use the funds to cover costs incurred by Dec. 31, 2024

Acknowledgements

  1. VTMUA board members
  2. Mayor and Council
  3. VTMUA staff
  4. VTMUA professionals
  5. VTMUA ratepayers and Vernon taxpayers

We are all in this together!!!!

Council Cilli asked when we go from $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 will this debt be on all of the taxpayers.

Mr. Furrey said no, that extra debt is on the ratepayers. If we cannot meet that obligation because something happens, then it will default and go back to the township. It will be completely owned by the Township and all of the taxpayers will be paying the debt. Mr. Furrey said we are trying not to let that happen.

Council Member Cilli pulled the resolution #13-202 which was approved in October 2013 and at that time Council President Rizzuto noted that the gallonage issue will benefit the Township significantly. Council Member Lynch noted that the original contract was from long ago, and with this amendment it will be more efficient for the Township. Council Member Kadish said the gallonage allocation concerned him and it was too high. Council Member Cilli asked why they would raise it from 265 to 461. It does not make sense to her.

Mr. Furrey said it may have been to have the ability to meet future demand, to actually meet those future allocations.

Council Member Cilli said it was only averaging 210.

Mr. Furrey said it was not in the best interest of the Township. They should have kept it where the minimum was and when they were ready to expand and actually meet those limits, then they should have raised that minimum. Raising the minimum to 461,000 gallons a day, you are essentially paying for that much sewerage and in reality, that is not what is being sent to SCUMA.

Council Member Cilli asked if that cost us $300,000 a year.

Mr. Furrey said that is correct. If you look at the financials of how much was paid, under the service agreement it was approximately an extra $300,000 a year that was paid and in over eight years, this is approximately $2,500,000.

Council President Shortway explained that we have to have more people paying for it so we can keep the rates stabilized but also once we have public water coming and if we get new buildings, while trying to entice these new businesses, they do not have to install fire surplus systems.

Mr. Furrey said this is correct. There are different phases to the water system: Phase 1 is the water supply to CVS, Phase 2 was the water supply down Church Street that fed the Municipal Building and one of the main reasons was because there was not good fire suppression at the town hall. What that did is it gave the municipal building dramatic water supply and also fire protection. If you add the dry mains and then put a storage tank near town center, essentially you are building a storage tank to provide water supply and fire protection to the entire town center.

Council President Shortway said we own the sewer system, the commissioners through the MUA operate and maintain the system. These are township assets therefore if the MUA goes under, that debt get spread throughout the township whether you are on sewers or not.

Council President Shortway explained that Mountain Creek, Joe Hession and his team, have paid all that was owed which was millions of dollars. They paid all of their obligations.

Mayor Burrell said Mountain Creek has been excellent partners for us.

Council Member Pitsker said the sewer service expansion plan has been going on for many years and we have been held hostage so that we can spread out cost to more users. The DEP has not been a good economic partner for us and making sure we can have this expansion. This has suppressed us as well as the fees we pay which is twice as much as some towns for the gallonage that goes down the stream. We have to fix this and this is a great plan to start that and everybody is on board with it and the public has to understand that we have to do this if we are going to get out of debit.

Council President Shortway said this is why the American Rescue Plan money is so important, it is giving us funds to finish this project.

Mr. Furrey said years ago the estimate was about $3,000,000 but he feels it is going to be less than that. There still has to be an agreement made with SUEZ, they have the water supply and they need to get it to us. It is hard to put an exact figure of what it will cost.

Council Member Pitsker said it is important for the businesses. We have been talking about Acme and what their well needs. In the future they are going to need more water in that whole area. If we want to grow the town economically and bring in the ratables, you have got to have public water to those properties.

Mr. Furrey said there are other key properties that are not on the water system. The proposed car wash has undersized mains that need to be upgraded so if there is more water then there is more sewer then we start to move towards meeting our obligations and stabilize the MUA.

Council Member Pitsker said isn't there also potential to get money from the NJ Infrastructure Bank for the water.

CFO Bright answered that whatever amount the total cost of the project comes to, we put the $1.75 million into the capital ordinance and then the idea is that an additional $450,000 we would use as the down payment of our bond ordinance to take out the remainder for the rest of the project.

Council Member Pitsker asked how much of the NJ Infrastructure Bank would be forgivable in the future, is there moneys for the freshwater.

CFO Bright explained that NJ Infrastructure Bank says there is money available although they prioritize projects around the State. When we put in our application, we will have to make our case and then go from there.

Mr. Furry explained that we are already in the NJ Infrastructure Bank process for the pump station 2 project, they know who we are and whether we need additional funding for water or sewer projects there will be plenty of money available through the NJ Infrastructure Bank.

Mr. Furrey said it is key for the MUA to continue to work together with the Mayor and Council.

MINUTES

August 23, 2021 - Regular Meeting

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve the August 23, 2021 regular meeting minutes.
MOVED: John Auberger
SECOND: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
AYES: Auberger, Cilli, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
NAYS:
ABSTAIN:
ABSENT:
Motion passed to approve the August 23, 2021 regular meeting minutes.

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution #21-209: Authorizing Cancellation of General Capital Preliminary Expenses

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #21-209.
MOVED: Toni Cilli
SECOND: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
AYES: Auberger, Cilli, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
NAYS:
ABSTAIN:
ABSENT:
Motion carried to approve resolution #21-209.

Resolution #21-209: Authorizing Cancellation of General Capital Preliminary Expenses

WHEREAS, certain General Capital Preliminary Expense appropriation balances that were dedicated to projects are no longer needed; and

WHEREAS, it is necessary to formally cancel said balances so that the unexpended balances may be returned to the Capital Improvement Fund:

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Council of the Township of Vernon that the following unexpended and dedicated balances of the General Capital Preliminary Expense Appropriations be canceled

RESDATEPROJECTAMOUNT CANCELLED
19-9603-25-2019Engineering & Design of Warwick Turnpike1,519.63
19-9703-25-2019Engineering & Design of Maple Grange Fields7,926.50

Resolution #21-210: Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon Amending Resolution R20-120 Awarding Property Reassessment Services through the Competitive Contracting Process CC#3-2020

Council Member Cilli asked CFO Bright to explain why we are doing the property reassessment every year.

CFO Bright explained that our revaluation was done a couple of years ago and we paid about $1,000,000 for the revaluation. Revaluations are usually done every ten years which costs about $100,000 a year. Since we are taking that assessment about every ten years, it is not the real-life value of everyone's homes. The prior assessment was done about 2009, right after the recession, there were some homes that were over valuated and some homes that were significantly under valuated. This can result an underpayment of taxes or an overpayment of taxes. Mr. Bright said the idea when we do the annual reassessments if for everyone to be paying what they should be paying, not over or under what they should be paying in taxes based on the current market. We do not want people to appeal their taxes and having to pay for the appeal process which will also cost the town money to also go through the appeal process. This will bring everyone where they should be on the current market for their assessment. Ms. Bright explained that the good thing about doing annual assessments is that every year we do a revaluation of the entire town but we only visit 20% of the homes every year. In a five-year period, all of the homes will be inspected and over a ten-year period all of the homes will be inspected twice so everyone is paying the taxes they should be paying.

Council Member Cilli asked if you get reassessed every year does this mean your taxes will go up.

Ms. Bright explained no if your assessment goes up then the tax rate will go down and if your assessment goes down then the tax rate will go up.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #21-210.
MOVED: Toni Cilli
SECOND: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
AYES: Auberger, Cilli, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
NAYS:
ABSTAIN:
ABSENT:
Motion carried to approve resolution #21-210.

Resolution #21-210: Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon Amending Resolution R20-120 Awarding Property Reassessment Services through the Competitive Contracting Process CC#3-2020

WHEREAS the Township of Vernon awarded property assessment services through resolution R20-120, to Associated Appraisal Group, 6 Commerce Dr., Cranford, N.J. 07016 on May 28, 2020, for property reassessment services for the operation of its taxation assessment function in accord with the New Jersey Law; and

WHEREAS services at time of award were for $100,000.00 per year for the budget years 2020- 2024; and

WHEREAS, through the ongoing operation of the contract, the actual cost for the budget years of 2021-2024 will entail a cost of $98,200.00 per year; and

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

The Mayor of the Township of Vernon is hereby authorized to enter into amended contract with Associated Appraisal Group, 6 Commerce Dr., Cranford, NJ 07016, for the cost of $98,200.00 for the budget years 2021-2024.

Resolution #21-210: Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon Amending Resolution R20-120 Awarding Property Reassessment Services through the Competitive Contracting Process CC#3-2020

WHEREAS the Township of Vernon awarded property assessment services through resolution R20-120, to Associated Appraisal Group, 6 Commerce Dr., Cranford, N.J. 07016 on May 28, 2020, for property reassessment services for the operation of its taxation assessment function in accord with the New Jersey Law; and

WHEREAS services at time of award were for $100,000.00 per year for the budget years 2020- 2024; and

WHEREAS, through the ongoing operation of the contract, the actual cost for the budget years of 2021-2024 will entail a cost of $98,200.00 per year; and

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

The Mayor of the Township of Vernon is hereby authorized to enter into amended contract with Associated Appraisal Group, 6 Commerce Dr., Cranford, NJ 07016, for the cost of $98,200.00 for the budget years 2021-2024.

Resolution #21-211: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Public Works through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5839139-1 x Color Oxford White)

Resolution #21-212: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Public Works through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5838943- 4 x Color Oxford White)

Resolution #21-214: Resolution Awarding Bid for Proposed Road Improvements to Barrett Road and Glenwood Mountain Road

Resolution #21-215: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Police through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5923963-1 x Color Oxford White)

Resolution #21-216: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Police through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5854966-1 x Color Arizona Beige)

Resolution #21-217: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Police through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5854955-1 x Color Agate Black)

Resolution #21-218: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Police through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5924059-1 x Color Iconic Silver)

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #21-211, #21-212, #21-214, #21-215, #21-216, #21-217, #21-218
MOVED: John Auberger
SECOND: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
AYES: Auberger, Cilli, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
NAYS:
ABSTAIN:
ABSENT:
Motion carried to approve Resolutions #21-211, #21-212, #21-214, #21-215, #21-216, #21-217, #21-218.

Resolution #21-211: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Public Works through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5839139-1 x Color Oxford White)

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

WHEREAS, the governing body of Vernon Township approved in Resolution 19-164 authorizing leasing of certain vehicles through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services, Inc., and this is an extension of that resolution; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with the requirements of the Local Public Contract Law P.L. 2011, C.139 (the "Law" or "Chapter 139" and N.J.S.A.52:34-6.2 the regulations promulgated there under in Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10, the following purchase without competitive bids from vendor with a National Cooperative Contract is hereby approved for municipalities, and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has the need to procure certain vehicles through lease program for Township services in accord with the Local Publics Contract Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et. Seq., and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has previously acted in accord with New Jersey public procurement statutes and regulations as promulgated by formally joining a recognized and compliant national cooperative, being the Sourcewell National Cooperative, and;

WHEREAS, the regulations as set forth within Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10 have been fully complied with, and;

WHEREAS, the equipment and corresponding Sourcewell National Cooperative contract is #060618-EFM for Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc.; and

WHEREAS, the cost savings determination as required under LFN 2012-10 is the cost of contract as there is currently no cooperative lease program in effect under the New Jersey Division of Purchase and Property; and

WHEREAS, the Township previously approved Quote No. 4890545 for a total of $209,366.40 in Resolution 21-74; and

WHEREAS, the order placed from Resolution 21-74 was cancelled due to manufacturing complications as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the global computer chip shortage; and

WHEREAS, the quoted cost under the Sourcewell National contract is $34,304.40 (Quote No. 5839136); and

WHEREAS, that the governing body of Vernon Township pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b) (the certification of available funds), states that the Chief Finance Officer shall either certify the full maximum amount against the budget at the time the contract is awarded, or no contract amount shall be chargeable or certified until such time as the goods or services are ordered or otherwise called for prior to placing the order, and a certification of availability of funds is made by the Chief Finance Officer; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Business Administrator is hereby directed to effectuate the contract with Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. under Sourcewell contract #060618-EFM in accord with the provisions of the tenets as established within 40A:11-1 et. Seq.

Resolution #21-212: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Public Works through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5838943- 4 x Color Oxford White)

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

WHEREAS, the governing body of Vernon Township approved in Resolution 19-164 authorizing leasing of certain vehicles through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services, Inc., and this is an extension of that resolution; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with the requirements of the Local Public Contract Law P.L. 2011, C.139 (the "Law" or "Chapter 139" and N.J.S.A.52:34-6.2 the regulations promulgated there under in Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10, the following purchase without competitive bids from vendor with a National Cooperative Contract is hereby approved for municipalities, and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has the need to procure certain vehicles through lease program for Township services in accord with the Local Publics Contract Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et. Seq., and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has previously acted in accord with New Jersey public procurement statutes and regulations as promulgated by formally joining a recognized and compliant national cooperative, being the Sourcewell National Cooperative, and;

WHEREAS, the regulations as set forth within Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10 have been fully complied with, and;

WHEREAS, the equipment and corresponding Sourcewell National Cooperative contract is #060618-EFM for Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc.; and

WHEREAS, the cost savings determination as required under LFN 2012-10 is the cost of contract as there is currently no cooperative lease program in effect under the New Jersey Division of Purchase and Property; and

WHEREAS, the Township previously approved Quote No. 4890545 for a total of $209,366.40 in Resolution 21-74; and

WHEREAS, the order placed from Resolution 21-74 was cancelled due to manufacturing complications as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the global computer chip shortage; and

WHEREAS, the quoted cost under the Sourcewell National contract $225,050.40 (Quote No. 5838943); and

WHEREAS, that the governing body of Vernon Township pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b) (the certification of available funds), states that the Chief Finance Officer shall either certify the full maximum amount against the budget at the time the contract is awarded, or no contract amount shall be chargeable or certified until such time as the goods or services are ordered or otherwise called for prior to placing the order, and a certification of availability of funds is made by the Chief Finance Officer; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Business Administrator is hereby directed to effectuate the contract with Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. under Sourcewell contract #060618-EFM in accord with the provisions of the tenets as established within 40A:11-1 et. Seq.

Resolution #21-214: Resolution Awarding Bid for Proposed Road Improvements to Barrett Road and Glenwood Mountain Road

WHEREAS, there is a need for Milling and Paving Road Improvements to Barrett Road and Glenwood Mountain Road in the Township of Vernon; and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Local Public Contracts Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq.) encourages the use of public bidding to benefit taxpayers by ensuring that projects are completed in a safe, timely and cost-effective manner; and

WHEREAS, the Township duly advertised for public bids in a fair and open manner, consistent with N.J.S.A.19:44A-20.4 et. Seq., and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon received four (4) bids for said purpose duly advertised and held a public bid opening on September 2, 2021 at 10:00 am.; and

WHEREAS, Riverview Paving, Inc. 859 Willow Grove Street, Hackettstown, NJ 07840 has provided the lowest bid deemed responsive and responsible to the specifications and legal requirements as provided for within the bid document in the amount of $542,460.90; and

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer hereby certifies that funds not to exceed $542,460.90 are available as follows; Line Item: C-04-21-012-01.

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

1. The contract Road Improvements to Barrett Road and Glenwood Mountain Road is hereby awarded to Riverview Paving, Inc. 859 Willow Grove Street, Hackettstown, NJ 07840.

2. The Mayor and Township Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to execute a contract with Riverview Paving, Inc. not to exceed $542,460.90 in accord with the tenets of contract found within Bid.

Resolution #21-215: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Police through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5923963-1 x Color Oxford White)

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

WHEREAS, the governing body of Vernon Township approved in Resolution 19-164 authorizing leasing of certain vehicles through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services, Inc., and this is an extension of that resolution; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with the requirements of the Local Public Contract Law P.L. 2011, C.139 (the "Law" or "Chapter 139" and N.J.S.A.52:34-6.2 the regulations promulgated there under in Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10, the following purchase without competitive bids from vendor with a National Cooperative Contract is hereby approved for municipalities, and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has the need to procure certain vehicles through lease program for Township services in accord with the Local Publics Contract Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et. Seq., and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has previously acted in accord with New Jersey public procurement statutes and regulations as promulgated by formally joining a recognized and compliant national cooperative, being the Sourcewell National Cooperative, and;

WHEREAS, the regulations as set forth within Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10 have been fully complied with, and;

WHEREAS, the equipment and corresponding Sourcewell National Cooperative contract is #060618-EFM for Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc.; and

WHEREAS, the cost savings determination as required under LFN 2012-10 is the cost of contract as there is currently no cooperative lease program in effect under the New Jersey Division of Purchase and Property; and

WHEREAS, the quoted cost under the Sourcewell National contract is $21,534.72 (Quote No. 5923963); and

WHEREAS, that the governing body of Vernon Township pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b) (the certification of available funds), states that the Chief Finance Officer shall either certify the full maximum amount against the budget at the time the contract is awarded, or no contract amount shall be chargeable or certified until such time as the goods or services are ordered or otherwise called for prior to placing the order, and a certification of availability of funds is made by the Chief Finance Officer; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Business Administrator is hereby directed to effectuate the contract with Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. under Sourcewell contract #060618-EFM in accord with the provisions of the tenets as established within 40A:11-1 et. Seq.

Resolution #21-216: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Police through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5854966-1 x Color Arizona Beige)

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

WHEREAS, the governing body of Vernon Township approved in Resolution 19-164 authorizing leasing of certain vehicles through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services, Inc., and this is an extension of that resolution; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with the requirements of the Local Public Contract Law P.L. 2011, C.139 (the "Law" or "Chapter 139" and N.J.S.A.52:34-6.2 the regulations promulgated there under in Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10, the following purchase without competitive bids from vendor with a National Cooperative Contract is hereby approved for municipalities, and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has the need to procure certain vehicles through lease program for Township services in accord with the Local Publics Contract Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et. Seq., and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has previously acted in accord with New Jersey public procurement statutes and regulations as promulgated by formally joining a recognized and compliant national cooperative, being the Sourcewell National Cooperative, and;

WHEREAS, the regulations as set forth within Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10 have been fully complied with, and;

WHEREAS, the equipment and corresponding Sourcewell National Cooperative contract is #060618-EFM for Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc.; and

WHEREAS, the cost savings determination as required under LFN 2012-10 is the cost of contract as there is currently no cooperative lease program in effect under the New Jersey Division of Purchase and Property; and

WHEREAS, the quoted cost under the Sourcewell National contract is $36,710.88 (Quote No. 5854966); and

WHEREAS, that the governing body of Vernon Township pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b) (the certification of available funds), states that the Chief Finance Officer shall either certify the full maximum amount against the budget at the time the contract is awarded, or no contract amount shall be chargeable or certified until such time as the goods or services are ordered or otherwise called for prior to placing the order, and a certification of availability of funds is made by the Chief Finance Officer; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Business Administrator is hereby directed to effectuate the contract with Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. under Sourcewell contract #060618-EFM in accord with the provisions of the tenets as established within 40A:11-1 et. Seq.

Resolution #21-217: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Police through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5854955-1 x Color Agate Black)

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

WHEREAS, the governing body of Vernon Township approved in Resolution 19-164 authorizing leasing of certain vehicles through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services, Inc., and this is an extension of that resolution; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with the requirements of the Local Public Contract Law P.L. 2011, C.139 (the "Law" or "Chapter 139" and N.J.S.A.52:34-6.2 the regulations promulgated there under in Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10, the following purchase without competitive bids from vendor with a National Cooperative Contract is hereby approved for municipalities, and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has the need to procure certain vehicles through lease program for Township services in accord with the Local Publics Contract Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et. Seq., and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has previously acted in accord with New Jersey public procurement statutes and regulations as promulgated by formally joining a recognized and compliant national cooperative, being the Sourcewell National Cooperative, and;

WHEREAS, the regulations as set forth within Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10 have been fully complied with, and;

WHEREAS, the equipment and corresponding Sourcewell National Cooperative contract is #060618-EFM for Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc.; and

WHEREAS, the cost savings determination as required under LFN 2012-10 is the cost of contract as there is currently no cooperative lease program in effect under the New Jersey Division of Purchase and Property; and

WHEREAS, the quoted cost under the Sourcewell National contract is $35,668.80 (Quote No. 5854955); and

WHEREAS, that the governing body of Vernon Township pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b) (the certification of available funds), states that the Chief Finance Officer shall either certify the full maximum amount against the budget at the time the contract is awarded, or no contract amount shall be chargeable or certified until such time as the goods or services are ordered or otherwise called for prior to placing the order, and a certification of availability of funds is made by the Chief Finance Officer; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Business Administrator is hereby directed to effectuate the contract with Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. under Sourcewell contract #060618-EFM in accord with the provisions of the tenets as established within 40A:11-1 et. Seq.

Resolution #21-218: Resolution Authorizing Leasing of Certain Vehicles for the Department of Police through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. (Quote No. 5924059-1 x Color Iconic Silver)

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

WHEREAS, the governing body of Vernon Township approved in Resolution 19-164 authorizing leasing of certain vehicles through Sourcewell National Cooperative #060618-EFM through Enterprise Fleet Management Services, Inc., and this is an extension of that resolution; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with the requirements of the Local Public Contract Law P.L. 2011, C.139 (the "Law" or "Chapter 139" and N.J.S.A.52:34-6.2 the regulations promulgated there under in Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10, the following purchase without competitive bids from vendor with a National Cooperative Contract is hereby approved for municipalities, and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has the need to procure certain vehicles through lease program for Township services in accord with the Local Publics Contract Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et. Seq., and;

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has previously acted in accord with New Jersey public procurement statutes and regulations as promulgated by formally joining a recognized and compliant national cooperative, being the Sourcewell National Cooperative, and;

WHEREAS, the regulations as set forth within Local Finance Notice LFN 2012-10 have been fully complied with, and;

WHEREAS, the equipment and corresponding Sourcewell National Cooperative contract is #060618-EFM for Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc.; and

WHEREAS, the cost savings determination as required under LFN 2012-10 is the cost of contract as there is currently no cooperative lease program in effect under the New Jersey Division of Purchase and Property; and

WHEREAS, the quoted cost under the Sourcewell National contract is $33,772.32 (Quote No. 5924059); and

WHEREAS, that the governing body of Vernon Township pursuant to NJAC 5:30-5.5(b) (the certification of available funds), states that the Chief Finance Officer shall either certify the full maximum amount against the budget at the time the contract is awarded, or no contract amount shall be chargeable or certified until such time as the goods or services are ordered or otherwise called for prior to placing the order, and a certification of availability of funds is made by the Chief Finance Officer; and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, the Business Administrator is hereby directed to effectuate the contract with Enterprise Fleet Management Services Inc. under Sourcewell contract #060618-EFM in accord with the provisions of the tenets as established within 40A:11-1 et. Seq.

Resolution #21-213: Authorizing the Use of Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council for Proposed Improvements to Barrett Road and Glenwood Mountain Road

Council Member Cilli asked is Administrator Voelker could explain how road get approved to be paved.

Administrator Voelker explained that each year our DPW Director and our Township Engineer review the current condition of roadways throughout the town. There is an existing list that goes back several years and, in some cases certain roads go up to a point where they are planned to be resurfaced. Some roads are in a position where they should be done sooner than planned.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #21-213.
MOVED: John Auberger
SECOND: Andrew Pitsker

A roll call vote was taken:
AYES: Auberger, Cilli, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
NAYS:
ABSTAIN:
ABSENT:
Motion carried to approve Resolution #21-213.

Resolution #21-213: Authorizing the Use of Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council for Proposed Improvements to Barrett Road and Glenwood Mountain Road

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need for contracting services for Proposed Improvements to Barrett Road and Glenwood Mountain Road; and

WHEREAS, the Morris County Cooperative Pricing Council advertised and received bids for roadway guide rails, complete line stripping, and drainage inlet accessories; 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 guide rails, complete line stripping, and drainage inlet accessories (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:

Barrett Road

  1. Traffic Striping: Denville Line Painting, Inc. (Contract #36) in an amount of $3,839.60; and
  2. Guide Rails: Road Safety Systems, LLC (Contract #26) in an amount of $38,698.20; and
  3. Drainage Inlet Access.: Campbell Foundry Co. (Contract #14) in an amount of $187.00.

Glenwood Mountain Road

  1. Traffic Striping: Denville Line Painting, Inc. (Contract #36) in an amount of $7,097.50; and
  2. Guide Rails: Road Safety Systems, LLC (Contract #26) in an amount of $91,243.20; and
  3. Drainage Inlet Access.: Campbell Foundry Co. (Contract #14) in an amount of $4,664.00.

WHEREAS, the Certified Municipal Finance Officer of the Township of Vernon has certified that the funds for these contracts are available in Account #C-04-21-011-01 Road Improvements.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon that the vendors Denville Line Painting, Inc., Road Safety Systems, and Campbell Foundry, Co. be utilized for the Improvements to Barrett Road and Glenwood Mountain 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 #21-219: Authorizing the Award of Contract for Professional Services

Mayor Burrell commented say he would like to take this opportunity to clear up some of the disinformation that is been intentionally spread on certain Facebook pages, and in certain circles, about:

1. The permitted uses of Federal Fiscal Recovery Funds provided through the American Rescue Plan;

2. The uses of these funds that are specifically prohibited by federal law; and ...

3. Why and how the Mayor and Council chose to use these Federal Fiscal Recovery Funds.

Among the key elements of the Federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021, is the Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, which provides funds to all U.S. municipalities and counties.

Vernon received 2.2M$ in Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

FIRST, as to what are the permitted uses of these Federal Fiscal Recovery Funds that are provided through the American Rescue Plan?

Federal law limits the use of these Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to the following specific use categories:

1. Replacing any COVID-19 related revenue that has been lost by the municipality;

2. Investing in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure. This includes investing in infrastructure projects related to the building or upgrading of water, sewer, and broadband facilities, transmission, distribution, and storage systems;

3. Providing premium pay for essential municipal workers where such premium pay is needed and appropriate;

4. Supporting COVID-19 related public health expenditures that were/are required by the municipality; and ...

5. Addressing the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on any communities/populations that were uniquely impacted in a disproportionate manner.

SECOND, as to what are the prohibited uses of these Federal Fiscal Recovery Funds that are provided through the American Rescue Plan?

Federal law specifically prohibits these Local Fiscal Recovery Funds from being used to:

1. Directly or indirectly offset a reduction in a municipality's net tax revenue, or to reduce the municipal tax levy; or ...

2. Reduce the principal or interest on any of the municipality's outstanding debt. THIRD, as to why and how have the Mayor and Council chosen to use these Federal Fiscal Recovery Funds.

* During the last year and a half plus, the focus of this Mayor and Council has been on putting the town in a more favorable economic development position, in both the short and long term; and that focus continues.

* This focus led to the Mayor and Council coordinating with the Vernon MUA, and finally deciding to use the 2.2 M$ in Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to invest in improving and developing the critically needed water infrastructure in our Town Center.

* At the present time, we do not have the sufficient water infrastructure to fully develop our Town Center - - our Town Center currently relies on a limited amount water from the Suez Water Company, and a host of private wells.

* We will need a better and more extensive water supply capability, if we are to achieve our town's economic development objectives of increasing our commercial tax base, creating jobs, and stimulating our town's economy by encouraging new business activity and/or expanding existing business activity.

At the August 23, 2021 Council Meeting, the Council passed Ordinance # 21-27, which appropriated the initially required 1.75M$ of these Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for our investment in improving and developing the critically needed water infrastructure in our Town Center.

Resolution #21-219, which the Council passed tonight, is the next step in this process, in that it allows me as Mayor to sign a contract with the outstanding special projects engineering firm, Dewberry Engineers, that has previously done research on and knows Vernon's Town Center water and sewer system.

This is another positive step in this Mayor and Council's efforts to MOVE VERNON FORWARD!

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to approve Resolution #21-219.
MOVED: Andrew Pitsker
SECOND: Kelly Weller

A roll call vote was taken:
AYES: Auberger, Cilli, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
NAYS:
ABSTAIN:
ABSENT:
Motion carried to approve Resolution #21-219.

Resolution #21-219: Authorizing the Award of Contract for Professional Services

WHEREAS, there is a need for Professional Services to the Township of Vernon for a Special Projects Engineer, and

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

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

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

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

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified in writing that the value of the contract is in excess of $17,500 and available for these purposes; and

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

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Council of the Township of Vernon that they hereby authorize and approve the award of contracts of a Professional Service Contract pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5 et seq. to provide Services in accordance with the attached Contracts for Professional Services pursuant to a non-fair and open contract to the following:

1. Special Projects Engineer - Dewberry Engineers, Inc. 600 Parsippany Rd Ste. 301., Parsippany, NJ 07054

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

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

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

PUBLIC HEARING/2ND READING OF ORDINANCE

Ordinance #21-32: An Ordinance Authorizing the Sale of Certain Land in Vernon Township to Be Sold at Public Auction in Accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:12-13 (a)

Council President Shortway read by title Ordinance #21-32

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to open public hearing for Ordinance #21-32
MOVED: John Auberger
SECOND: Kelly Weller
All members were in favor.

Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close public hearing for Ordinance #21-32
MOVED: John Auberger
SECOND: Andrew Pitsker
All members were in favor.

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #21-32
MOVED: John Auberger
SECOND: Toni Cilli

A roll call vote was taken:
AYES: Auberger, Cilli, Pitsker, Weller, Shortway
NAYS:
ABSTAIN:
ABSENT:
Motion carried to adopt Ordinance #21-32

PUBLIC COMMENTS (Limited to 3 Minutes On Any Topic)

Council President Shortway asked for a motion to open the meeting for public comments.
MOTION: John Auberger
SECOND: Andrew Pitsker
All members were in favor.

Rick Hoffman - Vernon Township, expressed concern in regards to the neighborhood of Glen Harbor Estates has had with the gun shooting range that is on Drew Mountain Road. He explained that one house has been struck and other neighbors have found stray bullets on their front porches and the whole neighborhood is very concerned about what is going to happen with this. Mr. Hoffman said everyone has moved up here because it is quiet and peaceful with a vibrant community. There are a lot of children that play in the community but when there is gunshot they run inside. He feels that this has to stop and that this is no way to live. Mr. Hoffman explained that this has nothing to do with gun rights, this is only about public safety. Also, Mr. Hoffman said it is very noisy and obnoxious, it starts out very slow and then it gets very loud and there are a lot of different kinds of weapons being shot. Mr. Hoffman said they are concerned and would like an ordinance to be passed that says that someone cannot just come from out of town, buy a piece of property and put a gun range on it right next to you.

Al Losco - Vernon Township, lives on the other side of Glen Harbor and he agrees with Mr. Hoffman. They want to see some changes. It is all about safety and we want to make sure that the residents in this neighborhood are safe as anyone would want to feel in their own neighborhood. There is no reason the shooting can not be done in a safer manner where precautions are put in place and a bullet cannot get beyond the range. Mr. Losco said the shooting is loud and he would appreciate anything the Council could do to take care of this and make it safer for all of the people in the neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Seeing no other members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Shortway asked for a motion to close the meeting for public comments.
MOTION: Andrew Pitsker
SECOND: John Auberger
All members were in favor.

Mayor’s Comments

I have made no secret of the fact that I am very proud of the town in which I live, and currently have the honor of serving as Mayor.

Some have used their Facebook pages to belittle my positive view of our town as me just being "idealistic."

While I do admit that my idealism does influence my view of our town; however, the fact is, my idealism is frequently reinforced by my observations of repeated random acts of civic positiveness, that supports my view of our town as a good place to live and raise a family.

This past Monday, I had the opportunity to witness yet another one of these random acts of civic positiveness.

This act occurred during my attendance at the Vernon Coalition Appreciation Dinner to celebrate their 10th year of community calibration.

The Vernon Coalition is a program of the Center for Prevention & Counseling that provides a sustainable community effort to help reduce youth substance use, to provide resources to individuals and families struggling with the disease of addiction, and to reduce the stigma around this public health issue.

At the Vernon Coalition Appreciation Dinner, Mr. Joe Hession, the Chief Executive Officer of Mountain Creek, which is our town's largest taxpayer and also an outstanding corporate citizen, provided the Vernon Coalition a 50K$ check in support of the Coalition's positive work in our town.

In addition to serving as an example as to why I believe that our town is a good place to live and raise a family, this random act of civic positiveness is more evidence that VERNON CARES, and that when we work together, we are VERNON STRONG!

Approximately three weeks ago, on behalf of the Mayor's Office and the Council, I hosted a meeting with one of the principal owners of the Skylands Medical Group, an independent primary-care based multi-specialty medical group with locations in Sussex, Warren, and Morris counties.

This principal owner of the Skylands Medical Group advised me that they were in the process of building what he described as a "Total-Care Organization" to bring comprehensive healthcare and wellness to the communities in which they are located.

He added that because of what he and the other principals of the Skylands Medical Group view as:

1. The opportunity to provide needed and desired convenient medical services to an increasing vibrant Vernon community; and ...

2. The positive, cohesive teamwork of Vernon's governing body in focusing on economic development in the town;

Because of these factors, the Skylands Medical Group desired to expand into Vernon.

This principal owner shared with me some specifics of his organization's initially smaller near term, and larger long term, positive and aggressive business plans for Vernon.

Skylands Medical has recently taken steps to implement that initial smaller near-term business plan for Vernon - - by the 4th of October, the Skylands Medical Group will open their initial Urgent Care facility in Vernon's Town Center, in the Lakeland Bank Building on Route 515.

As I have said before, I believe that the economic future of Vernon is quite bright; and, I strongly believe that the brightness of that future has been nourished and facilitated by what the principals of the Skylands Medical Group described as "The positive, cohesive teamwork of Vernon's governing body in focusing on economic development in the town."

I can say without a doubt, that this more positive view of Vernon as a place where a business is welcome to locate and prosper, and provide Vernon's residents needed services, conveniences, and additional tax dollars to help in our efforts to stabilize home-owners property taxes, would not be possible without the outstanding Council that I currently have the privilege of working with as governing partners.

Together, we are VERNON STRONG!

COUNCIL COMMENTS

Vice President Auberger commented that it was a job well done by the police department with Octoberfest. Everything went very smooth and it was great to see businesses bringing in businesses. Vice President Auberger said these things feed off each other and help the town.

Council Member Auberger said he knows Harry has been getting a lot of backlash and although we do not always agree on things, he feels the town is better off having Harry on board and he has his support.

Council Member Weller commented on the continued comments being made at each meeting of the vote of no confidence for Council President Harry Shortway. Council Member Weller said Harry and I ran together in the 2019 - 2020 election for Council seats and were both voted in by the people. She feels that those voters still continue to support Council President Shortway. I had the utmost confidence in him then and I continue too today. I do not support these continued calls for his resignation due to no confidence and I ask that these comments stop and let President Shortway and the Council to their jobs and work together for the people of Vernon just as we were elected to do.

Council Member Pitsker thanked Boy Scout Troop 404 on September 18th for their time and dedication putting the finishing touches on the planter boxes that are on Main Street. He thanked the Rotary Club for their donation to help build the boxes as well as the Beatification Committee and Economic Development Committee. This is truly about community coming together.

Council Member Pitsker explained that regarding Q & A, he hears the public and he listens. He feels the Q & A is an important part but it is not part of what we do on Town Council. He hears the question but it is difficult to answer right away, it takes time and research. We may need to have a quarterly town hall meeting where we can have a time to review the projects, future and plans of the town. He said hopefully he can work with the Mayor on this.

Council Member Pitsker feels that the Council and Administration have worked together as a team in an effort bring the best out of our town. We are human, we are not perfect and we do make mistakes but together we are professional people. We can disagree but we have to come to a common ground for the best of Vernon. This is what fair government does and Council Member Pitsker believes the Council does it open and honestly. Personally, he has no hidden agenda and he does not see any hidden agendas from his colleges. We are trying to do the best we can because we are stewards of this town. Council Member Pitsker has looked over the requests of no confidence in Harry Shortway and he has taken them seriously, they sound more like personal attacks, displeasure and a process of disagreement over the ways of things being done, not grounds for resignation. Council Member Pitsker has heard a lot of good suggestions from the public and he takes them into consideration to what we do, whether a resolution, an ordinance or a change in the process but it does takes time. He would like to see fewer personal insults from all parties and more constructive dialogue, it starts with the Council and Administration, we lead by example and Council Member Pitsker will try to do a better job with that. Let's stop the roadblocks and work together, the public and the Council.

Council Member Cilli agrees with Mr. Hoffman and she feels that the ordinance should be a priority. She feels that it is extremely important because to hear that those children go running into their houses when those guns go off is sad and not where we should be living. Council Member Cilli hears the guns and said they are loud even though she is not that close.

Council Member Cilli read a quote, "peace is not when everyone agrees, its when we can respect our disagreements and still play in the sandbox together." She feels like this is the Town Council right now, we disagree, but she can count on everyone to argue back. That is what we are here for. We cannot all have the same thought and priorities. Council Member Cilli explained the reason she said we cannot answer questions is because there are rules and we have to move the meetings along. Every time she has asked Council President Shortway if she can ask a question, he always says yes. He has answered every question she has ever had; he always listens and he is always respectful. He does his research and he has given so much of his time to this town. For people to call for his resignation, is disgusting to her. You can disagree but you have to be willing to step up and do something about it. Council Member Cilli said she supports Harry Shortway and she would rather be here with him then without him.

COUNCIL PRESIDENT COMMENTS

Council President Shortway thanked the Council for their kind words. He said debate is helpful and constructive when it is done in a professional manner. A lot of us have been friends before being on the Council and we should be talking things out and we do this in the public where is should be done. Council President Shortway thanked the Council, Administration and some of the Department Heads who have reached out to him to show their support. He really feels that we are going forward, we have Circle K, a carwash and now an urgent care. Everything is moving forward with the infrastructure and we have the best relationship with Mountain Creek that we have had in decades. Mountain Creek is the largest taxpayer in Vernon and possibly in the whole County. They pay on time and are dedicated to our community. Council President Shortway thanked everyone for their votes of confidence and said let's keep working together.

ADJOURNMENT

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

The Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Marcy Gianattasio, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: October 14, 2021