Township Council Special Work Session Meeting

The Special Workshop Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Dan Kadish presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided to the public and the press on February 14, 2016, 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. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss Department Budget Presentations. Official Action may be taken.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Jean Murphy, Sandra Ooms and Council President Dan Kadish. Also present was Mayor Harry Shortway, Attorney Robert McBriar and CFO Elke Yetter. Council Member Rizzuto arrived at 9:31 a.m.. Council Member Wetzel was absent.

Salute to the Flag

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

Public Comments

Council President Kadish asked for a motion to open the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Jean Murphy
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members were in favor.

There were no comments from the public.

Closed to Public Comments

Seeing no members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Kadish asked for a motion to close the public portion of the meeting.
Motion: Jean Murphy
Second: Sandra Ooms
All members were in favor.

Items for Discussion

Department of Public Works Budget Presentation (including any Capital)

Dave Pullis, Director of Department of Public Works and Confidential Assistant Jennifer Ruess presented the DPW budget to the Township Council. Director Pullis explained that the DPW budget includes Salary and Wages and Operations and Expense for Recycling, Road Repairs, Signs, Road Materials, Gypsy Moth Suppression, Fleet Maintenance, Buildings and Grounds, Parks, Office Supplies and Municipal Services Act.

Council Member Murphy questioned where shared service cost for the MUA is located in budget. CFO Yetter explained salaries are paid from DPW budget and also show as revenue in shared service account. Council Member Murphy asked what Recycling revenue was for 2015, which CFO Yetter answered was $65,349.95. Director Pullis explained that the capital requests for 2016 include a single axle truck, 1 mason dump, 2 tailgate sanders, 2 hoppers, 4-11ft plows, and 1 Henderson plow. Director Pullis stated that additional requests for near future would be a new truck body for #45, a new Roll-off for recycling and Snap-On Fleet maintenance software to more efficiently diagnose fleet repairs as well as adding garage doors to existing DPW building. Director Pullis requested to continue the oil and stone program which includes completing secondary roads: Lake Wallkill Road, Sammis Road and portion of Lounsberry Hollow Road.

Council Member Rizzuto noted no inclusion of band shell in proposed DPW Budget.

With no further questions, the DPW presentation completed

Department of Recreation Budget Presentation (including any Capital)

CFO Yetter presented the Department of Recreation budget to the Council due to resignation of recreation director earlier this year. CFO Yetter explained due to personnel changes, the salary budget was adjusted. The program budget may be shifted to Shared Service agreements with Vernon PAL, changing amounts in the budget.

CFO Yetter explained that the recreation budget presented includes office and program supplies, equipment rental and service contracts. Council Member Murphy asked if there are plans for Vernon Crossing playground to be replaced. Mayor Shortway said no plans now. Council Member Murphy asked if department head is being replaced. Mayor Shortway stated he is not planning to replace department head for considerable savings and shifting people in departments through attrition instead of layoff plan to save money in the budget. Mayor Shortway noted that any negotiations with the Vernon PAL will be handled by the CFO and Business Administrator because Mayor Shortway felt he was unable due to so since he was a volunteer coach with the PAL. Council Member Ooms asked who will be in charge of Recreation Trust Fund. Mayor Shortway indicated Finance and the Mayor’s office will be looking over the Recreation Trust Fund. Council President Kadish questioned changes needed in the Township’s Ordinance to remove Recreation Director. Council President Kadish questioned if the Board of Recreation, an Ad-hoc Committee, would be in charge of trust fund. Council President Kadish requested the Township Attorney to look into how to appropriate trust fund monies. Discussion ensued amongst the Council if more volunteers can be utilized to run programs.

CFO Yetter presented the Senior Citizen budget, which includes the senior lunch program, kitchen staff and bus service for seniors. Council Member Rizzuto questioned figures on ridership for senior bus. CFO Yetter will need to review files and follow up with the Council regarding same. CFO Yetter explained the budget includes various senior activities throughout year.

Tax Assessor Budget Presentation (including any Capital)

Assessor Lynne Schweighardt presented the Tax Assessor 2016 Budget. Assessor Schweighardt explained that expenses include office supplies, statutory mailing materials, professional appraisals fees and tax map maintenance. Assessor Schweighardt explained the digital tax maps will be completed in 2016 which will be more accessible to residents. Discussion ensued amongst the Council about how Vernon Township was ordered to perform a Revaluation in 2018; it was noted that the revaluation includes entire town, photos and two years of tax appeals at the county board. Assessor Schweighardt estimated cost is $1,500,000.00 for which CFO Yetter indicated the Township may need to bond. Council Member Murphy suggested posting information about Revaluation process on website.

Animal Control Budget Presentation (including any Capital)

Animal Control Officer Tom Maellaro presented the Animal Control 2016 Budget. Officer Tom Maellaro explained the expenses include supplies for dog licenses, tags, mailings, advertising, uniforms, animal food and medical costs. Discussion ensued amongst the Council over possible low cost spay/neuter program being offered for residents. Council Member Murphy questioned if floaters were utilized at Animal Control. Officer Maellaro said January through March a floater is needed to assist in processing renewal of licenses and sending out late notices to the approximate 6000 dog owners. Officer Maellaro discussed that capital budget requests include a new van to replace the 2002 van that has major rust issues. Also, Officer Maellaro explained, at least 5 doors in animal shelter dog runs need replacing due to rust. Additionally, Officer Maellaro requested new fencing needed to create an exercise area for sheltered animals to make them more adoptable.

Council Comments

No comments from any Council Members.


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

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 10:38 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: April 11, 2016