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 Thursday, February 25, 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 15, 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.

Salute to the Flag

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

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Jean Murphy, Sandra Ooms, Dick Wetzel and Council President Dan Kadish. Also present was Attorney Robert McBriar, Business Administrator Patrick Bailey and CFO Elke Yetter. Council Member Patrick Rizzuto joined the assemblage at 9:36 a.m. as indicated below.

Public Comments

Council Member Murphy 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

Police Budget Presentation (including any Capital)

Chief Randy Mills and Lt. Dan Young presented the 2016 Police Department budget. The 2016 overall budget shows a decrease due to retirements of senior officers being replaced by newly hired officers, grants received, and contractual differences. Chief Mills stated the salary and wage portion is mainly contractual per the 4-year PBA contract recently approved; the 2016 overtime budget shows an increase due to changes in the PBA contract as it relates to the Pittman schedule and also because of the state mandated “Speedy Trial Act” which may cause overtime for our officers. Chief Mills stated the Act requires prisoners have a hearing within 48 hours which may cause arresting officers’ overtime to occur on normal days off. Council Member Rizzuto arrived. Lt. Dan Young explained the other line items which include the Detective Bureau, Special Officer services, tuition reimbursement, supervisor coverage, technology, education, uniforms, emergency management and office supplies. Lt. Dan Young introduced a new request of a Jr. Police Academy which would run for a couple weeks in the summer for 6th or 7th grade students to improve relationships with the Vernon Police and the community. Council Member Wetzel praised the program and said if it saved one kid it was worth it.

Council President Kadish questioned why we don’t use two-wheel drive vehicles any more. Chief Mills said Township has been able to buy all-wheel drive pursuit approved vehicles at low costs which can be used all year round. Chief Mills explained that currently the Department is on a 5-year schedule which replaces two vehicles each year and would like to stay on that schedule to improve efficiency and prevent down time due to repairs.

Council President Kadish questioned how the Narcan program is doing. Chief Mills said that Narcan was used 8-10 times in 2015 and the price has increased dramatically. Chief Mills noted that Narcan must be kept in temperature controlled area and is approximately $130.00 per dose.

Lt. Dan Young presented the Radio Communication portion of the Police budget which includes dispatcher salaries, uniforms, supplies and the shared service agreement with Wantage and Sussex Borough. Chief Mills discussed the feasibility of joining the Sussex County for 911 services explaining the logistics, loss in potential efficiency and service. Council Member Murphy questioned how 911 sometimes goes to neighboring towns. Chief Mills & Lt. Dan Young explained the process of how calls may get bounced to nearby cell towers.

Chief Mills & Lt. Dan Young presented the Capital Police budget requesting 2 new vehicles and the upgrade of 911 radio console due to unavailability of parts for repairs. Chief Mills also requested defibrillators, portable radios to improve communication for other EMS, and a server data backup system.

Chief Mills said also there is a need for a Messaging Trailer which there is a grant application Vernon can apply for available funds.

Council President Kadish asked for a motion to approve the Grant application for the Traffic Messaging Trailer.
Motion: Wetzel
Second: Murphy
All in favor
Motion carried to approve grant application for the Traffic Messaging Trailer.

Council Member Rizzuto lauded Chief Mills and Lt. Dan Young on their good job on Police budget because it is less than last year. Council Member Murphy asked which vehicles will be replaced and will we need to bond for them. Chief Mills and Lt. Dan Young explained the 10-year capital plan. CFO Yetter stated purchase may come out of capital fund balance and not always be bonding.

Administration Budget Presentation (including Capital, legal and health insurance)

CFO Elke Yetter presented the Administration Budget. Council Member Murphy questioned the number of floaters. CFO Yetter explained they are used to assist various departments throughout the year and also with shared service agreement duties for VTMUA. Council Member Murphy questioned the costs of Employee Identity Protection Plan and if Township had to provide same. Business Administrator Bailey said it was his understanding that this was court ordered. The Council discussed credit theft and identity theft as well as the Employee Assistance program with Sussex County as resource for Township employees.

CFO Yetter presented the Mayor & Council budget. Council Member Rizzuto stated he never received $4,000.00 as stated in ordinance for being Council President. Council Member Murphy noted that he had waived it at a council meeting as did former Council President Lynch.

CFO Yetter presented the Legal budget. Council Member Murphy questioned the need for a different conflict attorney. Council President Kadish questioned if the amount is enough or during the budget introduction there would be additional discussion about the contract for conflict attorney. Attorney Robert McBriar said any conflict attorney can be paid from this line item. Council Member Murphy stated Attorney Wenner cannot be conflict attorney as it relates to issues with the VTMUA.

CFO Yetter presented the Insurance budget. The Council discussed the health, dental, and vision costs. Council Member Murphy questioned who negotiates bargaining contracts. Business Administrator Bailey said management negotiates all contracts and management receives the least of the benefits of all bargaining contracts.

CFO Yetter asked the Council if any changes should be made before the introduction scheduled for the March 7, 2016 meeting. Council President Kadish asked if administrative budget should be expanded due to all work that the Clerk’s office is currently doing including for the MUA.

Council President Kadish questioned the grant application; CFO Yetter explained that one is for self-contained breathing apparatus for all Fire Departments and Township would pay 10% of $736,000. The second, CFO Yetter explained is for a truck which is not yet approved for McAfee Fire Dept.. CFO Yetter noted that the township portion would be $150,000.00.

Council President Kadish questioned the elevator repair and discussion ensued about major repairs of elevator needed for state inspection.

Council President Kadish asked if costs for Lake Conway can be assessed to Lake Conway residents since they have the amenity. Council Member Wetzel said he believed that due to a court judgment the Township owns the dam and is responsible for the costs.

Council Comments

Council Member Murphy questioned if there is a plan in budget for water to Township Municipal Building.

Council Member Ooms asked what is goal of 2016 Municipal Budget to increase fund balance, decrease debt, maybe add narrative in budget. Business Administrator Bailey said we have a debt management plan and must plan within means. Business Administrator Bailey noted that taxes in New Jersey provide municipal services that residents rely on.

Council Member Rizzuto questioned if Mayor has heard from Township Engineer about costs for proposed Band Shell; CFO Yetter answered no information has been received yet.


There being no further items of business to be conducted on the agenda, a motion for Adjournment was made by Council Member Wetzel, 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 11:20 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: April 11, 2016