Township Council Work Session

The Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 7, 2013, in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey. The purpose of this Work Session was to discuss Recreation Field Usage Fees.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on December 16, 2012, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.

Salute to the Flag

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

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Brian Lynch. Also present were: Mayor Vic Marotta, Business Administrator Jerry Giaimis, Recreation Director Melissa Wiedbrauk, and Township Attorney Kevin Kelly.

Open to Public Comments

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to open the work session to public comments.
Moved: Eddie Dunn
Second: Patrick Rizzuto
All were in favor.

Robert Oliver—suggested that Council keep in mind the total recreation expenses, and perhaps utilizing a budget adjustment.

Closed to Public Comments

The Council President asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All were in favor.

Discussion on Recreation Field Usage Fees

Council President Lynch explained the purpose for the work session, noting that everyone needs to cooperate to resolve the issue. He further noted that he reviewed the 2012 usage of the fields by Vernon Youth Soccer, as well as what was paid by them.

Ed Nitch & Joe Leggour—Vernon Youth Soccer—explained what their tournaments are, that they are a non-profit group, they look at tournaments as a fundraiser for equipment and to keep registration fees lower. They acknowledged the quality and maintenance of the fields by the DPW. It was noted that they raised about $6,800 from the Turf Classic in 2012, where they utilized as many local vendors as possible.

Council Member Rizzuto asked for a breakdown of Township vs. outside teams. Mr. Leggour advised that all teams have to be sanctioned by their state as do their coaches, as well as abiding by national rules.

Mr. Rizzuto explained Council’s need to define what constitutes a tournament vs. normal use. Mr. Leggour advised that, ideally, tournaments would be at least one full day or a weekend. Mr. Nitch added that tournaments are also determined by skill level.

Council Member Wetzel asked about insurance. Mr. Leggour advised that the teams must be insured through their state with photo IDs for each athlete, as well as permission to travel and play in another state from their state insurance carrier.

Council President Lynch advised that if a tournament ordinance were to be drafted, it must be equitable to all sports teams.

Mr. Leggour suggested that a portion of each tournament registration for sports could be set aside for field maintenance.

Council Member Dunn asked about an analysis of the annual cost of field maintenance. Mr. Lynch felt that an ordinance could be developed based on an analysis.

A discussion followed on how the fees were established in the current ordinance.

Council Member Rizzuto noted the need for DPW prep work prior to the tournament, as well as the cleanup, etc. for the 2012 Turf Classic, notwithstanding the heavier usage (or wear and tear) on the fields in a short period of time.

A question was raised about a scrimmage.

Pat Seger suggested using County SLAP teams or youth instead of the DPW for some of the prep/cleanup/maintenance work.

Randy Mills asked about a determining factor in whether it was a tournament vs. not, could be whether teams were from Vernon or other towns.

Council Member Kadish felt that the Recreation Director needs to determine what qualifies as a tournament. He also noted the additional cost of the lights.

Council Member Wetzel felt a 2-tier structure should be required.

Ms. Seger explained how the fees were established while she was the Recreation Director: for a 1-hour use for groups seeking a field now and then, it was set at $75 for that hour. She noted it was not intended to be assessed at $75 per hour for a full day (8 hours), and definitely not for tournaments.

Mr. Kadish asked if they had contacted other towns to find out how they charge, and suggested capping the day’s amounts.

Mr. Mills felt the interpretation of the ordinance may be the problem.

Mr. Giaimis explained the Administration’s interpretation, as well as the priorities/preferences in scheduling the fields was for teams in season during “their time.”


Council President Lynch asked for a motion to reduce the fees for Vernon Youth Soccer’s Turf Classic by 50%, and also to draft an ordinance solely for tournaments.

Mr. Kelly noted that, based on discussions, the ordinance would be very difficult to draft. He further noted that what is available to the Council under this form of government (as it wasn’t in 2007 when the current ordinance was enacted), and a possible solution, would be to set up policies desired, with the Mayor, Recreation Director, and Business Administrator deciding how to implement those policies.

The motion was made to cut the fees by 50% for the 2013 Vernon Youth Soccer Turf Classic.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

Mr. Rizzuto asked to revisit the fee schedule to redefine Vernon vs. non-Vernon. Mr. Nitch advised that Vernon will have 16 teams. It was determined that anything above 16 teams would be considered out-of-town. Council Member Dunn felt the ordinance is a separate issue from the tournament.

A revised motion was made to reduce the fees from $8,400.00 to $4,200.00 for the 2013 Vernon Youth Soccer Turf Classic.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Motion carried.

Randy Mills suggested that, going forward, there should be a definition of a resident vs. non-resident team, and that groups coming in for profit should be charged at a higher rate.


Council Member Daniel Kadish moved to adjourn this Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon. Council Member Patrick Rizzuto made the second; all were in agreement. The work session was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Nelson, RMC
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: February 25, 2013