Township Council Work Session

The Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 4, 2013, in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey. The purpose of this Work Session was to discuss the 2013 Capital Budget and the proposed Town Center ordinance.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on February 8, 2013, 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 Daniel Kadish, Brian Lynch, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Patrick Rizzuto. Also present were: Mayor Vic Marotta, Business Administrator Jerry Giaimis and CFO Bill Zuckerman.


Council President Rizzuto called a 5-10 minute recess until Council Member Eddie Dunn could join the work session (he was next door at the EDAC meeting). Mr. Dunn arrived at 7:33 p.m. Mr. Rizzuto resumed the meeting at 7:34 p.m.

Open to Public Comments

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to open the work session to public comments.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Second: Daniel Kadish
All were in favor.

Gary Martinsen—felt the work session should be recorded by SEC-TV.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti—asked for an additional open comments session at the end as well.

Closed to Public Comments

The Council President asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Second: Eddie Dunn
All were in favor.

Discussion on the 2013 Capital Budget

Mayor Marotta noted that all had received handouts of the capital budget which covers the next five (5) years. He reviewed each item listed, and advised that items 1,2, and 4 would come from capital surplus, items 3 and 5 would be from the 2013 budget and surplus, and item 6 was budgeted in 2012:

  1. 2 police cars—SUVs with all-wheel drive.
  2. playground repair at the Flats—the jungle gym and basketball courts area.
  3. roof replacement at the Municipal Center and the DPW building which were the biggest items. He reviewed the issues of the roof replacement, and noted that all previous attempts to address the leaks have not been successful. The new plan is for pitched roofs.
  4. mower/tractors to have 2 for roadside clean-up.
  5. oil and stone road work for tertiary roads.
  6. Lake Conway Dam repair

Council Member Lynch asked if they were in order of priority. The Mayor advised that they were not in any particular order, but felt that road repairs were most important.

Mr. Lynch asked if $500,000 for the roofs would be enough. The Mayor noted that this was just an estimate, with $350,000 - 400,000 for the Municipal Center roof alone. Council Member Dunn asked if we would be making a long-term commitment to this building. Mayor Marotta advised that without repairing the roof and leakage issues, we could be looking at black mold conditions in the attic. Council Member Kadish asked if the architect had looked at all the blueprints and if it would be more cost-effective to install a new flat roof. The Mayor explained that a new flat roof would not be a long-term fix, noting the inherent problems with flat roofs, but that something needs to be done and we need a number to work with. A brief discussion on the types of roofs followed, as well as the types of materials (i.e. shingles, metal, etc.). Mr. Kadish also noted consideration of solar panels.

Mayor Marotta noted pages 2 and 3 in the handout (40c and 40d), and that the whole document would be forwarded to the State as part of the budget process.

Council Member Kadish inquired about the per/mile replacement of roads. He was told about 20% of the 133 miles of roads.

Mr. Kadish asked about the priority on Fire Department/Ambulance requests. Council Member Wetzel noted that the Vernon Township Ambulance needs a new ambulance rig in the Highland Lakes area. Mr. Kadish was concerned if the amount was enough over those five (5) years. Council Member Lynch advised that the fleets were in good shape with all vehicles/equipment in good working order, relatively new, and being kept up to OSHA standards. The Mayor noted that all equipment had passed OSHA and Fire Safety testing this year. Council President Rizzuto advised that the new rescue truck was received in Vernon this past week. Mr. Lynch advised that we are all well-protected in Vernon.

Mr. Zuckerman advised that the $880,000 is not new money, but mainly from unused funds of old ordinances. He noted that this was a “plan in pencil” that goes to the State, but the numbers are not set in stone.

Mayor Marotta felt the agenda for the next meeting should reflect the Introduction of the 2013 Budget. Mr. Zuckerman noted that all had received copies of the annual financial statement which had been submitted to the State.

Town Center Ordinance

Council President Rizzuto advised that the proposed ordinance had come from the Land Use Board as basis for any future construction in the Town Center area. He introduced Jessica Caldwell, our Township Planner, and asked her for an overview of the ordinance.

Ms. Caldwell noted that the current ordinances were not uniform, and were under redevelopment rules. She felt the timing was good for this revision, now that the sewers were up and running.

Council Member Dunn felt the sign ordinance issue was a concern. Ms. Caldwell advised that the 2012 sign ordinance did not currently apply to the Town Center area. Mayor Marotta asked for clarification, asking if this new Town Center ordinance was adopted, then the 2012 sign ordinance would apply to the Town Center. Ms. Caldwell responded that it would.

Council Member Kadish asked about building height and design standards. Ms. Caldwell noted that this ordinance would be for the Town Center and McAfee zones, adding that the Land Use Board has felt that the McAfee area should be included though not in the Town Center zone itself. She explained that the design standards were more unique for Vernon than the original colonial theme, but more of an Adirondack resort feel, including types of lighting and tree selections.

Mr. Dunn felt that we should aim for addressing environmental issues as we are in a unique position to start with a clean slate.

The Council President noted the many details addressed in this ordinance, such as types of awnings, etc. The Mayor pointed out the vast amount of time and efforts by the Land Use Board that went into this ordinance. He noted that mountain rural architecture is also included in the ordinance. Council Member Lynch commended the mention of not allowing aluminum or vinyl siding. Ms. Caldwell advised that textured vinyl siding was allowed.

Council President Rizzuto felt passage of this ordinance could encourage builders to come into town, and that we would be setting the stage to be ready to move on their applications.

Council Member Dunn asked about the timing of this ordinance. Mayor Marotta advised that he would like to see this ordinance introduced at the next meeting, noting that the property cleared by Main Street Associates was in preparation for a construction of a new building. He advised that several parcels in the Town Center zone already have potential buyers. Council Member Wetzel asked what the process would be for a potential buyer. Ms. Caldwell advised that there were zoning and general ordinances, etc. for them to consider. The Mayor noted they should contact a real estate professional.

A brief discussion followed on getting the word out.

Council President Rizzuto noted that the ordinance would be on the agenda for the next meeting to be introduced.

Open to Public Comments

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to open the work session to public comments.
Moved: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All were in favor.

Gary Martinsen—agreed with Mr. Dunn that additional time should be taken for the public to get acclimated to the ordinance. He noted that he had a lot of information from an old survey taken. He also felt that including energy issues would be a good idea.

Bruce Zaretsky—asked if this ordinance would override the current Town Center ordinance. The Council President advised that it would. Mr. Zaretsky noted that the old ordinance did not allow variances, asking if the new one would allow them. Ms. Caldwell advised that redevelopment zones do not, but the new zone does.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti—stressed the importance of putting these meetings on the website.

Robert Oliver—addressed the solar panel issue. He suggested that Council talk to the Board of Education, as they investigated the idea.

Closed to Public Comments

The Council President asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Brian Lynch
Second: Eddie Dunn
All were in favor.


Council Member Brian Lynch moved to adjourn this Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon. Council Member Eddie Dunn made the second; all were in agreement. The work session was adjourned at 8:41 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Susan S. Nelson, RMC
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: May 13, 2013