YouTube video of the June 8, 2015 council meeting »

The meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 8, 2015 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey with Council President Patrick Rizzuto presiding.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 4, 2015, 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 of Members

Present were Council Members Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel and Council President Patrick Rizzuto. Also present were Administrator Bill Zuckerman, and Township Attorney Robert McBriar.

Salute to the Flag

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


Surplus Township Property: Commonly Known as Block 103.01, Lot 22

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to open the auction.
Motion: Brian Lynch
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members voted in favor.

Attorney McBriar stated that the auction for surplus township property, was authorized by Ordinance 15-15. Attorney McBriar explained the surplus property was being sold in accordance with NJSA 40A:12-13. Attorney McBriar explained that the sale was subject to the express sale and conditions as enumerated in Ordinance #15-15. Attorney McBriar stated the property was a non-conforming lot, identified and commonly known as Block 103.01, Lot 22, with the eligible bidders noted in ordinance #15-15. Attorney McBriar stated there was a minimum bid of $500. Attorney McBriar asked if there was anyone who would like to bid on the property. One member of the public raised their hand. Attorney McBriar requested that the record reflect that there was one bidder. Attorney McBriar started the bidder at $500, seeing no other bidders the auction was completed.

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to accept the minimum bid of $500.00 and to take a short recess at 7:33 p.m.
Motion: Brian Lynch
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members voted in favor.

Clerk Kirkman stated the successful bidder was Richard and Patrice Frese of 47 Cedar Tree.

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to resume the meeting at 7:36 p.m.
Motion: Dick Wetzel
Second: Dan Kadish
All members voted in favor.


Sussex County Health Department: Herb Yardley Administrator, Emerick Seabold Health Office, Julie Gerel, Public Health Co-Coordinator Marty Baldwin Public Health Nurse

Mr. Yardley explained the Health Department’s mission is to protect, promote, maintain and improve the health and quality of life for Sussex County citizens and visitors through a responsive, well managed, organized community effort. The Department presented information about their health inspector and Sagittarian services as well as their septic system review, food protection processes and inspections of food and service facilities and restaurants. The Department also discussed mosquito control, managing nuisance complaints and licensing of tattoo and piercing facilities. The Department presented information about lead poisoning and their responses to possible lead poisoning cases, including home studies and environmental home checks. The Department discussed their campground inspections, and their monitoring of the lakes and streams for bathing as well as drinking water. The Department discussed their rabies control efforts and their regulation of tanning salons as well as the enforcement of the environmental health act. The Department discussed their private well testing and the noise control issues they handled. The Department discussed their online search for septic plans as well as their 24-7 HazMat team. The Department discussed their emergency preparedness plan, as well as their work regarding chronic diseases and increasing smoke free parks. The department provided information about their breast cancer and colorectal screenings as well as their clean communities litter clean up and removal programs. The Department provides, through the Office of Public Health Nursing, vaccinations for HEP B, the flu, health checks, well baby checks, blood pressure screenings, cancer screenings, NJ CEED clinics for breast or cervical cancer screening treatment and prostate screenings as well as tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment. The Office of Public Health Nursing also completes special child health services for children with special needs. The Department discussed that, as part of their mosquito control services, they make aerial applications and sample the water. Additionally the Health Department utilizes truck mounted sprayers to ensure mosquito control. The Health Department discussed also using commercial scales as part of testing for weights and measures when they go to the gas stations to make sure you get the right amount of gas. Council Member Murphy questioned the noise issue. Mr. Yardley explained that this is for commercial properties not residential neighborhood complaints. Council Member Wetzel commented on the resources available at the YMCA and asked if they shared resources. Mr. Yardley explained there is a lot of collaboration for the common good.

Public Comment

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to open the meeting for public comments.
Motion: Brian Lynch
Second: Dan Kadish
All members were in favor.

Gary Martinsen, Vernon, stated he had a statement but he had expected Attorney Ursin to be at the meeting. Mr. Martinsen stated he was unable to attend Vernon Day because he had to keep the store open but was pleased when he heard that it had a good turnout. Mr. Martinsen stated he was disheartened by everyone sitting on the dais because at the last meeting he had reported that the Mayor had violated the Township code and that no one had discussed it and the attorney had made no comments on it. Mr. Martinsen said there was no doubt or conjecture that the code was violated. Mr. Martinsen said to not even have asked the attorney, for none of the members to discuss it or to go into executive session about it was disheartening and in his opinion a breach of their oath. Mr. Martinsen stated the Mayor’s subsequent explanation in his opinion was not sufficient. Mr. Martinsen said if anything had happened to the Mayor, the Township would have been in a serious situation. Mr. Martinsen said the law was to not put a union member in that position. Mr. Martinsen said that no one chose to even discuss it after being told, was a let- down and that they failed in their duties. Council Member Kadish stated he disagreed with Mr. Martinsen. Council Member Murphy said she disagreed as well. Council Member Kadish stated that he emailed everybody and having no response sent it to the papers and gave the papers all the codes; the papers chose not to include it. Council Member Murphy stated that she did call Attorney Ursin.

William James Rickey, Jr. Vernon, stated he attended Vernon Day and had a booth for the non- profit group City of Angels to bring recovery services to people who need help. Mr. Rickey provided the Council with a request, one in which the council had granted previously, regarding a waiver of the requirement to have the taxes paid in order to have a permit issued for an event at his property. Mr. Rickey explained he was not asking for a waiver of paying his tax bill but simply to allow him to host the Vernon Cub Scout Camporee this weekend. Mr. Rickey said he had received a waiver in the past for the entire season, but at this time he is not asking for the waiver for an entire season but for just this one event. Mr. Rickey said after the waiver he had been able to catch up on his taxes and had paid all his taxes last year. Mr. Rickey explained that he had two tax bills; one being the AT&T cell tower, of which he was working to bring current. Mr. Rickey explained he had a past due amount in his other tax bill for his portion as well. Mr. Rickey said he had postponed his other events and was willing to postpone or forego them, but was just asking for the one time waiver for the Vernon Camporee event. Mr. Rickey stated he did not get paid for the event and he would rather not approach the Cub Scouts and ask them to cancel or reschedule the event. Mr. Rickey said it was his plan to have the taxes current prior to having any commercial events that required permitting. Mr. Rickey reiterated he was just asking for this one event. Administrator Zuckerman stated Mr. Rickey had gotten a waiver once in the past, Mr. Rickey was not current with his taxes. Mr. Rickey said he got the waiver in 2013 and he reiterated he was not asking for any other events just this one event. Council Member Murphy said as long as this is for one event, not for the season. Council Member Lynch and Council President Rizzuto expressed concern that Mr. Rickey had waited until the week of the event before even making the Council aware of this situation and putting the Council in this position. Council Member Wetzel stated he did not want to say no to the youth of Vernon. Council Member Wetzel said he thought that the fact that Mr. Rickey was not charging for the event and its good will outweighed the tax issue.

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion:

A motion was made to waive the following Township requirement:

330-155: As a condition of any approval or permit which is required pursuant to this article, no taxes or assessments for local improvements shall be due or delinquent on the property for which any application is made pursuant to this article;

for one event only, namely the Vernon Cub Scout Camporee event to be held June 12, 13 and 14, 2015, at the Rickey Farm, 442 Rt. 94, Vernon.

Moved: Jean Murphy
Second: Brian Lynch

Council President Rizzuto expressed his concern that Mr. Rickey waited until the week of the event and put the Council in a position to have to cancel the event if requirement was not waived for this one event. Mr. Rickey said he had expected to have the taxes paid. Council Member Lynch stated that this was a one-time only waiver, and any future events would not be covered. Council Member Kadish reminded Mr. Rickey that two years ago he had promised him and the Council that he would not be coming to the Council seeking another waiver. Council President Rizzuto echoed that sentiment. Mr. Rickey stated he was sorry that he was breaking his word but he was trying to keep his word to the Scouts. Mr. Rickey said they were in a better financial position than in the past. Council President Rizzuto stated it was because of Mr. Rickey’s mother’s intercession and request that they waived it before but it could not continue as it was not fair to those who pay their taxes or to the Cub Scouts. Council President Rizzuto restated the motion, noting the waiver of the requirement of the payment of the taxes. Township Clerk Kirkman read the above motion into the record. Council Member Lynch stated he just wanted to ensure the payment of the taxes. Attorney McBriar reiterated that it is not waiving taxes but the requirement for the payment to obtain the permit.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Daniel Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None
Absent: None

Motion carried.

Closed to Public Comments

Seeing no more members of the public wishing to speak, Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to close the public portion of the meeting.
Motion: Brian Lynch
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members were in favor.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Marotta was not present. Administrator Zuckerman advised that the Township digital tax maps were being prepared and were being done in two phases. Administrator Zuckerman stated that a helicopter had photographed the properties in Vernon. and that the 14,000 records would be matched with their respective deeds and put into a tax base. Administrator Zuckerman stated that, of the 14,000 records, approximately 10,000 had already been completed. Administrator Zuckerman explained that the idea was to create an all-encompassing tax reference map.

Approval of Minutes

It was moved and seconded as noted below to approve the following minutes:

Regular Meeting Minutes of April 27, 2015

Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Brian Lynch

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None
Abstain: Brian Lynch

Motion carried to approve minutes with abstention noted.

Consent Agenda

There were no items on the consent agenda.

Introduction/1st Reading of Ordinances

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-21 by title:

Ordinance #15-21: An Ordinance Amending Chapter 142 of the Code of the Township of Vernon Entitled “Alcoholic Beverages” Regarding the Number of Licenses

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #15-21 with a public hearing to be held on June 22, 2015.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Brian Lynch

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Brian Lynch, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel, Patrick Rizzuto
Nays: None
Abstain: None

Motion carried to introduce Ordinance #15-21 with a public hearing to be held on June 22, 2015.

Council President Rizzuto read Ordinance #15-22 by title:

Ordinance #15-22: Ordinance Amending the Salary Ordinance for “Non-Union” Employee

Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to introduce Ordinance #15-22 with a public hearing to be held on June 22, 2015.
Moved: Dan Kadish
Seconded: Dick Wetzel

Council Member Murphy questioned that with salary range ordinances Attorney Ursin had stated that prior to any increases a resolution would have to be passed. Attorney McBriar stated he thought the ordinance would set a range and the Council would pass a resolution.

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Dan Kadish, Jean Murphy, Dick Wetzel
Nays: Brian Lynch, Patrick Rizzuto
Abstain: None

Motion carried to introduce Ordinance #15-22 with a public hearing to be held on June 22, 2015.

Public Hearing/2nd Reading of Ordinances


Council Comments

Council Member Murphy questioned if Mr. Zuckerman would be filling in for the Mayor going forward. Mr. Zuckerman stated the Business Administrator attends meetings by code he believed. Council Member Murphy commented about the Mayor’s comment that he had a seasoned Council and did not need to attend meetings. Council Member Murphy stated the Mayor does not lead the Council. Council Member Murphy questioned if a new restaurant was looking to come into town and asked if that was why the license number was being amended. Clerk Kirkman explained that since 1945, the Township code has reflected that the Township had seven consumption licenses. At some point over the years, the township had added another license, but had not updated the code. The Ordinance was simply to correct the code to reflect the correct number of licenses in the Township.

Council Member Lynch had no comment.

Council Member Kadish had no comment.

Council Member Wetzel thanked Missy and her group for an outstanding Vernon Day. Council Member Wetzel thanked the students for their work who helped set up and take down all the booths on Vernon day as well. Council Member Wetzel said it was an excellent job.

Council President Rizzuto echoed Mr. Wetzel’s comments about Vernon Day. Council President Rizzuto thanked the sponsors for Vernon Day and requested that their names be entered into the record, A&P Company, Burger King, Division of Senior Services, Dunkin Donuts, Heaven Hill Farm, Lox of Bagels, Lakeland Bank, Newton Hospital, Rehabilitation Specialists, Vernon PAL, Pizza Station, Smokey’s, Valley National Bank, Warwick Shoprite, Warwick Dodge, Mitch’s Roadside Grill, Mrs. Belli’s youth leadership group, Denise Urbanyiak, Crystal Springs Golf, Division of Child Protection. Council President Rizzuto thanked them all for their sponsorship in the 5K race. Council President Rizzuto complimented the department and Missy. Council President Rizzuto noted that all members had received a copy of the Audit and asked that they review it for the meeting of June 22.


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

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:37 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Lauren Kirkman, RMC, CMR
Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: July 27, 2015