Vernon council votes to streamline government

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  • Mayor Harry Shortway talks about the Vernon Tree lighting this Friday at 6:30 p.m.

  • PHOTOS BY MARK LICHTENWALNER The Vernon Town Council discusses a proposed ordinance to streamline Government.

  • Councilmember and firefighter John Auberger warns the public about the dangers of Chimney fires this time of year.

VERNON — It was yet another rainy Monday night when the Vernon Town Council met for a short meeting to discuss and pass an ordinance to make future council meetings even shorter.

The council held a second reading, and passed ordinance 18-30, officially titled “An ordinance amending various sections of the code of the Township of Vernon.

The ordinance is a veritable hodgepodge of amendments to correct errors in the township code as a result of the change in the form of government.

In 2010, Vernon voters, by a margin of 70 percent, voted to change the form of government, from a Faulkner act council-manager government, where a township manager made most of the decisions for the township with council approval, to a mayor-council form of government, where an elected Mayor became the executive of the township.

The amendments in Ordinance 18-30 gives the Mayor the power to appoint a licensed attorney as Municipal Prosecutor, as well as a Municipal Public Defender, subject to approval of the council.

Applicants seeking to join the fire department previously had to seek approval from not only the Fire Chief, but the Mayor and Council as well. This process could take weeks, delaying the hiring of new applicants. Ordinance 18-30 removes the need to be approved by the Mayor and Council, leaving hiring decisions up to the Fire Chief, an effort to help facilitate and expedite the hiring process.

Ordinance 18-30 also makes major changes to the laws governing public assemblies in the township.

The mayor and town council will no longer be responsible for voting on, and issuing permits to hold a public assembly of more than 2,000 people. The township zoning officer will now be in charge of issuing public assembly permits. The ordinance also allows the chief of police or the fire marshal to revoke a public assembly permit without the mayor or council's approval.

The effect of the ordinance is to streamline the application processes, which could take weeks, or even months for the council to vote on.

Also in the ordinance is an amendment that will allow bars, brewpups, craft breweries and distilleries to operate in the Vernon town center district.

Mayors report“Our second annual (5K)Turkey Trot was held in frigid temperatures Thanksgiving morning,” Mayor Harry Shortway began his report.

While 150 runners pre-paid to take part in the Turkey Trot, only 110 runners showed-up due to the cold weather. Despite this, the mayor deemed the event a success, with all proceeds being donated to the Harvest House charity.

“It really warms you up to see how the community comes out to run in cold weather, and root people on, to raise money for the less fortunate among us,” Shortway said.

This Friday, November 30th , Vernon Township will hold its annual tree-lighting ceremony at the Vernon fire house. The event is scheduled to run from 6:30-8 PM.

This year, the tree lighting will have a “Whoville” theme. The Mayor urged any participants to, “dress the part,” as your favorite Dr. Suess character.

“I guess I’ll just go as the Mayor,” Shortway quipped?

Barry Drive, Waywayanda Road Two resolutions where passed authorizing the paint striping and guiderail installation of Barry Drive North. The project, coined “Phase II” makes minor price adjustments to approve the plan.

The cost to stripe Barry Drive decreased by $181.56, to a cost of $4,669.14. The work is to be completed by Denville Line Painting, INC.

The cost to install guiderails increased by $2,231.00, to a cost of $28,571.00. This contract was awarded to, Road Safety Systems, LLC.

Waywayanda road improvements were also approved. With a price increase of $96.60, the total cost to stripe Waywayanda road is $10,155.90. Denville Line Painting INC. will also be striping Waywayanda road.

All price adjustments where approved by the township engineer, and recommended for approval

A warning from AubergerCouncil member and local firefighter John Auberger wrapped up Monday night’s meeting by issuing a warning to all Vernon residents with a fireplace.

“It’s chimney fire season,” Auberger warned. “Make sure you get a reputable company to clean your chimney. We (the fire department) just responded to a chimney fire that had supposedly been cleaned recently, and it had not.”

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