Bond ordinance urged for bandshell

VERNON. The Township Council votes 3-2 in favor of borrowing $350,000 to finance a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Band Shell.

Vernon /
| 04 Jul 2023 | 06:25

Council members voted 3-2 to approve a resolution calling for $350,000 bond ordinance to finance a band shell during their meeting June 26.

Voting no were Natalie Buccieri, the council president, and Councilwoman Peg Distasi.

Distasi said she opposes borrowing money for amenities not needed for the safety of the community. “In addition, I really believe that the Vietnam veterans should be honored in our Veterans Park along with all the other veterans.”

She pointed out that she supports the bandshell but she believes that the funds for it should be raised by a nonprofit group. “I don’t believe that voting for just $350,000 is going to be sufficient to do the entire project. It’s going to be a lot more than that.”

Buccieri distinguished between “needs,” such as a firetruck and an ambulance, and “wants,” such as a band shell. “This is a want. Those are needs.”

She said she would prefer to create a committee of residents to gather information about music and arts programs in other towns and to hold a couple performances in Vernon to gauge community interest. “I would not support a bond for $350,000 without that background.”

Patrick Rizzuto, council vice president, introduced the resolution. Early this year, he proposed a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Band Shell to be located in Maple Grange Park.

On June 26, he left the location up in the air, saying some residents have said there is not enough parking at Maple Grange.

He said he believes that $350,000 should cover all the costs of the bandshell.

Pump Track Committee

The council also voted 3-2 to table a resolution to create a Town Center Pump Track Committee. DiStasi and Buccieri voted no.

DiStasi said she supports the concept of a specialized pump track committee to find volunteers, collect donations and keep the track safe. “It’s my understanding they have no authority other than reporting back to the town.”

Mayor Howard Burrell said he previously had discussed the resolution with council members and three had agreed to support it.

He said he would use his authority as mayor to create the committee and he appointed Brian Scott, Gene Arnold and Jon Hanson to three-year terms, Dan Kraus and Howie Cawley to two-year terms, and Joann Pleva and Roger Foco to one-year terms.

Burrell also appointed Barbara Jaggi and JoAnn Floridia to the Environmental Commission.

Jaggi has been chairwoman of the Highland Lakes Ecology Committee, and Floridia has worked as a laboratory scientist and a certified organic farmer.

Sewer expansion OK’d

Council members approved a $4.3 million bond ordinance to finance expansion of the sewer system in the township. Of the total, $3.5 million is federal funds awarded for the project.

Resolutions approved:

• Authorized the purchase of sewer cleaning equipment for $279,937.

• Authorized the purchase of Freightliner axles for $223,266.

• Authorized the purchase of a woodchipper for $50,149.

In answer to a question from resident Steve Dunlop, Business Administrator Tina Kraus said Minerals, which owns a hotel near Mountain Creek, owed more than $90,000 in sewer fees as of about two weeks ago.

”How is it the township just turns a blind eye and lets them do what they want to do when they owe us this kind of money. It’s not fair to the taxpayers,” he said. “Why do we put up with it?”