Vernon to vote on bond ordinance for purchases, repairs

Measure calls for purchases for emergency services, repairs

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The Vernon Township Council introduced a bond ordinance on June 9 authorizing the issuance of more than $2 million in bonds or notes for various road improvements throughout the township.

The public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for Monday, June 23, during the Township Council meeting.

The ordinance calls for: the purchase of patrol rifles with mounts for use by the police department and turnout gear for the fire department; improving Breakneck Road, which includes milling, curb and sidewalk reconstruction, drainage improvements, retaining walls and other work; the purchase of vehicles such as a street sweeper, a straight axle truck for the Department of Public Worlds and four utility vehicles for the police and two ambulance chassis for the First Aid Squad; renovations to the roof on the Municipal Center, install a scoreboard at Maple Grange Park; purchase and install mobile data terminals in police vehicles and to fund the township's obligation to the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority and the Vernon Township MUA to pay a portion of the costs of construction of the sanitary sewage system.

The township had previously received a $200,000 grant from the state to conduct work on Breakneck Road, which will be used to offset some of the bond.

About $222,000 was estimated for the cost of the township's obligations to the county and township MUAs.

"Everyone has to pay, even us," Mayor Victor Marotta said on May 29 during a discussion before the ordinance was drafted. "I believe, in that number, is also the number for the Child Study Team building, which is being used by the historical society."

Marotta also said at that meeting the Estimated Daily Usage for the Municipal Center and Department of Public Works had not been confirmed yet and that number could fluctuate.

The township plans to retrofit two ambulances with new chassis. Marotta said the boxes were still in good shape and the township plans to buy two more next year.

Marotta said the street sweeper would take about a year to arrive in the township after the order is placed. Currently, Vernon is renting a street sweeper.

"The one we had we had, while it functioned really well, we had to send it back because it needed repairs," he said.

"What we learned from Hurricane Irene, streets need to be cleaned quickly and in an orderly fashion," Lynch said.

Marotta also addressed the purchase of AR-15 rifles for the township police. He said if there is an active shooter in the township, the police would likely be facing that kind of firepower.

"I hope we never need them," Marotta said. "But if we do and we don't have them, I ask you, is $7,000 a lot of money to spend to save someone's life?"

Regarding the bond issue, Marotta said aside from the purchase of the sewers and the emergency money for Hurricane Irene, the township had not borrowed a penny and has paid down about $5 million of the township's debt.

He said the bond issue will not have a negative effect on the township's credit rating.

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