Vernon Township to acquire Board of Education property

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The Board of Education transferred ownership of property located at 293 at Route 94 to Vernon Township, at a cost of $1 stating it no longer had need of the building, which was being used by the Historical Society.

Concerns
Despite the low cost to the township, concerns were raised regarding whether the township should take over the property.

“If I’m not mistaken, the building was purchased with school system funds,” said Gary Martinsen. “If it’s purchased for $1 could the school system be missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars that should be back in the system?”

According to Council Member Dan Kadish the contract between the Board of Education and the township contained a clause stating that if the property ceases to be used for the public, it would then be returned to the Board of Education.

Conflict of interest
Resident Sandy Ooms questioned the decision to buy the property stating that the township already owns property suitable for the Historical Society and stated concerns over a potential conflict of interest.

“Why should we purchase it (the property) and put money into sewers?” said Ooms. “Couldn’t the Historical Society use the Faline Building? Is there a conflict of interest?”

Council Member Patrick Rizutto assured the public that there was no conflict of interest. But, to that point, Council Member Kadish abstained from the vote, stating, “I was a member of the Historical Society, I’m not any more but for this reason I chose to abstain.”

Council Member Jean Murphy also cited the Faline Building as an alternative.

“Sewers are going in at the Faline Building. If the Historical Society needs a place to be why would Faline not be considered?”

Despite Faline having ample space, Mayor Vic Marotta pointed out that the condition of the building simply is not suitable and that, “the cost of renovating it would be astronomical.” Furthermore, Marotta went on to say, “The site (Faline) sits on only one-third of an acre, there is no parking an access is very dangerous.”

The ordinance was passed by a 3-1 majority vote.

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