Minutes: April 17, 2014

Call to Order

The regular meeting of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority (VTMUA) of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, 2014 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 2, 2014 and was posted on the bulletin board in the municipal building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.

Thomas BuchneyP
Barbara ChorzepaA
Gloria GalloP
James KensekP
Roy TanfieldP
Vincent ZinnoP

Professional Staff Present

Attorney John Ursin, Engineer Ceren Aralp, and Executive Director John Scerbo were also present.

1. Open Meeting for Public Comment

Motion to open the meeting to the public was made by James Kensek and seconded by Gloria Gallo.

No public came forward.

Motion to close the meeting to the public.
The motion was made by James Kensek.
Seconded by Thomas Buchney
All in favor

2. Consent Agenda

Resolution 14-22: Payment of Bills for April 17, 2014

Motion to approve the Consent Agenda was made by James Kensek.
Seconded by Roy Tanfield

Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Gloria Gallo, James Kensek, Roy Tanfield, and Vincent Zinno
Nays: None

3. Approval of Minutes of February 20, 2014 Meeting

Motion to approve the minutes was made by Thomas Buchney.
Seconded by Gloria Gallo

Discussion: None

Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Gloria Gallo, James Kensek, Roy Tanfield, and Vincent Zinno
Nays: None

4. Receipt and Filing of Correspondence

A. Letter from Ward Huey, Block 141 Lot 15.05

Mr. Huey, the owner of H&H Auto Plaza, requested a financial hardship plan for his shopping plaza. Mr. Huey said the economy has affected his property and he is losing some tenants. There are two food establishments in the plaza. Mr. Huey has paid his 2013 sewer fees but has not yet paid his 2014 first quarter fees. The property was assigned 11.5 EDUs. The hardship plan was approved, contingent upon the engineer’s approval of the amended plan.

Motion to accept the hardship plan made by Roy Tanfield.
Seconded by Thomas Buchney

Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Gloria Gallo, James Kensek, Roy Tanfield, and Vincent Zinno
Nays: None

B. Follow-Up on Old Correspondence

None

5. Resolution 14-23: Professional Services Contract for Executive Director

Motion to table the resolution and to extend the current contract until the next meeting was made by James Kensek.
Seconded by Gloria Gallo

Discussion: None

Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Gloria Gallo, James Kensek, Roy Tanfield, and Vincent Zinno
Nays: None

6. Attorney’s Report

Attorney John Ursin reported that the lawsuit Len Coloccia filed against the VTMUA is nearing the end of the discovery phase. When the discovery is over, the judge will assign a hearing date, which is likely to be around the late summer.

Mr. Ursin also said the township continues to have discussion and is making progress with United Water about providing water for the town center. Public water in the town center will lead to development and more sewer customers, he said. United Water would give a presentation at an upcoming township council meeting.

7. Auditor’s Report

No report

8. Engineer Report

Engineer Ceren Aralp reported that there are no new applications. She said the Appalachian Hotel owners have asked for the reassessment of EDU calculations for two units in the hotel that consist of office retail space and restaurant uses. The restaurant is empty and does not have a certificate of occupancy. Ms. Aralp recommended changing the use from a 294-seat restaurant to office retail space and thus changing the EDUs from 41.25 EDUs to 1.25 EDUs. Attorney John Ursin said when the use changes the VTMUA must change the rate to correspond with the changed use. Mr. Ursin suggested making the rate for the changed use retroactive to January 1, 2014. When the space is actually used, the VTMUA will reassess the number of EDUs based on the use at that time.

Motion to approve the change from 41.25 EDUs to 1.25 EDUs was made by Thomas Buchney.
Seconded by Gloria Gallo

Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Gloria Gallo, James Kensek, Roy Tanfield, and Vincent Zinno
Nays: None

Ms. Aralp said the VTMUA had requested her to review the flow calculations for the Vernon Board of Education building at 293 Route 94, Vernon, currently being used by the Vernon Township Historical Society. The review was a comparison of the EDUs for Vernon Electric and the Historical Society. The BOE building, which consists of 1,476 square feet, has no employees, and the society members only occupy the building 2-3 times a month for a few hours at a time. It was assessed .75 EDUs for 250 gallons per day. Vernon Electric on Church Street consists of 3,200 square feet and has two full-time employees and was assessed .25 EDUs at 25 gallons per day. According to Ms. Aralp, the review was completed and based on the BOE’s application for office use the calculation is correctly applied. She said the Vernon Electric calculation is based on warehouse use.

Vernon Historical Society Trustee Phyllis Pfeifer told the VTMUA the society uses the building at 293 Route 94 as a warehouse as well. The building houses the society’s archives and is not used as an office, she said. She said no one keeps office hours at the building and said the building is not inhabited and is only used several days a month for archiving. She said it is essentially a warehouse for historical documents. Chairman Vincent Zinno asked what the original application had it listed as. Ms. Aralp said it is listed as office space.

Attorney John Ursin said the BOE, or the historical society as the leaser, could resubmit a new application as warehouse/storage use, and the executive director and the engineer will re-evaluate the EDU calculation based on the new use. Mr. Ursin said if something changes in a building’s use, property owners can go to the VTMUA with a new application for the change in use. He said the property owner could give permission to the tenant to submit a new application.

9. Executive Director’s Report

John Scerbo reported that the VTMUA is up and running on the “New Jersey One Call” program where anyone needing to dig into the ground can make a phone call to find out what is underground. Mr. Scerbo said if someone calls for a mark-out for digging purposes, the VTMUA would get notified and a field crew would go out and take care of the mark-out.

Mr. Scerbo also reported that Thomas Buchney and Roy Tanfield completed the first VTMUA newsletter. The newsletters will go out with the second quarter sewer bills.

He also reported his results of the investigation of the videotaping of the VTMUA meetings. He said a member of the public had accused the VTMUA of “picking and choosing” which meetings to request Service Electric Cable (SEC) to videotape. The VTMUA had not requested videotaping of the meetings, and Mr. Scerbo announced that upon calling SEC he learned that the requests to SEC to videotape certain meetings had been made by resident Sally Rinker. When Mr. Scerbo asked for all the meetings to be videotaped, SEC told him the VTMUA would have to assert that the VTMUA is the producer of the videotapes and guarantee that the VTMUA would be liable should anything occur at the meetings. Mr. Scerbo asked SEC if Ms. Rinker had, in fact, signed such an agreement and guarantee that she would be liable since she had requested the videotaping. The SEC representative did not give Mr. Scerbo a response but said she would have to speak with their attorney. Mr. Scerbo asked the SEC representative to send in writing what the policies and requirements are, but he has not received anything since his call three weeks ago. The VTMUA will consult with the township council to review its agreement with SEC.

10. Commissioners’ Comments

Roy Tanfield said he is concerned that the VTMUA remains financially stable and viable and asked if a cash flow projection had been done and was told it was not necessary to do one. Having done a cash flow projection himself, Mr. Tanfield feels the VTMUA will not be able to collect enough money fast enough to meet their expenses. He discussed his concerns with John Scerbo, Chairman Zinno, and attorney John Ursin. To stabilize the situation, he said, he made the recommendation that a contract be drawn, binding the township to allow the VTMUA to borrow from it when necessary to cover the VTMUA’s cash shortfalls in the future. He said such a plan would give the VTMUA a safety net for about 10 years. He said the VTMUA would need a lot more help from the township than they thought, since projects such as the indoor water park are still a long way off. He said the VTMUA needs a contract to guarantee the money in the form of what is known in the corporate world as a “keep well agreement,” and he believes the VTMUA has the right to insist on it. Mr. Tanfield said Mr. Ursin is negotiating this contract with the mayor.

Mr. Ursin said he would work with Mr. Tanfield and then present the proposal for the agreement to the commissioners at a public meeting for its approval.

James Kensek reported that the VTMUA purchases tools every so often, so he and John Scerbo are working on a tool inventory. He also suggested providing additional lighting in Mr. Scerbo’s office. Commissioners suggested getting a desk lamp for Mr. Scerbo’s office.

Thomas Buchney asked for the status of overtime work for the DPW workers and asked if Mr. Scerbo is keeping track of maintenance and overtime hours.

Mr. Scerbo said once the inventory list is completed, major assets that are in the system such as pump stations, motors, tools, and equipment that the VTMUA obtains should be added to the inventory.

11. Chairman Comments

Chairman Vincent Zinno thanked Roy Tanfield and Thomas Buchney, the newsletter committee, for completing the first edition so quickly and also thanked James Kensek for working on the tool inventory and said it was a very valuable asset to the VTMUA.

Adjournment

Motion to adjourn the meeting was made by James Kensek.
Seconded by Gloria Gallo
All were in favor.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:19 p.m.

The next meeting of the VTMUA will be on May 15, 2014 at 7 p.m.

Transcribed and submitted by Jessica Paladini
Vernon Township MUA Secretary