Minutes: April 19, 2018

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 19, 2018 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 February 15, 2018 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.

Roll Call

Thomas BuchneyP
John PerryP
Edward Seger (traveling on business)A
Edward SnookP
Kristin WheatonA
Paul Kearney Alt #1 (traveling out of state)A
David McDermott Alt #2P

Roll Call of Professionals

Executive Director John Scerbo, Attorney Richard Wenner, and Ceren Aralp were also present. Charles Ferraioli was not present as there were no financial matters to be addressed.

1. Public Comments

Edward Snook moved to open the meeting to the public.
John Perry seconded the motion.
All were in favor.

Seeing no one come forward, Edward Snook moved to close the meeting to the public. Thomas Buchney seconded the motion. All were in favor.

2. Consent Agenda

Resolution 18-29: Resolution Authorizing the Payment of Bills for April 15, 2018

Edward Snook moved to approve Resolution 18-29.
Dave McDermott seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Edward Snook, John Perry, and Dave McDermott
Nays: None

3. Approval of Minutes

Regular Meeting of March 15, 2018

Thomas Buchney moved to approve the March 15, 2018 minutes.
Dave McDermott seconded the motion.

Discussion: None

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Edward Snook, John Perry, and Dave McDermott
Nays: None

4. Other Resolutions

A. Resolution 18-30: Resolution to Purchase a Truck for the VTMUA for Field Work Under State Bid

Edward Snook moved to approve Resolution 18-30.
Thomas Buchney seconded the motion.

Discussion: Edward Snook reported they removed the plow and lift gate from the purchase because they would have put them well over budget. The vehicle will come framed for the plow so they could always add a plow or lift in the future. The vehicle is an F350, four-wheel drive, V8 super cab. Edward Snook will handle the purchase and report back to the commissioners. John Scerbo questioned what color truck they should purchase. Edward Snook suggested contacting the dealership, Route 23 Automall LLC, to see what colors they have in stock. Ordering a special color might take months; a stock vehicle would be available immediately. The cost of the vehicle is $44,898.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Edward Snook, John Perry, and Dave McDermott
Nays: None

B. Resolution 18-31: Resolution to Acquire Cell Phones for VTMUA Staff, Utilizing the State Bid

Thomas Buchney moved to approve Resolution 18-31.
Dave McDermott seconded the motion.

Discussion: These phones will be military type to stand up to field work. Each will cost $54 a month for unlimited minutes, text, and data. They will be for VTMUA business use only.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Edward Snook, John Perry, and Dave McDermott
Nays: None

C. Resolution 18-32: Resolution Changing VTMUA Rules and Regulations to Establish a Developer’s Agreement for Multiple Housing Units, Making the Housing Association Responsible for the Sewer Infrastructure and Its Operation within the Housing Development

Edward Snook moved to approve Resolution 18-32.
Dave McDermott seconded the motion.

Discussion: John Scerbo explained in the past they have been called in to the developments to do work, and that has been problematic because many of the developments do not have as-builts. There have been situations where they could not find what they were looking for, so in consultation with other MUAs in the state and general consensus, he suggests this resolution to accommodate this problem. The VTMUA’s responsibility will only be where the developers connect at one of the VTMUA assets and not beyond that.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Edward Snook, John Perry, and Dave McDermott
Nays: None

D. Resolution 18-33: Resolution Releasing and Refunding Escrow Monies for Sewer Projects

Dave McDermott moved to approve Resolution 18-33.
Thomas Buchney seconded the motion.

Discussion: John Scerbo reported these projects have been completed, money is left in escrow funds, and they should be released to the applicants. This resolution authorizes the finance department to release those funds.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Edward Snook, John Perry, and Dave McDermott
Nays: None

5. Receipt and Filing of Correspondence

None

6. Auditor’s Report

None

7. Attorney’s Report

Mr. Wenner reserved comment for matters of litigation in executive session.

8. Engineer’s Report

A. Review of New Applications—None

B. Old Business—None

C. Status of Asset Management Plan

Ceren Aralp said she is still waiting to hear from the NJ I-Bank (formerly NJEIT) on the status of the asset management plan.

D. Status of Sewer Expansion and Project Schedule

Ceren Aralp and John Scerbo are attending the April 25 freeholder board meeting to present the amendment to them. If it is approved at that meeting, the county will be able to submit it to the DEP right away. Mr. Scerbo stated the VTMUA commissioners may attend the meeting if they wished to do so.

E. Report on Review of Force Main

Ceren Aralp reported the Pump Station 2 force main was inspected, and there are no visible issues.

9. Executive Director’s Report

A. John Scerbo reported there was a pipe leak on April 13 at the lift station at Great Gorge Village. At the time they did not know where the leak was. Everyone was out handling emergencies. He alerted the DPW to see if they could get someone to come with a backhoe. It was the end of the DPW work day, but Mr. Scerbo was able to get a hold of Howie Lazier, who used to be the lead person for the VTMUA. Jim Schmick and another DPW employee also came and dug a 36-inch wide hole and went down about four feet. The hole was filling up with water as fast as they could dig. They pumped down the hole with a sump pump, and they saw a spiral occur right in the center of the hole, so they were certain the leak was right where they were digging. They dug down another foot and they were right and were able to fix the leak and clean up the area. Mr. Scerbo commended them on their work and he went to the business administrator and said he wanted commendations placed in their files. The business administrator drafted the commendations, and Mr. Scerbo signed them, and they were placed in the employees’ files.

B. The auditor and his staff have begun the VTMUA 2017 audit, which should be completed by the end of April or beginning of May. There are no exceptions or corrections that have been identified. The VTMUA has had clean audits for the past 3-4 years that Mr. Scerbo has been executive director, and he expects this one to be the same.

C. Mr. Scerbo also said an issue has come up that needs the commissioners’ attention. A Vernon resident has requested that when the VTMUA posts its meeting agendas they goes on their website as the council posts theirs. He said the problem is they only have one meeting a month, so if a resolution is not ready in time for the posting date he has no choice but to post it as it stands. In order to address the matter, he discussed it with the attorney, who suggests that when they have a resolution that is not ready they could just put a couple of sentences that describe the resolution and add a disclosure at the bottom of the agenda to say the resolution is subject to change. Mr. Scerbo said no resolution is really final until the commissioners look at it and decide to pass it, as there could be changes at the meetings. The agendas are generally completed and posted on the Mondays before the meetings.

D. Mr. Scerbo said there is need for a training course for confined spaces. He found a company from Lancaster, PA, that has a resource in New Jersey based on OSHA requirements. If the VTMUA chooses to bring this company in, he asks them to pass a motion allowing him to set up the course. For $2500, an unlimited number of people can attend the course. Mr. Scerbo offered to business administrator Chuck Voelker to send as many people as he wants from the DPW to the course. Mr. Voelker said the Bergen County Fire Academy offers the training for $75 per person, but the course is at night and on Saturdays, and the township would have to pay the employees overtime to attend. Mr. Scerbo said his suggestion would be to have it here in town and the DPW employees are already here and would still be available of they were needed in an emergency. They would also use township’s equipment to do the training, so the employees would already be familiar with it. Mr. Scerbo asked for authorization from the commissioners.

Dave McDermott moved to authorize Mr. Scerbo to set up the course.
Edward Snook seconded the motion.
All were in favor.

E. Mr. Scerbo reported he received email today from Business Administrator Chuck Voelker, who is looking to establish an RFP for emergency activities such as excavation that was required at Great Gorge last week. The administrator would like to see several people they could call upon in emergency situations and know what the costs would be in advance. Mr. Scerbo spoke with attorney Richard Wenner, who suggested that if the VTMUA wants to do this they would need to send out their own independent RFPs because they cannot use a township RFP. Mr. Scerbo will prepare something for the next meeting for the commissioners’ consideration. Mr. Wenner said they could also do a joint bid. If the commissioners reject the joint bid, they could do their own RFP for their own needs.

10. Commissioners’ Comments

Edward Snook noted that according to newspaper reports, Mountain Creek has joined forces with a large construction company to partner with them on a 120-room project on the Sammis Farm. He said that seems to have no reflection on the bankruptcy because the property that is in bankruptcy does not own that property. It is a separate LLC. He said if they proceed with the project, it would bring in EDUs. Mr. Scerbo cautioned those remarks because he said there is no pipe in front of that property and there is no sewer allocation for that property. They cannot use allocations that Mountain Creek possesses for any other properties. The commissioners discussed several scenarios for allocations regarding both Mountain Creek and the township.

Thomas Buchney said there was very specific language regarding the allocations in the paperwork sent by Mo Bauer, the attorney representing the VTMUA in the Mountain Creek bankruptcy. He said they need to address Mr. Bauer’s correspondence regarding those allocations. Richard Wenner said they would discuss the matter in executive session.

11. Chairman’s Comments

Chairman John Perry commended Executive Director John Scerbo for the way he handled the Great Gorge Village situation with the sewer break. He said with the lack of resources available, Mr. Scerbo was able to get it fixed in a very timely manner. He said he would also like to have a commendation for Mr. Scerbo.

12. Executive Session

WHEREAS, the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 permits the exclusion of the public in certain circumstances; and

WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority of the Township of Vernon as follows.

1. The public shall be excluded from discussion of and action upon the hereinafter-specified subject matter.

2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is litigation.

Edward Snook moved to go into executive session at 7:48 p.m.
Dave McDermott seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Edward Snook, John Perry, and Dave McDermott
Nays: None

13. Close Executive Session

Edward Snook moved to close executive session at 8:50 p.m.
Thomas Buchney seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Edward Snook, John Perry, and Dave McDermott
Nays: None

14. Return to Public Session

Edward Snook moved to return to public session at 8:51 p.m.
Dave McDermott seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Edward Snook, John Perry, and Dave McDermott
Nays: None

The VTMUA went back into public session at 8:51 p.m.

15. Executive Director’s Salary

The commissioners voted on a two-percent salary increase for the executive director for 2018.

Edward Snook moved to approve the salary increase.
John Perry seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Edward Snook, John Perry, and Dave McDermott
Nays: None

Adjournment

John Perry moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:52 p.m.
Dave McDermott seconded the motion.
All were in favor.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:52 p.m.

The next meeting of the VTMUA will be on May 17, 2018 at 7 p.m.

Transcribed and submitted by Jessica Paladini
Vernon Township MUA Secretary