Minutes: June 15, 2017

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, June 15, 2017 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 19, 2016 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
Gloria GalloP
Paul KearneyP
John PerryA
Edward SegerP
Edward SnookP
Kristen WheatonA

Executive Director John Scerbo asked the record to reflect that John Perry and Kristen Wheaton both called and said they were tied up at work and could not attend tonight’s meeting.

Roll Call of Professionals

Attorney Joseph Salvatore, Engineer Ceren Aralp, Auditor Charles Ferraioli, and Executive Director John Scerbo were present.

1. Resolution 17-32: Authorizing the Issuance of Not Exceeding $100,000 Bonds or Notes of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority and Providing for their Sale to the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and Authorizing Various Matters in Connection Therewith

Executive Director John Scerbo asked the commissioners to move to put this resolution on this evening’s agenda as an emergent matter. The resolution provides for the funding to proceed with an asset management plan in order to determine the need for, and the scope of, future capital projects. Attorney Joseph Salvatore, attending the meeting on behalf of VTMUA Attorney Richard Wenner, said the resolution is a time-sensitive matter.

Edward Snook moved to add Resolution 17-32 to the agenda.
Edward Seger seconded the motion.
All were in favor

2. Public Comment

Edward Seger moved to open the meeting to the public.
Edward Snook seconded the motion.
All were in favor.
The meeting was opened to the public.

Seeing no one come forward, chairman Thomas Buchney called for a motion to close the meeting to the public.

3. Close Meeting for Public Comment

Edward Seger moved to close the meeting to the public.
Edward Snook seconded the motion.
All were in favor.
The meeting was closed to the public.

4. Consent Agenda

A. Resolution 17-31: Authorizing the Payment of Bills for June 15, 2017

Edward Snook moved to approve Resolution 17-28.
Paul Kearney seconded the motion.

Discussion: Edward Seger questioned an amount on the bills list and asked if it was for the attorney the VTMUA hired for the Mountain Creek bankruptcy. John Scerbo said it was and said it would be discussed in executive session.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Gloria Gallo, Edward Seger, Edward Snook, Paul Kearney, and Thomas Buchney
Nays: None

B. Approval of May 18, 2017 Minutes

Edward Seger moved to approve the May 18, 2017 minutes.
Paul Kearney seconded the motion.

Discussion: Edward Seger questioned an item under “Commissioner Comments” in the minutes. He questioned the process for the steps involved in a proposed expansion. Mr. Seger questioned whether that discussion took place at the meeting. The recording secretary said the minutes are drafted directly from the meeting recording. John Scerbo said the minutes were accurate as written and the discussion did take place.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Gloria Gallo, Edward Seger, Edward Snook, Paul Kearney, and Thomas Buchney
Nays: None

C. Approval of April 20, 2017 Vernon Township Council and VTMUA Joint Meeting Minutes

Thomas Buchney moved to approve the minutes of the joint meeting.
Paul Kearney seconded the motion.

Discussion: None

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Edward Seger, Edward Snook, Paul Kearney, and Thomas Buchney
Nays: None
Abstentions: Gloria Gallo

5. Resolution 17-32: Authorizing the Issuance of Not Exceeding $100,000 Bonds or Notes of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority and Providing for their Sale to the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust and Authorizing Various Matters in Connection Therewith

This resolution provides for the funding to proceed with an asset management plan in order to determine the need for, and the scope of, future capital projects.

Edward Seger moved to approve the resolution.
Edward Snook seconded the motion.

Discussion: John Scerbo said the newness of this loan is a first time feature being done by the NJEIT. When the VTMUA filed the application, they found out the NJEIT requires a short-term financial addendum. In order to get that done, they needed to speak with bond counsel Robert Beinfield. Mr. Beinfield advised that the resolution be attached to the application. Mr. Scerbo said the resolution, to a degree, indemnifies NJEIT. Mr. Scerbo said this trust program was designed for small authorities that do not have large assets. Thomas Buchney asked auditor Charles Ferraioli if the VTMUA is using the township’s bond counsel, Mr. Beinfield, or if they are just going to him for advice. Auditor Charles Ferraioli said they have used him in the past.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Gloria Gallo, Edward Seger, Edward Snook, Paul Kearney, and Thomas Buchney
Nays: None

6. Attorney’s Report

Attorney Joseph Salvadore said the interlocal services agreement between the VTMUA and the Township of Vernon has been going back and forth and is still with the township attorney. They are waiting on the township to send the finalized contract back to the VTMUA. He also stated he had a letter from the attorney representing the VTMUA in the Mountain Creek bankruptcy. He would read the letter in executive session. Edward Seger asked if the matter concerning the VFW had been finalized. Mr. Salvatore said it had not, but there is a tentative agreement. Mr. Scerbo said they have a tentative settlement agreement, but the details have not yet been submitted to the court.

7. Auditor’s Report

Auditor Charles Ferraioli had no report.

8. Engineer’s Report

A. Review of New Applications

Minerals Ice Cream Shed at Block 199.08, Lot 99 for a 0 EDU Count

Engineer Ceren Aralp said the application was for a small shed that will have two machines for ice cream. There are no seats proposed, and she does not believe any EDUs should be allocated for this shed. It is part of the hotel but will not really be generating any flow. Hotel employees will operate the ice cream shed. The hotel is already assessed EDUs for other restaurants and amenities on site.

John Scerbo noted the building department is getting applications for changes of use, and he stressed the importance of the building department to notify the VTMUA of these changes in use. A change in use is just as important for the VTMUA as are new connections, he said.

Edward Snook moved to accept the recommendation of the engineer for this property and use.
Edward Seger seconded the motion.

Discussion: None

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Gloria Gallo, Edward Seger, Edward Snook, Paul Kearney, and Thomas Buchney
Nays: None

B. Old Business

Engineer Ceren Aralp reported the municipal center sewer connection has begun. The town engineer will do the inspections. It will be done by the end of the week.

C. Status of Asset Management Loan Application

Mott MacDonald was asked to provide the engineering contract for work on the asset management plan loan application so that the letter of intent would be deemed complete and the NJEIT application would be put into the queue and the $100,000 reserved for the VTMUA. Ceren Aralp provided the contract to the project manager. The contract addresses the trust’s requirements. She said this is a new program and whatever project is selected for funding should provide the DEP best practices for asset management plans. Those best practices items are as follows.

  1. Asset Inventory and Condition Assessment
  2. Level of Service
  3. Critical Asset
  4. Life Cycle Costing
  5. Long-Term Funding Strategy

The contract identifies and explains all of those best practices. John Scerbo said when the asset management plan is completed, the DEP reviews it over time during the operation of the system. Ms. Aralp said it would be about four months before the application process is completed. Thomas Buchney asked typically with a study like this what type of enforcement authority does the DEP have when it begins reviewing it? Ms. Aralp said she is not aware of any enforcement authority they might have. The DEP can fine failings of a system and require corrections, but it would not be a result of reviewing an asset management plan. The DEP is concerned with strategic planning, not enforcement issues in an asset management plan, she said.

Edward Snook moved to approve the draft contract.
Edward Seger seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Gloria Gallo, Edward Seger, Edward Snook, Paul Kearney, and Thomas Buchney
Nays: None

D. Status of Sewer Expansion Activity

Ceren Aralp reported she met with the county planner and a county engineer. She said the expansion study would include the Route 94 commercial and residential areas as well as the Malibu Drive residential area and residential areas by the Legends Resort. She said the flows for all of these areas, the estimated EDUs, on top of the 166,000 allocated flows for Mountain Creek plus the town’s current 99,000 would not exceed the 645,000 gallon allocation for the municipality. Edward Seger asked if it would reach the minimum flow required for the SCMUA payments. Ms. Aralp said it would. If everything is developed as planned for the future, all of the allocations would eventually be used, she said. She said the county had no issues with the expansion plan they are considering but recommended the VTMUA have a pre-application meeting with the DEP before going to the water committee to see what areas the DEP might reject from the start. She suggested she, the executive director, and county planner Alice Brees attend this meeting with the DEP. Paul Kearney suggested one or two members of the VTMUA also attend.

9. Executive Director’s Report

Executive Director John Scerbo reported the VTMUA members were invited to a dinner for authority members throughout the state. He said it is a good opportunity to learn what other authorities are doing.

He also addressed his updated annual report and said he corrected a typo in a number in the report and also addressed some questions by the mayor. He attached SCMUA information to the report to answer and clarify the mayor’s questions. He said he also attached a letter from Ceren Aralp regarding the status of the asset management plan and the application. He said he delivered the updated report to the mayor today.

10. Commissioner Comments

Edward Seger reported he and commissioner John Perry met by phone with Mayor Harry Shortway and business administrator Charles Voelker. One problem the mayor and business administrator had was with the 20-minute emergency response. The mayor proposed doing a shared service with a town for emergencies but have someone else do the day-to-day operations during the week. He said he and John Perry were concerned that it might work for now because the current operator, the township, knows the system, but if the system changes they want to be able to keep people up to date. Mr. Scerbo said that was an interesting point but questioned whether that was one of the reasons the VTMUA has not gotten back the interlocal services agreement from the township. He said they are sitting there waiting to find out what is in the agreement and how long the town is going to give them before the termination of the use of the DPW comes into play. Edward Seger said he did not think that had anything to do with the suggestion. He said the township wants the VTMUA to move ahead with the RFPs and expedite it as fast as they can. Mr. Scerbo said if the interlocal service agreement came back to them, it would tell them how much time they had.

Edward Snook said he is leery about having one group do emergencies and another do maintenance because if a maintenance problem really is not a high priority at the time but turns into an emergency for them at night then the daily operators would not do emergencies and would not care.

John Scerbo added that if he has to manage that, he is subjected to a finger-pointing exercise between the regular crew and the emergency crew. Commission Gloria Gallo agreed and said she does not support such an idea.

Edward Snook said that would also cost the VTMUA extra money.

Thomas Buchney said the mayor and entire council were at the joint meeting between the governing body and the VTMUA, and they all heard attorney Richard Wenner explain why they did not get responses for the first RFPs they put out because Mr. Wenner canvassed the people they were sent to. That answer has already been given but evidently not heard, Mr. Buchney said.

Edward Seger suggested breaking it out into two sections in the RFPs. It gives them another option he said.

Mr. Scerbo said he wished he knew the phone conversation was taking place between Edward Seger and the mayor and business administrator because he would have liked to be in on it.

Edward Seger said it happened quickly. He had gotten a call at 11:30 a.m. and said he was available at 1 p.m. for the conference. John Scerbo said he is at the municipal center and always available for conferences or phone calls.

11. Chairman’s Comments

Chairman Thomas Buchney said regarding the 2017 report on the state of the authority, the mayor asked a number of questions about the report, which he and John Scerbo worked together to give responses. Part of the mayor’s questions referenced an engineering report the town did, but he and Mr. Scerbo did not have access to that report. He said immediately upon receiving the mayor’s letter with the questions they requested the report from the mayor on May 15 but did not receive it until just last week on June 7. He said they had inadequate time to review the report to get back to the mayor within the mayor’s timeline. Had they received the report earlier, they could have responded earlier, Mr. Buchney said. They have since responded after receiving the report. Mr. Buchney said most of the mayor’s questions were based on misunderstandings.

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 and personnel matters.

Gloria Gallo moved to go into executive session at 8:26 p.m.
Edward Snook seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Gloria Gallo, Edward Seger, Edward Snook, Paul Kearney, and Thomas Buchney
Nays: None

The VTMUA went into executive session at 8:26 p.m.

13. Return to Public Session

Edward Seger moved to close executive session and return to public session at 9:45 p.m.
Thomas Buchney seconded the motion.
All were in favor.

The VTMUA went back into public session at 9:20 p.m.

14. Resolution 17-33: Salary for VTMUA Executive Director

The commissioners discussed changing the executive director’s position from one that is paid hourly to a salaried employee at the annual rate of $75,000 with continued expenses paid for mileage at the current rate. There would only be a provision for comp time for extenuating circumstances and with the approval of the VTMUA.

Edward Seger moved to approve the resolution for the salary for the executive director.
Paul Kearney seconded the motion.

Discussion: During discussion, Mr. Scerbo said the new contract would result in a decrease in salary for him from his current hourly wages. Upon further discussion, the commissioners voted to reject the new salary and provisions and reconsider it at the next meeting.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: None
Nays: Gloria Gallo, Edward Seger, Paul Kearney, and Thomas Buchney
Abstain: Edward Snook

Adjournment

Edward Seger moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:05 p.m.
Edward Snook seconded the motion.
All were in favor.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:05 p.m.

The next meeting of the VTMUA will be on July 20, 2017 at 7 p.m.

Transcribed and submitted by Jessica Paladini
Vernon Township MUA Secretary