Minutes: June 4, 2020

These minutes are a synopsis of the meeting that took place on 6/4/2020. Copies of the recording are available at the office of the VTMUA.

1. Executive Session at 7:00 p.m. (Closed to the Public)

Chairman Furrey called the meeting to order at 7:15 p.m. and advised the executive session would begin to discuss personnel and the interlocal agreements with the Township of Vernon.

Motion was made to open the executive session at 7:15 p.m. by Mr. Kearny, seconded by Mr. McDermott and carried via unanimous vote.

2. Call to Order

Mr. Kearney motioned to close executive session and Mr. McDermott seconded the motion at 8:13 p.m. which was carried by unanimous vote.

3. Statement of Compliance

Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 213, PL 1975, adequate notice as defined in Section 3D of Chapter 231, PL 1975 of this regular meeting was provided to the public and the press on January 20, 2020 by delivering to the press such notice and posting same at the municipal building and filed with the office of the VTMUA as well as posted on the website.

4. Salute to the Flag

5. Roll Call of Members and Professionals

The following were present:
Michael Furrey
Paul Kearney
Dave McDermott
Kristin Wheaton
Andrew Pitsker

The following members were absent:
Angela Erichsen

Professionals: Donelle Bright, Administrator; Colette J. Borell, Recording Secretary

Mr. Furrey welcomed Donelle Bright as the new administrator and chief financial officer of the VTMUA.

6. Open Meeting to the Public

At this time Mr. Furrey referred to the work session item A.

7. Work Session

A. Sewer Service Area and the Asset Management Plan

Mr. Furrey stated he will split out the sewer service area and provided the update that they are working with the NJDEP to get the sewer service area map approved. There was a meeting with the township and the VTMUA to talk about the sewer service area map; the MUA asked Cory Stoner, P.E., to help expedite matters. Mr. Furrey noted that Ceren Aralp sent a map that is easier to read and shows the current sewer and potential expansion areas. Mr. Furrey reached out to Jim McDonald of the county health department to request a more recent letter regarding failed septic systems. He added they are going to ask the NJDEP to accept the dilution model that the county had already provided. In response to Mr. Furrey, Mr. Pitsker acknowledged the importance of having the township and VTMUA aligned. He noted that Cory Stoner’s input was a benefit. Mr. Furrey stated that Ceren will be at the next meeting to provide updates on handling the evaluations and specifications. With respect to the asset management plan, Mr. Furrey stated that Ceren was authorized to complete the remaining assessment of the two force mains. He advised that the evaluation estimate is approximately $30,000.00 and is covered under the NJIB AMP. Ms. Bright clarified that the MUA pays the engineer and the township will reimburse the MUA as they are reimbursed from NJIB up to $100,000.00.

B. Pump Station #2 Update - Funding Source and RFQ

Mr. Furrey stated the draft Request for Qualifications (“RFQ”) was completed by Ms. Wheaton and distributed to all board members for review. Ms. Wheaton commented on the draft RFQ and clarified the terms and conditions for the design and permitting for pump station #2. She advised there would be solicitations for price proposals, rate sheets, staff qualifications, organizational status, and scopes of work. She stated that the idea and expectation is to have this firm on board by September 2020. Mr. Furrey inquired about their qualifications and experience with the Infrastructure Bank and Ms. Wheaton confirmed that this was included. Mr. Pitsker and Ms. Bright commented on the transmittal of the RFQ to the bidders list and the posting of the RFQ. Ms. Bright confirmed that the qualified purchasing agent (“QPA”) will be reviewing the RFQ once everything will be finalized and confirmed that it will be posted on the League of Municipalities website. Ms. Wheaton confirmed the scope of work would include pump station #2, rehabilitation of the force main and the possible sewer service area expansion. Mr. Furrey requested the board review it and provide comments at the next meeting.

C. Feasibility Committee Update - MUA Utility

Mr. Furrey stated the company Wind River attended the meeting about the transfer station. Mr. McDermott confirmed the committee was compiling a report for review for July. Mr. McDermott advised Wind River was amendable to entering into a partnership. Mr. Furrey stated there may be a possibility that Wind River may finance part of the transfer station and asked Mr. McDermott to keep the board updated on the progress of the meeting and report. Mr. Furrey discussed the residential sewer pumping ordinance, which would offer residents discounts to encourage more frequent pumping of their septic; this could be a part of the transfer station model for the township. Mr. Furrey opened the discussion on whether there should be a required ordinance establishing a schedule for pumping of the septic systems. Both he and Mr. Kearney commented on the problems associated with neighboring lake communities with lack of frequency of the pump outs.

D. Township Council Liaison

Mr. Furrey advised that there had been discussion as to having a liaison with the town council with the ultimate goal of having both the town council and the MUA moving in the same direction. Ms. Bright confirmed that she would follow up with the town council

8. Approval of the Bills

Mr. Pitsker inquired as to the completion of the bankruptcy work and Ms. Bright confirmed with the bankruptcy attorney that the work was finished with no additional billing anticipated after the audit. She confirmed that a contract for a regular retainer was in place for the MUA attorney Mr. Wenner for 2020. Mr. McDermott made a motion to approve the bills list, which was seconded by Ms. Wheaton, and carried upon unanimous vote.

9. Approval of Minutes

Ms. Wheaton commented that she did not see the executive session meeting minutes and spoke on the minutes from 2019 that were not available. Ms. Bright commented that she spoke with Mr. Wenner on the updating of the older minutes in 2019 and that these minutes will be addressed. She confirmed that they are not required to have recordings but were required to have minutes. Mr. Pitsker commented on the agendas and minutes that were not posted to the MUA website. Ms. Wheaton clarified that she was reviewing her records and did not have any on whether a November 2019 meeting was held. Mr. Furrey asked the board to review their records for any information on these meeting minutes and this problem will be corrected moving forward. Mr. Furrey moved to table the discussion on the review of the meeting minutes to the next meeting.

10. Consent Agenda

A. Resolution Authorizing Employment of Administrator

Motion to approve was made by Mr. McDermott, seconded by Mr. Kearney and moved as carried via aye vote of Mr. Furrey, Mr. Kearney, Mr. McDermott, Ms. Wheaton, and Mr. Pitsker; with no nay votes or abstentions.

11. Purchase Needs

A. Pump Station #1 Repair

Mr. Furrey commented the pump station repair was done and a bill was submitted and sent to the township to get processed.

B. Generators for Lift Stations

Mr. Furrey discussed getting a smaller generator for the lift station and that they were seeking to obtain a mobile model that is more effective to get into the lift station. He requested Ms. Bright to discuss this procurement with Jack Grosser.

C. Safety Review

Mr. Furrey commented the MUA will start making a list of items that have to be addressed and will need to be reviewed and identify the items which will fall under the purview of Mr. Grosser as the licensed operator of record. He requested follow up with Mr. Grosser to obtain feedback, identifying items on what needs to be done and provide him with a copy of the safety. Mr. Pitsker commented it is important to prioritize the most important items respect to safety. Mr. Furrey concurred, stating the railings are the most important items to be addressed. Mr. Pitsker commented the railings and the trip hazards need to be addressed and should be prioritized. Mr. Furrey agreed and noted the MUA will need to follow up on the PEOSHA review.

12. Commissioner’s Comments

Mr. Pitsker requested additional bills list back up to educate the board on what was being spent. Ms. Wheaton commented that the bills list for this meeting was sufficient and adequate. Mr. Pitsker inquired as to the status of the MUA budget. Ms. Bright commented that financials were sent out at the first meeting in May and can provide the quarterly financials. She stated they are within legal requirements for the budget and the accounting system is structured to not allow expenses over budget.

Mr. McDermott offered comments on the review of his records regarding the 2019 meeting minutes; he noted there was a November 2019 meeting. Ms. Wheaton concurred. Mr. Kearney advised that to his recollection there was a period of time in between recording secretaries which could explain the gap for the missing minutes. Mr. McDermott commented about properties that are not hooked up and the matter went back to September 2019 meeting. Discussions were held and registered letters were to have been sent to the property owners for hook up and are supposed to be connected. Mr. McDermott queried if this was ever followed up and was done. Mr. Furrey asked for Mr. McDermott to email the board members with that information and also requested Ms. Bright to follow up with Ceren to determine what properties were paying sewer rates but were not physically connected. Ms. Wheaton noted that at least one person joined the meeting after the meeting was opened to the public session and suggested re-opening it to the public. Mr. Furrey agreed and asked for further comments. Mr. Kearney had one further comment with respect to updating the November 2019 meeting by contacting John Perry. Mr. Furrey confirmed that he will follow up with Mr. Perry.

There being no further comments by the commissioners, a motion to re-open to the public was made by Mr. Kearney, seconded by Mr. Pitsker with all members voting in favor.

At this time Mr. Furrey re-opened the regular session to the public with the statement of their name and where they were from.

Jessica Paladini came forward and commented on the status of the OPRA requests and expressed concern regarding the minutes on the MUA website. Mr. Furrey confirmed that the MUA now has a recording secretary who is Ms. Borell. In response to Ms. Paladini, Mr. Furrey confirmed e-votes were not conducted.

Seeing no one else from the public wanting to speak a motion to close the meeting to public was made by Mr. McDermott, seconded by Ms. Wheaton with all members voting in favor.

13. Chairman’s Comments

None

14. Adjournment

There being no further items of business to be conducted on the agenda, a motion for adjournment was made by Mr. McDermott, seconded by Mr. Pitsker with all members voting in favor. The regular session workshop meeting of the Vernon Township Municipal Utility Authority was adjourned at 9:12 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Colette J. Borell
MUA Recording Secretary

Minutes approved: July 30, 2020