Minutes: June 6, 2013

Call to Order

The regular meeting of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority (VTMUA) of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:07 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, 2013 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 8, 2013 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
Barbara ChorzepaP
Doug DobrzynskiA
Gloria GalloP
James KensekP
Stephen PiccirilloA
Vincent ZinnoP

Professional Staff Present

John Ursin, Ceren Aralp, John Scerbo

1. Administering Oath of Office

Attorney John Ursin administered the Oath of Office to Gloria Frato-Gallo and swore her in to a new five-year term to expire on February 1, 2018.

2. Open Meeting for Public Comment

Motion to open the meeting to the public
Made by: Barbara Chorzepa
Seconded by: Thomas Buchney
All in favor

Chairman Vincent Zinno opened the meeting for public comment.

Gary Martinsen of Vernon asked the VTMUA to have their resolutions available on the township website. Chairman Zinno said the new Executive Director, John Scerbo, will see to it that they get posted on the website in the future. Mr. Martinsen also asked if and when the VTMUA was going to adopt a Hardship Policy for those users who might make payment plans for connection to the sewers. He stated that at the May 30, 2013 meeting of the Township Council, Councilman Daniel Kadish had questioned why the VTMUA was not adopting a Hardship Policy. Attorney John Ursin informed Mr. Martinsen that the VTMUA had already adopted a Hardship Policy by resolution at its April 18, 2013. The Hardship Policy sets a payment plan over time for the connection fee.

Don [last name not discernable] from Great Gorge Village asked if the VTMUA would be analyzing the assets of people who apply for the Hardship Policy. Mr. Ursin said applicants will show the VTMUA the nature of their hardships and the connection fees would be applied over a period of time. The Hardship Policy will not reduce the amount owed but rather spread it over time.

Noreen Moran of Great Gorge Village asked if the Hardship policy will only apply for the hookup fees or if it also applies for sewer rates. Mr. Ursin stated it applied for the hookup cost only. She also asked if the users would have to pick up any of the financial shortfall in hardship cases. Mr. Ursin said they would not.

Kevin Schlostick of Great Gorge Village said the VTMUA had promised a graph for the condo owners to show them what they would be paying over time. Chairman Zinno said such a graph would be provided by the auditor, and he will follow up on the request.

Len Coloccia of Great Gorge Village asked if the 2014 VTMUA budget has been determined yet. Mr. Ursin said the budget would be done in November. Mr. Coloccia asked Chairman Zinno to explain his property ownership in the sewer area. Chairman Zinno said he is a 50% owner of a commercial property on Theta Drive. Mr. Coloccia asked Mr. Ursin how Chairman Zinno could be a VTMUA commissioner when he owns property in the sewer area. He asked if his membership was a conflict of interest. Mr. Ursin said no. Mr. Coloccia, reading from what he said was a state statute, said no member, officer or employee of a municipal authority shall have or acquire any interest, direct or indirect, in the utility system or in any property included or planned to be included in the utility system or contract or proposed. Mr. Ursin said the statute referred only to a property owned, leased, or given an easement by the utility system. Mr. Ursin said owning property in the sewered area does not preclude one from being an MUA commissioner. Mr. Coloccia asked why a resident of Great Gorge Village could not be a member of the MUA.

Linda Gervald of Great Gorge Village asked about the new Urgent Care and the associated heliport. She asked if both were paying separate EDUs or if they were calculated together as one property. She asked how many EDUs the Urgent Care was assessed. Engineer Ceren Aralp said they were assessed 3 EDUs based on 700 gallons a day. Ms. Aralp said the Urgent Care is 7000 square feet of space and falls under the office retail space category. Ms. Gervald asked who owns the building. She was told Mountain Creek owns it but Atlantic Healthcare leases it.

Chris Roberts of Great Gorge Village asked about the status of the possible exemption from connection fees for the four township-owned building. Chairman Zinno said the VTMUA had not addressed the issue but might do so at the next meeting.

Close Meeting to the Public

Motion to close
Made by: James Kensek
Seconded by: Thomas Buchney
All in favor

3. Approval of Minutes

Approval of Minutes for Regular Meeting of April 18, 2013

Motion to approve the minutes
Made by: Thomas Buchney
Seconded by: Gloria Frato-Gallo

Call for Discussion: No discussion

Roll Call Taken:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Barbara Chorzepa, Gloria Frato-Gallo, Vincent Zinno
Nays:
Abstention: James Kensek
Motion passed.

4. Approval of Bills

Resolution 13-21 Payment of Bills through May 31, 2013

Motion to approve the bills
Made by: Barbara Chorzepa
Seconded by: James Kensek

Call for Discussion: No discussion

All in favor
Motion passed.

Resolution No. 13-21: Resolution of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority Authorizing the Payment of Bills

WHEREAS, the VTMUA Executive Director and the Vernon Township Finance Office have processed the bills presented to the VTMUA for payment;

WHEREAS, the Executive Director of the VTMUA has prepared the attached list of bills, which are recommended by the Executive Director for payment;

WHEREAS, the Chief Financial Officer has certified that funds are available to pay the bills set forth on the attached list;

WHEREAS, the VTMUA Finance Committee has reviewed the bills list and has not taken any exceptions or raised any objections;

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the Commissioners of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority that all of the bills on the attached list shall be paid.

5. Correspondence

A. Letter from the Mixing Bowl Restaurant, KDA Investments Inc.

B. Letter from Municipal Clerk Concerning Re-Appointment of Gloria Frato-Gallo

Motion to acknowledge receipt of correspondence
Made by: James Kensek
Seconded by: Barbara Chorzepa

Call for Discussion: No discussion

All in favor
Motion passed.

6. Resolutions

A. Resolution 13-22 Authorization for Payment of Recurring Non-Discretionary Emergent Bills

This resolution addresses reccurring non-discretionary emergent bills of less than $500. Bills must be subject to recommendation of executive director to pay the bill and the certification of the CFO that funds are available. Such bills may be paid in-between meetings, provided they are authorized by the chairman and at least one member of the finance committee. Any bills paid under this policy must be placed on the bills list of the next agenda for ratification by the full membership of the VTMUA.

Motion to approve the minutes
Made by: Thomas Buchney
Seconded by: Barbara Chorzepa

Call for Discussion: No discussion

Roll Call Taken:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Barbara Chorzepa, Gloria Frato-Gallo, James Kensek, Vincent Zinno
Nays: None
Motion passed.

Resolution No. 13-22: Resolution of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority Authorization for Payment of Recurring Non-Discretionary Emergent Bills

WHEREAS, the VTMUA meets once a month;

WHEREAS, there are times that some non-discretionary recurring bills need to be addressed;

WHEREAS, the Commissioners of the VTMUA believe that an expedited bill payment procedure is in the best interest of the functioning of the VTMUA;

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED that the Commissioners of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority hereby adopt a bill payment policy as follows:

  1. This policy only applies to recurring non-discretionary emergent bills of less than $500.00.
  2. This policy only applies to bills where the Executive Director recommends payment of the bill and the CFO certifies that funds are available.
  3. Under these circumstances, bills as set forth in this policy may be paid in-between meetings provided that they are authorized by the Chairperson and at least one member of the Finance Committee.
  4. Any bills paid pursuant to this policy must be placed on the next available bills list to be ratified by the full membership of the VTMUA.

B. Resolution 13-23: Financial Hardship Plan for Mixing Bowl Restaurant

Motion to approve
Made by: Gloria Frato-Gallo
Seconded by: Thomas Buchney

Call for Discussion: The motion was to grant the hardship plan; the EDU rate will be modified to 7.25; the total connection fee of $16,910.63 split over a five-year period in equal installments. The resolution will further be amended to reference the 50% reduction of the connection fee.

Roll Call Taken:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Barbara Chorzepa, Gloria Frato-Gallo, James Kensek, Vincent Zinno
Nays: None
Motion passed.

Resolution No. 13-23: Resolution of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority Approving a Hardship Payment Plan

WHEREAS, the Commissioners of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority have established a hardship payment plan allowing the Vernon Township sewer connection fee to be paid over a number of equal annual installments;

WHEREAS, KDA INVESTMENTS LLC is the owner of Block 141.04 Lot 1 (hereinafter “applicant”);

WHEREAS, the applicant has presented an application and has been approved for an allocation of 7.5 EDUs;

WHEREAS, the applicant’s connection fee pursuant to the Rules and Regulations and the policies of the VTMUA is $16,910.63.

WHEREAS, the applicant has applied for a hardship payment plan of the sewer connection fee;

WHEREAS, the Commissioners of the VTMUA have reviewed the narrative and financial information submitted by the applicant;

WHEREAS, the Commissioners of the VTMUA believe that requiring the applicant to pay the VTMUA’s connection fee in one payment represents a financial hardship;

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the Commissioners of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority that KDA Investments LLC as owner of 141.04 Lot 1 is hereby approved for a connection fee hardship installment plan as follows:

  1. The total connection fee shall be $16,910.63.
  2. The applicant shall be permitted to pay the connection fee in 5 equal installments.
  3. Each payment shall be $3,382.13.
  4. Each payment shall be due on July 1st of each year starting on July 1, 2013.
  5. All payments due under this payment plan are designated and shall be treated as a municipal lien, and a copy of this agreement shall be filed with the Tax Collector’s Office.
  6. The applicant shall be required to sign a copy of this Resolution agreeing to and memorializing the payment plan as well as any other documentation required by the VTMUA.
  7. All amounts due under this agreement shall be subject to the same late penalties and interest as sewer user fees.

C. Resolution 13-24: Financial Hardship Plan for Vernon United Methodist Church

Motion to approve
Made by: James Kensek
Seconded by: Vincent Zinno

Call for Discussion: Barbara Chorzepa questioned the EDU calculation. SCMUA calculated the EDU as 1.4, which is based only on the number of seats in the sanctuary area. The VTMUA calculated it as 1.75, to include the number of seats in the sanctuary and also office areas. Engineer Ceren Aralp said the VTMUA is not bound by the SCMUA calculations. Barbara Chorzepa made the recommendation to lower the calculation to 1.25 EDUs total for the church. She said it is a historically unique institution that does a lot of good for the community. She feels that giving such a consideration to the church would be good for the township. The motion remained for 1.75 EDUs.

Roll Call Taken:
Ayes: Gloria Frato-Gallo, James Kensek, Vincent Zinno
Nays: Barbara Chorzepa
Abstentions: Thomas Buchney
Motion passed.

Resolution No. 13-24: Resolution of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority Approving a Hardship Payment Plan

WHEREAS, the Commissioners of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority have established a hardship payment plan allowing the Vernon Township sewer connection fee to be paid over a number of equal annual installments;

WHEREAS, VERNON UNITED METHODIST CHURCH is the owner of Block 148 Lot 2 (hereinafter “applicant”);

WHEREAS, the applicant has presented an application and been approved for an allocation of 1.75 EDUs;

WHEREAS, the applicant’s connection fee pursuant to the Rules and Regulations and the policies of the VTMUA is $4,081.88.

WHEREAS, the applicant has applied for a hardship payment plan of the sewer connection fee;

WHEREAS, the Commissioners of the VTMUA have reviewed the narrative and financial information submitted by the applicant;

WHEREAS, the Commissioners of the VTMUA believe that requiring the applicant to pay the VTMUA’s connection fee in one payment represents a financial hardship;

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the Commissioners of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority that Vernon United Methodist Church as owner of Block 148 Lot 2 is hereby approved for a connection fee hardship installment plan as follows:

  1. The total connection fee shall be $4,081.88.
  2. The applicant shall be permitted to pay the connection fee in 5 equal installments.
  3. Each payment shall be $816.38.
  4. Each payment shall be due on July 1st of each year starting on July 1, 2013.
  5. All payments due under this payment plan are designated and shall be treated as a municipal lien and a copy of this agreement shall be filed with the Tax Collector’s Office.
  6. The applicant shall be required to sign a copy of this Resolution agreeing to and memorializing the payment plan as well as any other documentation required by the VTMUA.
  7. All amounts due under this agreement shall be subject to the same late penalties and interest as sewer user fees.

D. Resolution 13-25: Proposal for Professional Engineering Services for Geographic Information System (GIA) Database Sanitary Sewer Utility

Motion to approve
Made by: Barbara Chorzepa
Seconded by: Thomas Buchney

Call for Discussion: Barbara Chorzepa asked to state the cost of the proposal on the record for the benefit of the public. Ceren Aralp said the cost is $17,500.

Roll Call Taken:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Barbara Chorzepa, Gloria Frato-Gallo, James Kensek, Vincent Zinno
Nays: None
Motion passed.

Resolution No. 13-25: Resolution of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority for GIS Database Development

WHEREAS, Hatch Mott MacDonald serves as the consulting engineers to the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority;

WHEREAS, there is a need to create a Geographic Information System (GIS) database for the sanitary sewer utility;

WHEREAS, Hatch Mott MacDonald is qualified to perform these services;

WHEREAS, the VTMUA has been presented with a proposal dated May 20, 2013;

WHEREAS, the cost of the services are set forth on page 5 of the proposal;

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority Commissioners believe this service is necessary and the projected costs are fair and reasonable;

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED that the Commissioners of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority hereby authorize the Executive Director to approve a contract with Hatch Mott MacDonald for GIS database services as set forth in the May 20, 2013 proposal.

E. Resolution 13-26: Contract for Vital Communications for System Support Services

Motion to approve
Made by: Thomas Buchney
Seconded by: Barbara Chorzepa

Call for Discussion: No discussion

Roll Call Taken:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Barbara Chorzepa, Gloria Frato-Gallo, James Kensek, Vincent Zinno
Nays: None
Motion passed.

Resolution No. 13-26: Resolution of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority Contracting for Billing Services with Vital Communications

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority needs to contract for a billing service;

WHEREAS, the Township uses Vital Communications;

WHEREAS, it is important to coordinate the billing between the VTMUA and the Township Finance Office;

WHEREAS, the VTMUA has been presented a contract dated May 3, 2013;

WHEREAS, the contract presented runs until March 31, 2014 and contains a 30-day termination clause;

WHEREAS, the Commissioners of the VTMUA are in agreement with this contract;

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED that the Executive Director is authorized to execute a contract on behalf of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority with Vital Communications dated May 3, 2013 running from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 for billing services.

7. Attorney’s Report

Mr. Ursin reported that the VTMUA is party to a lawsuit filed by Great Gorge Village condo owners. The VTMUA filed a Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit. The judge ruled that the condo owners must amend their complaint within 45 days.

8. Auditor’s Report

No report

9. Engineer’s Report

Review of New Applications

Block 142 Lot 8—Rumours Hair Salon and Rite Aid—4 EDUs

Ceren Aralp said she researched hair salons in 8 different municipalities and 7 of the 8 used the same calculations proposed by the VTMUA, which is calculated based on retail space. She said she found in her research that Bernards Township calculates hair salons by a fixed EDU rate and by .38 EDUs for each chair. Ms. Aralp said she recommends a decision by the VTMUA despite the owner’s failure to provide required drawings because she does not anticipate getting the drawings.

Motion to approve
Made by: Gloria Frato-Gallo
Second by: Thomas Buchney

Call for Discussion: No discussion

Roll Call Taken:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Barbara Chorzepa, Gloria Frato-Gallo, James Kensek, Vincent Zinno
Nays: None
Motion passed.

Review of Old Business

A. Block 148. Lot 6—311 Route 94—Sanders

An oil/water separator will be required installation for this application. Ceren Aralp recommends accepting the design for connection.

B. Block 145 Lot 7—Brookside Florist

Since there are 7 properties connected to this system and due to the nature of the low pressure, Ceren Aralp recommends a pump that is designed for low pressure.

10. Executive Director’s Report

A. John Scerbo said a notice would be sent reminding the public that they have until June 30 to take advantage of the 50% reduction in connection fees.

B. Mr. Scerbo also reminded the commissioners that their Financial Disclosure Forms, which were due May 31, must be filed immediately. All disclosures must be filed electronically.

11. Commissioner Comments

Barbara Chorzepa commented on the EDUs assessed to hair salons. Because the VTMUA rules and regulations do not specify calculations other than to categorize hair salons as commercial/retail businesses, she recommended directing the engineer to perform studies. She suggested documenting water usage from several hair salons, barbershops, and spas. She asked the engineer to provide the VTMUA with proof of water usage for future consideration of assessing EDUs for hair salons. Chairman Zinno said the engineer had already done research. Mr. Chorzepa asked for a case study analysis of several hair salons to determine how much water is used on average so the VTMUA has a better understanding of how to assess EDUs for these businesses. The studies should be based on such businesses that use sinks, showers, and washers on a regular daily basis. Ceren Aralp will provide a proposal for doing a case study on hair salons, barbershops, and spas.

Barbara Chorzepa had additional questions regarding connection fees or exemptions for municipal and board of education buildings. Chairman Zinno said Mr. Ursin is gathering facts and will have a report for the VTMUA at the next meeting. Ms. Chorzepa asked if the municipal center and the Board of Education were notified about the question of connection fees and suggested they be notified before the next meeting.

The Commissioners discussed a possible change in the next meeting date. June 19 and June 27 were contemplated. No decision was made.

12. Chairman Comments

Chairman Zinno welcomed John Scerbo as Executive Director and said he was in regular communication with Mr. Scerbo and they are working closely to improve VTMUA business and make applications more user friendly.

Ken Acheson of the Mixing Bowl Restaurant came forward, and the meeting was opened to the public again. Mr. Acheson asked if he could get a copy of his Hardship Plan to review it. He also asked if SCMUA was giving any consideration for Hardship Policies for their connection fees. Mr. Ursin said SCMUA has not given hardship consideration in other towns, but during a meeting with SCMUA last week they said they would consider it after Vernon completes its hardship considerations.

Motion to Adjourn the Meeting

Made by: Thomas Buchney
Second by: Gloria Chorzepa
All in favor
The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.

Transcribed and submitted by Jessica Paladini, Secretary
Vernon Township MUA