Minutes: March 17, 2016

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, March 17, 2016 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 18, 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 BuchneyA
Gloria GalloA
Thomas McClachrieP
Edward SnookP
Joseph TadrickP
Edward Seger (Mr. Seger arrived at 7:12)P
Vincent ZinnoP

Roll Call of Professionals

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

1. Open Meeting for Public Comment

Vincent Zinno moved to open the meeting to the public.
Thomas McClachrie seconded the motion.
All were in favor.
The meeting was opened to the public.

Noreen Moran of Great Gorge Village thanked Executive Director John Scerbo for taking the time to answer all of their questions today. She asked why all of the taxpayers in the township could not pay for the sewer bonds. She said when the sewer system was constructed it was for the benefit of the entire township. She feels all of the residents in town should pay for the sewer bonds. She said when repairs are made in Highland Lakes or elsewhere in the township’s infrastructure, and bonding is necessary, the entire taxpayer base pays for those bonds. She said she would not expect the entire town to pay sewer usage fees but a small tax should be assessed on all residents just for the debt of the bonding. She said she would meet with the mayor to discuss this concern.

2. Close the Meeting for Public Comment

Vincent Zinno moved to close the meeting to the public.
Joseph Tadrick seconded the motion.
All were in favor.
The public portion of the meeting was closed.

3. Consent Agenda

Resolution 16-29: Payment of March Bills

Vincent Zinno moved to pay the March 2016 bills.
Joseph Tadrick seconded the motion.

Discussion: Commissioner Thomas McClachrie asked if any of the bills were increases from last year’s bills. Executive Director John Scerbo said they are not annual bills. They are individual bills. Mr. McClachrie asked if any of the contracts increased, adding that auditor Charles Ferraioli’s contract decreased this year, so Mr. Ferraioli should get a plaque. Mr. McClachrie said he stated at the last meeting that he would not vote for any increases.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Joseph Tadrick, Vincent Zinno, and Edward Snook
Nays: Thomas McClachrie

4. Approval of Minutes

February 18, 2016 Regular Meeting

Vncent Zinno moved to approve the February 18, 2016 regular meeting minutes.
Thomas McClachrie seconded the motion.

Discussion: Mr. McClachrie noted a typographical error in which he was referred to as “Ms.” Instead of “Mr.” The recording secretary will make the correction.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas McClachrie, Edward Seger, Vincent Zinno, and Edward Snook
Nays: None
Abstain: Joseph Tadrick

5. Receipt and Filing of Correspondence

A. Letter Received February 8, 2016 from Ronald and Denise Walker of Sun Valley

The Walkers expressed an interest in having their area included in the expanded sewer service district because they are concerned their septic may be contaminating their well.

Vincent Zinno moved to receive and file the correspondence.
Edward Seger seconded the motion.

Further Discussion: Vincent Zinno asked the executive director if he has had any further discussion with the Walkers. Mr. Scerbo said he had not.

All were in favor of receiving and filing this correspondence.

B. Letter Received February 22, 2016 from Peggy Gallos, Executive Director of the American Environmental Association

This letter extends the offer to the VTMUA to join the AEA at no cost as they have been reading about the township proposed sewer expansion area and they felt the AEA could be beneficial to the township and assist in the VTMUA’s efforts to possibly expand.

Thomas McClachrie moved to receive and file the correspondence.
Vincent Zinno seconded the motion.

Further Discussion: Thomas McClachrie asked if AEA was a political action committee. Mr. Scerbo said it was not.

All were in favor except Thomas McClachrie.

C. Letter Received February 20, 2016 from Charlene Lovegrove, 6 Village Way, Hidden Village

Ms. Lovegrove said she heard there might be a proposed expansion of the sewers to Curtis Drive, and she is opposed to it.

Thomas McClachrie moved to receive and file the correspondence.
Vincent Zinno seconded the motion.

Further Discussion: None

All were in favor of receiving and filing this correspondence.

D. Letter Received March 8, 2016 from Township CFO Elke Yetter Regarding the Bond Anticipation Note for Ordinance 11-22 Principal and Interest Due

Ms. Yetter asks for the payment to the township of $62,839.18 from the VTMUA.

Vincent Zinno moved to receive and file the correspondence.
Edward Seger seconded the motion.

Further Discussion: None

All were in favor of receiving and filing this correspondence.

6. Other Resolutions

A. Resolution 16-30: Adoption of a Cash Management Plan for 2016

Vincent Zinno moved to adopt the cash management plan for 2016. Edward Seger seconded the motion.

Further Discussion: Thomas McClachrie asked if the cash management plan satisfied the audit. Chuck Ferraioli said the VTMUA failed to do so in 2015, and that is why there is the audit comment. There will be no audit comment if the VTMUA passes the resolution in 2016.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas McClachrie, Vincent Zinno, Edward Seger, Joseph Tadrick, and Edward Snook
Nays: None

B. Resolution 16-31: Adoption of the 2015 Audit

Edward Snook moved to approve the 2015 audit.
Vincent Zinno seconded the motion.

Further Discussion: Thomas McClachrie asked about the 2005 agreement with Mountain Creek and the recent agreement that supersedes the 2005 agreement. He asked which agreement was viable. Chuck Ferraioli said the 2012 agreement is the viable one. Mr. McClachrie also questioned the Mountain Creek reimbursement rate for deficiencies. Mr. Ferraioli said 2016 is the fifth year of the agreement and whatever the deficit is will be calculated in January 2017 and added to the current $1.5 million deficit and that will be paid to the VTMUA for a 10-year period. Next year will be the first year in which the VTMUA will calculate what the 63% deficit will be and they will anticipate that portion as revenue in the 2017 budget. The $1.5 million Mountain Creek owes plus whatever the deficit is at the end of the year will be anticipated as revenue. As that money comes in, the VTMUA will reimburse the town and will be reducing what it owes the town. The town will then reduce its cash bond.

Vincent Zinno clarified that the agreements they were referencing are Vernon Township’s agreements and not the VTMUA’s. Attorney Richard Wenner said that the VTMUA is not a party to the 2012 Vernon Township/Mountain Creek agreement.

Roll Call Vote:
Edward Snook moved to approve the 2015 audit.
Vincent Zinno seconded the motion.
Ayes: Thomas McClachrie, Vincent Zinno, Edward Seger, and Edward Snook
Nays: None
Abstain: Joseph Tadrick abstained because he had not had an opportunity to read the complete audit.

7. Attorney’s Report

No report

8. Auditor’s Report

No report

9. Engineer’s Report

No report

10. Executive Director’s Report

Executive Director John Scerbo asked that at the end of the meeting the commissioners sign the affidavit for the audit.

11. Commissioner Comments

Thomas McClachrie said he would like to see the VTMUA change the rules and regulations regarding mandatory connections to the sewers and wants them to reflect the state’s regulations regarding connections. He stated property owners or businesses that have certain topographical conditions or obstacles should not be required to connect to the sewer line. He said people should not be required to blast bedrock or face other certain conditions to connect.

Attorney Richard Wenner said that the New Jersey Administrative Code that Thomas McClachrie cited states that property owners who have laterals or access to a sewer service main would not be permitted to put in alternate means for disposing of their sewage unless one of these conditions exist, in which case the sewer authority may consider allowing a waiver from the regulations. If a property is within 100 feet of a sewer line, the property owner may not put in their own septic systems unless one of the conditions exist.

Vincent Zinno said a prime example is Brookside Florist, which has significant bedrock on the property and blasting would be an exorbitant cost to connect. The VTMUA waived the requirement for the florist to connect.

Thomas McClachrie disagreed with Richard Wenner on the interpretation of the state regulation. He said what the state regulation points out is the property will not be considered to have a sewer line in front of the property if it meets one of the caveats.

Thomas McClachrie also said he wants to see all users on meters. He wants a meter on every connection. He said about 90 percent of the users are on the United Water system for their potable water and the VTMUA can bill those users based on the amount of potable water coming in. Meters for each connection would cost about $200, he said. He said without meters the people using less are supporting those who use more.

Edward Seger asked what is meant by a pump station. Thomas McClachrie said if it is not a gravity flow and the geography or topography requires pumping then a pump station is necessary. Vincent Zinno said in the industry a pump station is referred to as a system moving large amounts of wastewater whereas a lift station is more of a smaller package for residential or commercial use that is on a specific lot. Engineer Ceren Aralp said they also have small individual package systems on low-pressure systems along Route 94. They allow the flow to be lifted up and then flow by gravity, she said.

Commissioner Edward Seger said he did not think the VTMUA has the means to collect data on what septic systems are failing. That is something the town or the county would have to implement to get the data. West Milford is getting partial data, he said. He does not think the VTMUA has the authority to do it.

Richard Wenner said the VTMUA can do the study but questioned whether it would make sense to spend the money to pay professionals to do such a study. It would be more prudent to see what the NJDEP would approve before spending money on such a study, he said.

The commissioners also discussed concerns about protecting the town’s aquifer and drinking water supply and how failing septics could impact the drinking water supply.

Vincent Zinno noted that failing septics in the lake communities are polluting the waters in those communities. This is a problem in general in the northeastern part of the state, he said.

On a different topic, Thomas McClachrie said the EPA and U.S. Geological Survey have already done surface water studies in Vernon and there is some data available. He said he would like to see data that supports the residential EDU calculation of 250 gallons per day and for the commercial EDU. Richard Wenner said the VTMUA follows the SCMUA’s EDU requirements. The VTMUA EDU count is based on whatever the SCMUA dictates. Mr. McClachrie claims residential properties are paying 83 percent while commercial properties are paying 100 percent and wants to see the data that supports that decision. Mr. Wenner said he did not follow Mr. McClachrie’s rational but would research it and report back to the VTMUA.

12. Chairman Comments

No comments

Adjournment

Having no additional business, Edward Snook called for a motion to adjourn the meeting.

Vincent Zinno moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:06 p.m.
Thomas McClachrie seconded the motion.
All were in favor.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:06 p.m.

The next meeting of the VTMUA will be on April 21, 2016 at 7 p.m.

Transcribed and submitted by Jessica Paladini
Vernon Township MUA Secretary