Minutes: March 19, 2012

The regular meeting of the Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, March 19, 2012 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 December 18, 2011 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 of Members

Thomas BuchneyP
Barbara ChorzepaP
Doug DobrzynskiP
Gloria Frato-GalloNP
James KensekP
Vincent Zinno (arrived 7:05 p.m.)P
Edward H. RolandoP

Also in Attendance

Mayor Vic Marotta
John Ursin, Esq.
Chuck Ferraioli, Auditor
John Rolak, Engineer
Aida Cahill, Secretary

Salute to the Flag

Mr. Rolando led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.

Items for Action

Approval of Minutes of the Regular Meeting from February 9, 2012

Moved: Barbara Chorzepa
Second: Doug Dobrzynski
All were in favor.
Regular meeting minutes from February 9, 2012 were approved.

Correspondence

A written request was made for verification that Block 145, Lot 5.01is located in the sewer service area. Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM) reviewed the request and responded that this particular block and lot is in the sewer service area. It was noted that future requests for verification should be handled in the same manner.

Policies and procedures for municipal and county utilities authorities were provided for review.

Maps detailing the sewer service area were available for review.

Mayor’s Comments

Mayor Vic Marotta announced that a contract of sale would be signed for acquisition of the United Water sewer system by Vernon Township, and that this event was scheduled to take place Friday, March 23, 2012. All commissioners were invited to attend. It was noted that the necessary funds would be ready for a tentative closing date on March 29, 2012. The mayor also advised that there had been interest shown in Town Center property by several chain stores, as well as private companies, in anticipation of the sewer becoming operational.

Mayor Marotta thanked the commissioners and professionals for all of their hard work leading the MUA up to this point, and encouraged them to continue the process with introduction of a budget and selection of an Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) rate.

Mr. Ursin reported that the negotiations between United Water and Vernon Township had been accomplished in a very favorable way for the town. Mr. Ursin advised that a Notice of Discontinuance approved by the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) was necessary before the closing between United Water and Vernon Township could take place.

Notice of Mandatory Connection

Mr. Ursin requested that the commissioners review the notice and forward their comments directly to him before the next MUA meeting in April. It was noted that approval of the Notice of Mandatory Connection would be included on the next agenda.

Mr. Buchney questioned if all lots in the sewer service area were buildable lots. Mayor Marotta explained that the lots in the sewer service area are buildable because the advantage of a sewer system is that developers will be able to blast, level and achieve whatever they need to because they don’t have to worry about percolation and septic systems.

Mayor Marotta advised that there is consideration being given to modifying the town center zoning designation. Mr. Marotta explained that there are a different set of circumstances being dealt with today, as opposed to when the town center was originally planned. It was noted that the zone changes were very preliminary, at this time.

The mayor also shared that the township was in the process of meeting the requirements of the Highlands Act, as it relates to the Town Center. The importance of approval from the state for our Town Center and by all the agencies involved was stressed. The mayor stated that people who were interested in developing in the Town Center would have the most up to date requirements.

Interlocal Agreements

Motion to authorize the MUA Chairman to sign the Interlocal Agreement between the Vernon Township Department of Public Works and the MUA.
Moved: Vincent Zinno
Second: Thomas Buchney
All were in favor.

Contracts

Motion to approve contract renewal for Hatch Mott MacDonald, Engineer.
Moved: Thomas Buchney
Second: Doug Dobrzynski
All were in favor

Motion to authorize MUA Chairman to sign contract with Gerald Kastner, Jr., Sewer Operator.
Moved: Doug Dobrzynski
Second: Vincent Zinno
All were in favor.

Applications

Vernon Valley Investors

An additional $2500.00 escrow was received by Vernon Valley Investors to continue review of their application for the sanitary sewer connection.

2012 Budget

Chuck Ferraioli, Auditor

Mr. Ferraioli proposed a 2012 budget that would be introduced and adopted at the MUA meeting to be held in April. The budget called for $200,000 for operations and $456,000 which would represent 75% of the SCMUA bill for 2012. Mr. Ferraioli explained that once United Water was purchased by the township and bills were sent out to the users, the budget could be amended after estimating what the revenues would generate for the year, as well as what the expenses would be. It was also noted that the budget could be amended for connection fees received, anytime during the year. The budget proposed tonight was for $656,000 on the appropriations side. The revenue side would be the monies from the old bond ordinance or through the note to be issued.

Mr. Ursin explained that unlike the council, the MUA generally does not have a legislative function and therefore does not have to follow the ordinance procedure a town council would have to follow. Mr. Ursin noted the exception to be that of the budget and the user rate. Publishing a Notice of Public Hearing was also required. Preliminary introduction of the budget resolution and directing the secretary to publish the Notice of Public Hearing would take place tonight. Adoption of the Resolution for the Annual Budget and User Rate would be in April. A change of meeting date for April 2012 was discussed.

Motion for a meeting date change from April 12, 2012 to April 16, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.
Moved: Barbara Chorzepa
Second: Doug Dobrzynski
All were in favor.

There was discussion regarding a user rate of $840.00 per EDU.

Mayor Marotta expressed his support of the proposed user rate, so that costs for the sewer would be covered without burdening taxpayers.

Motion for Resolution 12-01 setting sewer user rate, Introduction of the Resolution to adopt the 2012 Budget, and scheduling of the Public Hearing for April 16, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. on both issues was made by Thomas Buchney; seconded by Vincent Zinno with all commissioners voting in favor.

Resolution #12-01: Resolution of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority Setting Sewer User Rate Pursuant to Section 4.2 of the VTMUA Rules and Regulations

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority was formed and organized to operate Vernon Township’s public sewer system;

WHEREAS, the VTMUA expects the municipal sewer system to be operational in early 2012;

WHEREAS, the VTMUA adopted Rules and Regulations on November 3, 2011;

WHEREAS, at the time of the adoption of the Rules and Regulations, the Authority wanted to conduct more research and analysis concerning the user rate;

WHEREAS, the Authority has received information concerning other municipalities’ rates, the current rates charged to United Water customers, and have received a proposed budget from the auditor;

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the members of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority that Section 4.2 entitled “Rates” is hereby amended to set the user rate for 2012 at $840.00 per year per EDU.

NOW THEREFORE IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED that the Clerk of Board shall keep this resolution in a binder with the adopted Rules and Regulations as an official record of the VTMUA.

Billing Revisions

Mr. Ursin was authorized to draft a resolution amending the Rules and Regulations to indicate a 10 day grace period instead of a 15 day grace period, as well as a resolution stating that the quarterly payments would now be due on February 1st, May 1st, August 1st and November 1st.

United Water

It was noted that Lakeland Bank would be offering a loan program to sewer users for connection costs. The program does not involve the township or the MUA and would be an agreement between the sewer users and Lakeland Bank.

Administrative Protocol

Mr. Rolak will arrange a chain of command, if problems arise with sewer repairs. Mayor Marotta requested that Mr. Rolak discuss this with Dave Pullis, Director of the Vernon Township DPW.

Open to Public Comments

There were no public comments.

Closed to Public Comments

Resolution 12-02: Reduction in the Sewer Connection Fee for a One Year Period
Motion: Barbara Chorzepa
Second: Tom Buchney

Mr. Buchney questioned the hardship clauses.

Superseding motion to omit whereas clauses #3, #4 and #5: Vincent Zinno
Second: Doug Dobrzynski
All were in favor
Resolution 12-02 was approved with omission of #3, #4 and #5 whereas clauses.

Resolution #12-02: Resolution of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority Regarding a Reduction in the Sewer Connection Fee for a One Year Period

WHEREAS, the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority adopted Rules and Regulations on November 3, 2011;

WHEREAS, Section 3.2 of the Rules specify a connection fee of $4,665 per EDU;

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the members of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority that the connection fee set forth in Section 3.2 of the Rules and Regulations of the VTMUA is hereby amended to indicate that any customer that connects to the municipal sewer system between the date of this Resolution and March 15, 2013 shall be entitled to a reduced connection fee equal to one half (1/2) the per EDU amount set forth in Section 3.2.

NOW THEREFORE IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED by the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority that any customer connecting to the municipal sewer system after March 15, 2013 shall pay the per EDU fee set forth in Section 3.2 as it exists now or as amended in the future.

NOW THEREFORE IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED that the Clerk of Board shall keep this resolution in a binder with the adopted Rules and Regulations as an official record of the VTMUA.

MUA Insurance Policy

Mr. Ursin advised that once connection notices are sent out, the MUA would be conducting operations and therefore need insurance coverage. Mr. Ursin explained that the insurance agent offered three different levels of coverage. Mr. Ursin recommended starting with the lowest level. The costs were outlined as follows:

$2,398.00 for $1,000,000 of coverage
$7,194.00 for $5,000,000 of coverage
$13,189.00 for $10,000,000 of coverage

The risk manager would analyze coverage needs again in 3 to 6 months depending on the MUA’s level of activity.

An oral resolution authorizing Mr. Ursin to have the $1,000,000 insurance policy set in place was made by Barbara Chorzepa; seconded by Thomas Buchney, with all in favor.

Mr. Buchney questioned requesting insurance certificates from independent contractors. Mr. Rolando requested that the secretary obtain a Certificate of Insurance from Mr. Kastner.

MUA Discussion

Mr. Rolando requested that commissioners confirm their attendance at MUA meetings with the secretary, at least 48 hours in advance to assure having a quorum.

Sewer Applications

John Rolak, HMM

Sample applications had been distributed to the commissioners. Mr. Rolak explained that the applications fell into two categories; those requiring Land Use Board (LUB) approval or Treatment Works Approval (TWA), and those without. It was noted that review by HMM would need approximately two weeks for applications not requiring approvals. This type of application would be used for wastewater flow of less than 8,000 gallons per day.

Mr. Rolak advised that the other two applications would be for preliminary and final applications, requiring TWA or LUB approval. It was explained that an engineer would be completing the preliminary application and a final application would require escrow fees and plan revisions.

The mayor requested that these forms be placed on the MUA website. Thomas Buchney requested that the EDU list be made available on the website, as well as in the MUA office.

Mr. Zinno questioned if plumbers had authorization to complete sewer connections. Mr. Rolak stated that some townships allowed this and some did not. It was suggested that excavator be listed on the application, as well.

Mr. Zinno questioned if there would be a review of submitted applications by both the HMM engineer and the LUB engineer. Mr. Rolak explained that typically HMM recommended that the LUB engineer not do any review of the sanitary sewer connection. Mr. Zinno advised that LUB fees were being revised and suggested including sewer application fees on the LUB application.

Mr. Rolak questioned who would take care of the bonding. Mayor Marotta explained that there would be communication from HMM stating that the application had been reviewed including what the anticipated cost to complete would be, and should there be a failure, add it into the bond. Mr. Marotta further stated that if an interboard agreement between the MUA and the LUB was needed, it would be forthcoming.

Mr. Rolando questioned if HMM would be completing all of the inspections. Mayor Marotta stated that HMM would do the inspections up to where the plumbing takes over and then the Vernon Township plumbing inspector would take over from there.

Mr. Rolak questioned whether the connection fee would be collected prior to the endorsement of the TWA, or when the applicant goes for their building permits. It was decided that collecting the connection fee prior to endorsement of the TWA would be best.

Mr. Zinno requested information regarding how much HMM would charge to review the applications. Mr. Ursin stated that the sample letter he distributed indicated a review escrow of $200 for residential and $1000 for commercial. Mr. Ursin requested that Mr. Rolak review the sample letter to determine whether these escrow fees would be appropriate, so that the secretary could inform users when they make application for connection.

Adjournment

There being no further items to be conducted, a motion for adjournment was made by Vice Chairman Zinno. Motion was seconded by Ms. Chorzepa with all commissioners voting in favor.

The regular meeting of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority was adjourned at 8:33 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Aida Cahill
MUA Secretary

Minutes approved: April 16, 2012