Minutes: October 20, 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, October 20, 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 BuchneyP
Gloria GalloP
Thomas McClachrieP
Edward SnookP
Joseph TadrickA
Edward SegerP
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.
Gloria Gallo seconded the motion.
All were in favor.
The meeting was opened to the public.

Sally Rinker questioned why members of the VTMUA met with the VFW just prior to tonight’s meeting. She questioned how the resolution adopted on August 18 establishing 1 EDU for the VFW was changed. She claimed it was changed to 2 EDUs.

Attorney Richard Wenner said the EDU count for the VFW was not changed. He said what was discussed was that the VFW’s application that was submitted to the VTMUA in August was not accurate and did not reflect the entire use of their facilities. He said the VFW particularly omitted the fact that they have a bar. Mr. Wenner said the professionals and two members of the VFW present at the meeting asked the VFW to submit a revised application that reflected an accurate use of the facility. Mr. Wenner said the application as submitted was taken at face value but later found to have an omission. He said there was no classification included in the application for the approximately 15 to 20-seat bar or the grease trap. He reiterated no decisions were made at the meeting, the EDU count had not changed, and the VFW will consult with its attorney and submit a revised plan and application.

Commissioner Thomas McClachrie said he did not know about the meeting that took place with the VFW earlier that day and questioned why it could not have come before the full commission at its meeting tonight. He said no commissioner has any more authority than the rest of the commissioners. The attorney and the other commissioners agreed. Mr. McClachrie claimed the commissioners took action at the meeting.

Mr. Wenner said that was incorrect as no action was taken. He said it is also incorrect to suggest that the chairman and the professionals could not meet with applicants and discuss something informally. He said it is completely incorrect for Mr. McClachrie to suggest that.

Commissioner Vincent Zinno said he voted against the VFW application in August because the VTMUA engineer was not present to back up and support for why it was assessed 1 EDU or to verify the accuracy of the VFW’s application. He said the application only indicated use as an assembly hall and not a bar. When the error was realized, it was brought to the attention of the VFW, Mr. Zinno said. The meeting was nothing more, he added.

Mr. Wenner said when it was realized that the 1 EDU count was not accurately reflective of the actual use of the facility he spoke with the VTMUA chairman and suggested they have an informal conversation with the VFW to see if they could work it out and then bring the matter to the commission tonight to discuss it as a whole. He said the meeting with the VFW was productive and amicable. There was no action taken; it was an informal meeting, the issue was discussed, and the VFW is coming back with a revised application, Mr. Wenner said.

Gloria Gallo said she is the director of a similar authority in another town and nothing inappropriate was done at the informal meeting with the VFW. Such meetings are appropriate as long as no action is taken, she said.

Township Councilwoman Sandra Ooms addressed the VTMUA. She asked what prompted the VTMUA to review the VFW application again and asked has the VTMUA gone back to review other applications in the past?

Engineer Ceren Aralp said the VTMUA had no bar seats shown in the application and no other structures except an assembly hall. Ms. Aralp said the VTMUA has to be consistent with all applications throughout the town

Councilwoman Jean Murphy addressed the VTMUA and said her concern is the way the situation was handled.

Vincent Speziale asked what was the positive of such a move and said it was important to keep everyone on the same page and united as a board. He said as a union representative for the township DPW he would be concerned if such a meeting occurred. He said his main concern is unity and seeing people work together.

Edward Seger said he was not notified about the meeting but felt that the chairman should be able to have informal meetings with applicants where no action is taken. He suggested in the future the commissions should just be notified of meetings taking place.

2. Close the Meeting for Public Comment

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

3. Consent Agenda

Resolution 16-44: Payment of October Bills

Vincent Zinno moved to pay the October 2016 bills.
Thomas Buchney seconded the motion.

Discussion: None

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Gloria Gallo, Edward Seger, Vincent Zinno, and Edward Snook
Nays: Thomas McClachrie
Abstentions: None

4. Approval of Minutes

A. September 15, 2016 Regular Meeting

Thomas Buchney moved to approve the September 15, 2016 regular meeting minutes.
Edward Seger seconded the motion.

Discussion: None

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Gloria Gallo, Thomas McClachrie, Edward Seger, Vincent Zinno, and Edward Snook
Nays: None

B. September 15, 2016 Executive Session Meeting

Thomas Buchney moved to approve the September 15, 2016 executive session meeting minutes.
Vincent Zinno seconded the motion.

Discussion: Thomas McClachrie asked when executive session meeting minutes were going to be released to the public. Some of the issues have been resolved, he said. Attorney Richard Wenner said he would review them to see which could be released.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Gloria Gallo, Thomas McClachrie, Edward Seger, Vincent Zinno, and Edward Snook
Nays: None

5. Receipt and Filing of Correspondence


6. Resolutions

Resolution 16-45: Approving the Request for Qualifications and Request for Proposal for the Operation and Maintenance of the Vernon Township Municipal Sewer Collection System and Authorizing the Advertisement of Same

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

Discussion: Thomas McClachrie corrected typographical errors in the document. Thomas Buchney asked if they were going to form a committee to review the bids. He also asked who on the VTMUA would inspect and evaluate the onsite work. Richard Wenner said the successful bidder would be required to submit reports to the VTMUA. John Scerbo would monitor the performance.

After much discussion and corrections to be made to the resolution the initial motions were rescinded and Vincent Zinno moved to table the resolution until corrections are made to the bid specs and a special meeting is scheduled.

Edward Seger seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Gloria Gallo, Thomas McClachrie, Edward Seger, Vincent Zinno, and Edward Snook
Nays: None

7. Attorney’s Report

No report

8. Auditor’s Report

Auditor Charles Ferraioli reported the total increase for debt service to SCMUA in next year’s budget is $163,000, a lot less than expected.

9. Engineer’s Report

Review of New Applications

Engineer Ceren Aralp said there are no new applications to review.

Commissioner Vincent Zinno questioned the application and EDU classification for Block 142, Lot 9, Solve It Room LLC. Ms. Aralp said the business is classified under retail use because there is no other classification under the VTMUA rules and regulations. Mr. Zinno questioned whether an assembly hall would be a better classification of use. Thomas McClachrie suggested assessing the business one EDU. Ms. Aralp said there was no basis for assessing only one EDU. The best fit is for retail business, Ms. Aralp said.

10. Executive Director’s Report

Executive Director John Scerbo reported that the tax collector sent out liens for the 2015 properties that have not paid their sewer fees. He said there are 64 properties that total about $36,824 in arrears plus interest.

Mr. Scerbo said there is also a situation with power at Pump Station #1. JCP&L is in the process of putting a meter on the facility to get the power at the right levels.

Mr. Scerbo also said he is preparing a proposal for the next meeting for the purchase of cellular alarms to facilitate power failures better than the current landline alarms. He is proposing them for three pump stations.

11. Commissioners’ Comments

Edward Seger stated that in the future if an informal meeting is scheduled between the chairman and the professionals it would be a good idea for the executive director to email all of the commissioners to notify them so that if a member of the public questions them they will be aware.

Vincent Zinno wanted to clarify that he had less than 24 hours notice about the meeting with the VFW and he was late to the meeting. He said he was responding to a false accusation directed at him by Sally Rinker during the public portion of the meeting.

Thomas McClachrie stated they are a public body and no commission has any more authority than any other commissioner. He felt the chairman should have waited until the public meeting to announce a meeting with the VFW was necessary rather than to meet with them two hours prior to the public meeting. He said there has been a problem with the VTMUA for the last four years with having private meetings with individuals and not coming back with any sort of documentation. He said he would have expected a brief paragraph about the meeting with the VFW earlier today.

12. Chairman’s Comments

Chairman Edward Snook had no comments.


Vincent Zinno moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m.
Gloria Gallo seconded the motion.
All were in favor.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

The next meeting of the VTMUA will be on November 10, 2016 at 7 p.m.

Transcribed and submitted by Jessica Paladini
Vernon Township MUA Secretary