Minutes: October 4, 2012*
The special meeting of the Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, October 4, 2012 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.
Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on October 2, 2012 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.
John Ursin, Esq.
Chuck Ferraioli, Auditor
James Coe, Engineer
Ceren Aralp, Engineer
Aida Cahill, Secretary
Salute to the Flag
Mr. Zinno led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.
Reason for Special Meeting
Possible restructuring of the Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU).
Mr. Ursin stated that there had been exchange of information between the attorneys as well as the auditor. Mr. Ursin spoke of a proposal meant to address the EDU rate as it pertained to different condo unit sizes. The proposal detailed .6 of an EDU for studio and 1 bedroom units, .8 of and EDU for 2 bedroom units and 1 full EDU for 3 bedroom units and larger. There would be a re-bill back to July 1, 2012 with credit being given to anyone who had already paid. The future billing cycle would be offset from taxes by one month.
Mr. Weiner spoke regarding the fits and starts of the VTMUA formation. Mr. Weiner stated that the authority had been cooperative and forthcoming with the information requested. Mr. Weiner further spoke of the issue of unfairness involving the condos paying for the sewer debt. Mr. Weiner stated that the goal was to fix the inequity. Mr. Weiner further stated that he had not met with the condo council regarding the proposals before them.
Mr. Ferraioli spoke regarding the debt service and the setup of the EDU structure.
Mr. Coe spoke regarding state regulations for different sized homes. Mr. Coe likened the sewer user fees to that of owning a vehicle in that costs are incurred regardless of how much a person may use the vehicle. Mr. Coe recommended the graduated EDU.
Ms. Aralp stated that when comparing the new EDU structure changes with the state, the proposed numbers were fair and .8 was even a little lower than state regulations.
Mr. Ferraioli detailed the reduction in revenue of $419,000.00 with the new changes in EDU structure.
Resolution #12-18: Amending the EDU Billing Structure
Moved: Doug Dobrzynski
Second: Barbara Chorzepa
Mr. Buchney questioned if the unit sizes were tabulated using tax records or records from the condo association. Mr. Ursin explained that the tax records were used, as no records had been received from the condo association. Mr. Buchney further questioned if the new reductions would be for the condos or if they affect the entire system. Mr. Ursin stated that only the condos structure would change.
A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Buchney, Chorzepa, Dobrzynski, Frato-Gallo, Kensek
Resolution # 12-18: Resolution of the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority Amending the EDU Billing Structure
WHEREAS, the VTMUA Rules and Regulations set forth billing formulas and methods for billing customers;
WHEREAS, in response to a significant number of residential customers being added to the VTMUA’s system as a result of the United Water transaction and input from those customers, the VTMUA has reviewed the EDU billing structure;
WHEREAS, the VTMUA Engineer has provided information regarding a proposed EDU structure amendment and the VTMUA Auditor has provided information with respect to impact on the current and future years budget;
NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the Commissioners of the VTMUA that Section 4.3 of the VTMUA Rules and Regulations are hereby amended to indicate that all residential structures that are classified as a studio or one bedroom units shall be billed at .6 of an EDU, two bedroom units shall be billed at .8 of an EDU and all residential structures that are classified as three bedrooms or more shall be billed one (1) EDU;
NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED that the changes in the EDU structure set forth in this Resolution are retroactive to July 1, 2012;
NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the Vernon Township MUA that all third quarter payments shall be due on November 4, 2012 and all fourth quarter payments shall be due on December 4, 2012;
NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED that all of the VTMUA bills for 2012 should be recalculated and resent to show recalculations as appropriate, to insure accuracy and to insure that all ratepayers who have paid their bills receive proper credits;
NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED that future bills will be sent to rate payers in March, June, September, and December so that residents do not receive tax bills and sewer bills in the same month;
NOW THEREFORE IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED that Secretary of the VTMUA shall keep this Resolution in a binder with the adopted Rules and Regulations as an official record of the VTMUA.
Open to Public Comments
Linda Gervald stated that there were many conflicts including the difference between the numbers of people living in a unit as opposed to number of bedrooms. Ms. Gervald felt that the sewer user fees should be broken down in some other way. Ms. Gervald questioned if studio and 1 bedroom units with a loft were considered a one bedroom.
Roy Tanfield questioned how much Mountain Creek paid for sewer user fees. Mr. Ursin stated $256,200 for 305 EDUs. It was questioned what percentage of the sewer debt Mountain Creek paid. Mr. Zinno stated that the condo association’s attorney had that information and should be reviewing it with them.
Tina Held spoke regarding the 2005 sewer agreement with Mountain Creek. Ms. Held stated her belief that the town center was exempt from paying sewer fees. Mr. Ursin commented that the 2005 sewer agreement was being read incorrectly and that the town center was not exempt from sewer fees.
Sally Rinker read a prepared statement. Ms. Rinker stated that she voted in favor of forming the MUA as well as purchase of United Water. Ms. Rinker further stated that new agreements saddled the MUA with more debt than necessary. Ms. Rinker commented that the MUA needed to operate autonomously and that the sewer users should be charged by use instead of a flat rate.
Craig Thompson read a prepared statement. Mr. Thompson stated that he appreciated the progress made so far. He further stated that the remaining issues were the billing cycle and his feeling that all users should pay their fair share, including unimproved properties.
Tom Kelly stated that not much progress had been made regardless of reductions. The responsibility for lift station maintenance was discussed. Mr. Kelly stated that Vernon went over budget with the sewers and now the condo owners were paying for it. Mr. Zinno stated that the lift station issue would be discussed more in the future. Mr. Kelly questioned why all Vernon taxpayers could not be billed for the sewers. Mr. Ursin stated that state law prohibits charging non-users of the sewer system.
Noreen Moran stated that she wanted meters installed.
Howard Greenblatt spoke regarding attorney’s fees, school budgets and increase in sewer fees.
Cindy Mooney questioned how sewers could be over budget. Mr. Ursin stated that installation of the infrastructure was a SCMUA project. Mr. Ursin further stated that SCMUA borrowed money to complete the project and the agreement with Vernon stated that the users of the system must pay for it.
Gary Martinsen requested clarification regarding no meters being in the rest of the system. Mr. Ursin stated that not all areas were metered.
Kevin Schlesser stated that reductions were voted in without Mountain Creek figures. Mr. Schlesser questioned if tonight’s vote could be changed in the future. He was answered that it could.
Closed to Public Comments
Motion to adjourn
Moved: Barbara Chorzepa
Second: Doug Dobrzynski
All were in favor.
Aida Cahill, Secretary
Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority
Date approved: December 20, 2012