Minutes: September 17, 2012

The regular meeting of the Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:05 p.m. on Monday, September 17, 2012 in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.

Statement

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on July 27, 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.

Salute to the Flag

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

Roll Call

Thomas BuchneyP
Barbara ChorzepaP
Doug DobrzynskiNP
Gloria Frato-GalloP
James KensekP
Vincent ZinnoP
Edward H. RolandoP

Also Present

John Ursin, Esq.
Chuck Ferraioli, Auditor
James Coe, Engineer
Aida Cahill, Secretary

Applications Under Review

No applications to review at this time.

Correspondence

A hardship letter from Brookside Florist was received. Mr. Rolando requested that the engineer do further review of this property regarding the # of EDUs.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) report of inspection was reviewed. A violation was noted regarding the Operation and Maintenance Manual. Mr. Rolando advised that he spoke with VTMUA sewer operator who was in the process of rectifying the violation and notifying NJDEP.

Mr. Rolando introduced Ira Weiner, Esq., from the firm of Beattie Padovano, LLC representing Stone Hill Property Owners Association. Mr. Weiner advised that he requested information from Mr. Ursin and Mr. Ferraioli while speaking with them before the meeting. It was noted that a meeting between the attorneys and auditor was planned to take place in the next two weeks to discuss the issues and concerns on both sides. Mr. Ursin stated that the meeting would be very timely, as the authority will soon be discussing the 2013 budget.

Open Meeting to Public Comments

Mr. Rolando explained that the public comment portion of the meeting would be limited to 5 minutes per speaker with a total time of 30 minutes.

Motion to extend the public comment period to 45 minutes total.

Moved: Gloria Frato-Gallo
Second: Barbara Chorzepa
All were in favor.

Noreen Moran—stated that the 4th quarter bill indicated an arrearage. Ms. Moran expressed her feeling that the sewer rate was too high.

Linda Gurval—stated that the EDUs for the Great Gorge Village Condominiums (GGV) as opposed to the EDUs for commercial businesses were unfair. Ms. Gurval also expressed concern that Mountain Creek was not paying their appropriate share.

Mike Van Kooten—questioned why when the condo association previously wanted to be in charge of the water and sewer, they were told by the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) that this was not possible, however now they can have responsibility for the lift stations. Mr. Van Kooten questioned if there were any problems with the lift stations and if the condo association would be responsible for any spills. Ms. Frato-Gallo advised that responsibility for the lift stations would be addressed by the attorneys.

An audience member who did not identify himself instructed the audience not to pay their sewer bills.

Mr. Ursin stated that he would provide Mr. Weiner with the EDU schedule for all users by the end of the week.

Richard Bagni—read a list of questions addressed to Mr. Ursin. Mr. Ursin stated that he would not comment on his interaction with Mr. Weiner. Mr. Ursin further stated that the opposing attorney is very satisfied with the cooperation and responsiveness so far. Mr. Bagni further commented on the EDU rate and his feeling that GGV homeowners were paying the bulk of the sewer debt in Vernon.

GGV Homeowner (name not audible)—stated that his tenant was leaving because of the sewer bill. The homeowner questioned the rate of 1 EDU for different size units. It was also noted that the sewer cannot be turned off if the unit is empty, and therefore would still incur user fees. Mr. Rolando advised that public comments would be considered for the 2013 budget. The homeowner further questioned why the sewer fees could not be included with taxes so that he could use it as a deduction. Mr. Ursin explained that this could not be done because all residents of Vernon were not sewer users.

Tom Kelly—questioned what had been resolved in the past month. Mr. Kelly suggested an extension for the fourth quarter sewer bill. Mr. Kelly further suggested that the MUA maintain responsibility for the lift stations. Mr. Ursin stated that the lift stations were not part of the contract with United Water.

Motion to extend due date of the 4th quarter sewer bill to December 1, 2012.
Moved: Gloria Frato-Gallo
Second: Vincent Zinno

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Gloria Frato-Gallo, Vincent Zinno, Ed Rolando
Nays: None
Abstain: Barbara Chorzepa

Ms. Frato-Gallo stated that resolution of the other issues were in the hands of the attorneys.

Mr. Ursin explained that the attorneys could discuss the issues and exchange information however decisions could only be made by the authority. Mr. Ursin stated that all comments and suggestions would be taken into consideration for the 2013 budget. It was noted that the next MUA meeting was scheduled for Monday, October 15, 2012.

Homeowner (name not audible)—suggested contacting the mortgage companies to request assistance with paying their mortgages.

Roger Portner—questioned how much user rates would go up with future SCMUA rate hikes. Mr. Rolando stated that growth in the amount of sewer users would help to stabilize the rate.

Resident (no name given)—stated that she had been diagnosed with cancer and the increase in the sewer bill was making the difference between her getting treatment or not.

Ingrid—stated that a study should have been done before buying United Water. Ingrid further stated that Vernon is not growing and property value is less than what it was. Ingrid noted that the structure of payment had changed and this placed tenants and owners in a bad situation.

Closed Meeting to Public

Auditor Report

The Summary of Financial Activities prepared by the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) was available for review.

Motion to adjourn for a brief recess.
Moved: Vincent Zinno
Second: Gloria Frato-Gallo
All were in favor.

Bills List

Mr. Rolando asked for a motion for Resolution #12-14 Approval of the Bills List
Moved: Barbara Chorzepa
Second: Thomas Buchney
All were in favor.

Resolution #12-14: Authorizing the Approval of Bills List

BE IT RESOLVED that the following bills listed are hereby approved:

Disbursement
Journal
FundAmountMajor Vendor
#1CURRENT$2,000.00COURTER, KOBERT & COHEN, PC
#2CURRENT$1,950.00AGRA ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES
#3CURRENT$4,000.00COURTER, KOBERT & COHEN, PC
#4CURRENT$250.00GRAMCO WORD PROCESSING
#5CURRENT$16,301.69FINANCE DEPT. SERVICES JAN - JULY 2012
#6CURRENT$805.00FERRAIOLI, WIELKOTZ, CERULLO & CUVA
#7CURRENT$3,794.99VITAL COMPUTER RESOURCES, INC.
#8CURRENT$59.04WARWICK VALLEY TELEPHONE
#9CURRENT$840.00FERRAIOLI, WIELKOTZ, CERULLO & CUVA
#10CURRENT$75,164.83SCMUA 3RD QTR
#11CURRENT$478.40U.S. POSTAL SERVICE
#12CURRENT$115,000.00VERNON TOWNSHIP
  $220,643.95 

Engineer Report

Mr. Coe referred to an application from last month, Block 141.01, Lot 6, a commercial building approved for 2 EDUs provided all VTMUA Rules and Regulations were followed.

Motion to approve Block 141.01, Lot 6 for connection to the sewer system.
Moved: Barbara Chorzepa
Second: Thomas Buchney
All were in favor.

Mr. Coe requested direction from the authority on how to proceed with engineering services. Mr. Zinno requested that the matter be reserved for closed session.

Mr. Rolando advised that there was a request made to hook-up to the sewer for Block 142, Lot 19. There was discussion regarding this property having been removed from the sewer service area.

Motion to direct the engineer to contact the county planning department to have Block 142, Lot 19 included in the wastewater management plan.

Moved: Ed Rolando
Second: Gloria Frato-Gallo
All were in favor.

NJDEP Notice of Compliance

Mr. Rolando stated that Mike Furrey, licensed operator is taking care of this issue. Mr. Buchney requested copies of the paperwork that Mr. Furrey would be processing with the DEP. Mr. Rolando advised that each pump station needed to be named and numbered, as requested by the NJDEP.

SCMUA

Mr. Rolando stated that he felt it was worthwhile for the members to visit SCMUA. Mr. Rolando stated that if they were going as a group it would need to be noticed as a public meeting. There was discussion to put this on the agenda for 2013.

MUA Discussion

Ms. Chorzepa commented on the reasons behind the purchase of United Water, giving the township the ability to grow for future stabilization of the tax rates.

Mr. Zinno spoke regarding the rise in county and school taxes as opposed to the stabilization of municipal taxes. Mr. Zinno further spoke regarding the necessary changes that needed to take place in order for Vernon to grow and improve in the future. Mr. Zinno also spoke regarding the process to make application for volunteer positions on any of the boards and commissions. Mr. Zinno commented that the authority was willing to hear the public’s comments and concerns.

There were many public comments occurring, at this time, outside of the public comment portion of the meeting.

Executive Session

Motion to enter closed session for the purpose of personnel and negotiation of the contract for the MUA engineer.
Moved: Barbara Chorzepa
Second: Gloria Frato-Gallo

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Buchney, Chorzepa, Frato-Gallo, Vincent Zinno, Ed Rolando

Motion to come out of closed session.
Moved: Barbara Chorzepa
Second Vincent Zinno
All were in favor.

Flow reports were reviewed and discussed.

Motion to adjourn.
Moved: Vincent Zinno
Second: Thomas Buchney
All were in favor.

Adjournment

Motion to adjourn at 9:35 p.m.
Moved: Barbara Chorzepa
Second: Vincent Zinno
All were in favor.

Respectfully submitted,
Aida Cahill, Secretary
Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority

Date approved: October 15, 2012