Minutes: September 29, 2011

The regular meeting of the Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 29, 2011 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 September 25, 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 Commissioners

Thomas Buchney
Barbara Chorzepa
Gloria Frato-Gallo
Vincent Zinno, Vice Chairman (arrived 6:05 p.m.)
Ed Rolando, Chairman

Also in Attendance

Mayor Vic Marotta
John Ursin, Esq. MUA Attorney
Aida Cahill, MUA Secretary

Salute to the Flag

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

Oath of Office

Mayor Marotta administered the Oath of Office to Doug Dobrzynski, Alternate #1.

Minutes for Approval

Regular meeting minutes from September 8, 2011

Moved: Thomas Buchney
Second: Barbara Chorzepa

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Barbara Chorzepa, Gloria Frato-Gallo, Ed Rolando
Nays: None
Minutes were approved.

Regular meeting minutes from September 19, 2011

Moved: Gloria Frato-Gallo
Second: Thomas Buchney

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Gloria Frato-Gallo, Ed Rolando
Nays: None
Abstain: Barbara Chorzepa
Minutes were approved.

Rules and Regulations

John Ursin distributed the most recent updated version of the Rules and Regulations. Mr. Ursin gave a brief overview of the progress made, so far, and explained that the goal was to adopt the final draft of the Rules and Regulations in November of 2011.

Notable Points Discussed

  • Fiscal year timetable—Calendar year
  • Disqualification of commissioners—John Ursin reviewing
  • Electronic recording retention time
  • Definitions—Few changes
  • Discharge from waste drainage pipes inside the building
  • Garbage shredding limitations

Mr. Ursin advised the commissioners of a meeting held regarding how the township was going to pay for the acquisition of the United Water sewer system purchase, including bonding initiatives to raise some working capital for the MUA. Mr. Ursin further advised that a future financial service agreement between the MUA and the township would define how and when reimbursement would take place. Mr. Ursin stated that the service agreement should be in place for the first three to five years, or until the MUA becomes self sufficient.

Mr. Ursin further advised of a preliminary meeting that had taken place with the Hardyston Township MUA regarding the potential for shared services. Hardyston will submit a proposal for VTMUA review.

Auditor Update—Chuck Ferraioli

Chuck Ferraioli discussed the cheapest and best way to purchase the United Water sewer system. Mr. Ferraioli advised that the township will move forward with a bond ordinance to purchase the system and give the MUA some working capital. Mr. Ferraioli stated that the debt would be issued in the form of a bond anticipation note, which would roll over every year. No approvals from Trenton would be necessary and current interest rates at 1% being extremely reasonable, were among the advantages discussed. A future service agreement between the township and the MUA detailing repayment on an approximate 3 to 5 year timetable was also discussed.

Mr. Ursin stated that the bond ordinance was a positive step taken by the township to support the MUA. However, Mr. Ursin advised that it was critical to understand that the MUA would be under no obligation until service agreements were signed.

Mr. Rolando questioned costs to the MUA that would be included in the service agreement. Approximate numbers discussed were:

  • United Water—$4 million
  • Township investment (to date)—$700,000
  • SCMUA—$5 million over 5 years

Mr. Ferraioli gave an overview of the debt service for the MUA over a 5 year period.

Mr. Buchney suggested requesting rates from United Water.

Mr. Zinno questioned costs per gallon. Mr. Ferraioli gave a very rough estimate of $608 per EDU, per year, before United Water applied to the BPU for a rate increase.

Mr. Zinno questioned if connection fees could be changed. Mr. Ursin stated that connection fees could be changed, and Mr. Ferraioli stated that changes in connection fees would be considered on an annual basis at budget time.

Mr. Buchney questioned the United Water rate increase timeline. Mr. Ursin stated that United Water had already applied for a rate increase from the BPU, and that an answer would not be expected until next summer. It was noted that the United Water sewer system would most likely be purchased by Vernon before then.

Ms. Chorzepa questioned if the MUA would be required to reapply to the BPU for a rate increase. Mr. Ferraioli stated that the MUA does not fall under BPU because the BPU was created for profit earning companies. Therefore, the MUA is not required to apply for rate increases.

Mr. Ferraioli advised that authorization by the MUA would be necessary to open a bank account. Check signers, purchase orders and vouchers were also discussed. Mr. Ursin further advised that a resolution would need to be drafted stating the name of the bank and who the check signers would be. Mr. Ferraioli suggested Lakeland Bank with signers being Bill Zuckerman (CFO) and 2 commissioners.

Rules and Regulations (discussion resumed)

  • Property owner responsibility from building to cleanout and/or property line
  • Shredded garbage discharge—non-commercial kitchen disposal only 1hp
  • Commercial dishwasher discharge of 180 degrees—Engineer Review
  • Animal waste/cat litter—Engineer review
  • DPW supervisor or his designee language used in Rules & Regulations
  • Metering for high volume users—Not recommended by engineer
  • Engineer recommendations for commercial users
  • Sewer connection requirements, fees, allocation, application
  • Connection design criteria—Engineer Review
  • Time frame requirements for connection—180 days
  • Abandonment
  • Grease trap regulations—Engineer Review
  • Bonding and insurance requirements
  • Acceptance of completed construction—Engineer Review
  • EDU schedule—Engineer Review
  • Unpaid charges/property lien
  • Billing timetable begins in 1 year with 3 to 5 year roll out
  • Allocation permits—Not transferrable
  • Penalties for violating Rules & Regulations

MUA Discussion

Barbara Chorzepa questioned the possibility of advertising the sewer operation to attract new customers to the town center. Mr. Ursin recommended contacting local newspapers as well as real estate brokers to make them aware of the operation timetable. Mr. Ursin further recommended involving the Economic Development Committee at the county level. Mr. Zinno suggested waiting to advertise, so the MUA would be able to inform potential business owners of the necessary Rules and Regulations, once they are adopted.

Mr. Buchney expressed concern regarding existing businesses that would be hooking up to the sewer system not being in compliance with the coming Rules and Regulations. Mr. Ursin recommended informing the Vernon Township Building Department that adoption of the Rules and Regulations would soon be in effect, so that they can inform permit seekers.

Gloria Frato-Gallo questioned the signing of professional services contracts. Mr. Ursin said they would be on the agenda for the next meeting.

Thomas Buchney requested a summary sheet of Rules and Regulations changes.

Open to Public Comments

There was no one present from the public.

Closed to Public Comments

Adjournment

There being no further items of business to be conducted on the agenda, a motion for adjournment was made by Gloria Frato-Gallo; motion seconded by Thomas Buchney with all members voting in favor.

The regular meeting of September 29, 2011, of the Municipal Utilities Authority of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Aida Cahill
MUA Secretary

Minutes approved: October 17, 2011