Minutes: September 8, 2011

The regular meeting of the Municipal Utilities Authority (MUA) of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 8, 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 August 4, 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.

Salute to the Flag

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

Roll Call of Members

Thomas Buchney (arrived 7:03 p.m.)
Barbara Chorzepa (arrived 7:13 p.m.)
Gloria Frato-Gallo
Vincent Zinno, Vice Chairman
Ed Rolando, Chairman

Also in Attendance

John E. Ursin, Esq., MUA Attorney
Chuck Ferraioli, MUA Auditor
Aida Cahill, MUA Secretary

Presentation—D&H Alternative Risk Solutions, Risk Management for the Vernon MUA

Wayne Dietz, President of D&H Alternative Risk Solutions, gave a history of his personal qualifications as well as a sampling of the firm’s clients, which included several municipalities. Mr. Dietz stated that his firm is knowledgeable in all the types of insurance offered in the municipal arena, and that they would be offering the MUA the best and most economic choices for insurance coverage. Mr. Dietz identified the MUA’s greatest concern as being Public Officials Coverage to protect the commissioners in regard to decision making, along with the eventual need for Property Workers Compensation and General Liability.

Mr. Rolando questioned if the MUA’s insurance would be part of the township’s policy, and Mr. Dietz stated that the MUA would have its own separate policy, as they are a separate entity.

The time frame for insurance coverage to begin was discussed, and Mr. Ursin explained that coverage would need to be in place before the Rules and Regulations were adopted by the MUA, in late October or early November. Mr. Dietz stated that the first step would be to get a quotation, acceptance of the quotation by the MUA, and then coverage would begin.

Payments for insurance coverage were questioned. Mr. Dietz explained that his firm is paid 6% of whatever the premium is, which is built into the quotation. It was further explained that billing is usually done twice per year, with the first installment being due in February or March, and then again in August.

Ms. Chorzepa questioned if the insurance would be renegotiated on an annual basis. Mr. Dietz stated that it can be done that way, however it is usually a three year commitment.

The MUA commissioners thanked Mr. Dietz for his informative presentation.

Presentation—Hatch Mott MacDonald (HMM), Engineer for the MUA

Mr. John Ruschke, Engineer for HMM gave a broad overview of his firm, as well as the Vernon Township sewer system. Mr. Ruschke explained that he had been involved in the sewer project before the MUA was established. A PowerPoint presentation of the existing sewer service area followed.

Key Points Covered:

Flow of wastewater between collection areas and SCMUA plant in Hardyston.

Collection Areas
Stonehill Condos—United Water Sewage Facility
Mountain Creek—United Water Sewage Facility
Vernon Town Center

Sewer Allocation
Vernon Town Center—99,000 gallons total, with 35,000 gallons of projected use and approximately 64,000 gallons for future growth. Mountain Creek—165,000 gallons

Purchase of the United Water sewer system in Vernon—Includes collection system and the allocation associated with it, including 1400 existing customers. Purchase would eliminate substantial transmission fees charged by United Water for flow through their pipes.

Condition of Infrastructure—A detailed study and report shows the overall infrastructure including manholes and gravity piping to be in good working order. Pump stations need some upgrading. Lift stations are in very poor condition.

Costs—For the purchase of the United Water system in Vernon and associated repairs would be approximately $5.5 million. A cost analysis had been completed which determined that the sewer system would run in the black. Additional revenue would be possible when new customers hook up to the system. Mr. Ruschke suggested starting a renewal replacement fund for future repairs.

Rates—Water Reading vs. EDU
The EDU system simplifies the billing process because a flat rate is used which is based on square footage.

Mr. Ruschke stated that current users will see an increase in rates due to an increase in SCMUA fees.

Mr. Ruschke advised that SCMUA would be charging for 265,000 gallons whether it is used or not. Mr. Zinno noted that gaining new customers in the Town Center would be in the best interest of the MUA as well as the rate payers, since SCMUA is charging for it anyway. Mr. Ursin stated that gaining new customers in the Town Center would be the only way to stabilize rates.

Chuck Ferraioli, MUA Auditor, questioned the updating of pump station #2 by United Water, and the updating of pump station #3 by Mountain Creek. Mr. Ruschke stated that there have been improvements to the Stonehill Pump Station #2, however there is no agreement requiring United Water to upgrade, beyond keeping it functional. Mr. Ferraioli spoke regarding the possibility of including the upgrades to the pump stations in the sale of United Water, from a bonding perspective.

Mr. Zinno questioned if the 64,000 gallons, leftover for future growth, would be enough for build-out of the Town Center. Mr. Ruschke stated that there were projections made for the vacant lots and it’s believed that the 64,000 is adequate.

Mr. Rolando questioned if EDU can be changed for bigger users. John Ruschke stated that such a decision can be made by the MUA.

Mr. Zinno questioned completion of the missing link. Mr. Ursin advised that there was a meeting with Mountain Creek, this past week, for an update on their progress. Mountain Creek assured the township that they were still on an October completion date timetable for the missing link.

Mr. Ursin requested an outline of the steps required for turning on the sewer system. Mr. Ruschke advised that inspection of the pump station would be necessary to make sure it is functional, as well as putting all of the certifications out to the DEP, thereby notifying them that the system will be activated. Mr. Rolando questioned a time frame for completion of these tasks. Mr. Ruschke stated the time would be minimal.

Barbara Chorzepa questioned the possibility of damage to the system due to flooding. John Ruschke stated that there should be no problems due to flooding, however, an inspection could be done by an electrical engineer.

Ms. Chorzepa questioned the purity of the water being pumped back to the aquifer. Mr. Ruschke explained that this process is highly regulated by the DEP by sampling and use of monitoring wells. Ms. Chorzepa commented on concerns regarding lawsuits by different groups who may oppose operation of the sewer system.

Mr. Buchney questioned the projections done on the Town Center being based on DEP criteria.

Mr. Ruschke was thanked for his presentation.

Minutes for Approval

Minutes of the regular meeting of August 11, 2011

Motion to accept the regular meeting minutes of August 11, 2011.

Moved: Gloria Frato-Gallo
Second: Barbara Chorzepa

Ayes: Thomas Buchney, Barbara Chorzepa, Gloria Frato-Gallo, Vincent Zinno, Ed Rolando
Nays: None
Minutes of the regular meeting of August 11, 2011 were approved.

Open to Public Comments

Dr. Langer commented on being included in the sewer service area. Mr. Ursin explained that if he was not included in the current sewer service area, and he wished to be, then permission would need to be granted by the MUA to construct pipe and become a regular user.

Closed to Public Comments

Resolution Requiring Action

Resolution #11-08: Authorizing the Appointment for Professional Services for Vernon MUA Engineer to Hatch Mott MacDonald

Moved: Vincent Zinno
Second: Gloria Frato-Gallo

All were in favor.
Resolution #11-08 was adopted.

Resolution #11-08: Authorizing the Award of Contract for Professional Services for Municipal Sewer Utility Authority Engineer

WHEREAS, there is a need for Municipal Engineer Services for the Township of Vernon Municipal Utilities Authority; and

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5 specifically exempts professional services from provisions of public bidding as provided in the Local Public Contracts Law; and

WHEREAS, said specified professional services are to be rendered or performed by a person or persons authorized by law to practice a recognized profession, and whose practice is regulated by law within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended; and

WHEREAS, the performance of said professional services requires knowledge of an advanced field of learning acquired by a prolonged formal course of specialized training and study as distinguished from general academic instruction or apprenticeship and training; and

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon Municipal Utilities Authority is desirous to renew the current agreement with the firm Hatch Mott MacDonald for Municipal Utilities Authority Engineer Services as a non-fair and open contract pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended; and

WHEREAS, the Local Public Contracts Law N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 et seq., as amended, requires that this resolution be publicly advertised.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township of Vernon Municipal Utilities Authority that they hereby authorize and approve the award of contract of a professional service agreement to the firm of Hatch Mott MacDonald pursuant to a non-fair and open contract pursuant to the provisions of the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:20-1 et seq. to provide General Legal Services in accordance with the attached contract for professional services.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the award of contract shall be contingent upon the completion and receipt of the following:

  1. A fully-executed professional services agreement detailing the scope of services, established fees for said professional services, mandatory Equal Opportunity Language and Affirmative Action Certificate; and
  2. Receipt of all statutorily mandated “pay to play” political contribution forms pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-20.4 et seq.;
  3. New Jersey Business Registration Certificate; and
  4. Upon the aforementioned professional being a member in good standing in his respective profession.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Township of Vernon Municipal Utilities Authority Chair and MUA Recording Secretary or Township Clerk are hereby authorized and directed to execute, seal and deliver the attached contract for professional services on behalf of and in the name of the Township of Vernon Municipal Utilities Authority, and that the Township Clerk shall publish the award of contract as required by law within ten (10) days of passage of this resolution.

Professional Report

Chuck Ferraioli, MUA Auditor advised that he had been in touch with SCMUA as well as Mr. Zuckerman, Vernon Township CFO. Mr. Ferraioli offered a recap sheet detailing the principal and interest on all the debt. The current liability is $44,576,000. Mr. Ferraioli advised that the more users there are of the sewer system, the quicker the expenses become stabilized. Also discussed was the availability of special legislative cash grants. Mr. Ferraioli also offered samples of connection fees from some neighboring towns. It was explained that users pay a connection fee to the MUA as well as a separate connection fee paid to SCMUA. There was discussion regarding payment terms for connection fees of new users, in order to attract new businesses.

MUA Discussion

Mr. Ursin suggested putting discussion of the Rules and Regulations on the agenda for the next meeting. Also suggested was that the auditor and engineer attend the October 17th meeting to discuss a 2nd draft of the Rules and Regulations, with adoption being in November.

Metering of pump stations was discussed.

There was discussion regarding connection fees for Mountain Creek. Mr. Ursin explained that Mountain Creek should not be charged for connection fees because of how much they have invested in developing the sewer system.

Mr. Ursin advised that he would continue to be paid through his contract with the township regarding the sewers until such time that the MUA has a budget for this expense.

Adjournment

With no further business to be conducted on the agenda, a motion for adjournment was made by Vincent Zinno; seconded by Barbara Chorzepa with all members voting in favor.

The regular meeting of September 8, 2011, of the Municipal Utilities Authority of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 9:52 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Aida Cahill
MUA Secretary

Minutes approved: September 29, 2011