TOWNSHIP COUNCIL PUBLIC MEETING MINUTES - November 10, 2009

The Public Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 8:13 pm by President Rattner with the Pledge of Allegiance.
OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT ANNOUNCEMENT
According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been given to the Mount Olive Chronicle. Notice has been posted at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive Township, New Jersey and notices were sent to those requesting the same.

ROLL CALL

Present: Mr. Rattner, Mr. Roman, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Tobey, Mr. Mania

Absent: Mrs. Labow

Also Present: David Scapicchio, Mayor; Sherry Maniscalco, CFO; Bill Sohl, Business Administrator; John Dorsey, Township Attorney; Lisa Lashway, Township Clerk

President Rattner: Mayor?

Mayor Scapicchio: Not listed on the Agenda, Steve, is a proclamation.

President Rattner: Well, would you like to put the proclamation on right now?

Mayor Scapicchio: It’s up to you. You’re in charge.

President Rattner: Mayor’s Proclamation.

Office of the Mayor

PROCLAMATION

Honoring November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

WHEREAS, over 42,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year in the United States and over 35,000 will die from the disease; and

WHEREAS, pancreatic cancer is the deadliest cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the United States; and

WHEREAS, October over 1,000 deaths will occur in the State of New Jersey from pancreatic cancer; and

WHEREAS, 76% of pancreatic cancer patients will die within the first year of their diagnosis and 95% of pancreatic cancer patients will die within the first five years; and

WHEREAS, there is no cure for pancreatic cancer and there have been no significant improvements in early detection treatment methods, or survival rates in the last 30 years; and

WHEREAS, when symptoms of pancreatic cancer present themselves, it is usually too late for an optimistic prognosis and the average life expectancy of those diagnosed with metastasis disease is only three to six months; and

WHEREAS, the Federal Government invests less money in pancreatic cancer research than it does in any of the other leading cancer killers; and

WHEREAS, the good health and well-being of the residents of Mount Olive Township are enhanced as a direct result of increased awareness about pancreatic cancer and research into early detection, causes and effective treatments; and

WHEREAS, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is the first and only national patient advocacy organization that serves the pancreatic cancer community in Mount Olive Township and nationwide by focusing its efforts on public policy, research funding, patient services and public awareness and education related to developing effective treatments and a cure for pancreatic cancer; and

WHEREAS, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and its affiliates support those patients currently battling pancreatic cancer, as well as to those who have lost their lives to the disease, and are committed to nothing less than a cure.

NOW THEREFORE, be it proclaimed that I, David Scapicchio, Mayor of Mount Olive Township do hereby proclaim, November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in Mount Olive Township.

Mayor Scapicchio: Thanks, Steve.

Questions on Bill List?

President Rattner: Thank you, Mayor. I’m sorry. Okay, moving right along we have questions on the Bill List. I sent a question out early this morning, however, I didn’t know that Mr. Quinn was out because of health reasons. I was just asking what roads got paved this year so I’ll wait for that and have a list. I didn’t send it in until late so I understand.

Mrs. Maniscalco: Steve, we actually emailed you back. Did you get the email back?

President Rattner: Yes, well, but those three items for $173,000 is more than that. It’s okay. It just has to match up with what we paid for in the voucher. It looks like it’s almost the whole program. We don’t have to answer it tonight. Well, this, we’re not off of the Bill List items yet. I have the voucher right here for $176,977.32.

Mr. Quinn: Right, that was for milling and paving, not just paving.

President Rattner: Yes, you mean you milled a lot and paved a little.

Mr. Quinn: We…

President Rattner: Okay, I asked the wrong question. You can get back to me. I just wanted to know what this was.

Mr. Quinn: I’ll meet with you and we’ll go over it.

President Rattner: I didn’t send it in until this morning and Mr. Tim was out because of a child that was ill which is where he should be.

Mr. Perkins: Mr. Tim?

President Rattner: Yes, sir.

Nelson Russell, Budd Lake: Two questions, one on page 19. I see you spent $2,650 for 530 yards of leaves removed. Don’t we dispose of leaves through the Sanitation department?

Mr. Quinn: I can answer that. We dispose of leaves. I’ll do several areas. Normally it’s through the MUA. This year, because I’m trying to cut time on pickup to prevent overtime costs, I’m using a different hauler that’s coming in with dropping the leaves at our site. He’s coming in the same day and pulling these out. This is giving me an added at least one hour a day of pickup time that my trucks are spending on the roadway instead of traveling up to the Camp Pulaski site off of Waterloo Valley Road. So basically it’s the same cost. It’s the same operation. It’s just a different vendor that I’m using to remove the leaves. We are picking them up and then the hauler’s taking them out of here. So it’s time saving. It’s the same dollar amount per yard of material that I’m paying for, but we’re saving a considerable amount of time dumping at the site instead of traveling away from the Township to the Pulaski site. So same dollar amount. There’s no difference in the cost. It’s just a time saver for me to prevent me from having to roll the trucks on Saturdays. It’s working well.

Mr. Russell: Alright, thank you. On page 9, I guess these were bound backwards. I’m seeing $1,800 for the installation of lines for a refrigerator. $1,800 to an electrician seems awfully expensive.

President Rattner: Mr. Sohl.

Mr. Sohl: Yes, part of the requirements put on the Health department relative to the higher number of doses of H1N1 flu required certain specific elements of refrigeration that we did not have in-house. So in order to be able to accept those deliveries we had to upgrade the refrigeration capacity to store the flu vaccine.

Mr. Russell: This is just a standard refrigerator?

Mr. Sohl: Yes, and that’s come out of the grant money, right?

Mr. Perkins: It should be coming out of the grant.

Mrs. Maniscalco: Wait, let me just explain.

Mr. Russell: The electrical work, $1,800 to run an electrical line sounds awfully expensive.

Mr. Roman: Damn, I’m in the wrong business.

President Rattner: I believe what it is after reviewing the vouchers is that the requirements, it’s our existing refrigerator but it had to be tied into the auxiliary power we have. We have emergency power that’s primarily for the Police department and for emergency lights around here. This was to run the proper lines from the generator to the refrigeration unit in the Health department.

Mr. Sohl: That is correct.

Mr. Sohl: And again, this is paid for with grant money.

Mr. Russell: Okay.

President Rattner: And, you know, electrical work is electrical work. It’s standard…

Mr. Sohl: Yes, it’s just commercial grade installation.

President Rattner: Yes, and it’s just what it costs.

Mr. Russell: Okay, it just seems awfully expensive to me. Thank you.

CORRESPONDENCE

LETTERS FROM RESIDENTS/ORGANIZATIONS

1. Email received October 26, 2009, from United Way of Morris County regarding a Community Breakfast with Congressman Frelinghuysen Celebrating Caregivers.

RESOLUTIONS / ORDINANCES / CORRESPONDENCE OTHER TOWNS

2. Letter received October 26, 2009, from Washington Township regarding Ordinance #RO-27-09.

3. Letter received October 26, 2009, from Washington Township regarding Adoption of Washington Township Master Plan Reexamination Report.

4. Email received October 28, 2009, from the Township of Montville regarding a Resolution Supporting P.L. 2009, C.118.

5. Letter received November 2, 2009, from the Township of Roxbury regarding Land Use Ordinance 25-2009.

6. Email received November 5, 2009, from the Borough of Mendham regarding Resolution #146-09.

DOT / DEP / LOI / HIGHLANDS

7. Letter received October 29, 2009, from Vanasse, Hangen, Brustlin, Inc. regarding Proposed Pharmacy, Route 46 and Woodsedge Avenue, Block 3700 Lots 1, 2, 3, and 4.

8. Letter received November 2, 2009, from R. Henry Huelsebusch regarding a Single Family Development (Lozier Estates, LLC) 80 Lozier Road.

9. Letter received November 2, 2009, from Careaga Engineering regarding Drakes Brook Park, 155 Flanders-Netcong Road.

10. Letter received November 2, 2009, from the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regarding their booth at the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Luncheon.

11. Letter received November 3, 2009, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding Drakes Brook Park, 155 Flanders Netcong Road.

12. Letter received November 4, 2009, from the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection regarding a Water Quality inspection.

13. Letter received November 6, 2009, from the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regarding 12 Karen Place.

14. Letter received November 6, 2009, from Veolia Environmental Services regarding a Class I Permit Modification.

LEAGUE OF MUNICIPALITIES

15. Email received October 23, 2009, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding Important Conference Sessions Land Use Issues, league’s Consulting Period on General Municipal Topics, and Update on Furloughs.

16. Email received October 26, 2009, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding a Bid Specification Service.

17. Email received October 26, 2009, from the New Jersey State League of Municipalities regarding Important Conference Session of Hope for our State’s Future.

18. Email received October 26, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding the League Offers a Bid Specification Service and Important Conference Sessions Humor and Leadership Skills and Opportunities.

19. Email received October 28, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding an H1N1 Update and Important Conference Sessions Unique ‘Basic Training’ Opportunity.

20. Email received October 28, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding the November Mayors Newsline.

21. Email received October 29, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding CEUs for Municipal Clerks at League Conference and Arbitration Advisory Services.

22. Email received October 29, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding Attend the Consulting Period at the Annual Conference.

23. Letter received October 30, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding a Legislative Bulletin.

24. Email received October 30, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Federal Funding Update, League’s Consulting Period on General Municipal Topics and CEUs for Tax Collectors at League Conference.

25. Email received October 31, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding CEUs for Tax Collectors.

26. Email received November 2, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding An Orientation for Officials that are Newly Elected, Re-Elected or Experienced.

27. Email received November 2, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding a Biweekly Federal Update Period Ending October 30, 2009 and November Grant Page Posted.

28. Email received November 3, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding a League Professional Development Seminar – Wage and Hour, and a league Professional Development Seminar – FMLA/FLA.

29. Email received November 3, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Delays the Red Flag Rule (again).

30. Email received November 4, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding the Annual Delegates Luncheon.

31. Email received November 4, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding Important Conference Sessions State and Federal Policy Review, Information for Mayors on 94th League Annual Conference and H1N1 Update Conference Call.

32. Email received November 6, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding Attend the Consulting Period at the Annual Conference.

33. Letter received November 6, 2009, from the State of New Jersey League of Municipalities regarding Newly Elected Officials.

DCA

34. Email received October 26, 2009, from the State of New Jersey Department of Community Affairs regarding a November 21st Conference on New Jersey and the Bill of Rights.

MORRIS COUNTY

35. Letter received October 28, 2009, from the Morris County Board of Taxation regarding a 2009 Abstract of Ratables for Morris County.

UTILITIES

36. Letter received October 26, 2009, from First Energy regarding a JCP&L Aerial Inspection of Transmission Lines October – November 2009.

37. Letter received October 30, 2009, from Comcast regarding Channel Changes – December 3, 2009.

38. Letter received November 5, 2009, from Comcast regarding Equipment Price Changes.

LETTER FROM LEGISLATIVE REPRESENTATIVES

39. Email received October 23, 2009, from Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen regarding The Week Just Past, Boosting Small Business Now, Health Care Update, House Health Care Bill Would Increase Health Spending, Administration debates Afghan Strategy – with itself, Have We Taken Our Eye off the Pacific, and Bad Idea of the Week: Increasing America’s Debt.

40. Email received October 29, 2009, from Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen regarding Speaker Pelosi’s Latest Government Health Takeover Plan.

41. Email received October 30, 2009, from Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen regarding The Week Just Past, Nine Facts About Speaker Pelosi’s Latest Bill, Supporting the Medical Rights and Reform Act, Noted with Interest: “no one in charge,” Jobless Recovery Under Way, Retreating in Afghanistan, Is “Flu Czar” Right Around the Corner, and Funding for Frelinghuysen Open Space, Clean Water Priorities.

MUA/MSA

42. Letter received October 26, 2009, from the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority regarding a Notice of Transfer Station Tipping Fee Increases.

43. Minutes received November 5, 2009, from the Musconetcong Sewerage Authority regarding an October 7, 2009 regular Meeting.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

44. Letter received November 2, 2009, from the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development regarding an award of a Customized Training Grant in the amount of $127,600 for Toys R Us of Mount Olive.

DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY

45. Letter received November 2, 2009, from the State of New Jersey Department of Treasury, Division of Taxation regarding a Certification of the 2009 Average Ratios and Common Level Ranges for Use in the Tax Year 2010.

46. Letter received November 2, 2009, from the State of New Jersey Department of Treasury, Division of Taxation regarding a Certification of the Table of Equalized Valuations.

ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING

President Rattner: We have 46 items of Correspondence. Does anybody want to comment on any of those items of Correspondence? Seeing none, we’ll move on to Ordinances for Public Hearing. I now open…

Mr. Dorsey: No, they’re both to be continued to November 24th.

President Rattner: But don’t I have to open it up first?

Mr. Dorsey: Lisa, do you want to open the public hearing?

Mrs. Lashway: We have to. We advertised it.

President Rattner: I open the hearing to the public on Ord. #23-2009, entitled:

Ord. #23-2009An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive to Amend Section 400-109 (IV) Contained in Article IX Entitled “Development Fee and Affordable Housing Contribution” of the Code of the Township of Mount Olive. (continue to November 24, 2009, awaiting review by Planning Board)

President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum, will you…? Oh, wait a minute. I open it up to the public. Does anybody want to speak on this? Seeing none, I’ll close it to the public. Now, can I get a motion to continue the public hearing to November 24th? Mr. Greenbaum?

Mr. Greenbaum: So moved.

Mr. Perkins: Second.

President Rattner: Roll Call.

ROLL CALL – Passed Unanimously

President Rattner: The next item on the Agenda, I open the hearing to the public on Ord.#24-2009, entitled:

Ord. #24-2009An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive to Amend and Supplement Article VII Entitled “Zoning District Use and Bulk Regulations” of Section 400-100 Entitled “Rural and Residential Districts” of the Code of the Township of Mount Olive. – (continue to November 24, 2009, awaiting review by Planning Board)

President Rattner: Would anybody from the public like to comment on this ordinance? Seeing none, I’ll ask Mr. Tobey to move to continue this to November 24th.

Mr. Tobey: So moved.

Mr. Perkins: Second.

President Rattner: Any other discussion? Roll Call.

ROLL CALL – Passed Unanimously

ORDINANCES FOR FIRST READING (second reading/public hearing November 24, 2009)

CONSENT RESOLUTIONS AGENDA:

Resolutions on the Consent Agenda List are considered to be routine and non-controversial by the Township Council and will be approved by one motion (one vote). There will be no separate discussion or debate on each of these resolutions except for the possibility of brief clarifying statements that may be offered. If one or more Council member requests, any individual resolution on the Consent Agenda may be removed from the Consent Agenda List and acted on separately.

CONSENT RESOLUTIONS

1. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Providing for the Transfer of 2009 Budget Appropriations for the Current Fund Budget.

2. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive to Cancel a Portion of the November, 2009 Taxes and Grant Full Exemption Going Forward on Block 2306, Lot 2 for Disabled Veteran Declared 100% Totally & Permanently Disabled by the Tax Assessor.

3. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Use of One Purchasing Contract (Kleiza Enterprises, Inc.).

4. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing the Submission of Petition for Plan Conformance to the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council for Land in the Preservation Area.

5. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Supporting the Enactment of P.L. 2009, c.118 and Any Plan to Study the Expansion of the Pilot Program to Include Morris County.

6. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing Expenses for the Installation of a Fence at the Budd Lake Beach.

7. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Endorsing a Sustainable Land Use Pledge for the Sustainable Jersey Program.

8. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Awarding a Contract to Datalux for the (5) In-Car Computers for the Mt. Olive Police Department.

9. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Refunding Certain COAH Fees Collected by the Township to Mount Olive Veterinary Hospital.

10. Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Authorizing an Accelerated Tax Sale.

President Rattner: Okay, we have no Ordinances for First Reading. Now we have the Consent Resolutions Agenda. Would anybody on the Council like to see any of the resolutions taken off and put on Non Consent? Seeing none, I’ll open it up to the public. Would anybody like to address the Council on any of the resolutions on tonight’s Agenda? Seeing none, I will close the public portion. Is there any Council discussion? Seeing none, Roll Call.

PUBLIC PORTION ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS – none

COUNCIL COMMENTS ON CONSENT RESOLUTIONS – none

Mrs. Lashway: You need somebody to move it.

President Rattner: Mr. Perkins, would you move the Consent Resolutions?

Mr. Perkins: Sure, Mr. President. I make a motion to accept Consent Resolutions numbers 1 through 10.

Mr. Tobey: Second.

President Rattner: Okay, any discussion? Roll Call.

ROLL CALL – Passed with the exception of Mr. Rattner who voted no on number 6.

RESOLUTIONS NON CONSENT – none

PUBLIC PORTION ON INDIVIDUAL RESOLUTIONS – none

COUNCIL COMMENTS ON INDIVIDUAL RESOLUTIONS – none

MOTIONS

President Rattner: Okay, we don’t have any Non Consent resolutions so now we’ll move to Motions. Mr. Roman, would you move the raffle applications?

Mr. Roman: I move for approval of:

1. Approval of Raffle Application #2337 for the Sandshore Home and School Partnership.

Mr. Perkins: Second.

President Rattner: Any discussion? Roll Call.

ROLL CALL – Passed Unanimously

ROLL CALL – Passed Unanimously

Mr. Greenbaum: I’ll move the Bill List.

2. Bill List.

President Rattner: Thank you.

Mr. Perkins: Second.

President Rattner: Any other discussion on the Bill List? Roll Call.

ROLL CALL – Passed Unanimously

ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS – Water & Sewer Rate Study – Gary Higgins, Esq.

President Rattner: Okay, now we have the Administrative Matters for the Water & Sewer Rate Study. Maybe we’ll go on to the Old Business, New Business, and Legal Matters and see if Mr. Higgins shows up. Mr. Sohl?

Mr. Sohl: Yes, just one item I just wanted to mention. I copied everybody, I believe, on an email I sent back to Larrie Reynolds, Dr. Reynolds, relative to the fact that we now have live, well, not live content, but content being broadcast on the Fios Channel 32 Township public education and government channel. Again, I checked with Gary Shore, the representative with Cablevision, and they’re awaiting some unit or box or part. They expect to be up by the end of this month.

President Rattner: Thank you. Sherry?

Mayor Scapicchio: Sherry?

President Rattner: Could you call Gary and just find out where he is?

Mrs. Maniscalco: I was just going to do that, Steve. I had the same thought.

Mr. Mania: Probably hung up in traffic.

OLD BUSINESS

President Rattner: Or I guess he had another meeting, too. You never know. It could be a lot of different things. Any other Old Business?

APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Mr. Mania: Yes, I’d like to move for the approval of the Minutes of:

October 27, 2009 Workshop, Public Meeting & Executive Session – All present

Mr. Mania: We never did that.

Mr. Greenbaum: We didn’t do it.

Mr. Perkins: We skipped past the Approval of Minutes.

Mr. Roman: Yes, we didn’t do it.

President Rattner: Thank you.

Mr. Perkins: Second.

Mr. Mania: You’re welcome.

Mr. Perkins: Second.

President Rattner: Any changes or comments? All in favor?

AYE

Mr. Mania: Sorry, Steve.

NEW BUSINESS – none

LEGAL MATTERS – none

President Rattner: Hey, it’s a good catch. It’s better than a crazy vote. I’ll leave it at that. Okay, any new Business? Any Legal Matters?

Mr. Dorsey: None.

COUNCIL REPORTS

President Rattner: I guess we can do Council Reports.

Mr. Perkins: Yes, let’s move on.

Recreation Liaison Report

President Rattner: Recreation Liaison Report, Mr. Roman?

Mr. Roman: We did not have a meeting in order to watch Game 6 of the World Series.

Board of Health Report

President Rattner: Board of Health Report, Mr. Perkins?

Mr. Perkins: Yes, thank you, Mr. President. The swine flu vaccine, H1N1 has been going well. We just finished Mount Arlington. We did 445 and tonight they are finishing up Netcong. So all of the vaccines for our contract as well as our own municipality have all been sufficiently taken care of.

Mr. Greenbaum: I see that a lot of people are having, or at least some people are having adverse reactions, I saw it on the news and I know you and I had spoken about it, to the vaccine itself.

Mayor Scapicchio: I haven’t seen that.

Mr. Perkins: I haven’t seen anything on the H1N1. I’ve seen it on the regular flu but not on the H1N1.

Mr. Greenbaum: I saw something on the news. It was at a High School where about 20 kids came down with similar type reactions that you had where they almost had flu like symptoms after getting the shot. Then they thought that some of the kids actually had a bad reaction and then the rest of the kids had a psychosomatic kind of reaction to it.

Mr. Perkins: Well you’re sick so am I.

Mr. Mania: Where was this, what area, Rob?

Mr. Greenbaum: You know what? I don’t remember whether it was somewhere on Long Island or in the City. It was in the City. It was a PS School. I don’t remember exactly where in the City.

Mr. Perkins: And you know the two different vaccines, you’ve got the live vaccine and then you’ve got the neutered one with just a shot, which is different from the vaccine. So if they were getting the intranasal that could be because, as I said, it’s a live virus. So some people do catch the virus. Myself, being immuno-suppressed, with the Influenza A the regular virus shot, I’ve had that flu shot four years in a row and this is the first year I’ve had a reaction to it. It’s a mild flu because they are injecting the flu virus into you so you build up the antibodies.

President Rattner: It’s supposed to be dead though.

Mr. Perkins: Well that’s the dead one in the injection but it’s live in the instranasal.

Planning Board Report

President Rattner: Okay. Planning Board Report, Mr. Greenbaum?

Mr. Greenbaum: We meet Thursday night.

Board of Adjustment Liaison Report

President Rattner: Board of Adjustment?

Mr. Greenbaum: No report.

President Rattner: And pretty soon there won’t be any.

Mr. Greenbaum: I’d still like to keep that liaison title though, it just, you know, for resume purposes.

Open Space Committee Report

President Rattner: Open Space Committee Report. Mrs. Labow is not here but I think everybody right now, either by word or by newspaper, knows that we got two large awards for probably close to a thousand acres, with us and Washington a thousand acres along the area of the South Branch and the Raritan, which is really good.

Legislative Committee Report

President Rattner: Legislative Committee Report, Mr. Perkins?

Mr. Perkins: Nothing to report.

Pride Committee Report

President Rattner: Pride Committee Report. Mrs. Labow is absent.

Board of Education Liaison Report

President Rattner: Board of Education liaison Report, Mr. Roman?

Mr. Roman: Nothing too eventful other than the auditing firm presented their Auditor’s Report to the Board of Education. They gave glowing recommendations to the Board of Education of having been able to keep their operating expenses below most of the Schools that the firm represents. Their report is available on the website, all 100 plus pages. I was kind of pleased and surprised that they do make this available on their website and on my Bill List question, it has come to my understanding that it is slowly moving through the process, and they will be making their Bill List available online.

Mr. Perkins: Good job.

Mr. Dorsey: Good job.

Mr. Perkins: Good job, Alex.

Mr. Roman: I don’t know.

Mr. Perkins: Got to keep going.

Lake/Environment Issues Committee

President Rattner: Okay, Lake Environmental Issues. I don’t have a report. Safety Committee Liaison, Mr. Perkins?

Safety Committee Liaison

Mr. Perkins: No meeting, Mr. President.

Economic Development Committee Report

President Rattner: Economic Development Committee hasn’t met. Library Liaison Report, Mr. Tobey?

Library Board Liaison

Mr. Tobey: Nothing to report.

Senior Citizen Liaison

President Rattner: Senior Citizen liaison, Mrs. Labow, is out. I guess we’ll go and keep trying to, you know, spend some time on public… Would anybody from the public like to address the Council on any issue at this time? Mr. Ireland.

Mayor Scapicchio: Steve, Gary was coming past Howard Boulevard.

President Rattner: Okay.

PUBLIC PORTION

Scott Ireland, 6 Eric Court: Touching back to the other Conference Meeting Agenda, the Transparency in Municipal Government Act, about that discussion, a couple of points. One is to Mr. Tobey’s comments about anybody can file an OPRA request and come down and see what they want to see. I think that one of the arguments to be made in favor of putting as much material online as can be had would be that some people can’t come during the day down to Town Hall and peruse whatever documents they feel they want to peruse the Mr. Ireland (cont’d): one time it might happen a year, you know, people work. People don’t have that luxury of doing what you’re suggesting and it’s interesting that during, we just commended Mr. Roman appropriately for pushing the Board of Education to get stuff online. All I heard tonight was while we certainly do do more than they do and maybe other Towns, we don’t want to put too much information out there disappointingly because I heard that, I guess it’s considered an opinion, that the public’s not smart enough to understand what they might see. That’s kind of disappointing to hear that that’s the opinion of our Township. That’s what was said tonight. I would urge that any material that you can put out, put out for one person like was mentioned before. The one person a year that might want to see it, let them see it at their leisure if it’s available. It’s not difficult. It doesn’t take up that much server space. It’s not difficult to do. There’s really no reason not to do it. It’s public transparency. They’re public documents.

President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum, you had a comment?

Mr. Greenbaum: Yes, just briefly, I agree with Scott in terms of I think that we should put every single document online that we can. I’m just not in favor of the Act which codifies it, but I agree, you know, the more information that is out there the better it makes us look personally, because it shows all of the issues that we deal with, all of the items that we have to consider when we have to make decisions. We don’t hide anything and I agree with Scott that everything that can be put out there should be put out there, and know that the Township is making every effort. It should be made to be put online as best we can do it. Obviously, there is a cost benefit analysis that if it’s going to be too burdensome and it’s going to take up too much of the time and nobody, it’s information which maybe only one or two people, then the decision has to be made. Everything should be that can possibly be put online should be put online.

Mr. Sohl: We don’t disagree.

Mr. Greenbaum: I didn’t think that you did.

President Rattner: That’s exactly what I think Mr. Sohl said. Okay. Anybody else from the public? I’ll close the public portion at this time. I’ll say that we’ll just…

Mr. Greenbaum: We can do Council comments and then…

President Rattner: Unless you had comments on something else, on the Water Study later. Okay, Council comments. Mr. Mania, do you have any final comments?

COUNCIL COMMENTS

Mr. Mania: None.

President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum?

Mr. Greenbaum: None.

President Rattner: Mr. Tobey?

Mr. Tobey: Nothing, thank you.

President Rattner: Mr. Perkins?

Mr. Perkins: Nothing. Oh, excuse me, I’m sorry. I am sorry. My apologies, Mr. President. Yes, thank you very much. The 234th birthday of the United States Marine Corps is today. The Mayor and myself laid two dozen red roses along the Marine Corps portion of the All Veterans Memorial today in honor of that 234th Birthday. Tomorrow is Veterans Day and I do intend to either lay that wreath that we still have or be out there tomorrow morning at about 8:00 or 9:00 in honor of all of our Veterans. I would ask that everybody take a special minute or so tomorrow to remember everybody that’s continuing to fight to preserve those freedoms that you get to talk to us all about here. Thank you, Mr. President.

President Rattner: Mr. Roman?

Mr. Roman: I mean, as I’ve made it clear before, I am all for putting as many documents online as possible. Frankly, I’d like to see that documents are put, that they are just not put up in PDF form, and that if it’s an Excel file that it be put in that file. That way it makes it easier for the public to search and compile numbers as they Mr. Roman (cont’d): wish. The only problem I have when reading the Act is just the fact that it requires us to create a Committee. I know we are making steps and have been making steps towards making as much available online. I definitely would like to see us at least discuss this Act more and maybe just tweak it a little, but I just don’t like the idea of adding another Committee which might even hinder the ability to put information online, because then it kind of boxes us in.

President Rattner: Thank you, Mr. Roman, and I have no comments. Now we’ll wait.

Mr. Greenbaum: Motion for recess.

Mr. Perkins: Second.

President Rattner: Do we need a motion to have a recess?

Mrs. Lashway: Sure.

President Rattner: All in favor?

AYE

Motion was made and seconded, all in favor and none opposed, the meeting went into recess at 8:36 pm.

The meeting reconvened at 8:40 pm.

Mr. Mania: Alright, who’s missing? Let’s go. Let’s move this thing along.

President Rattner: Okay, it’s 8:40. We’re all back except for Mr. Greenbaum which will probably be in.

Mr. Mania: Except David.

President Rattner: What?

Mr. Mania: David’s not here and Rob’s not here.

President Rattner: Well, I’m saying about the Council.

Mrs. Lashway: Rob saw Gary come so he knows and he’s going down to see the Mayor.

ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS – Water & Sewer Rate Study – Gary Higgins, Esq.

President Rattner: Okay, Mr. Higgins. You’re up.

Mr. Higgins: Don’t you want me to wait?

Mrs. Lashway: No.

Mr. Roman: No, it’s only Rob.

Mr. Higgins: How about we pass some of these down? I have addendums. Alright, now Sherry’s up. Alright, we have our annual Water and Sewer Rate Projection for the years 2009 through 2014, and I guess the first one that we should go over is Schedule A-1 which is the Sewer Utility.

President Rattner: A-1?

Mr. Perkins: 1-A?

Mr. Higgins: Schedule A-1 in the book.

Mr. Perkins: Oh, in the book, book.

Mr. Higgins: Let’s not go to the Addendum yet. I’m sticking to the book, page 6, like Game Six of the World Series. Page 6 of the report.

Mr. Perkins: Well, theoretically it would be page 7 wouldn’t it, because you do have that blank page with the word “Addendum.”

Mr. Mania: Yes, but it says page 6.

Mr. Higgins: In the book. In the book.

Mr. Sohl: In the book it’s page 6.

Mr. Higgins: Exhibit A-1 in the right corner, page 6 on the bottom when you turn the book sideways. What we’ve done this year a little different, we used to do two scenarios for each Utility. One is if we fully funded the ordinances and then the other one is where if we had a ten year payout, basically paying it out with bond anticipation notes. What you’ve done for the past three years actually is Sewer has always been fully funded in the ordinances, and the Water Utility we’ve been basically paying them out over time through the issuance of serial bonds once we had enough notes pooled. So we knew we couldn’t sustain the Water Utility doing full funding. So this report, we took the actual avenue you’ve been operating under for each. So with the Sewer Utility scenario, basically you’ve continued to fully fund all of the projects as listed on A-2 which is the most recent project list provided by Administration. A new twist here is that the Sewer Utility Assessment Trust Fund, beginning in 2010 does not have sufficient cash on hand to fund the debt that’s due, principal only, on the sewer assessments that are outstanding. A simple thing to keep in mind, there’s basically a point in time where you can determine how you can fund your sewer assessment budget. The point in time is December 31st. So when you do December 31st financial statements, there’s cash in the bank. What Trenton says, you can only anticipate in the subsequent year’s budget the cash in the bank at December 31st. You can’t, just because you have $800,000 you know are coming due, anticipate that as a revenue. That’s available for the following year. So we did that new calculation on the sewer assessment trust, a cash flow analysis with the principle that’s due, and if you see on page 6 before the total expenditures it says, “Anticipated Sewer Utility Assessment Trust Fund deficit.” Based on current conditions that’s the amount now that you’re going to begin to have to put in the budget. In 2010, $125,000, $810,000 in 2011, $834,000 in 2012 and $1,333,000 in 2013.

Mr. Perkins: Sell it.

Mr. Higgins: That’s the best knowledge we have. You could have certain people that still may accelerate their final payments. You may sell off more EDUs which would be a nice thing. So we don’t know that but that’s the best knowledge that we have. So under this scenario you can see that in 2012 with no rate change, based upon the current rate structure that you passed back in April 1, 2008 which is the effective date when you revised your rates, and you actually decreased all the rates in the system by approximately 6%. The year 2012, when you go to put your budget together, you’ll have a revenue hole of $1,274,000 to deal with because of that. So that’s basically where we’re at, and all of the scenarios and assumptions are the same that we’ve been using for years with the salary increases, other expense increases, MSA increases. So what we did now, when I had submitted this to Sherry and she, I guess, shared it with the Mayor and your Administrator, was to maybe come up with a different scenario where we don’t have this big hit in the one year, but look at it as a gradual type of item here. So that’s why I did this Addendum after we released the report the other day on Thursday night. Everybody has a copy of this Addendum? Okay, if you look at this Addendum on Schedule 1-A, here the only difference is that we assumed a 6% rate increase effective January 1st of each year. So 6% in ’10, ’11, ’12 and ’13. If you look up under additional rents it says “rate increase,” and you’ll see in 2010 that 6% of the $3,759,490 projected actual for ’09 generates $225,540. That gets loaded into the next number in ’11 because it would be the regular rent, and then you’d have another 6% again on top of the $3,984,540. It goes out to the next two years. Under this scenario what we’ve basically done is we’ve pushed the problem out from 2012 to 2013. So you’re still not there yet through this process. So we said let’s put another twist on this and go now default to how we’ve been handling the Water Utility, but not doing the pay as you go with your capital, but let’s do it as a ten year payout with bond anticipation notes or serial bonds. So if you turn to Schedule A-1-B here you’ll see that we just about make it with a breakeven in 2013, $9,005. So this would still include a 6% increase beginning every year starting in 2010 through 2013, but now we basically take a hiatus for four years not fully funding the projects but going to a traditional, you know, bonding and spreading out the payments, which isn’t unusual. You’ve just had the luxury in the past of not increasing the debt in the Sewer Utility. We’ve been going fully funding things, but this would be an alternative in these hard years to try to lighten the expenditures in another area. So that is the second scenario. Just for illustrative purposes, if you go past A-7 which was just another schedule that we had to throw in which would payout the proposed projects with the note type scenarios as the Water, but if you go past that we gave you a quarterly minimum user charge based on the current ordinances that are out there. So if you see the current charge, for instance, Clover Hill is at 103. It goes to 109 in 2010. What’s interesting, 109 was the rate that you charged at January 1, 2008 before you Mr. Higgins (cont’d): dropped it April 1, 2008. So if you reinstituted a 6% increase beginning January 1, you’re really just back to where you were two years ago before you dropped seven quarters down. So the quarters from April 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009 seven quarters would drop down to a lower rate. So you really just come back to that rate from two years ago.

Mr. Greenbaum: Is that supposed to make us feel better about having to raise the…?

Mr. Higgins: I’m trying to make this as palatable as I can for everyone. I’m trying to, you know, give you the ups of the down thing, but then you see how it floats out for the next four years and I did the same thing now not only taking the quarterly but so you can see what somebody’s annual bill is based on the current ordinance, and then sending it out with the 6%.

President Rattner: Gary, the only thing on here is that Wyndham Point, I think we’ve had discussions and we agreed that we have to keep raising them to come up to the $1,400 or $1,500 per household that the service is actually costing us there. We’ve let the people know that. It’s just that we didn’t want to raise it so much all in one rate but that was going to go up. We were looking at raising it in big chunks at least every two years anyway.

Mr. Higgins: Well, that would lighten up some of the others or maybe build and clear out that little miniscule deficit down there.

President Rattner: Yes, this is only the 96 people we have in there.

Mr. Higgins: So 100 people times 200 is only going to buy you, what, $20,000?

President Rattner: But that’s what we need just to keep the Wyndham…

Mr. Higgins: Right, that would be a little bit of a cushion and a help.

President Rattner: Well, yes, I’m just saying that just your analysis should put something in there because we want to get to the charge, the actual cost of providing the service.

Mr. Greenbaum: Basically what you’re saying, leaving Steve’s point aside which I agree with, then you’re going to have to revise the schedules too.

Mr. Higgins: Right.

Mr. Greenbaum: Basically what you’re telling us is that we really have very little choice but to go to the 6% and to start bonding for the improvements that we need.

Mr. Higgins: Otherwise you would see basically a 34% increase. If you have to make that one up in that one year, you would have to raise rates 34% back in the original 2012 year, which would be somewhat devastating when you know this is going to happen. I mean, the great thing was if we could sell off some of these remaining EDUs, that would really lighten the blow here, but we don’t know if that’s going to happen. That would be gravy basically.

Mr. Greenbaum: Or sell the systems completely.

Mr. Higgins: Or do that. Yes, Ray?

Mr. Perkins: Gary, question. I understand keeping the Budd Lake Sanitary Sewer System separate because of some, you know, we’re still paying it off and what needs to be done with that. Why can we not combine the Clover Hill and the Wyndham Point sanitary sewer systems and equally divide those payments up among the residents that are utilizing the system? Wouldn’t that be a more beneficial way? The same as you do with major utilities where you blend all of the different systems together and everybody pays a flat fee, one flat fee.

Mr. Higgins: Well, are you talking the fact that your current ordinances have different rates now?

Mr. Perkins: Yes.

Mr. Higgins: Well, those rates are really what I’m looking at as our baseline rates. The systems have been analyzed in the past, and there have been indirect costs and direct cost allocations to each of the systems. That’s the basis for the different rates currently.

Mr. Perkins: Right.

Mr. Higgins: So now we’re just saying if we need a 6% rate increase, we’re going to throw it across these baseline numbers that currently exist.

Mr. Greenbaum: The answer to your question is, Ray, you could do it.

Mr. Perkins: Right.

Mr. Greenbaum: You could do it if you wanted to do it. It would benefit the people of Wyndham Point to the detriment of the other people who are going to see increased rates because they are starting to fund the Wyndham Point system.

Mr. Perkins: But to a de minimis amount because you’ve got a larger customer base to spread the expense across.

Mr. Greenbaum: Maybe so.

Mr. Perkins: It’s the same way it works in every other utility. I mean, I know you’re familiar with that.

Mr. Higgins: Right, but I’m saying, are you saying that the current rate structure for all three of the systems you’d want to revise? Maybe I misunderstood the question.

Mr. Perkins: No, no, I know last year when we talked a little bit about it, and then Mr. Dorsey of course talked about with the Budd Lake Sanitary Sewer System because of what we still owe and all on that and some of the EDUs, that we still have to get rid of.

Mr. Higgins: Right.

Mr. Perkins: We’re not looking to get rid of anything. There’s no more customers to go on Wyndham Point. There’s no new customers to go down in Clover Hill unless something happens over at Marveland where we get the increase in the flow and some improvements done to the plant. You’ll still be adding customers, so wouldn’t it make sense if you’ve got 100 customers here or 400 or whatever down in Clover Hill, you now add those total two together, divide it by five and everybody pays the one flat fee to help subsidize it? I understand that Wyndham Point is costing more but you’re $100 more at a current rate for somebody at Wyndham Point than you are for the Clover Hill sanitary sewer system.

Mr. Higgins: But that’s strictly because we’ve done a real cost allocation.

Mr. Perkins: I understand that, but if…

Mr. Higgins: But you’re saying, like, just let everybody pay the same…?

Mr. Perkins: Well, my Chevy costs me X amount of dollars per year and my Ford costs me X amount of dollars a year and if I keep just saying, writing out the bill to Ford and Chevy that’s great. If I said, you know what, I’m going to finance them all under this company and I’m going to pay one bill to that company and it’s all combined, don’t we save?

Mr. Higgins: Well, I don’t know if you’re going to change the bottom line. We’re going to still have to raise the same amount of money. Maybe I’m…

Mr. Perkins: Well, you still have to raise the same amount of money, but you’re not going to be hitting the people for the same amount. 6% of 200 is more than 6% of 100.

Mr. Higgins: Right, but see what we’re saying, we’ve already established that they should pay, let’s assume 200 is right. We’ve established that as being the right number that that system is more costly.

Mr. Perkins: For Wyndham Point.

Mr. Higgins: Right.

Mr. Perkins: Exactly.

Mr. Higgins: Right.

Mr. Perkins: Because the Township has decided to treat each one of the sewer systems as a separate entity. Why don’t we treat the sewer systems as a separate entity then?

Mr. Higgins: Well, we’re treating this…

Mr. Perkins: We have ten separate water systems. We could treat each one separately then each one of those customers would pay a separate rate based upon the funding and the financing of that particular system.

Mr. Higgins: Are you saying to split these off? Maybe I’m missing…

Mr. Greenbaum: No, all he’s saying is you could blend, he’s saying you could blend the different rates so that the impact to the Wyndham Point people would be less.

Mr. Higgins: Well that would be your decision but then we’d go away from what we’ve been doing for years now on isolating the costs in the different areas, but…

Mr. Greenbaum: That is what he’s saying.

Mr. Perkins: Right.

Mr. Higgins: Okay, but that’s your decision.

Mr. Greenbaum: He’s saying that Budd Lake would not be appropriate because of the amount of debt.

Mr. Perkins: Well we still have outstanding debt and EDUs to get rid of and whatnot there.

Mr. Greenbaum: Right, but the same argument could be made for doing it with the Budd Lake Sewer System as well, and spreading those costs across the system if that’s what we wanted to do.

Mr. Perkins: That’s right.

Mr. Greenbaum: It’s something for consideration. It’s really outside of your, you’ll do whatever…

Mr. Higgins: Right, we’ll do whatever you want, obviously.

Mr. Perkins: …cheaper.

Mr. Greenbaum: It doesn’t change the fact that everybody’s rates are going up 6% and we’re going to have to bond for future improvements. That’s the bottom line going forward.

Mr. Higgins: Right.

Mr. Greenbaum: I don’t see anything on here for 2015, 2016 or 2017 but I can only imagine that those numbers are not going to get any better.

Mr. Higgins: No, they are going to get better because your debt is done.

Mr. Perkins: Your debt’s going to go down.

Mr. Higgins: If you look at…

Mr. Greenbaum: How is our debt going to go down if we’re now bonding for additional debt that we’re going to be paying?

Mr. Higgins: No, but that’s, it’s going to be nowhere near what this stuff is.

Mr. Sohl: You’re not talking about the whole sewer system.

Mr. Greenbaum: Oh, so you’re talking about the…?

Mr. Higgins: We’re just talking about your current whatever, you’re painting a tank or whatever.

Mr. Perkins: Yes, the pole barns and all that.

Mr. Higgins: If you look on page 12, Rob, A-6, your Budd Lake sewer debt service right now is $1.6 in 2010. That goes away. You’re down to $98,000 in 2016. It’s done. So the big debt is gone. There will just be what your constant kind of maintenance type items are and you can see right now they’re only running 255, 350, 315, nowhere near the debt that’s out there.

Mr. Greenbaum: I don’t understand then. If what we’re talking about, the increase related to where we’re going, never mind. What you’re saying is…

Mr. Higgins: This is, like, temporary.

Mr. Greenbaum: I understand that but what you’re saying is that the increase that we’re going to be seeing is specifically related to the Budd Lake debt that we have because we haven’t sold all of the EDUs. That debt is now coming due and we’re going to pass that along throughout the entire system.

Mr. Higgins: And then if you sell the EDUs after you can get the windfall, it’s going to go back to the sewer operating system to replenish what they paid in the past. It’s a timing problem of not selling those EDUs and the debt service coming due. So you may pay now and you may reap the benefit later. We don’t know. That’s really the bottom line here. You could reap $3 million in EDU sales. I think isn’t there like 300 left at what, $11,000 or $12,000? That would be $3 million that would be a windfall maybe in 2016. You can lower rates then.

Mr. Greenbaum: Well, for instance, the landfill may end up…

Mr. Sohl: Based on running the numbers straight the way we got them from, well originally calculated, we have about 300. We know though, because of capacities and actual gallonage running through the MSA, or the MUA plant we could probably sell even more than that, but we’ve got no buyers.

President Rattner: Well, with the Highlands we’re restricted, but then you have to look because when you sell multiples, you know, there’s a discount, but definitely there’s the potential there. If the landfill ever comes we know they’re going to need a lot of sewerage through that and that solves a lot, you know, that’s the worst part of the problem right there.

Mr. Greenbaum: It just goes back to Ray’s point that in essence what you’re doing is passing along the debt related to the Budd Lake Sewer System throughout the entire sewer system. So Flanders to everybody, the 6%, the going forward on the improvements is because Budd Lake is running on a deficit.

Mr. Higgins: And I think on the other side when we lowered everybody last time because of potential profit, everybody got the benefit also of a 6% decrease on April 1, 2008. So everybody’s been sharing in the surpluses too.

Mr. Greenbaum: Then it makes sense to do exactly what Ray said, which is just to take all of the sewer users and do them as one unit to figure out what the cost of operating our sewer system is and to…

Mr. Higgins: Just divide the number of users in?

Mr. Greenbaum: You’d divide the number of users because we’re passing along the increases anyway and we’re passing along the benefits anyway.

Mr. Higgins: Well you’re going to have to deal with the commercials and stratify a piece off that’s a whole, this is like a whole rate study you’re going to have to do to figure this out again.

Mr. Greenbaum: You know, it’s being raised for the first time. I haven’t thought through all of the issues, nor would I ever be able to think through all of the issues without some benefit of your guidance because, you
Mr. Greenbaum (cont’d): know, the rate studies and all the things that go into figuring out the rates for the sewer system are well beyond my capabilities of understanding.

Mr. Sohl: There’s a piece of the pie that’s not here in terms of rate structure relative to the Trade Zone and what they pay, and how that is…

Mr. Greenbaum: I understand. There are many factors that would go into… If we considered it to be one system and split it up, there are many factors that would have to come into play to determine what the appropriate rate is and how we would deal with different types of users in the system. I understand that completely. It just seems, it just is an odd concept for me that we’re moving forward with a percentage increase to all of the users based upon the Budd Lake Sewer System debt which is out there. I need to kind of synthesize all of the information.

Mr. Higgins: You know, this was really done for illustrative purposes to try to get you to be breakeven. I guess, like, we spoke many times about this, Sherry and I, when we look back at what was done in ’08 everybody came down 6%.

Mr. Greenbaum: Which is the flip side, so now…

Mr. Higgins: Now we’re going up 6% all over.

Mr. Greenbaum: So the flipside, again, would be once we sell the EDUs the entire system would share in the profit because everyone is sharing in the burden of the Budd Lake Sewer System costs that are still out there.

Mr. Higgins: Right, it’s like one for all and all for one here. That’s what’s going on.

Mr. Greenbaum: Except that we deal with them separately in terms of the analysis of the rate schedule.

Mr. Higgins: We’re dealing with it separately from the standpoint of setting the base rate, but we are operating as one sewer utility from the standpoint of accounting and auditing and budgeting. So it’s just a matter that we’ve realized that the systems have different needs, and we’ve tried to the best of our ability using your director of the area and his input as to what those needs are, and trying to put the cost in the box, some being direct and some being indirect cost allocations.

Mr. Greenbaum: Okay, thank you.

Mr. Higgins: So, you know, that’s our scenario on the Sewer Utility. It’s almost pay me now, pay me later. Start passing it along or you’re in big trouble in the one year. So that’s something you’re going to have to decide what to do and then with the Water Utility, if you flip we’ll just go to that.

Mr. Greenbaum: 6% increase every year and then you bond out the improvements.

Mr. Higgins: The Water Utility, we continue on page 13, and there we continue to do what we’ve done to just payout our projects over time. You can see basically due in next year’s budget you have to use all of your surplus and you have $7,000 left with no increase. So basically at the end of ’10 you have no money left. ’10 and ’11 you have a substantial deficit that you’d have to deal with. So what we did once again, here we gave you a scenario on page 14 where we had a 15% rate increase effective January 10. That really still didn’t cut the mustard. The percent increase sounds a lot worse than the dollar increase just so you know, too, because we’re operating at what per quarter, Sherry? Do I have a, $60 a quarter so a 15% increase is $9 a quarter. Fifteen sounds worse than $9 to me, a little bit.

Mr. Perkins: $36 a year.

Mr. Higgins: Yes, and the other one what we did on 15, here we get you at least current through 2011 without a deficit with a 20% increase. So that would be $12 a quarter, but keep in mind we had the wet, wet summer of 2009 and your rents, and I noted it in the book here, your rents that we project to collect in 2009 are, I believe it was $85,000 or so. Less than what we anticipated based upon the 2008 summer, what we projected the rate increase off of. Is it 2008 or ’07? 2008 I guess.

Mrs. Maniscalco: 2008.

Mr. Higgins: So if we ever get our water back to the levels… Let me just see it.

Mr. Sohl: Is that because people were not reaching the…?

Mr. Higgins: They weren’t using the water. Oh, yes, on page 3…

Mr. Greenbaum: They weren’t watering their lawns.

Mr. Higgins: …we’re basically $96,000 less than the anticipated water rents in the previous report that reflected the approved rate increase April 1, 2008. So if we get the usage back in 2010 to the 2008 levels, you’re really looking at $100,000 more than we’re having in the study, because we’re just showing in the study based upon 2009’s actual. So, you know, you could take a 15% increase and hope you have a dryer summer and people consume more and that may get you there. So this was just for illustrative purposes too, but like I said, the percentages don’t really equate to the dollars and my impact of $9 or $12 a quarter is substantial.

Mr. Greenbaum: So you’re recommending a 20% increase.

Mr. Higgins: I can’t recommend anything at…

Mr. Greenbaum: Yes, you can…

Mr. Higgins: I can only offer you options. I cannot make management decisions as the Independent Auditor. I can present options and you can mull them around and choose one.

Mr. Greenbaum: If I were talking to Sherry directly…

Mrs. Maniscalco: Yes, we’re recommending, at least I can say that we should go with the 20% increase. We could do the 15% and take the chance but I think we should go with the 20% and make sure that we’re covered.

Mr. Greenbaum: I really don’t see that we have much choice.

Mrs. Maniscalco: Yes, I mean, you know, I don’t want to see an increase either. I live in Town too remember.

Mr. Greenbaum: You know, it’s $12 here, it’s $20 there…

Mr. Perkins: Yes, but yours is Hackettstown.

Mrs. Maniscalco: Yes, let me tell you I pay far less than what I used to pay here, but that’s another issue.

Mr. Greenbaum: I understand what you’re saying, Gary, but I…

Mr. Higgins: No, there is a silver lining in there depending on the summer. You know, you could end up with a decent size surplus at the end based upon consumption if it happens.

Mr. Greenbaum: And give it back by way of a rate reduction.

Mr. Higgins: Well, or maybe, yes, we’ll have to see.

Mr. Mania: Wishful thinking.

Mr. Higgins: Or maybe not have a rate increase for a few more years then.

Mr. Mania: And not give them back.

Mr. Higgins: Right.

Mr. Perkins: It’s like looking at every other variable, Gary. I mean, as you look at people putting low flow shower heads and aerators and everything else on their houses and using water more conservatively, we went through the same thing at American Water. We had those summers where it was just very wet and we didn’t make a lot of money. It happens.

Mr. Higgins: Right, this is common to all of the utilities right now what’s going on. Ridgewood Water is pushing for a 20% increase right now and they serve Wyckoff, Glen Rock, Midland Park and Ridgewood. They just send a letter out for a 20% increase. They’ve got to go to the BPU though.

Mr. Greenbaum: Yes, if you could afford to live in those areas you can afford the 20%.

Mr. Higgins: Not necessarily. If you don’t have a job you don’t have a job, no matter where you live. This isn’t uncommon based upon what happened in the summer. This is a common problem right now if you don’t have substantial surplus to absorb last year’s lack of consumption by the users. So, I mean, the big effort here was if you are going to do something to try to do something so that it’s effective, you know, January 1st. Last time we didn’t make it and we had to wait until the first quarter was over in ’08 if you recall. So that’s why we had the big push to get this out.

Mrs. Maniscalco: No comment?

Mr. Roman: Is there a possible scenario that as you increase the rate that people will start using less because of an increased rate?

Mr. Higgins: Well, on a sewer side, no, because that’s a flat rate.

Mr. Roman: I’m talking about the water.

Mr. Higgins: On the water rate, that’s an individual decision. My kids will never shut that water off when they’re brushing their teeth. It keeps running. I’ve yelled at them for years.

Mr. Greenbaum: Just like an auditor to never really give you an answer, just kind of fluff around the edges.

Mr. Tobey: Like an attorney, you mean?

Mr. Higgins: I thought that was like an attorney.

Mr. Mania: No different than an attorney, tell him Gary.

Mr. Higgins: No different than an attorney. They just write a long brief and I don’t know what it means.

Mrs. Maniscalco: This kind of goes to what I was saying about the Finance Committee and why I think the priority should be focused there, because we’re looking at a potential major shortfall in Sanitation, a Water & Sewer increase and a tax increase. So that’s what I was trying to say before.

President Rattner: What’s the bad news?

Mrs. Maniscalco: It doesn’t get any worse, literally.

Mr. Greenbaum: Sell the water and sewer systems.

Mr. Perkins: I second that.

President Rattner: You know, seriously when we talk about the shortfall in rents, you know, looking at it, because when we have a dry season we have water restrictions and you can’t water. We have a wet season. Is there any way of being able to analyze the high water users, because that’s where it made it a lot more expensive for that 10% and 15%. There you were talking hundreds of dollars and there you may have to start talking about the elasticity of demand. $6 a quarter, nobody’s going to take any less showers, but add a couple of hundred dollars, people may be watching their sprinkling a little bit different, especially when it’s over the course of a very short period of time.

Mr. Higgins: We did that, Steve, in that last report and I think that’s when we threw that extra step in?

President Rattner: Oh, no, we did. I’m not questioning that. We know why we did it.

Mr. Higgins: But what do you want to do? Reanalyze it based upon last year’s water when it was…?

President Rattner: Let’s just see if it’s those high water usage, that there was an elasticity in the demand due to price because there for those very high users, there was going to be one heck of a hit. We were raising the cost over $1 per 1,000 gallons.

Mr. Higgins: Right, right.

Mr. Greenbaum: Let’s sell the systems.

President Rattner: Some of those people were using over 100,000 gallons.

Mr. Higgins: Well, you want us to try to do a comparison of the ’08 and the ’09 and those high users? I mean, I see people, you know, people will go away to a summer house. They leave the sprinklers on and they’re still running when the rain is coming down.

President Rattner: Well, that was one of the reasons why we put it in there. We wanted to make it more expensive because we didn’t want to have to put the water restrictions on as much, or have to build more facilities. That was the whole reason for…

Mr. Higgins: But are you saying we possibly didn’t lose that $85,000 to those people we were surcharging anyway? They were still consuming?

President Rattner: No, I’m saying is it just those surcharges, and because they started using less because of the increase in the bill.

Mr. Sohl: We also had a number of users that were on restrictions pretty much all year.

President Rattner: Well, that’s what I mean that when we have a dry period we put restrictions on anyway. So in a dry summer we don’t allow people to use the water anyway.

Mr. Sohl: Well, it’s more than just a dry period. It’s also the well situations, for example, in Goldmine which we hope to have resolved by the end of the year.

Mr. Higgins: But ’08, if we use that as our baseline for the increase, ’08 we use… Well, I still think I’m in the wrong year. When we did it for April 1, 2008 we used, must be the ’07 summer. We had to use the ’07 when I did last year’s report. The ’07 summer must have been dry and that was our baseline for our increase for the three quarters in ’08.

President Rattner: But the dry season again, we would have had water restrictions on most of the areas.

Mr. Higgins: Right, but that must, even with the water restriction that was a better number than the wet, obviously.

President Rattner: Yes, well, I’m just saying that’s why you have to look to see really what’s there. I mean, there’s a certain amount, I mean, you know, our water is still relatively cheap comparatively to a lot of other Towns. I know that as a fact because I watch the rates that are published in the newspaper, and it costs us a certain amount. It’s getting more and more expensive to do the treatment and everything else. Look at just the capital program we’ve had there rehabilitating each standpipe. We do almost twenty a year at a cost of a half to three quarters of a million dollars.

Mr. Greenbaum: You know what? It comes back to the point that we shouldn’t be in the water and sewer business at all.

President Rattner: Yes.

Mr. Greenbaum: And I think that we’re left with the situation now where we have no choice but to go with the options that Sherry recommends, which I know that if you were not the public Auditor and you were looking at it from a fiscally responsible point of view, you would look at the 6% and the bonding of the improvements going forward on the sewer, and also looking at the water and looking at a 20% increase.

Mr. Higgins: We wouldn’t have prepared these scenarios if we didn’t kind of…

Mr. Greenbaum: You know what? There really isn’t a decision to be made. It’s really a presentation, a snapshot of where we are currently.

Mr. Higgins: Right, and how you’re going to move forward.

Mr. Greenbaum: Right, but the bottom line is that we need to move forward to be proactive rather than reactive at this point. We shouldn’t be in the water and sewer business. We don’t have the capacity to make the changes that are needed to be made on a regular basis, and we don’t have the money to make the fixes that we need to make on a going forward basis. The Township stands to benefit through the sale of the two systems. It’s something that we really need to look towards doing.

President Rattner: Ray, was that something that you may have brought up a while ago? You said it may be an option?

Mr. Perkins: Well, yes, I mean, look, we’ve talked about this over the years. Inevitably, you know, and I can’t speak for everybody here but get out of it. Sell it. Take a couple of million dollars and go. I mean, this is inevitable. This is going to happen. You can’t keep funding. It takes us forever to get things completed. Tie ins of our Master Water Plan have been going on for the past fifteen years and they’re still not completed. I agree. It comes to a point where I’m sure we’re going to have to look at seriously considering divesting ourselves of this.

President Rattner: I think if we want to get the rates ready, I think what the decision, and why we always ask for the report in early November is so that we can make the changes effective for the new year. I think that’s what we heard and I think we have to have John put together, you know, actually have the formal stuff and discuss it at the next meeting, and then at least approve whatever we’re going to do in December.

Mr. Greenbaum: Well, John should speak to Sherry and whatever Sherry’s recommendations were tonight to have them put into the appropriate document, the 6% funding mechanism and the 20% mechanism on the water. Then we need to seriously start looking at whether or not we can sell the systems, how we go about doing it and start getting out of the water and sewer business because it’s not, in a cost benefit analysis we’re losing.

Mr. Roman: I mean, I would also make sure that when we are making that analysis, what’s in the best interest of the residents, because yes, maybe we, because I wouldn’t think that a private water utility would be mulling over and contemplating how hard a 6% increase… They’ll pretty much just go, “Well, we need to increase it 6%. Here we go. Have a nice day.”

Mr. Greenbaum: Except for the fact that it’s a regulated industry and they have to get BPU approval. It’s not like sanitation.

Mr. Roman: Right, but I mean, as long as we’re cognizant and whatever we’re going to do is in the best interest of the residents.

Mr. Tobey: We would do nothing but that.

Mr. Greenbaum: All of our decisions supposedly should be made in the best interest of the residents.

Mr. Roman: Right, exactly why we’re spending so much time over a 6% increase because we want to make sure that we’re not just raising it for the sake of raising it. So I’m sure we are going to make sure that it is, you know, any discussions that we have are in the best interest of the residents.

President Rattner: Going back to what Ray brought up before, even though we’re kind of small to start thinking about maybe blended rates, when you look at a major utility in the area, they may have 600,000 customers they’re spreading over and they can spread the cost over that and it makes a lot more sense. If you need a major upgrade they can afford to do it in specific areas because they have the revenue coming in from other areas. Anyway, is there any other discussion? I think we have a direction and can actually put together a formal ordinance that can be discussed at the next Workshop and we have to schedule it. If we want to get it in effect, it should be done in the two meetings in December.

Mrs. Maniscalco: Steve, we’re doing the flat six among all users. I just want to be clear, right, flat six?

President Rattner: Yes, right, well we don’t have enough time to do anything else at this point.

Mrs. Maniscalco: Okay, I just want to make sure.

President Rattner: All these other options are things that have to be looked at to see what works best. Right now we have to start increasing revenue. I think that’s very, very plain and that’s indisputable. We should always change the method going into next year.

Mr. Higgins: Anything else?

Mr. Greenbaum: Is Gary here for anything else?

Mr. Mania: Any good news, Gary?

President Rattner: Are any of us here for anything else?

Mr. Mania: Any good news?

President Rattner: If that’s it we can move for adjournment.

ADJOURNMENT

Motion was made and seconded, all in favor and none opposed, the meeting was adjourned at 9:16 pm.


_________________________________
Steven W. Rattner, Council President

I, Lisa M. Lashway, Township Clerk of the Township of Mount Olive do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes is a true and correct copy of the Minutes approved at a legally convened meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on November 24, 2009.

_________________________________
Lisa Lashway, Township Clerk

jr

 

 

2012 Mount Olive Township. All rights reserved.