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TOWNSHIP OF MAHWAH
SPECIAL WORK SESSION MEETING MINUTES
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2005

The meeting was called to order at 8:05PM by Council President Richter who read the Open Public Meeting Act Statement as prescribed by law. Notice was advertised in The Record on April 6, 2005 and April 13, 2005 stating this meeting would be held on Wednesday, April 20, 2005 at 8:00PM at the Municipal Offices, 475 Corporate Drive, Mahwah, New Jersey.

Notice of this meeting is posted on the Municipal Bulletin Board. The minutes of this meeting shall be available in the Municipal Clerk’s Office.

Salute to the Flag.

Present: Councilmembers Alderisio; Calandrillo; DiGiulio; Kelly; Paton; Roth and Richter

Also present were Township Attorney, Menelaos W. Toskos, Township Attorney’s Associate, Nilufer O. DeScherer, Sewer Assessment Committee Chairman , Don Wasson, Township Appraiser, Scott Holzhauer, Township Utility Engineer Justin Mahon, and Deputy Municipal Clerk, Mary C. Ross

INTRODUCTION OF PHASE 4 SEWER REPORT
The Township Attorney’s Associate gave a brief overview of the Phase 4 Sewer Assessment Process and Report.

On a motion by Calandrillo, seconded by Alderisio, a motion was made to open the meeting to the public. Roll Call Vote: Alderisio, yes; Calandrillo, yes; DiGiulio, yes; Kelly, yes; Paton, yes; Roth, yes; Richter, abstain.

PUBLIC HEARING REGARDING REPORT
On a motion by Calandrillo, seconded by Paton, the meeting was opened to the public at 8:12PM. All in favor. Motion carried.

Mr. Richard Samse of 11 Bedford Road asked about a pump he had that was not recorded on the Phase 4 Sewer Assessment List. Richter stated she met with the Council Vice President, the Chairman of the Sewer Assessment Committee, and the Township Attorney’s Associate prior to this meeting and it was discussed and agreed that this would be amended and an adjustment would be made.

Mr. David Clark of 15 Arrowhead Road mentioned an article that discussed the possibility of sharing sewer services with other Township’s by forming strategic alliances with them. Kelly stated the article referred to a peculiar situation where the Borough of Ramsey needed to cut through the Township with the sewer lines in order to get to Myrtle

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April 20, 2005
Page 2

and Peterson Place. Kelly stated this situation does not apply here at the Phase 4 Sewer Assessment Meeting.

Mr. David Clark of 15 Arrowhead Road asked the Township Attorney about a $200,000.00 Grant referred to in the article, received by the Borough of Ramsey, that he said could be divided among the 57 families to lower the cost of the Phase 4 Sewer Assessment. The Township Attorney stated it is a nice idea; however, the Borough of Ramsey was getting the money, not the Township.

The Township Utility Engineer stated the Township will not be putting any money into a Borough of Ramsey Project. He further stated that Myrtle Avenue and Peterson Place may benefit in the future from the Borough of Ramsey’s Sewer Installations.

Mr. Jim Schwick of 34 Bedford Road asked if the Phase 5 Sewer Assessment would be discussed this evening. Richter said no.

Mr. Art Hanley of 278 Campgaw Road asked if a 10% consideration would be considered for him since his sewer was completed in the 1978 Phase. Richter said yes, there is a 10% adjustment.

The Township Attorney’s Associate stated the Township’s obligation is to give a non-excessive assessment with regards to property improvement. The Township Appraiser looked at the property before the assessment and made the assessment with the value increase that a sewer system would bring. Mr. Handley asked if the Assessment is due to the property’s increased value. The Township Attorney’s Associate said yes, the benefit to the property is weighed when considering the assessment.

Richter stated the 6 homes including Mr. Handley were not included in Phase One, and this Phase has nothing to do with that project. Mr. Handley stated this was not fair. The Township Attorney stated the Township does not do small sewer projects; it is done, and assessed in Phases.

The Township Attorney’s Associate stated the 10% adjustment was generous, and originally there was to be no adjustment.

Richter used Bedford Road as an example citing that some homes were included in Phase 4 and some in Phase 5. Some of the original owners declined in Phase 4, and now, new owners of the same properties chose to be included in Phase 5.

Mr. Walter Kress of 27 Thunderhead Place asked if there were any escrowed funds available to return to the residents on Thunderhead Place. The Township Attorney stated

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April 20, 2005
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he knew of no escrowed funds and if there were any there would have been an Escrow Agreement.

Mr. Kress asked how the 10% reduction amount was arrived at. Mr. Don Wasson, Chairman of the Sewer Assessment Committee, stated the costs of the Oak Hill Project were considered, and a round number of 10% was decided as the reduction amount. Mr. Kress felt 13%, not 10%, should be the amount of the reduction in their area. Mr. Kress also stated he was unhappy that he was not granted an exception as many other homes in his area had been since the dry lines were already installed.

The Township Utility Engineer stated, with regards to Mr. Kress’ questions, that it was determined that the dry lines were not installed at a correct elevation and needed to be reinstalled at the approved elevations. Mr. Kress stated this is a “poor engineering issue” and it was not (his) the residents fault. Mr. Kress petitioned Council for the 10% reduction.

The Township Utility Engineer stated the current revolving loan fund offers a lower then market interest and a payback of 20 years. Mr. Mahon stated there are no Grants available for this. The Financial Advisors have put together an attractive interest package.

Mr. Kress stated he could not accept the fact that the Appraiser stated the home prices have declined in value and asked him to reconsider his assessment.

Mr. Scott Holzhauer, Appraiser for the Sewer Assessment Committee stated the methodology, home sales, and time periods are different and these variables needed to be taken into consideration when considering the current assessments.

Mr. Holzhauer stated the Court is only interested in the total value of the property and this is the approach Mr. Holzhauer took when conducting these appraisals.

Mr. Kress stated there was not enough analysis conducted. Kelly stated appraisal is not an exact science. Richter stated, and being an Appraiser herself, that 2 appraisal comparisons are great, and 4 are wonderful.

The Township Attorney’s Associate stated with regard to Mr. Kress’s analysis that in another County that may not be the case.

Mr. Kress stated this work should have been done correctly 25 years ago. This is an engineering problem and he does not think it is fair to penalize the residents for this.
Kelly asked to have the properties in question put on record: Numbers 8, 27 and 28 Thunderhead Place.
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April 20, 2005
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Mr. Hans Bolliger of 19 Rae Avenue stated that he had contacted the Township Business Administrator and discussed sump pumps. Mr. Bolliger told the Business Administrator that he preferred an inside pump over an exterior pump. He wanted to know how to have the Township order him the inside pump.

The Township Utility Engineer stated, with regards to Mr. Bolliger’s questions, that the pumps the Township had purchased are for exterior installation. There are interior installation pumps that could be found; however, this is the first request. Mr. Mahon stated Council would need to decide if they wanted to open up the option of interior pumps to residents. Paton asked if it was easier to service the pump inside or outside. Mr. Mahon stated outside. Mr. Mahon stated the pump purchase would be a one time expenditure for the Township after which it would be the residents obligation to take care of the pump.

Roth asked what the requirements were for an inside and outside installation of a pump, and who was responsible for what. Mr. Bolliger stated if the pump goes outside at his residence it would cost him an extra $2,000.00. Roth asked what was the difference with the pumps. The Township Utility Engineer stated it was the basin for the pump that made the difference between the two.

Richter stated if this choice is open to the residents it would have to be open to all residents. DiGiulio stated Mr. Bolliger’s situation was unique. The Township Utility Engineer will contact the Business Administrator to further discuss. Mr. Bolliger stated he spoke to the Business Administrator numerous times already, and hoped this problem would be rectified soon.

Mr. Ron Roberto of 63 Thunderhead Place asked Council to listen, with patience, to his comments. Mr. Roberto stated the Stage 4 Sewer Assessment Process was “very suspect.”

Mr. Roberto further stated to say that there has been appreciation in homes of 20 to 40% is also “very suspect.” Mr. Roberto stated a sewer line was placed in the middle of a cul-de-sac in his immediate vicinity 25 years ago at the same time of the Phase I Township Sewer Assessment Process.

Mr. Roberto stated with regards to the original Building Permit a final was not to be issued until “working sanitary sewers were installed and functioning”. Mr. Roberto stated this was not done, and he could not understand why this Final Permit was ever issued by the Township Building Inspector. Mr. Roberto implied that due to the Final Permit stating final was not to be issued until “working sanitary sewers were installed and functioning” the implication was that the Township was to hook up the lines to the sewers.
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April 20, 2005
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The Township Attorney’s Associate stated the paperwork does state in Chapter 11 the sewers were to be hooked up, pursuant to Township Code, at a future date after the Sanitary Sewers are functioning.

Richter asked why the houses were built and how – Richter stated it was the Builder’s Responsibility as it passed the Township Health Inspection. Mr. Roberto did not agree.

Mr. Roberto asked Council to review the letter and documents, with regards to this issue, that he sent to Council. Mr. Roberto stated the wording in these documents prove that the Township was to hook up the sewer lines in Phase I. Mr. Roberto was annoyed that his neighborhood had to pay 30-40% more for the Phase 4 Sewer Assessment then any of the other homes involved.

The Township Attorney stated he understood Mr. Roberto’s concern; however, he does not understand Mr. Roberto’s argument fully, and he needed to me more precise in his claims and requests. Mr. Roberto stated the homes in the Oak Hill Section should have been serviced in the Phase 1 Sewer Program. Mr. Roberto stated the assessment of the Oak Hill Section is about 30-40% higher then similar residences in other areas of town. What he wishes from Council is that the Township should acquire more money for the Oak Hill Section and meet in the middle where the price discrepancy is concerned. Mr. Roberto stated “everything is suspect” with regard to this Assessment, and implored Council to “listen to the residents.”

Richter asked Don Wasson, Chairman of the Sewer Assessment Committee why the Oak Hill Section was not included in the original Phase One Sewer Program. Mr. Wasson stated he did not know.

Mr. Frank Matonti of 16 Black Oak Lane wanted to make sure he would receive a corrected assessment due to the installation of an ejector pump on his property. Richter stated the assessment for Mr. Matonti will reflect an adjustment for the installation of an ejector pump on the property.

Mr. Edward Sitar of 7 Thunderhead Place acknowledged this Sewer Assessment
Process was a difficult job for Council to have to handle; however, he felt penalized for living in a nice area of the Township.

Mr. Ivan Rothenberg of 11 Flaming Arrow Road stated it was not fair that some houses in his area were included in Phase One and some were not, and those residents involved in Phase 4 and 5 were made to carry the ‘lion’s share’ of the burden. DiGiulio gave a brief overview of the process experienced in Phase One and the Federal Grant that was available for Phase One. According to DiGiulio, there are no more Federal Grants

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April 20, 2005
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available. DiGiulio asked for clarification concerning why some were included in Phase One and some were not.

Richter briefly explained the Phase One Grant Process to the residents. Richter stated she would like to find out more about what happened in Phase I.

Alderisio stated he was included in Phase One and his house was worth about $30,000.00 at the time (1976) and he had to pay $1,200.00 for the Sewer Hook Up. Alderisio stated, relative to the time, that the Phase 4 Assessment is about the same percentage wise taking into consideration the increase in housing prices.

Kelly stated he would like to stress two basic facts: #1 the individuals were not included in Phase 1, #2 the reason why they were not included in Phase #1. Kelly cited a letter from Ms. Joan Moore, and stated from the content it was evident something happened. Kelly stated there are many answers Council does not have and Appraisal is not an exact science - different appraisers approach things in various ways.

Mr. Bob Garvey of 3 Black Oak Lane stated the documentation Mr. Roberto provided proved he should have been included in Phase One and felt it was unfair that he was not included.

Mr. Thomas Zakrzewski of 16 Arrowhead Road expressed support for Mr. Roberto, and agreed that they should have been included in Phase One.

Mr. David Clark of 15 Arrowhead Lane stated the Council needed to be able to pass a “red-face test” with regards to the decisions that have been made with the Phase 4 Sewer
Assessment. Mr. Clark stated there are too many questions left unanswered, and Council needed to listen to the people and what they are saying. Richter stated there will be no solid answers available this evening; however, Council wants to help, and will have the Business Administrator investigate and obtain the necessary research in order to come to a conclusion with regards to the Oak Hill/Phase One Issue.

Ms. Judith Peck of 57 Thunderhead Place stated there was a choice to make when offered the Sewers. The $8,000.00 approximate cost was acceptable to her, and she opted to go along with the sewers. Ms. Peck stated the extra $5,000.00, in addition to the original $8,000.00 suggested for the sewers, was unfair and this is what she objects to.

Paton read the Business Administrator’s Summary of the Phase Four Sewer Assessment to Council to the Public and Council for reference.



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April 20, 2005
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Mr. Walter Kress of 27 Thunderhead Place stated State Statute does not prescribe a specific methodology to Sewer Assessments, and he asked Council to consider other ranges and options. Mr. Kress provided Council with a spread sheet for their review.

Mr. Kress also asked for a resolution to the water pressure issue, so when the sewers are installed they would be operational.

On a motion by Calandrillo, seconded by Kelly, the meeting was closed to the public at 10:15PM. All in favor. Motion carried.

COUNCIL COMMENTS
Calandrillo stated she has questions that are left unanswered concerning the Oak Hill/Phase One Issue.

Paton stated the residents presented a case that needed to be looked into. Paton suggested reviewing the Certificate of Occupancies and Letters of Acceptance that were issued to the original Oak Hill Residents.

Paton stated each and every subsequent purchaser of these properties was well aware they had septic. Paton stated all subsequent purchases have been made legally of the homes in question.

Paton stressed the Tax Assessor did not want to offer a break to the residents of the Oak Hill Area; however, the Commissioners decided to offer a generous 10% discount to the residents. Paton does not know whether this should go any further.

Alderisio stated there are experts to help Council determine the issues brought up at this meeting. Alderisio stated there are no real facts that were uncovered, and the only thing he questioned was the properties at 8, 27 and 28 Thunderhead Place not receiving the 10% discount.

Kelly concurred with Paton and Alderisio, and the fact remains that the residents present were not involved in the Phase One Sewer Assessment, and he does not feel the facts presented tonight supports their case. Kelly felt the properties at 8, 27 and 28 Thunderhead Place should receive the 10% discount.

Alderisio stated if Council decided to give the properties at 8, 27 and 28 Thunderhead Place the 10% discount the reason why should be documented.

DiGiulio concurred with Kelly and Alderisio concerning 8, 27 and 28 Thunderhead Place receiving the 10% discount. DiGiulio felt there was paperwork missing to include

Special Work Session Meeting Minutes
April 20, 2005
Page 8

waivers for the Certificate of Occupancies, and possible paperwork between the developer and the Township suggesting a possible agreement to waive the sewers.

Richter stated there was wording on the contracts that suggested a perk test in addition to sewer information. Richter believed that the developer was unsure at the time if the residences would be sewer or septic. Richter stated this could not have been a pull-out.
Paton stated a Document Management System would have really helped in this situation.
Alderisio stated he would ask Mr. Harry Breen if he has any paperwork or recollection of these issues.

Roth stated this is a disagreement of methodology and a dispute of the outcome. This paperwork is not “suspect” - it is unclear. Roth stated in regard to 8, 27 and 28 Thunderhead Place it was not the residents fault, it was due to faulty installation. Roth concurred that numbers 8, 27 and 28 Thunderhead Place should receive the 10% discount.

Richter stated, as an appraiser, a lot of factors are taken into consideration when appraising a property.

Council thanked Don Wasson, Chairman of the Sewer Assessment Committee, and Scott Holzhauer, Appraiser for attending. The Township Attorney suggested preparing a resolution for the next Work Session Meeting announcing this has been carried to the Public Session of May 18, 2005.

On a motion by Roth, seconded by Calandrillo, a motion was made to carry the Phase 4 Sewer Assessment Confirmation Hearing to May 18, 2005. All in favor. Motion carried.

On a motion by Calandrillo, seconded by Roth, the meeting was opened to the public at 10:38PM. All in favor. Motion carried.

On a motion by Calandrillo, seconded by Roth, the meeting was closed to the public at 10:39PM. All in favor. Motion carried.

On a motion by Calandrillo, seconded by Kelly, the meeting was adjourned at 10:40PM. All in favor. Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,


Kathrine G. Coletta, RMC/CMC
Municipal Clerk
KGC/mcr



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