Special Signing: Transfer of United Water Sewer Services
The Transfer of United Water Sewer Services to the Township of Vernon was convened at 11:10 a.m. on Friday, March 23, 2012, in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.
Present for the Township were Mayor Victor J. Marotta, Council President Brian Lynch, Council Member Pat Rizzuto, Land Use Board Vice-Chair Joseph Tadrick, and Municipal Utility Authority Recording Secretary Aida Cahill.
United Water Representatives
Present for United Water were VP/GM Jim Glozzy, Corporate Attorney Mary Campbell, Operations Manager Ronald Wund, and Communications Director Steven Goudsmith.
Mayor Marotta welcomed everyone, including The New Jersey Herald newspaper, to this historic event. Excerpts of this signing follows:
Late in the 1990s it had become quite apparent that there were changes at the State level that were going to impact Vernon Township in terms of the way that this community (and other communities in northwest New Jersey) would go forward with develo p.m.ent of their land. At that time, the State Planning Commission came into being, and the State legislature and their sub-committees began to consider what became the Highlands Act.
In the year 2000, the then-sitting Vernon Township Council decided that if they did not move quickly and address the issue of an area in Vernon that could conceivably fill the commercial needs of the community; we would be finding ourselves unable to do so because of State, Planning, and other regulations.
Vision 2000 was born. Out of that, subsequent Councils began to move through what was a long and tedious process. However, the backbone of that process had to do with the need to provide sewers and water to whatever that commercial district looked like at the end of the road.
Today, one of the reasons I am so excited is that as fate would have it, I would be able to sit here and simply be the vessel that will bring the first step in closure to over a decade of labor. He thanked the people of United Water Sewer Services who were in attendance today, noting that they have negotiated (very laboriously) with Vernon Township and the 3rd party (now Mt. Creek Corp.) being the successor to the Great American Recreation. He introduced the United Water personnel present.
This effort began right after the new governing body took over in July of 2011. This work has resulted in a workable and tenable contract. That is what we are here to sign today. The addendums to the contract spell out clearly the history of this process, and how things got to where they are. In essence, upon the signing of this contract between Vernon Township and United Water Sewer Services Corp., we will take ownership of the assets of the United Water Sewerage Transmission Company, and they will be managed by the Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority (VTMUA). We will shortly be turning on the sewer services to what is now known as Vernon Town Center.
He introduced the Vernon Township people present, noting that they had had an intimate role and oversight of the negotiations, input, and discussions as far as what serves the needs of Vernon Township the best.
In essence, several things will happen as a result of today’s action.
First, Vernon and the Municipal Utilities Authority will own the assets. More importantly than that, as a result of this action as we go forward, a liability that has been hanging over the taxpayers of Vernon Township in terms of their responsibility for commitments that have been made will change. Those taxpayers have been charged over the last ten years fees that were paid to the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority to retain the gallonage that is necessary to serve the sewer system that we are about to take ownership of.
The next step is that the VTMUA will indemnify Vernon Township for every penny that it has laid out over the past decade; and will be responsible for the repayment of the bond that was implemented with the authority of the sitting Council. In essence, the 800-pound gorilla hanging over the heads of Vernon taxpayers will now be where it belongs—the users of the sewer system.
Mayor Marotta turned the floor over to Mr. Glozzy, who spoke on behalf of United Water. He thanked the Mayor. He felt it was a very important time for United Water and Vernon Township; it’s a great transaction for United Water, and more importantly, an excellent transition for the community of Vernon and the people who will be served by this new facility. He expects that the great working relationship he has had with Vernon and its residents will continue. Mr. Glozzy vowed to continue to supply clean, safe water to the community. He anticipates that that relationship will continue for many, many years to come. He was glad to work with the Township on this transaction.
The Mayor noted that he knew there was more work to be done on the water side, and that he looked forward to working with United Water. He advised that working together has been a wonderful experience, despite many obstacles on both sides. It was accomplished through communication with the people of United Water. He felt Mr. Glozzy should be proud of his people.
Mr. Glozzy noted that both sides had worked very hard for many years, and he was happy to see it resolved.
Council President Lynch noted the important turning point for Vernon Township’s infrastructure is an important part of growth, and the beginning of a great Renaissance in Vernon that people will look at Vernon Township as a shining Township in the valley with growth and nothing but positive outlook for the community.
Council Member Rizzuto advised that this completes the pathway to economic prosperity—the missing stone in that walkway that we needed to be able to progress.
Mr. Tadrick was very excited, noting this was a rebirth for attracting new businesses to town, especially during these difficult economic times. He felt everyone had done a great job, and that it was a long time coming.
The documents were signed at this time.
The special signing was adjourned at 11:25 a.m.
Susan S. Nelson, RMC, CMR
Minutes approved: May 14, 2012