2013-05-22 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 2013

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m.

Silent Meditation and Pledge of Allegiance:  A silent moment was taken followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call:  Bast-present; Mope-present; Mundie-present; Schadder-present; Perry-present

Minutes of Previous Meetings:  The minutes of the May 8, 2013 were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications:  Presentation of Certificates of Award to Junior Council.

Resolution 2013-58 Commending and Thanking Junior Council for their Service

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.   Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

At this point, Perry presented Sabrina Ettinger with a Certificate of Award for her participation in the Junior Council Advisory Program for the 2012-2013 school year. Rebecca Noga was absent and her award will be sent by mail.

Courtesy of the Floor:  Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton suggested getting maps from Luzerne County to address the stormwater matter. She said we should not be paying for something that we can get for free.

             

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2013-3 Amending Ordinance 2012-36 Providing for Assessment Levy, and Collection of a Tax for General Municipal Purposes and Imposing Additional Tax for the Sole Purpose of Funding Required Benefits to be Paid to or on Behalf of Pension Recipients Pursuant to Act 205, known as the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act, which is Directly Related to the Pension Plan of the City of Hazleton (3rd Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Mope-no; Mundie-no; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

ORDINANCE PASSES 3-2

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Ordinance 2013-4 Amending Ordinance 2012-35 Imposing the Real Estate Tax, Earned Income Tax, Per Capita Tax, and Resident Tax, Respectively for the Period January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Mope-no; Mundie-no; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

ORDINANCE PASSES 3-2

             

RESOLUTIONS

None.

             

New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2013-9 An Ordinance Regulating the Issuance of Customer Parking Only, Patient Parking Only, Patient Loading and Unloading Only, Loading  Zone, and Any Other Related Signs; Providing for Application Review and Procedures for Issuance of Customer Parking Only, Patient Parking Only, Patient Loading and Unloading Only, Loading  Zone, and Any Other Related Signs; and Renewal of Customer Parking Only, Patient Parking Only, Patient Loading and Unloading Only, Loading  Zone, and Any Other Related Signs in the City of Hazleton (1st Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Mope asked if there were any fees ever set in place for this. Bast said no, there are no fees for the erection of the sign, or any type of yearly fee. He stated that he talked to Slusser about this. Bast said that with this Ordinance in place, business owners may call the police if someone parks in a spot reserved for customers. He said he also wanted to address the fact that business owners have erected their own signs, and they have not gone through the proper City channels. Perry asked about having to have a parking meter removed in order to place these signs in front of the business. Bast said there will be a monthly fee included in lieu of the revenue from the parking meter. Mope questions why the fee for the sign is more than the fee for handicapped signs. Bast replied that it is a convenience for that business’ customers. Mope said that we are trying to keep businesses in Hazleton, and was concerned that this would drive business away. She said money also needs to be placed in the meters on Saturdays as well. She would prefer the charge not to be so “steep.” Bast said that this is purely voluntary and is not a requirement of the business. Schadder asked what initiative do the business owners have to go along with this. Bast said it is strictly for the convenience of their customers. Mope felt it may be “discrimatory,” because there are only two allowed per block. Slusser said this is not a money maker, and by removing a parking meter, you will probably be losing revenue on the metered spot. He said business are putting up “unauthorized” signs in an effort to accommodate their customers. Slusser added that this Ordinance has been used in many other municipalities. Perry asked why this Ordinance states $115.00 to erect, and it is only $80.00 for a handicapped sign. Bast said two workers will need to go out and remove the meter and replace it with the sign. This could take anywhere from five to 40 minutes. This fee also includes the price of materials. Bast said he wanted to keep the fee at a steady rate for the next four to five years, so he made it a little bit higher. This way it will not have to be changed every time the cost of materials and labor goes up. Mope said she had no problem changing the fees every year to cover the costs. Schadder questions how to get this information out to the public. Mope made a motion to amend the fee for the initial installation from $115.00 to $80.00. Perry seconded the motion.

1st Motion to Amend:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Perry.

Roll Call (on 1st Motion to Amend):  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

1ST MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

Back on the Question:

Schadder asked Wech if he is okay with this Ordinance, and how he plans on handling this. Wech said he is okay with it, but he does not know yet how he will handle it. Perry said the business owners will need to be vigilant about calling the police if someone parks in the designated spot. Bast said by charging the $150.00 fee, he was trying to alleviate the problem of taking away a parking meter. Mundie was concerned about how to deal with the businesses that already have the signs. Mundie asked who will be enforcing this, and Bast said the Police, and Code Enforcement. Wech suggested having John Synoski from the Parking Authority enforce this as well. Slusser said that the Ordinance states that Code Enforcement and the Police can enforce this. Bast suggested adding the Parking Authority to this so they can enforce this as well. Schadder suggested adding the Fire Department as well, because they have also been involved in the Quality of Life enforcements. Slusser said any or all of the above may be added. Mundie asked about the existing signs. Slusser said that if they are not currently being used, they should be taken down. He added that the business owner would need to have written proof that they have permission from the City for the sign. Slusser said anyone already having an authorized sign, should simply pay the yearly fee to keep it, and not the issue fee. Perry said we need to get this information out to the businesses. Slusser suggested putting this information on the website and in the newspaper. Slusser also suggested adding the phrase “and the City’s official designees” to list of individuals who can enforce this Ordinance in order to cover everyone. Mundie was concerned that this fee may add additional burden to business owners, as they already pay a mercantile tax. Bast made a motion to amend the Ordinance to add the phrase “and the City’s official designees” to Section J, Paragraph 4. Perry seconded the motion.

2nd Motion to Amend:

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

Roll Call (on 2nd Motion to Amend):  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

2nd MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

Roll Call (as amended):  Bast-yes; Mope-no; Mundie-no; Schadder-no; Perry-yes

ORDINANCE FAILS 3-2 AS AMENDED

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2013-59 Reappointment to the Beautification Committee – Donna Palermo

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Mope.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-60 Reappointment to the Beautification Committee – James Reinmiller

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-61 Reappointment to the Beautification Committee – William L. Spear

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Mope.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-62 Reappointment to the Beautification Committee – Lauren Vito

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-63 Reappointment to the Beautification Committee – Lorenzo Wright

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-64 Contract for Materials 2013

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Perry said these are Alan Wufsus’ recommendations. Shema said that Wufsus told her that Franzosa Trucking pulled their bids, so they are no longer the low bidder. Shema added that Wufsus suggested that for items #1 and #3, we should go with Eckley Asphalt instead of Barletta Materials, even though Barletta Materials is a little cheaper. The drive to Barletta Materials in Nescopeck is about 16 miles and takes about 25 minutes, and the drive to Eckley Asphalt near Freeland is about 9 miles and takes about 19 minutes. For a round trip, it would be less costly to go with Eckley Asphalt. Mope asked how much road these materials will cover, and Mike Vislocky of the Streets Department said she would have to ask Vito about that. Perry asked for a breakdown of the costs, and Hahn said that is on the spreadsheet previously given to Council.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-65 Authorizing and the Mayor and the Acting Director of Administration to Enter into an Agreement with B.A. Meixel Electrical, Inc. for Installation of New Lighting in City Hall

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

On the Question:

Hahn said this company and Friedman Electric submitted proposal for this project. B.A. Meixel had the best price. The new lighting will be energy efficient. It will cost about $18,000, but we will receive $14,000 in rebates from PPL. The City will realize 40% in cost savings. Hahn said that the Resolution needs to be amended to include the Airport garage and terminal, and the Rip Cords building. Hahn said NEPA Rip Cords will pay half of the cost for the updates to its building. The total amount for the airport due will then be $1,302.45. He said the costs for the Airport are different because the airport lighting has a more limited use. Schadder asked about the hourly rate for electricity, and Hahn replied that it is approximately 8½¢ per kilowatt hour, but this rate may come down to 5¢. He said the contract with Direct Energy ends next May, and we can negotiate a new rate then. Schadder asked if there is a time frame involved, and Hahn said this needs to be completed by the end of May. He added that the payback period may be extended as well. Perry made a motion to amend the Resolution as per Hahn’s request, and Bast seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend:

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

Roll Call (on Motion to Amend):  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

AMENDMENT PASSES

Roll Call (as amended):  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-66 Authorizing the Mayor and the Acting Director of Administration to Enter into an Agreement with the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Mundie stated the County or the Water Authority may have this type of software, and we may be able to share it with them. He added that they have mapping and GIS software. Hahn said he looked at that. He said no request for proposals was sent out, because this is the only provider in the country for this type of software. Hahn stated that this program can put layers on maps, add attributes, etc. The county will not do this for us. They will only give us the base program, and we will have to add to it. Hahn stated that this will delineate the pervious areas for stormwater. He said this company was unable to attend tonight’s meeting, and they sent a Power Point presentation for Council’s review. Mope asked if we could get the maps from the Sewer Authority. Hahn said no. He said any drawings and maps we have would have to be entered onto the program. Mundie asked if Hahn talked to anyone at the Water Authority about this. Hahn said he spoke to Scott about this, but they would need to add it to their current system, and it would have to be accessed and used from their office. We would also have to buy a license to use the software. Hahn said this program has unlimited usage. Perry asked if there would be any benefit to sharing the costs with the Water Authority. Hahn replied that he talked to Cahalan and Patton about the billing, but they are not set up for that right now. They were also concerned about the legality of doing that, and the fact that other municipalities are serviced by the Water Authority. Mope said that it states in the Master Services Agreement with the Water Authority that they will provide services to the City as needed. Hahn said the Solicitor would need to investigate this further. Hahn said Alfred Benesch has an intern here to work on this until August. Bast asked why Dominic Yannuzzi is writing the Ordinance for the stormwater fee. Slusser said Yannuzzi is only reviewing it, and he had some suggestions on the format. Slusser added that he is still going over it, and will have it completed soon. Mundie asked why it is so urgent to get this software when the Ordinance is not even in place yet. Mope stated that we do not even know if the Ordinance will pass, and it appears that the vote on this is already predetermined. Hahn said that ESRI is just in the business of selling this software, and not to do mapping or billing. We would have to do that on our own. Bast said it is his understanding that this is just for the site license for GIS system, and Hahn agreed with that. Bast said there is not $28,000 in the budget for this, and we do not even have the Stormwater Ordinance in place yet. Mope asked if we have the computers, scanners, etc. for this. Hahn said this would be placed on the Cloud, and an access code would be given out so that others may access it. Mundie said that the original concept for the Stormwater Ordinance was that we would be charging a flat fee, but now we are charging differently. If we keep it at a flat fee, then we do not need to purchase any software. Hahn said that he felt this way may be fairer so that smaller properties are not charged as much as larger properties. Mope commented that the Administration should not come to Council with things such as this until the Ordinance is passed first. Hahn said that there is $500,000 already in the budget for the stormwater fee. Bast commented that this should have been done in January, and not now. Mope stated that $240,000 is owed to the City for commercial sewer transmission fees because the Don Wilkinson Agency never sent out the bills. She said that this money should go to pay for the salaries of the City’s employees. Mope added that any money collected for stormwater maintenance needs to be dedicated to the maintenance of the storm sewers. Perry said that the City has 14,000 inlets that are falling apart, and they need to be repaired. Mope questioned why this matter was not addressed for so many years. At this point, Perry made a motion to table the Resolution, and Schadder seconded the motion.

  Motion to Table:

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Schadder.

Roll Call (on Motion to Table):  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

RESOLUTION TABLED

             

Comments from the Audience:  Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2013-9. She said any signs that were placed by businesses without the approval and authorization of Council are not proper, and they should be taken down.

An unnamed gentleman who lives on Vine Street commented on the stormwater fee. He asked what happens if he puts rain barrels on his property. Perry said this is for the maintenance of the storm sewers in the City, and rain barrels would not be an issue. Hahn said some people have their storm water still going directly into the sewers. Perry said they are supposed to be separated. This gentleman said the Sewer Authority should be worrying about this and not the City. He added that the Sewer Authority should be the ones to figure out a fee for this. Hahn said the City owns the stormwater system, inlets, grates, etc. Bast said the problem is some are separated and some are still combined.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2013-66. She asked if the software that was to be purchased for the stormwater fee is ours to own forever. Deakos said some software is designed to only be used for a certain period of time, and requires additional updates plus maintenance fees. She also commented on the potholes in the City. She said she noticed some of the smaller potholes are being fixed, but the larger ones are not. She recommended placing fluorescent paint around these potholes for safety reasons until they can be filled. Deakos added that the fluorescent paint will also make it easier to see them at night. Mike Vislocky of the Highway Department said that the potholes are being aggressively fixed, and have been so since the last meeting.

Daniel Staruch from ESRI commented on the software for the stormwater fee. He said the GIS software would be able to address every issue, and can hold unlimited amounts of information. Staruch said Luzerne County has this software. If the software is purchased today, you only get what is has today, and you would need to buy a new format if updated. Staruch said the City would own this software forever, and it would be capable of addressing potholes, signs, stormwater inlets, etc. He added that a lot of information can be incorporated into this program. Perry asked if citizens can have access to this software. Staruch said yes, but they would only be able to view it and not edit anything. Mope commented that this is expensive for a city that does not have this kind of money to spend. Staruch said people all over the world use this software. He said it has only been updated a few times since the 1980s. He added that Bucks County, Reading, and Philadelphia are currently using this software. Hahn added that this program can also show by address the money owed to the City. He commented that no permits should be given out to anyone it they are not up-to-date on paying the money owed to the City.

Mark Rabo, First Street, Hazleton commented on the recent redistricting of the County. He said Hazleton will now be separate from West Hazleton and Hazle Township. He requested that Council ask for reintegration into the same district as West Hazleton and Hazle Township. Rabo said no one bothered to look into the adverse effects this will have on the City. He said it is very confusing and just causes more red tape. Perry said this is something Council has no control over, and it is a legislative issue for the County and the State. Mundie said the courts decided on these changes in representation, and an independent panel should have been made to study this prior to any decisions being made.

Comments from Mayor or City Administrator:  None.

Comments from Council:  Mope thanked everyone for coming. She said everyone came forward with valid points. She congratulated Junior Council. She also thanked Council and Hahn for their help and cooperation.

Schadder thanked everyone for attending the meeting and voicing their opinions.

Mundie asked Vislocky how the Highway Department determines what potholes are getting fixed. Vislocky said that Vito probably goes out and looks at them, but he would need to talk to him directly about it. Mundie said Council asked for a weekly schedule from Vito on where potholes will be filled. Council received a fee, but then it stopped. Hahn said that is brought up at every weekly staff meeting. Mundie said he just wants to know what streets are done, and what streets are not. Hahn said he would ask Vito again about this. Mundie said one of the reasons he voted no on Ordinance 2013-9 was that he does not believe it is fair to replace a meter with a sign for a particular business, and charge that business $150.00 for that parking space. Bast stated that he talked to five local businesses about Ordinance 2013-9 and they were all okay with it. He added that he felt the $150.00 fee would be about what the City would receive for a metered spot.

Bast thanked everyone for coming to the meeting, and he also thanked Junior Council for their service.

Perry said that everyone needs to get out and vote in the next election. He added that recent comments have been said that he is “in line with the Mayor.” Perry said he is not in line with the Mayor, and he is only trying to consider what is in the best interests of the people of Hazleton. Perry thanked Junior Council for their service.

Adjournment:  Perry motioned to adjourn the meeting with Bast seconding the motion. Meeting adjourned.

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