2013-1-3 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
THURSDAY, JANUARY 3, 2013

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Thursday, January 3, 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:  None.

Proclamations/Communications:  None.

At this point, Perry announced that an executive session was held prior to the meeting to discuss litigation matters.

Perry made a motion to suspend the rules in order to add Ordinances 2012-41 and 2012-42 to the agenda. Bast seconded the motion.

Motion to Suspend the Rules:

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

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

MOTION TO SUSPEND THE RULES PASSES ORDINANCES 2012-41 AND 2012-42 WERE ADDED TO THE AGENDA

Courtesy of the Floor:  Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented that the gentleman being appointed to serve on the Health Services Authority lives in Hazle Township. She believes anyone serving on a board or commission should live in Hazleton.

Sylvia Thomas, 409 West 6th Street, Hazleton commented that “the Mayor is shoving his budget down our throats,” and he is not concerned with the 83% tax hike. She said the Mayor even accused Council of passing an illegal budget, and does not allow the Solicitor to attend Council meetings. Thomas said that Council is arguing and not properly discussing the matters at hand. She asked why the sewer lines are being turned over to the Sewer Authority. She commented that the City is burdening its taxpayers, and it needs to find different ways to increase it revenues. Thomas commented that the City cannot expect businesses to invest in Hazleton if Council and the Administration are just giving it all away.

Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton asked if there is a budget available for inspection. Perry said it is up to the Administration to make the line item changes. Cuozzo said that the budget should be readily available to the public. Perry said the budget will be made available as soon as possible.

             

  Old Business: 

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2012-39 An Ordinance Of The City Of Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Amending Ordinance No. 95-18 To (1) Require All Owners Of Improved Property Located Within This City And Accessible To Public Sewers To Be Acquired And/Or Constructed By Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority To Connect Therewith Upon Notice By This Authority; Regulating The Manner Of Making Connections; Adopting Certain Rules And Regulations And Providing For Adoption Of Additional Rules And Regulations; Prohibiting The Connection Of Privy Vaults, Cesspools, Sinkholes, Septic Tanks And Similar Receptacles To Any Sewer; Prohibiting The Maintenance Of Certain Receptacles And Requiring Abandonment Thereof Where  A Sewer Is Available; Setting Forth Related Matters; And Prescribing Penalties For Violations; (2) Eliminate The Enforcement Of Connection Fees Charged By The City, And (3) Eliminate The Inspection Fees Charged By The City To The Extent They Relate To Sanitary Sewers And (4) Hereby Giving To And Granting Over To The Authority, All Regulatory Authority Relative To The Sanitary Sewer Transmission Lines And The Sewage Collection System Facilities Ownership And/Or Control Of Which Is Transferred From The City To The Authority (2nd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast

On the Question:

Perry asked if this is required by the state, and Hahn replied yes. He added that West Hazleton and Hazle Township also have to do this.

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

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Ordinance 2012-39 An Ordinance Of The City Of Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Amending Ordinance No. 95-18 To (1) Require All Owners Of Improved Property Located Within This City And Accessible To Public Sewers To Be Acquired And/Or Constructed By Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority To Connect Therewith Upon Notice By This Authority; Regulating The Manner Of Making Connections; Adopting Certain Rules And Regulations And Providing For Adoption Of Additional Rules And Regulations; Prohibiting The Connection Of Privy Vaults, Cesspools, Sinkholes, Septic Tanks And Similar Receptacles To Any Sewer; Prohibiting The Maintenance Of Certain Receptacles And Requiring Abandonment Thereof Where  A Sewer Is Available; Setting Forth Related Matters; And Prescribing Penalties For Violations; (2) Eliminate The Enforcement Of Connection Fees Charged By The City, And (3) Eliminate The Inspection Fees Charged By The City To The Extent They Relate To Sanitary Sewers And (4) Hereby Giving To And Granting Over To The Authority, All Regulatory Authority Relative To The Sanitary Sewer Transmission Lines And The Sewage Collection System Facilities Ownership And/Or Control Of Which Is Transferred From The City To The Authority (3rd Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES ----------------------------------------------

Ordinance 2012-40 An Ordinance Of City Council Of The City Of Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Granting To Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority Certain Rights And Privileges In, Along, Over And Under Streets, Roads, Lanes, Courts, Public Squares, Alleys, Highways And Other Properties Of This City For Use In Connection With The Sewage Collection System Acquired And Constructed By Said Authority; And Providing For Regulating The Manner In Which Such Rights And Privileges Shall Be Exercised (2nd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

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

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Ordinance 2012-40 An Ordinance Of City Council Of The City Of Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Granting To Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority Certain Rights And Privileges In, Along, Over And Under Streets, Roads, Lanes, Courts, Public Squares, Alleys, Highways And Other Properties Of This City For Use In Connection With The Sewage Collection System Acquired And Constructed By Said Authority; And Providing For Regulating The Manner In Which Such Rights And Privileges Shall Be Exercised (3rd Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES

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Ordinance 2012-41 An Ordinance of the City of Hazleton Fixing the Tax Rate of Real Estate Located in the City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, for All City Purposes for the Fiscal Year 2013, Beginning January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Perry made a motion to amend the millage for general revenue purposes from 3.05 mills to 3.12 mills, in accordance with Council’s amendments to the budget, and to make it effective as of January 7, 2013. Bast seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend:

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

Roll Call (on Motion to Amend):  Bast-yes; Mope-no; Mundie-no; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

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

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Ordinance 2012-41 An Ordinance of the City of Hazleton Fixing the Tax Rate of Real Estate Located in the City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, for All City Purposes for the Fiscal Year 2013, Beginning January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES AS AMENDED 3-2

---------------------------------------------- Ordinance 2012-42 An Ordinance Providing for the Appropriation of Specific Amounts Estimated as Required for the Various Departments of the Government of the City of Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania for and during the Fiscal Year, Dating from January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013  (BUDGET) (2nd Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Perry made a motion amend the budget as follows:

New Revenue:

Storm Water Management Fee - $500,000 Take Over Parking Authority - $100,000 Timbering of HCA Lands - $200,000 Increase Per Capita Tax to $10.00 - $30,000

TOTAL NEW REVENUE - $830,000

Cuts:

Police - $125,000 Fire - $75,000 Code Enforcement (Contracted Services) - $10,000 Engineering (Contracted Services) - $10,000 Public Works - $100,000

TOTAL CUTS - $320,000

New Expenses:

Permanent Snow Ban Signs - $2,500

TOTAL NEW EXPENSES - $2,500

TOTAL NEW REVENUE ($830,000) + TOTAL CUTS ($320,000) – TOTAL NEW EXPENSES ($2,500) = $1,147,500

$4,047,278 (2013 REAL ESTATE TAXES) - $1,147, 500 (NEW REVENUE, CUTS & NEW EXPENSES) = $2,899,788 (2013 TAX INCREASE)

Perry said that these amendments would provide $830,000 in new revenue, and $317,500 in cuts. He said debt service will remain at 4.4 mills because we have no choice in that matter. These changes will result in a 45% tax increase as opposed to the Mayor’s proposed 83% increase. The Mayor is 100% in agreement with these amendments.

Bast seconded the motion to amend the budget.

Motion to Amend Budget:

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

Roll Call (on Motion to Amend Budget):  Bast-yes; Mope-no; Mundie-no; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

MOTION TO AMEND BUDGET PASSED 3-2

Mundie asked DeAndrea how he was going to cut $125,000 from the budget. DeAndrea said there will be no layoffs of police and there will also be no new hiring. He will try to cut in other areas, unless otherwise ordered to do so. Mundie asked Leshko how he is going to cut $75,000 from the budget. Leshko said no firefighters will be laid off because they are already short staffed. He will try to cut in other areas, unless otherwise ordered to do so. Mundie asked about cutting the overtime, and Leshko said that he is working on some cost savings for the Fire Stations, such as energy efficient lighting, etc. Leshko said they are doing their best.

Hahn stated that the budget is $8,681,497, and the revenue and expenses are balanced. Bast said that if we cut anymore out of the budget, it will require police and fire department layoffs, as well as other City personnel. Hahn was in agreement with Bast’s statement. Mundie clarified with Hahn that there is a $50.00 storm water fee, an increase of $5.00 in the per capita tax, and the EIT rate will be set at 2.35%, and Hahn agreed. Mundie asked about the status of the audit, and Hahn said he talked to Dennis Moore and they are still working on it. Hahn said he would follow up with Moore regarding this matter. Perry said that he would like Hahn to look into an in-house centralized purchasing plan. This could save the City some money. Hahn said he would look into that. Perry said the he also spoke to Leshko and DeAndrea about some cost savings. Bast commented that if this budget is not passed we cannot get financing and we cannot pay our bills. Mope asked about the sewer transmission fee, and said there is still some money due us from this fee. Hahn said the past due bills cannot be reconciled. Mope said she believes the 2011 sewer transmission fee was never billed by Don Wilkinson. Hahn said that there is $286,000 outstanding and it has been turned over to the collection agency.

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

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Ordinance 2012-42 An Ordinance Providing for the Appropriation of Specific Amounts Estimated as Required for the Various Departments of the Government of the City of Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania for and during the Fiscal Year, Dating from January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013  (BUDGET) (3rd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Schadder.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 3-2 AS AMENDED

             

  RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2012-93 Approving the Contract Between the City of Hazleton and the Department of Public Works (DPW) Service Employees International Union, Local No. 473, NCFO (TABLED 1/19/12)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Schadder

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

RESOLUTION REMOVED FROM TABLE

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Schadder.

On the Question:

Perry asked if there was anything new to report on this matter, and Hahn said no additional discussions have been planned. Mundie asked about renegotiating this contract. Hahn said that he and the Mayor met with the Union representative, presented Council’s suggestions to them, but did not receive a favorable response. Shawn Delmonico of the City’s Public Works Department said that they cannot work with less than eight men on the paving crew because that would create a safety issue. He said this contract was discussed with the Mayor and Lieb and agreed to back in October. Delmonico said right now they have eight men doing work on 135 miles of streets. Schadder asked about other municipalities and their street crews. Delmonico said that most of the eight men are older because newer ones are not being hired at this time. They are in need of new trucks and new equipment. Mope said we need to have a discussion with the employees. Hahn said this was a tentative agreement made by the Administration and the Union. Mundie commented that the Mayor negotiated this contract, and he had no business doing that because he has no experience in negotiating contracts. He said that we need a professional negotiator for these things. Mundie said that Hahn has experience negotiating contracts, so he might be a better pick. Mundie commented that he believes the Mayor should be fired. Mope said she is concerned because Council is not receiving the information they request. Hahn said that any requests for information he receives are done and given out. Hahn stated that the original budget included provisions for this tentative agreement. He added that certain items were presented to the Union, but they were not agreeable to those items. Mundie commented that the Public Works employees do a good job, but he believes the contract was not negotiated correctly. Mike Vislocky of the City’s Public Works Department said a lot of the things that were negotiated in the contract had nothing to do with money. Delmonico said this is the same contract that Council approved for the City Hall workers union. Perry asked how the City would go about making cuts to the Public Works Department. Hahn said that retirees would probably not be replaced. He said that right now there are about 10 to 12 men out on the road.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call (on Motion to Table):  Bast-no; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-no; Perry-no

MOTION TO TABLE FAILS 3-2

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 3-2              

New Business:

ORDINANCES

None.

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2013-1 Appointment of Council President

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Bast made a motion to nominate Perry as Council President. Schadder seconded the motion.

Motion to Nominate Perry as Council President:

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

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

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-2 Appointment of Vice President of Council

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Schadder made a motion to nominate Bast as Council Vice President. Perry seconded the motion.

Motion to Nominate Bast as Council Vice President:

Presented by Schadder. Seconded by Perry.

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

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

---------------------------------------------- Resolution 2013-3 Payment of City Employees’ Salaries and Benefits for the Month of January 2013

NO PRESENTATION MADE – RESOLUTION FAILS

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Resolution 2013-4 Reappointment to the Downtown Overlay District Review Committee – Donna Palermo

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 2013-5 Reappointment to the UCC Appeals Board – John Synoski

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Mundie.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-6 Reappointment to the UCC Appeals Board – George Hayden

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-7 Appointment to the UCC Appeals Board – Mark Imbriacco

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 2013-8 Reappointment to the Hazleton Housing Authority – Lou Pilati

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Mundie.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

---------------------------------------------- Resolution 2013-9 Reappointment to the Health Board – Andrea Andrews

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 2013-10 Reappointment to the International Building Code and International Property Maintenance Code Board of Appeals (Building Officials & Code Administrators International) – Michael Wilfing

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 2013-11 Reappointment to the Planning Commission – John Lenchak

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Mundie.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-12 Reappointment to the Planning Commission – Anthony Columbo

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 2013-13 Reappointment to the Shade Tree Commission – Monica Barletta

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Perry.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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  Resolution 2013-14 Reappointment to the Shade Tree Commission – George Ator

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Mundie.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-15 Reappointment to the Shade Tree Commission – Angelo Cusatis

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Mundie.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-16 Reappointment to the Zoning Hearing Board – Ray Bast

Presented by Schadder. Seconded by Mope.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-17 Reappointment to the Zoning Hearing Board – Paul Brenner

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-18 Reappointment to the Health Services Authority – David Olsen

Presented by Perry. No Second.

NO SECOND - RESOLUTION FAILS

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Resolution 2013-19 Reappointment to the Sewer Authority – Eugene Carsia

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 2013-20 Reappointment to the Tri-Area Recreation Authority – William Midlick

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-21 Appointment to the Hazleton City Authority – Robert Zientek

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Mope.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

             

Comments from the Audience:  Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton asked where the income from the storm water management fee is coming from. Hahn said that would have to be enacted by Ordinance first. Cuozzo asked about the expenditures for storm water maintenance. Hahn said a lot of the work will be performed by the Public Works Department, but there is no separate line item for that. It would be under labor, materials, etc. Hahn said we would only have to add a revenue item for the fee. Perry said he discussed this with the Solicitor and he okayed it. He said this will probably be amended as we move forward. Bast asked when the amended budget will be available. Hahn said he will start working on it tomorrow. Perry said that as per the Solicitor’s opinion, the storm water management fee is legal.

Dave Fatula, employee of the City’s Fire Department, thanked Council for coming to a middle ground on the budget. He commented that through cooperation, we will be able to work on all these issues.

Frank DeAndrea, Chief of Police, thanked everyone for their help with the budget, and thanked everyone for not ignoring their concerns.

Mike Vislocky of the City’s Public Works Department said he suggests that everyone make a small path for yourself, the mailman, etc., but don’t shovel the whole sidewalk until they are done plowing the streets. He said sometimes it takes two to three days to complete. He also asked everyone to put their garbage closer to their homes.

Comments from Council:  Schadder said that everyone understood the severity of the budget problems. Furloughs and layoffs have been avoided. He is pleased to have voted on keeping and providing the services we need to keep everyone in the City safe.

Mope said some things in the budget still need to be worked out because some still have too much, such as engineering, and others took severe hits. She said the engineering department should have been adjusted more. Mope said that there is an issue with the garbage not being picked up because of heavy snowfall. She commented that there should be a provision in the Ordinance in order to prevent people from being fined under these circumstances. Mope thanked everyone for coming.

Mundie said the millage went from 3.11 to 4.52, which looks like a tax increase of 63%. He said we can increase timbering, and the water authority land is sellable and should be marketed. He said this is not watershed land and the Water Authority does not need it. This should be pursued. Mundie commented that if this would have been done, maybe there would not be so many cuts to the budget. Mundie thanked everyone for coming.

Bast thanked everyone for coming. Bast said that not everyone is really happy with the budget, but we did the best we could do. Bast said that Council worked with the Mayor because we did not want him to veto it. He stated that 24% of debt service is from previous borrowing. Bast agreed with Mundie about selling the Water Authority land, but said that we need to stop these one-time revenue sources. We need to fix the streets. Bast stated that there have been no tax increases for many years, but there has been increases in spending. This led to one-time fixes and borrowing. He commented that we need to come up with something much sooner for next year’s budget. Bast asked how long someone has to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice. Wech said 24 hours after the snow and ice have stopped. He said the fine for violation is $25.00 as per the Quality of Life Ordinance, or up to $500.00 if cited under the other Ordinance. Bast suggested placing something in the newspaper about this matter. He asked the news reports in attendance to report this to the community. Wech said residents can call the Code Enforcement Department with complaints regarding this matter.

Perry said this is not an easy task. He commented that we need to work together to come up with some answers to our budget problems. Perry said he appreciates the public’s input on the budget. He commented that he hopes once the Broad Street Corridor project is completed, there will be an increase in business in Downtown Hazleton. He thanked everyone for coming to tonight’s meeting.

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

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