2013-12-19 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2013

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Thursday, December 19, 2013 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 5:50 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 stated an executive session was held prior to tonight’s meeting to discuss litigation matters.

Courtesy of the Floor:  Mark Grabo, First Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2013-122. He asked what this grant was for. He asked if the City was reimbursed for the streets department employees who did work at the Airport. Grabo said that Council should look at the Airport’s profit and loss report before proceeding with this. He commented that the Airport is a huge waste of money, and Council should vote no on this. He said the Airport should be put up for sale, so the City can collect taxes on it.

             

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2013-28 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, 2014 and Ending December 31, 2014 (BUDGET) (2nd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Mundie said at the last meeting the budget was amended to move $450,000 to sewer bonds. Hahn said this money would be moved from sewer transmission fees to sewer. The $450,000 can also be used as collateral for a line of credit. Hahn said this would then be repaid in June 2014 to when the stormwater fees are finally collected. Perry asked if this was discussed with the auditor. Bast said he talked to the auditor after the last meeting, and he said the City has no obligations to the Sewer Authority once the takeover is completed. Bast added that the auditor is fine with the $450,000 be used in this capacity. Perry said Hahn is trying to save the City money by not getting a loan and using this money temporarily instead. Perry said it would be put back once the stormwater fees are collected. Mundie said asked if we do not get a tax and revenue anticipation note, would that mean that there could still be layoffs. Hahn said yes, because we would have difficulty getting the TRAN without the $450,000 as collateral. He was hoping to use this money to pay bills for this year, but it would not be used until January 2014. Bast commented that this money cannot be used for the general fund expenses, and can only be used for debt, such as a loan. Mope said she was told this was bringing down the debt service, she was not told it was only for one year. She said next year residents will have a stormwater fees and increased taxes. Hahn said he submitted a budget which he would like to see kept intact and not changed, but Council may change it if they like. Perry said the borrowing is contingent on the collection of the stormwater fees. He asked how that impacts next year. Hahn said that money can be used in place of the TRAN loan. Mope said according to the Third Class City Code, we need a super majority to amend the budget. When this was done at the last meeting, we did not have super majority, therefore, it should not have been done. Mope said residents were led to believe there was going to be a permanent tax reduction. Perry said tax reductions are always temporary and they are usually for one year. He added that the new Council could address this issue next year. Schadder said we are taking the money from the sewer transmission fees and using it as collateral. Hahn said yes, and when the stormwater fees come in, we will pay back the debt.

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

----------------------------------------------

Ordinance 2013-28 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, 2014 and Ending December 31, 2014 (BUDGET) (3rd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 3-2

----------------------------------------------

Ordinance 2013-29 Re-Enacting Ordinances 1931, 1932, and 1933, which Continue in Force and Effect for the Period January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014, Imposing the Real Estate Tax, Earned Income Tax, Per Capita Tax, and Resident Tax, Respectively (2nd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Mundie.

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

----------------------------------------------

Ordinance 2013-29 Re-Enacting Ordinances 1931, 1932, and 1933, which Continue in Force and Effect for the Period January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014, Imposing the Real Estate Tax, Earned Income Tax, Per Capita Tax, and Resident Tax, Respectively (3rd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Mundie.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

----------------------------------------------

  Ordinance 2013-30 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 2014, Beginning January 1, 2014 and Ending December 31, 2014 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Schadder.

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

----------------------------------------------

Ordinance 2013-30 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 2014, Beginning January 1, 2014 and Ending December 31, 2014 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 3-2

             

RESOLUTIONS

None.

             

New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2013-31 An Ordinance Making Transfers of the General Appropriations Ordinance for the Year 2013 Beginning January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013 (1st Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

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

----------------------------------------------

Ordinance 2013-32 An Ordinance Making Supplemental Appropriations of the General Appropriations Ordinance for the Year 2013 Beginning January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013 (1st Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

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

----------------------------------------------

  Ordinance 2013-33 An Ordinance Making Supplemental Appropriations of the Sewer Transmission Appropriations Ordinance for the Year 2013 Beginning January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013 (1st Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

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

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2013-115 Resolution Permitting the City of Hazleton to Apply for a Luzerne County Local Share Account Grant on Behalf of the Pennsylvania Theatre of the Performing Arts

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Bob Dougherty and Frank Seratch representing the Pennsylvania Theatre of the Performing Arts spoke to Council regarding this Resolution. Dougherty said the theatre can support its basic functions, such as electric, heat, water, etc. He said the building needs a lot of repair work and updating. Dougherty said there are sewer backups, and unsafe conditions such as concrete steps that become slippery when snow and ice are present. They would also like to install a digital marquee on the building. He said the have one part-time employee and everyone else volunteers. They have children’s workshops and they perform plays and musicals. Dougherty said they are trying to keep the arts downtown. Seratch says he believes that if the building is updated, it will bring more people in, and downtown businesses will see more business. Dougherty said that right now they bring in about 5,000 people per year. Mundie suggested doing something with the Hazleton Integration Project, such as workshops, or go in collectively with them when applying for a grant. He said you are more likely to receive the grant if it is a collective arrangement. Perry asked how much they are applying for, and Dougherty said $380,000. Mundie asked if Dougherty prepared the grant application, and Dougherty said yes. Mope said we need money for the streets, building repair, etc., therefore, she will be voting no as a protest vote. She said the City needs to start applying for these grants as well.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1

----------------------------------------------

Resolution 2013-116 Setting the Date for the First Council Meeting for the Year 2014

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Mundie asked why this is scheduled Monday, January 6, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. Lisa Shema, City Clerk, said that is the date (first Monday in January) and time set by the Third Class City Code.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

----------------------------------------------

Resolution 2013-117 Authorizing the Hazleton Police Department to Enter into an Agreement with Pennsylvania State University for Police Supervisory School Training

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Mope asked why this is being done now. DeAndrea said he has 14 supervisors who need this training, and it was just identified as an issue. Mundie asked about the cost of the program. DeAndrea replied $12,400, but Penn State University is the school in Pennsylvania that has the program. He stated that when Council approves this, we will sell the remaining seats in the class to other police departments. He said he did not advertise it yet because he was waiting for Council’s approval first. Mope asked when this will take place and DeAndrea replied February 3, 2014 to February 7, 2013. He said after the training is completed, he is introducing a new form of leadership in the police department. Perry asked how many police officers will be off during that week. He said only the supervisors will attend the course. A schedule will be made and no one will receive overtime. DeAndrea assured Council that they would not be short-handed. Schadder asked if these supervisors will then be included in the evaluations. DeAndrea said he did not know yet, but he will once they have completed training. Schadder said he was concerned because sometimes people are sent for training but then there is no follow through. DeAndrea said he currently has supervisors that have not received this training, but yet they are being held accountable. Mope commented that they should have had this training and been qualified before being promoted to a supervisory position. DeAndrea said he is trying to give them as much training as possible. Mundie asked how many police officers need to be supervised, and DeAndrea said all of them. Schadder commented that times change, and we need keep up-to-date to the best job possible. Mundie asked who will be teaching the class, and DeAndrea replied that either they will bring in their own teachers, or some of the current professors will teach the class. DeAndrea said each seat will cost about $360.00. But, if the training was being done elsewhere, it would cost about $600.00 per person, plus room and board. Mope commented that money in the seizure account went down exponentially lately, and she is apprehensive about this. She said she would like the seizure money to go toward the lease payments for the new police vehicles. Mope commented that this could have all been paid off if all of the seizure money was still there. DeAndrea said that may be illegal. He said page 22, section 2b says this money can only be used for new vehicles. Mope asked why the vehicles were leased instead just purchased outright. DeAndrea said he could not budget for that because he did not know when the seizure money would be coming in. He said we will be getting two more police cars with the seizure money next year. Mope said that is why we need to have a capital budget so that we know what we need. DeAndrea said he gave his capital budget to Council last year, and mostly everything on there has been purchased. Mope commented that she would still rather see the seizure money used for the lease payments of the police vehicles.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

----------------------------------------------

Resolution 2013-118 Requesting Approval of a Change Order with regard to the Wireless Surveillance Camera System

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

On the Question:

DeAndrea said this came to his attention over the past few weeks. He said they now manufacture a larger recorder (128 camera feeds as opposed to 32 camera feeds). This will allow us to buy one unit and expand it without crippling the system. DeAndrea said this will not change the dollar amount from Community Development. He said this costs $9,000 up front, as opposed to five smaller recorders at $3,000 each. He said this larger recorder can allow for 300 video streams at one time.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

----------------------------------------------

Resolution 2013-119 Removing Kyle L. Kehoe of Alfred Benesch & Company as the UCC Building Code Official and Appointing Diane Panzarella as the UCC Building Code Official (BCO) for the City of Hazleton

Presented by Schadder. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

DeAndrea said over this past summer we lost Mary Ann Thomas as the BCO. He said Diane Panzarella attended the necessary classes and passed the test to become a BCO. DeAndrea said that once Kehoe does the inspections, Panzarella can sign the permits and certificates of occupancy. He said he is trying to find people so that Kehoe can be let go, and this can all be done in house. He said we will no longer have to pay for Kehoe to sign these documents. Mundie asked how much it cost for Panzarella to get this training. DeAndrea said Panzarella paid for this herself. He said this will not take her away from any of her other duties. Mundie asked if there will be an increase in pay. DeAndrea said no pay increased has been discussed with Panzarella. Schadder said Panzarella should be given credit for her hard work and the fact that she paid for this herself, and also that she is not being paid anything extra for this.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

----------------------------------------------

Resolution 2013-120 A Resolution Authorizing the Transfer of Funds from the Sewer Transmission Fee Fund to the General Fund for a Temporary Period of Time

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Hahn said there is in excess of $400,00 in the sewer transmission fund. He would like to use this money for the first few months of the year instead of getting a tax and revenue anticipation note. This will then be paid when the stormwater fees come in. Mundie asked if this is what was supposed decrease the taxes. Hahn said yes, but only for January and February until the taxes come into the City. Bast said that for the last two years we did not need to secure a TRAN, and Hahn said that is correct.  Perry said this money will then be made available for use in June 2014. Perry added that we used to have to wait longer to receive the tax revenue, but because the county is now collecting it, we get it much sooner in the year.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

----------------------------------------------

Resolution 2013-121 A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the Wyoming Street Community Revitalization Project

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Mope said she will be making a protest vote of no on this resolution. She said the streets should be our first priority. Schadder said this covers Wyoming Street, which is one of the heavily-traveled streets. Mundie asked if the Mayor decided on this. Hahn said no. This is something the Downtown Alliance, which is similar to ARCH, is working on to revitalize the area. Hahn said Wyoming Street is a small shopping district. He said this will be used to revitalize from Green to Holly Streets. They have the support of the Chamber of Commerce, Can-Do, Representative Toohil, and Senator Yudichak. Hahn said the streets in this area will be repaved and sidewalks will be improved. He said the Latino community may have festivals there. Hahn said this would target and improve the business district. It is a heavily-traveled street. Mope said there is more to the City than just the downtown area. The streets all over the City are in deplorable condition, and we need to rehabilitate everywhere. Hahn said Bast asked for a grant application for this, which was forwarded to Frank Vito and Dominic Yannuzzi for review and completion. Mundie said we will need to send our audit with the application, but we have not received the 2012 audit yet. Hahn said he will be sending the 2011 audit instead. Mundie was concerned that this may hurt us without sending the most recent audit, and Hahn said that is a possibility. Mope said that ARCH did not work out, and the rest of the City is falling apart. Perry said “there is $350,000 in the works for the rest of the City.”

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1

----------------------------------------------

Resolution 2013-122 A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the Hazleton Regional Airport

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Dominic Yannuzzi, City Engineer, said this is being requested for the purchase of a hangar which is currently being lease-purchasing. It will also be used to rehabilitate the hangar space and facilities. He said a medical transport helicopter company has expressed interest in using the airport facilities. Mope asked if there needs to be living space for the helicopter pilot, and Yannuzzi said that has not been determined yet. Right now it will be for overnight plane storage and other associated storage. Perry said this would increase the Airport’s income. Mundie asked how much extra will this cost in expenditures and the cost to send City workers there. He said Council needs a list of these expenditures. Mundie asked if an appraisal was done on the hangar, and Yannuzzi said it was appraised at $112,500. Yannuzzi said the a study was conducted to determine the cost of building a new hangar, and that information was given to Council last year. We are reapplying for similar funding. Mope said she needs to know more details. Yannuzzi said it will be detailed in the 50-page grant application. He said if this Resolution is tabled, then he cannot apply for the grant because the deadline is December 31st. Schadder made a motion to table, and Mundie seconded the motion.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Schadder. Seconded by Mundie.

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

MOTION TO TABLE PASSES 3-2

RESOLUTION TABLED

----------------------------------------------

Resolution 2013-123 A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the Purchase of a Plow Truck for the City of Hazleton

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Perry asked why anyone would not go forward with this. Mope asked how much do we need this. Hahn said the current plow truck is very old and has incurred a lot of repair costs. He said a new truck would allow the streets workers to operate more efficiently. The typical cost for a plow truck is about $175,000. Hahn said that vehicles are funded quite frequently through the LSA grant. Hahn said he asked for the information from Frank Vito regarding this matter. Mope asked if we really need to upgrade, and Mike Vislocky of the Streets Department said yes because the current truck is from the early to mid 1980s. Hahn said we are only applying for one because they are very expensive, but we do need more than one.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY              

Comments from the Audience:  Charles Ziegler, Harrison Street, Hazleton said he sees stripped and abandoned cars all over the City. He also sees TVs and computer monitors smashed all over the placed. He said Hazleton is in deplorable condition and is a pig sty. He said some of these cars have been abandoned for over 10 years and are still there. Rick Wech, Code Enforcement Officer, said that they have been trying to determine which cars are stolen. He said if the car is in a City right-of-way, the police can tow it, but not if on private property. He said he will check and see if there are any complaints. Mundie said he gets complaints about this all the time. Ziegler said there are garbage bags, sofas, and chairs all over the place, and asked if anyone ever checks on this. Mundie said Chief DeAndrea is in charge of Code Enforcement. Perry said that Columbus Street is very bad. Ziegler said the City should be towing these cars and junking them to raise money. He some have just been ticketed over and over again, but nothing is being done. Wech said if the car is on the street, it is the Police Department’s responsibility. Schadder asked if Ziegler called the Code Office or if he ever tried to follow up on this. Perry said we need to have some plan put in place for this.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton said if your garbage is not being picked up, then you need to call J. P. Mascaro & Sons. She said they are able to take furniture too. She said you used to be able to lodge complaints on the City’s website and asked why that was removed. Mundie said the website is going to be changed in January when the new Council takes over. Deakos said if you call Mascaro, they will pick it up the next day.

Mike Vislocky, Hazleton thanked Council for approving the Resolution for a grant for a new plow truck. He said we need about six of them, but this is a good start. He asked everyone to please move their cars whenever there is an impending snow storm coming, so that snow plow can plow properly. He said they are very short-handed, so he would greatly appreciate the public’s help, and he asked the public to have patience. Vislocky said they do not get to the side streets right away. He said if you live on a side street, do not shovel your whole sidewalk until the plow has already come through. Just make a small path, otherwise the plow will just bury it again. He said this is not intentional. Vislocky said the Streets Department needs more manpower, loaders and more trucks. Mark Grabo, First Street, Hazleton said he agrees with gentleman that spoke about the abandoned vehicles. He commended the Streets Department with the snow removal after the last storm. He wished Perry and Schadder well, and he wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Comments from Mayor or City Administrator:  None.

Comments from Council:  Mope thanked everyone for coming, and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. She agreed with Ziegler about the abandoned vehicles and said something needs to be done immediately. She said perhaps the new Council will be able to help. She hoped the grant for the new plow truck comes through. She thanked everyone who works at City Hall for all their work throughout the year.

Mundie said he agreed with Ziegler about the abandoned vehicles. He said Chief DeAndrea is the supervisor for the Code and Health Departments, and a list of the abandoned vehicles throughout the City should be given to him. Mundie commented that Slusser left right after the executive session. He said if our errors and omissions insurance company knew that, they may no longer insure us. He commented that this is part of the reason the City is in such a mess. Mundie said the Mayor held a press conference right before the Council meeting, but did not come to the Council meeting. He said the stormwater fee is “tying the Administration’s hands.”

Bast thanked everyone for coming, and wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. He thanked Perry and Schadder for their service on Council. He said they always had the City’s best interests at heart, and they never had a personal agenda.

Schadder said complaining about everything does not get us anywhere. We need action not complaints. He said he wished they would have had more of an opportunity to discuss the budget before the end of the year. Schadder wished everyone Happy Holidays.

Perry thanked Vito and the Streets Department workers for their hard work. He said the Christmas lights on Broad Street look really nice. He said banners are a good idea too. Perry said a gentleman wanted to express his gratitude to the Police Department for escorting him to the hospital. He called 911 and they called the Police Department for him. Perry said he enjoyed the bantering over the last four years on Council, and he will still be here in the community. He said we need to start holding more people accountable. He said we need to increase revenues, and suggested maybe selling advertising space on City-owned properties. Perry said it was always his intent to spend money wisely, and he tried to save the residents some money. He said he had no personal agenda, and he and Schadder care about the City. Perry said he will still be involved in the community. He thanked the Administration. He said his time on Council has been a great experience. He wished everyone Happy Holidays.

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