2013-2-20 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2013

Call to Order: Council met in regular session on Wednesday, February 20, 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 January 3, 2013 regular meeting were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications: None.

Courtesy of the Floor: Vilmarie Budde, Hazleton asked who Jason Hoffman is and was there a resume given by him for the position. Perry said that he is an employee at the Parking Authority, and was hired by the Parking Authority, so the City would not know if there is a resume from him.

Sylvia Thomas, 409 West 6th Street, Hazleton commented that a Solicitor should be present at all City Council meetings. She asked the people of Hazleton to support this.

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

None.

RESOLUTIONS

None.

New Business:

ORDINANCES

None.

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2013-31 Approving the Parking Authority's Certificate of Termination

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Attorney Lawrence Klemow said that it needs to be determined what properties the Parking Authority owns. Deeds also need to be transferred to the City. He said it is not clear right now what the Authority owns, and Parking Authority members have changed over the years. He said a title search needs to be done. Klemow said he only knows of four deeds, and that is not correct. He said a certification and resolution have been done by the Parking Authority. Klemow stated that Slusser will need to do the title search. Bast asked if this Resolution needs to be passed in order to proceed with the title search. Klemow said yes, because it needs to be filed with the Secretary of State. Schadder asked how much time is needed, and Klemow said probably a few months. Perry made a motion to amend the Resolution to add that this is contingent on the Solicitor completing a title search on the properties. 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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

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

RESOLUTION PASSES AS AMENDED

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Resolution 2013-32 In Memoriam – Eileen Whitaker

Presented by Schadder. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Perry said that Whitaker has been working with the Board of Elections since the Eisenhower administration. He said she was a great citizen, and will be greatly missed. Schadder said that Whitaker was active in many civic activities, and she will be missed. Mope read from the Resolution regarding Whitaker's volunteer work, and said she will be hard to replace. Bast said that Whitaker will be missed by the community for all of her hard work.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-33 Resolution Appointing a Designated Parking Enforcement Officer for the City of Hazleton

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.
On the Question:

Perry said that Jason Hoffman works for the Parking Authority. DeAndrea said the Parking Authority is needed to issue tickets for the City. Perry asked who else issues parking tickets besides the Police, and DeAndrea said the Assistant Fire Chief and two Parking Authority employees. Schadder asked why this is being authorized now. DeAndrea said he has been working for the Parking Authority for three weeks, but it just came to his attention when saw Hoffman's number on the parking tickets. Mundie asked who Hoffman is related to and who he replaced. DeAndrea said he does not know who he is related to, but that he replaced Jeri Corra, who recently resigned.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-34 Appointment of Council Advisor – Attorney Christopher B. Slusser

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

On the Question:

Bast made a motion to amend the Resolution as follows: (1) change the title to read "City Solicitor – Attendance at City Council Meetings," and (2) change the body of the Resolution to read "In accordance with Title 53, Section 36603 of the Third Class City Code, City Council will require the City Solicitor to attend Council meetings on an as-needed basis with reasonable notification to the City Solicitor. Council President shall notify the City Solicitor of his required attendance as soon as possible to eliminate scheduling conflicts." Schadder seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend:

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

Back on the Question:

Bast said the Solicitor is not always needed at the Council meetings. Bast stated that the Mayor said it was a decision based on finances, but that was the first time he ever made that statement. Perry said he asked Slusser to attend tonight's meeting, but he had a prior commitment. Schadder commented that it would be very supportive of him to attend Council's meetings, because we need a Solicitor here. He said Council has ample opportunity to make amendments and ask questions of him prior to the meetings, but sometimes he is still needed here. Schadder asked Council to be respectful and supportive of the Solicitor. Mope stated there were problems with things being put on the agenda at the last minute, and not having enough time to review them. Therefore, it would be beneficial for him to be here to voice Council's concerns and questions. Mope commented that it may end up costing more to ask him questions individually, instead of collectively at a meeting. Bast said that everyone seems to be sticking to the agenda deadlines, and it is working out much better. Mope commented that Council needs to make use of all of the tools available. Perry said that all Ordinances and Resolutions should go through the Solicitor first before being placed on the agenda. Mundie commented that he and Mope placed a similar Resolution on the agenda before, but it failed. He commented that now that Bast is "spearheading" it, everyone's in agreement to have the Solicitor here at the Council meetings. Bast commented that Mundie does not take his Ordinances and Resolutions to the Solicitor first. He commented that Mundie's "political grandstanding" and "finger pointing" are making the meetings much longer and costing the City money. Bast commented that everything should go through the Solicitor first to avoid any problems. Mundie commented that he believes the Mayor's meetings with the Solicitor every week are very wasteful. Perry said that Council needs to get its job done.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES AS AMENDED

Comments from the Audience: Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton asked what the new title is for Resolution 2013-34. Bast said it will be "City Solicitor – Attendance at City Council Meetings."

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton said she resubmitted a code violation regarding a parking lot. It was called a salvage yard. She said there are tractor trailers, a boat, ice truck, etc., in the lot, and they have also been doing automobile repairs there. Deakos says it still looks like a salvage yard. She asked Code Enforcement to revisit it, and said it was at the corner of Buttonwood and Wyoming Streets. Mope said this is a safety issue. She said children could find this attractive and get hurt. Mope said it should be fenced in. Schadder commented that those vehicles have been there for years. Deakos said that unlicensed vehicles should be towed as per the City Code. She said the City is not enforcing its Code. DeAndrea said he has received many complaints regarding this property. He stated that there is a conflict with "grandfathering." DeAndrea stated that our law conflicts with other federal and state laws, and he is not sure how to enforce it. He said the Solicitor is reviewing whether or not grandfathering is allowed, and he is waiting for a legal opinion from Slusser. DeAndrea said the lot has never changed its use. He does not know whether he should enforce the IMPC or the Supreme Court ruling. DeAndrea commented that he is trying to avoid any type of civil litigation in this matter. Mope reiterated that it is dangerous and enticing to children. DeAndrea said as soon as he hears from Slusser, he will begin enforcement procedures. Mundie asked if the Mayor gave DeAndrea the authority to send out the information regarding towing to the towing companies. DeAndrea said no. Mundie felt this should have gone through Council first. DeAndrea said he filed it with the City Clerk and sent it to Council in accordance with the Code. DeAndrea said the City does not make any money on this, and we are not signing anything. Mope commented that the Solicitor should be here, and that city-wide procedures should come before Council. Perry said this was done as per the Administration's policy. Schadder asked if DeAndrea received any interest in the towing, and DeAndrea said he received four responses. Schadder asked if these places were qualified and if they were visited to make sure they are in compliance. DeAndrea said he has been to these places multiple times, and they are all in compliance and qualified to perform the towing. He said he based the City's towing policy on the State Police's policy regarding towing. The only thing that he added was language with regard to providing a secure towing facility, because the City has nowhere to store towed vehicles. DeAndrea said he contacted the Solicitor about this before proceeding.

A woman from the audience who did not give her name said cars are parking in her driveway, and she had to have some of them towed. Across the street from her house is a lot of junk, and she is tired of looking at it. She commented that grandfathering should not be allowed for junk like that. She said there is an abandoned home at Arthur and Third Streets, and the junk is at Arthur and Second Streets.

Cindy DeLuca, DeLuca's Auto Repair & Towing, gave Council a packet of information on her company. She said she appreciated that DeAndrea answered all of her questions regarding towing for the City.

Comments from Council: Mope asked Leshko about the negotiations with West Hazleton and Hazle Township regarding the regionalization. Leshko said West Hazleton and Hazleton signed the agreement, and the regionalization is moving forward. He said he will meet with Hazle Township in March. Mope thanked everyone for coming. Mope also thanked Whitaker for her service to the City.

Mundie said Whitaker did a lot for the City, and she will be missed. He asked that the Resolution be framed and presented to her family.

Schadder suggested donating a book to the library in her honor.

Bast thanked everyone for coming.

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