2013-7-7-17 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
WEDNESDAY, JULY 17, 2013

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Wednesday, July 17, 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 June 19, 2013 were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications:  None.

Courtesy of the Floor:  Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2013-13. She asked how credits will be approached with regard to the stormwater management fee. Perry said the Administration would need to determine that. Cuozzo commented on the sewer transmission fee, and stated citizens were being overcharged. She said the sewer transmission fees should have been put in a dedicated fund, but these funds were being placed in the general fund instead. She asked if the sewers were separated yet in the Heights. Schadder said he recently talked to Frank Vito about this. There were heavy rains recently, and only one complaint was received but it was not related. Cuozzo asked Council not to vote on the Stormwater Management Ordinance. She said there is no justification for this fee, and there are still sewer transmission fees in the general fund. She asked Council to demand a complete accounting of the sewer transmission fees. Cuozzo commented about a low-interest Pennvest loan that the City received 20 years for the sewers. She said that Council should start asking questions about this matter.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2013-10. She said City officials should go around and remove the signs like this that are still in front of businesses that are no longer there. Perry said he will check with DeAndrea about this.

Mark Rabo, 12 West First Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2013-13. He asked if this matter was assessed and what went into that assessment. He asked where the $2 million figure came from and is that amount accurate. Rabo asked what materials and labor would be used to justify this amount. He commented on the Quality of Life Ordinance, and asked if work permits are being enforced by City officials. He said he knows of several places that are doing work without a permit. Perry said he would need to contact the Code Enforcement Office with that information. Perry added that we need the public to contact the City if they see any work going on without a permit.

Antonio Rodriguez, 718 Muir Avenue, Hazleton, commented on Resolution 2013-78 and said he is in favor of hiring another police officer because the City needs them. He said DeAndrea explained the details of this hiring at last month’s meeting. Rodriguez commented that we need to rescue our City and put it back the way it was. He also commented on Ordinance 2013-15. He suggested that the wording “all proper persons” be changed to “all law abiding citizens” in the Ordinance.

             

  Old Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2013-10 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 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

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

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Ordinance 2013-10 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 (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 2013-12 An Ordinance Adopting the Quality of Life and Violations Ticket Process in the City of Hazleton and Rescinding Ordinance 2012-7 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Schadder. Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Schadder said he contacted Magistrate Joe Zola about this, and he is in favor of this Ordinance and its changes. This gives the City more enforcement power. Schadder said he was told by Magistrate Zola that 900 citations were given out, but only 32 were paid. Schadder said that there needs to be more enforcement of the Quality of Life Ordinance. To vote no means you are saying that it is okay to sell contaminated food for two or three more days. Schadder gave Mike Wilfing credit for volunteering his time for the appeals process. He suggested that Wilfing apply to the Code Enforcement Office because they could use someone with his knowledge and experience. Schadder commented that if anyone votes no on this, it is politically motivated. DeAndrea said this gives those enforcing the Quality of Life Ordinance the authority to issue citations, especially on nights and weekends. He added that as per the Uniform Commercial Code, stop work orders cannot be issued. But, if anyone continues to perform the work after being given a citation, we can continue coming back and issuing citations until the situation is abated. DeAndrea said that right now property owners are cited and not the contractors. He added that only a Building Code Official (BCO) can issue a stop work order. If a permit is not displayed, the BCO can stop the work. Mope said not all people hire contractors, and they do the work themselves. DeAndrea said that if there is no permit being displayed, those individuals enforcing the codes can ask to see the permit before giving a citation. He added that he has started having officials go around on evenings and weekends checking for permits and code violations, when most of the work is being performed by homeowners. Mope said that the ability to collect the fine is still an issue. Mope questioned why so many ordinances are being “tweaked.” She said we are trying to look professional, and this makes us look like we do not know what we are doing. She hoped this new Ordinance works out. Perry asked if the tickets were changed yet. DeAndrea said no because he did not want to forward this to the printer until it was passed by Council in case there were any changes made. He said once this is passed by Council, he will contact the printer immediately. DeAndrea said the quality of life citation give Code Enforcement the ability to issue quality of life tickets. Right now, a letter is sent to the owner and is then followed up with the magistrate. He added that this will give more people the ability to combat this problem.

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

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Ordinance 2013-12 An Ordinance Adopting the Quality of Life and Violations Ticket Process in the City of Hazleton and Rescinding Ordinance 2012-7 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Schadder.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 3-2

Ordinance 2013-14 An Ordinance Approving a Modification to the CDBG Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

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

             

RESOLUTIONS

None.

             

New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2013-11 An Ordinance Requiring Hazleton City Work Authorization Permits for Certain Items Once Covered by Ordinance 2009-16 with regard to Exemptions to the Uniform Construction Code (1st Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder. Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Mope-no; Mundie-no; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes 

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Ordinance 2013-13 An Ordinance of the City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania Establishing a Fee for Stormwater Collection and Management (1st Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Perry said there is an estimated cost of $2 million to repair or replace 14,000 inlets in the City. Perry said he and Schadder have taken pictures of some of these inlets and they are in really bad shape. Mope said the City is collecting a $84.00 sewer transmission fee from its residents. If that money would have been put into the maintenance of the storm drains, they would not be in such a terrible condition. Mope said that the state is mandating that the storm and sewer drains be separated, and the rest is being done as per the Administration. She said something like this is usually done with a Pennvest loan. Mope commented that this should have been addressed 30 years ago. She said she heard that stormwater runs into the stripping holes in the Heights and Terrace sections. She added that she heard the Broad Street Corridor is not separated. Mope said that Alter Street has no catch basin, and Birch Knoll’s runoff comes into the City. Perry said none of the current Council members when all of these problems began. Mope suggested this Ordinance be tabled until more information is received. Mope made a motion to table the Ordinance, and Schadder seconded the motion.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Schadder.

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

ORDINANCE TABLED 4-1

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Ordinance 2013-15 Amending Ordinance 2012-21 Establishing Rules and Regulations Regarding the Licensure of Secondhand Goods and Dealers within the City of Hazleton and Imposing Penalties for Violation (1st Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Bast commented that Rodriguez’s suggestion to replace some of the wording in the Ordinance could open up a legal argument, and he believes it should be left as the Solicitor did it. Schadder asked if this is part of the normal practice for these businesses. DeAndrea said yes, as it costs money to do paperwork and perform background checks. He added that the state will not waive the fee, and they must pay for every background check that is done. Perry asked if this was being amended because of the amount of adult parolees attempting to obtain employment at these types of businesses. DeAndrea replied yes. He said adult parolees like to obtain employment in places that sell second-hand goods. He was asked by Adult Probation to make it illegal for a felon to work at these places, and he agrees with this.

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

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2013-78 Approving and Hiring Police Officer in Accordance with Police Civil Service Rules – Richard Andrew Hutnik

Presented by Schadder. Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Mope asked if Hutnik graduated yet, and DeAndrea replied yes. Perry asked what number he was on the list, and DeAndrea said he was number one. Bast asked if the other police office recently hired reported for duty yet, and DeAndrea said yes. Bast if there are any police officers retiring in the near future. DeAndrea said he did not know at the moment, but stated the Zipovsky is close to that time. He said that they are required to sign a contract regarding their retirement, and they are locked into that retirement date. DeAndrea said he will sit down with potential retirees to discuss this with them. By budget time, he will then have an idea of who is going to retire. He added that new hires will be at 70% of their pay, as opposed to veterans at 108%. Bast asked where the additional money is coming from to pay for additional police officers. Hahn said he does not know at the moment, but it would be in next year’s budget.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1

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Resolution 2013-81 A Resolution Approving an Amendment to the Agreement with Mullin and Lonergan Associates, Inc. for Consulting Services

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Mope asked why there were four homes before and the contract was for $12,000 per year, but now there are only two homes and the contract is for $15,000. Fermin said that $7,500 will be allocated from the HOME Grant and $7,500 will be allocated from the NSP Grant. The CDBG consultant was originally hired for CDBG and HUD related assistance, and this is for HOME and NSP. She added that HOME and NSP are separate.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-82 Resolution Appointing a Designated Parking Enforcement Officer for the City of Hazleton

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Schadder.

  On the Question:

Mope asked if this person is collecting for the City, but is employed by the Parking Authority. DeAndrea replied yes.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-83 Approving the Commercial Lease Agreement with Fullington Auto Bus Company

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Perry thanked Sharp for the synopsis he gave Council prior to the meeting regarding this matter.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-84 Rescinding Resolution 2012-79 Appointing Mary Ann Thomas as the City of Hazleton’s Building Code Official

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 3-2

             

Comments from the Audience:  Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2013-15. She said she does not feel it is fair to penalize people who have already paid their dues for their crimes. She commented that there are people working for the City who have committed crimes. Schadder asked Deakos if the streetlight she was concerned with was still out, and she said it was already taken care of.

Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton said she saw the advertisement in the newspaper for the sponsorship for naming rights, and asked what that is for. She said the Airport name was already changed at the last meeting. Hahn said the intent of the advertisement was to get people to donate or contribute to the repair of things such as the terminal building in exchange for having their name placed on it. The naming rights are for the terminal and not the Airport. Hahn said there is one company already interested in rehabbing the terminal at no cost to the City or the Airport. Cuozzo said it was the job of the original FBO to maintain the terminal, as well as all other structures at the Airport. Hahn said it was being maintained but some things are more expensive than others and had to be put aside. Cuozzo said a lot of money has been spent on the Airport out of the general fund. She said that Council never approved the Airport’s 10-year plan. The 5%-10% the City needs to contribute comes from the general fund. Cuozzo said that Council needs to start asking questions about this matter.

Mike Wilfing, Hazleton thanked Council for allowing him to serve as the Appeals Officer for the Quality of Life citations. He suggested Council look into how much Alfred Benesch is taking in permit fees and how much they are being paid.

Antonio Rodriguez, 718 Muir Avenue, Hazleton said Hazle Township does not have its own police department. They are a smaller community yet they bring in more revenue than Hazleton. He asked if a Hazleton police officer assists with something in Hazle Township, does the Township reimburse the City for that officer’s time. He said if not, that is something they should be doing.

Mark Rabo, 12 West First Street, Hazleton said the stormwater fee should have been “assessed” before being placed in the budget. He added that the Airport has a $9,000 deficit and no one can draw on it. It needs to stay there. Rabo thanked DeAndrea for his help enforcing work permits, and for the enforcing the Quality of Life Ordinance. Rabo stated that 20% of the buildings in Hazleton are condemned and blighted buildings and this prevents investment in the City.

Dominic Tolerico, Garfield Street, Hazleton, thanked Council for their yes votes on Ordinance 2013-15.

Comments from Mayor or City Administrator:  None.

Comments from Council:  Mope thanked everyone for coming, and she thanked the department heads for coming to the meeting. She said that department heads need to supply Council with the information they need prior to the meeting. Mope commented that she is tired of doing things over and over. We need to get it right the first time.

Schadder said we have a duty to be prepared for Council meetings and to have shorter meetings. He suggested having work sessions so that Council can get the information it needs and everyone can stop “grandstanding” at these meetings. Schadder expressed the importance of satisfying the residents’ concerns. Schadder made a motion to have work sessions on the Monday prior to a Council meeting at 7:00 p.m. to discuss important matters. After a brief discussion with the Council members, Schadder decided to rescind his motion. It was decided that work sessions will only be called when Council deems them necessary. Mope commented that she has been asking for work sessions since the beginning of her term. She said we also need to have a capital budget put in place. Schadder said he hopes this shows that he is willing to work with everyone. Mundie said that he did not feel having a work session before every meeting was necessary, and he is agreeable to just having them when the need arises. Perry agreed that this is a good idea. Hahn said work sessions need to be advertised. He suggested scheduling all of them now, and canceling them when they are not needed. Council came to a decision that a work session regarding the stormwater management ordinance will be conducted prior to the August 14, 2013 meeting. The City Clerk will arrange a date and time with Council.

Mundie thanked Steve for the Airport budget. He commented that the Airport should all be under one category. Hahn said there are still some items in the general fund that need to be addressed. He said there needs to be an adjustment in some of the wages, and a new category needs to be created (services of highway department). Mundie asked specifically about $35,000. Hahn said it matches up with $17,000 in wages and some still needs to be moved. Mundie asked for a year-to-date wages, and Hahn said he would get him a breakdown. Mundie asked about City workers performing work at the Airport. Hahn said they keep track of work they do there and bring it to us. Mundie asked for the figure for “contracted services-engineering,” and a breakdown for maintenance and wages. He also asked about the figure for health insurance. Hahn said we had anticipated going with another plan. Schadder said he received concerns with the streets department doing more work on the Airport than on the streets. He said he talked to Vito and that is not true. Mundie asked for a total number of hours that the streets department is at the Airport. Mundie said he heard that calls to the Health and Code Enforcement Departments are going unanswered. DeAndrea said he has never had that happen to him when he calls those departments. He added that the Mayor discussed this matter at the last staff meeting. DeAndrea said there is voice mail in the Code, Health and Police Departments, and anyone can leave a message. He said there are also the tip line and the new main phone number of 459-4960. Mundie asked if there is a procedure or process in place for receiving and returning phone calls. DeAndrea said everyone who answers the phone says their name and department. Hahn said that the person who complained to Mundie about Health and Code never left a voice mail message on either phone.

Bast explained his no vote on the hiring of the police officer. He said taxes were dramatically increased last year, and next year two police officers will end up costing $160,000 minimum between salary, health insurance, and paid time off. Bast said he would rather wait until November to make a decision on hiring another police officer so we know how we stand financially. Bast asked everyone to enjoy the rest of the summer.

Perry thanked the Administration and the department heads for coming to the Mayor’s Night Out meeting last night. He said a lot of questions got answered, and it was a very constructive meeting. He commented that he is happy that the lines of communication are opening up between everyone. Perry said he went to the Airport, and a lot of good things are happening there. There is a jet in the hangar and that hangar is now being leased. He said that if anyone has problems getting through to any department in City Hall, they can call either 459-4960 or 459-4940. He added that there is currently someone working on the City’s Facebook page, and it should be up and running very shortly. He also 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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