2013-8-14 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14, 2013

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Wednesday, August 14, 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 July 17, 2013 regular meeting and the August 6, 2013 work session were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications:  None.

Courtesy of the Floor:  Sylvia Thomas, 409 West 6th Street, Hazleton commented on the fees the City is charging. She said that it was stated by the Police Chief that only 3% of the quality of life citations have been paid. Thomas commented that we are paying Alfred Benesch $64.00 per hour, but Mary Ann Thomas was only $10.00 hour. She commented that the Union contracts were not negotiated properly, and ordinances are not being enforced. She asked what we are paying all these fees and taxes for. People are getting away without paying for their required licenses, taxes, inspections, etc. Crime is going up and Hazleton has “lost its values.” She said we need to fight for our hometown, and she asked Council to fight for it too. She stated that she tried to help clean up the City, but people have commented that it is a waste of time.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2013-85 and asked why the meeting dates are being changed. She also commented on Resolution 2013-86 and said that the money for this recodification is not in the budget. Deakos suggested waiting on this for a little while.

Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2013-11. She asked if the City received permission to use unlicensed inspectors for property inspections. She also commented on the proposed stormwater management fee. Cuozzo said an ordinance was passed in 2009 that excluded separated storm and sewer lines. She commented that the agreement is incorrect, and everything that is flowing is included according to that agreement. Cuozzo commented on Resolution 2013-86 and stated that the money for this is not in the budget.

Antonio Rodriguez, 718 Muir Avenue, Hazleton asked Council to approve Resolution 2013-87, and said this agreement with help the Fire Department. He also commented on Resolutions 2013-88 and 2013-89, and asked Council to approve these as well. Rodriguez said the City needs the revenue, and it should come from the state and not the taxpayers. He said that if the stormwater management fees passes, landlords are going to raise the rent to make up for the increase. Rodriguez said “the taxpayers are fed up.” He agreed with Thomas and said that she is fighting for the City. He asked what the Mayor’s opinion is on Ordinance 2013-13 regarding the stormwater management fee. Perry said that he cannot speak for the Mayor, but Rodriguez could contact him directly. Rodriguez said that the Mayor and Dominic Yannuzzi, City Engineer, should be here to answer these questions.

Dominic Tolerico, Garfield Street, Hazleton asked Council to vote no on the Stormwater Management Ordinance. He said the City should go after the state for the money. Tolerico commented that the City needs more important things right now. He commented that every time money is needed for something, the City “goes after the taxpayers,” and this “will eventually come an end.” He commented that the City is operating at loss because maintenance costs were never incorporated into the City’s fees. Tolerico said there needs to be an alternative to generate revenue besides the taxpayers.              

Old 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 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

On the Question:   Perry asked DeAndrea about having licensed inspectors. DeAndrea replied that there are no inspections required with regard to this Ordinance, and we still have a Building Code Official (BCO). Bast said that some of these things required an inspection, but this Ordinance stops that. He added that this will be a savings for residents. DeAndrea agreed with Bast. He explained that we still want to know who is doing work in the City. With this Ordinance, we can stop and check that they are doing the work for which they received the permit.

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

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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 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 3-2

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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)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

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

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES 3-2

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

  On the Question:

Mope said that she asked for a copy of the signed agreement with the Sewer Authority, and asked if it has been located yet. Hahn said he does not have a signed copy. Mope asked if we turned over the sewer lines to the Sewer Authority, and Hahn replied yes. Mope said that we need verification of this. Hahn said that the signed copy is in the Solicitor’s office. He added that all the bills were turned over to the Sewer Authority as well. Mope commented that a signed copy of this agreement should be made available to the public. She read a portion of Ordinance 2009-8 aloud, which stated an option to purchase and an exclusion of storm inlets and sewers that are already separated. Mope commented that we only own the separated lines right now, and the rest belong to the Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority (GHJSA). She commented that Slusser should be here to answer our questions. Schadder said he spoke with Slusser last week, and he clarified that the City owns the storm inlets and lines, and GHJSA owns the sewer lines. Mope stated that the agreement says that we do not own the inlets. Perry said that nothing has been done with these inlets for a long time, and we are now liable for the repair and replacement of these inlets. He commented that there are safety hazards everywhere in the City, and we need to fix them now. Perry said that if and when this Ordinance passes, it is still going to take several months before we set up a system to collect the fee. Mope said that once we turned over the lines, this became the Sewer Authority’s responsibility. She said she researched the matter and everything she found concerns new development only. She could not find anything regarding the state mandate to separate the sewer and storm lines. Bast said that this has been going on for so long, and these issues are not being addressed. He said the infrastructure and the City streets are deteriorating. We are always blaming everyone else, and it keeps “getting pushed further down the road.” Bast said that this is happening now, and we have a lot of debt. If we keep doing the same things over and over, we will eventually need to get another loan. Bast commented that at some point, Council needs to start making the difficult decisions that people are not going to like. We are trying to fix problems right now that go back 20 or 30 years. He said this may not be perceived well by most people, but the stormwater management fee will hit everyone, not just the taxpayers. The money collected will help alleviate some of these issues. Bast said that loans are the burden of taxpayers only, and he does not want to go that route. He added that it will probably take 10 years to fix everything that needs to be fixed. Mope said that Council did its job, and there is no guarantee that everything will be done correctly. She said that people paid $84.00 for repairs to the sewer system, but it was still neglected, and we are now asking them to pay again. Schadder said that someone should follow up on this matter. Mope commented that we pass laws, but the Administration needs to enforce them and collect the fines. She asked why this was not in the budget. Perry said this Ordinance addresses that matter. He asked if Mope was accusing the Administration of hiding money. Mope responded no, but she wants to know why it is not in the budget. Schadder stated that the expenses for this will be taken out of a dedicated fund. Hahn stated that this Ordinance will establish a stormwater fund. He said this year’s budget was passed with $500,000 in stormwater fees. He added that this Ordinance establishes a committee, who will create a fee to charge. Mundie asked if there is any money in the budget to start this, and Hahn said there is some money still in the sewer transmission fund. He said the Pennvest loan and the general obligation note were paid. Hahn said that one Pennvest loan was paid off last year, and the 2005 bond issue was paid with some of the sewer transmission fee money. Mundie asked if the $500,000 is needed to balance the budget, and Hahn replied yes. Hahn said the budget that was passed was for $8.6 million, and $500,000 is a large part of the revenue. Mope said that is a dedicated fund and she does not believe it can balance the budget. She commented that this was for the sewer expenses and the difference between the 43% and 83% tax increase. Mundie said that timbering was also added into the budget. Schadder said he contacted numerous people involved in this matter. Some of them recommended to look into the NS4 Plan, which can be used to fix existing lines. He spoke to someone at the Department of Environmental Protection and was told the City could be audited. If this happened, he would have to come in and do an inspection. The City could receive fines of up to $10,000 per day. Schadder commented that this is not going to address the sewer lines. This is only for stormwater maintenance. Mope said the Terrace section has already been done. Schadder said that this is independent of the sewer. He commented that we are being proactive and we are trying to take care of these problems. He added that this should have been done 10 years ago. Schadder said that we have the opportunity to be the model for Northeastern Pennsylvania. The storm water is eroding the ground and ripping up the roads. Impervious places do not absorb the water, so that is why those people will be paying more. Mope asked if every municipality has been asked to do this. Schadder replied yes. He added that if we are audited by DEP, we would have to answer a lot of serious questions. Mope said that everything was deeded over to the GHJSA. Hahn said if this Ordinance passes, the Administration will develop a plan for the fee structure and Council will vote on it. It would then be sent to the Committee for approval. Perry commented that he would like to see a little bit more than $20.00 charged for this, because he is concerned this amount would not cover all of the expenses involved.

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

**Schadder stated he was voting yes for now for the sake of negotiations.

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Ordinance 2013-14 An Ordinance Approving a Modification to the CDBG Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2013 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Perry Seconded by Bast.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES

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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 (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 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 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Schadder.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES

             

RESOLUTIONS

None.

             

New Business:

ORDINANCES

None.

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2013-85 Amending Resolution 2012-96 Setting Council Meetings for the Year 2013

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Bast said that he is going back to college and will not be available on Monday and Wednesday nights. He said moving the time to later in the evening may not work out either because his classes may run late, and he will be traveling out of town. He coordinated this new schedule with the Solicitor. Mundie said he would just like to see the meetings run later, instead of moving the days around. He added that the meetings used to be held at 7:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. a few years ago. Mundie said a later time would be better for the public, and we should serve the needs of the people. Perry said that the meetings will run too late into the night, and people have to go to work early in the morning. Mundie commented that he does not have a problem with long-running meetings. Mope commented that the meetings used to be held later in the evening, but that was changed a few years ago to accommodate a certain individual, who she did not want to name. She said that changing the dates around will confuse people, and will also affect the deadlines for agenda items. Mope commented that she “it is crazy enough around here without having to bend over backwards.” She said that people have mentioned to her that the meetings should be started later, and we need to accommodate the people. Schadder asked Bast what time he thinks he would be able to make a Wednesday meeting. Bast said his class is supposed to run until 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, but sometimes they run late, and he will be driving into Hazleton from out of town. Schadder asked if 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. would work. Bast said he cannot guarantee he will make it here for that time on a Wednesday. Mope commented that if you cannot make it, then you will have to miss those meetings.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 3-2

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Resolution 2013-86 Authorizing the Mayor to Enter into an Agreement with General Code Publishers for Recodification of the City Code

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Mope asked why this is being done at this time. She felt it is better to wait until January. Hahn said because of the numerous requests from Council and the public regarding ordinances, he felt it was time to update the City Code. He said that because it has not been updated since 2002, a search needs to be conducted and the items pieced together each time there is a request for such information. It is especially difficult when researching items with fees involved. Hahn added that this would also incorporate the changes with the state, so there is no conflict, and General Code will check to see if any of the current ordinances contradict each other. He felt it would make the information more accessible to Council and public. He said that it would also be placed online, and would also have a search feature. Right now, the whole process is time consuming. Hahn said that it will take approximately 18 months to complete the whole project. Council would have access to ordinances from other municipalities. Hahn said that we will not be billed for any of it this year, and Council will have to vote on it. He stated that Council will be given a hard copy of the new City Code Book. He spoke with representatives of the company, and they felt that it was a good idea to do this every 10 years or so. This program is easy to understand and very user friendly. Hahn stated that there is an ongoing fee to maintain the Code. Ordinances can be added onto it throughout each year. Hahn said there was another estimate from General Code that was lower, but that did not include the integration of the state laws and the review of the current Code. Mundie asked if he looked into any other companies. Hahn said no. General Code codified the last City Code for us, and he felt it would be best to go with them because they already had the information from the last time in 2002. Mundie asked Hahn to look into some other companies. Mundie commented that a few years ago he looked into having a company scan in all of our Ordinances into a computer program. Hahn said this program is “Cloud” based and hard copies will be available as well. There is also off-site storage available. He said this is the number one company for codification in the country. Hahn said some scanned documents are not searchable. Hahn suggested putting an advertisement in the newspaper for an RFP for this job. Schadder asked what the cost would be for that. Mundie said an RFP would not be necessary. He asked Hahn to look around and get some other presentations. Hahn said he will look into it. Mundie said we need to look into the fees for the maintenance and hosting of our website, because we may be paying too much. He asked Hahn what the yearly cost was, but Hahn did not know offhand. He said maybe a few thousand dollars a year. Mundie made a motion to table the resolution, and Schadder seconded the motion.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Schadder.

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

MOTION TO TABLE PASSES – RESOLUTION TABLED

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Resolution 2013-87 Authorizing an Agreement between the City of Hazleton and PA Fire Recovery Service for Billing of Fire Service Recovery Expenses

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Schadder.

On the Question:

Schadder asked how the billing is currently done. Leshko replied that it is done in house. He stated that this company sees a much greater return, and he has been working with this company on this for a few months. There are no out-of-pocket costs, and the fees range from 15% to 30%. Schadder asked how many years other municipalities have been using them. Leshko said many municipalities, such as West Hazleton, Hazle Township, and McAdoo, have been using them for many years. He received great feedback from these municipalities regarding this company. Mundie asked what they do. Leshko said they do the general billing and send to the insurance company. They set the fees and generally take 15%. After six months, they take 30%. He explained that there are no additional fees tacked on. Mandak said that the 15% is on top of their fee structure. He added that when doing it in house, we do not know all of the billing codes, but they do. If we miss something, we are out of that money. Mandak said they are capable of collecting more money for us. Leshko said the fees are just standard fees. Mundie asked if there are other companies that do this. Leshko stated that he researched this and there a no other companies that do this type of work. Mundie asked if Leshko contacted Northeast Revenue Service about this. Leshko said no and he did not know if they do collections for fire service. He commented that this is a “win-win” for the City. Perry said the cost of this seems to outweigh the amount they would be receiving. Mope asked what the term of the contract was, and Leshko replied one year. Mundie said he does not like the automatic renewal clause in the contract. Leshko we can always give them ample notice and cancel the renewal. Perry asked how much the Fire Department collected last year. Leshko said there were 288 car accidents last year. He did not know the dollar amount collected offhand. Mope asked what happens if there is no cleanup involved in the accident. Leshko said they would only be used for reportable accidents.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-88 Resolution to Fund the Storm Water Management Program by Way of Grants Obtained through the Local Share Municipal Gaming Grant Program

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Mundie passed out some information to the other Councilmembers. He said that there a some grants out there that we could be applying for. Perry asked if we submitted any LSA grant applications last year. Hahn said that seven were submitted; four by the City and three by other individuals. He said the money was not given to us. A $240,000 LSA grant was received for the Button Buck project. Hahn said that Council needs to approve these grant submissions first. He added that all grant submissions need to be clearly defined. Hahn said that salaries cannot be paid with grant monies. Mundie asked who writes the grant applications. Hahn said he would coordinate it with engineering, Dominic Yannuzzi would give him the information, and he would apply for the grant. Mundie asked if Hahn applied for grants when he was employed with Butler Township, and Hahn replied yes. Mundie said he talked to Schumacher, and they are willing to help us. Hahn said that Barry Isett submitted a grant application on our behalf at no charge, and Alfred Benesch did the other four submissions. Perry asked how much it costs to submit the grant, and Hahn replied that it is $100 for an LSA grant submission. Mundie offered to pay the $100 fee for the grant submission. Mope said that if it was mandated by the state to separate the storm and sewer lines, then we need to take every opportunity to apply for grants. She said she researched the matter and there are more grants out there that we can apply for. Schadder said that they have been applying for LSA grants for years, and now that elections are coming up, it is now being brought up at the Council meetings. Schadder asked Mundie why he did not talk to someone sooner about these grants. Schadder said he spent 15 hours on the phone with Pennvest and DEP about this matter. He asked Mundie how much time he spent on this. Mope commented that she and Mundie have gone above and beyond their duties. Schadder said there is no reason that this whole situation cannot be “ironed out” right now.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-89 Resolution to Fund the Storm Water Management Program by Way of Grants Obtained through the Pennvest Program

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Bast asked if Pennvest is a loan program, and Hahn replied yes. Mundie said that Pennvest has both loans and grants available. Mundie asked Shema if his two Resolutions were reviewed by the Solicitor before being placed on the agenda. Shema replied yes. Bast said that we have too many loans right now. Schadder said he talked to someone at Pennvest and the chance for receiving a grant is highly unlikely. He said that we would qualify for a loan, but we would have to meet with them and discuss it. Mundie said that this Resolution is just for grants. Hahn commented that it would be incompetent of the Administration if they did not look for grants and loans. He said there is no ordinance in place yet regarding the stormwater, therefore we could not apply for the grant yet. He added that they would never give grants for maintenance and/or salaries. Mope said that this resolution simply gives us the ability to look into it further. Hahn said he researches this every day. He commented that saying that the Administration does not do anything to find the funds for this is misleading the public. Hahn said four grants were submitted last year, but we did not receive anything. Nothing was put in the budget for it. He added that there were two Pennvest loans, but one was paid off. Perry said Council should not have to tell the Administration to search for grants, and Hahn agreed. Schadder said he spoke to an individual at Pennvest, and they said we are unlikely to get a grant. Mundie commented that all of these things should have been done months or years ago. Hahn commented that saying he is not doing his job is misleading to the public. Schadder asked if we need to vote on this. Perry said yes. Schadder commented that Mundie should try to see if these types of things can be done first before putting a resolution on the agenda.

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

RESOLUTION FAILS 3-2

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Resolution 2013-90 Authorizing the Mayor and the Acting City Administrator to Enter into an Agreement with B. A. Meixel Electrical, Inc. for Installation of New Interior and Exterior Lighting at the Cedar Street Hazleton Public Works Building

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Mundie asked if this was put out for bid. Hahn said no. A representative from B. A. Meixel came in and did work on the firehouses. He was referred to us by Fire Chief Donald Leshko. Hahn said the City Garage project will consist of replacing the lighting with more efficient lighting. He stated that the price includes the complete installation. The only other estimate that was received was from Friedman Electric, but it was higher. Mundie asked Hahn to send him the estimate. Mundie asked if Hayden Electric sent in an estimate, and Hahn replied no. Mundie suggested using a company from the area instead of using a company from Williamsport. He said there are a lot of people here that could do this job. Hahn said all of the equipment and labor is included in the price. Friedman Electric would have to subcontract this out. Hahn said that this was already submitted to PPL and approved. Mundie asked who owns B. A. Meixel, and Hahn replied that he did not know.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1

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Resolution 2013-91 Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Agreement with Direct Energy for Electricity Procurement

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Mundie asked if this contract is for one year. Hahn said there are two different components to this contract. Nine companies were solicited for this, and six responded. The street lighting component went to nine companies, and four responded. Hahn said the lowest price came from Direct Energy at 8.5¢ for streetlights, and it is now down to 3.9¢. The current contract expires in May of 2014, and can be extended to December of 2015. Hahn said that this will reduce the total cost by $37,000 next year. Mundie said residential customers do not have to enter into a contract. Hahn stated that we use a lot more electricity than a residential property. He added that we are currently overpaying for the electricity. Mundie asked why we are going with them if they made us overpay. Hahn replied that they had the lowest price. He said that the initial contract was for two years and it was extended for four more years. Mundie said that PPL lowered their price recently. Hahn said it was lowered to 7.8¢, but Direct Energy was lower. The one-year contract would be fore 4.004¢. Hahn commented that maybe they are giving us this rate because the felt bad about overcharging us. Mundie asked how long this is guaranteed for. Hahn replied that the contract is a guaranteed agreement, but the quoted rate is good for 72 hours. The contract would be until December 2015. Mundie asked if the contract automatically renews and Hahn replied no.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-92 Authorizing the Filing of an RACP Application for the Hazleton Development Company

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Schadder.

On the Question:

Hahn thanked Council for placing this on the agenda at the last minute. He said three resolutions were passed by Council in May regarding this matter. George Leitner felt this would satisfy the requirements for the grant but it did not. This Resolution needs to be passed in order for them to proceed. Hahn said this project is for $750,000, and the application requires a resolution be submitted with the other documents by Monday. Hahn stated that the City has no monetary involvement in this matter. George Leitner said that they will be paying all of the fees involved. He stated that they have to match the $750,000 with private funds. Leitner added that they could have gone through an individual development authority such as Luzerne County, but they wanted to go through the City. He apologized for the error.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Mope-no; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes   RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1

             

Comments from the Audience:  Antonio Rodriguez, 718 Muir Avenue, Hazleton asked to have a police officer sit by the door to Council Chambers during Council meetings, even though the Police Chief usually attends the meeting. If things get out of order, a police officer could escort that person out of Chambers. He added that the Mayor should be attending all Council meetings, especially regarding the stormwater fee. Rodriguez commented that the City Solicitor should be here for every meeting as well. He said that everyone is fed up with paying all these taxes and fees.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2013-86 regarding the recodification of the Ordinances. She also commented on the Stormwater Maintenance Fee Ordinance. She said the Hahn stated a figure of $300,000 went to the sewer transmission fee. Hahn said that figure may not be correct. Deakos said that when the Sewer Authority took over the sewer lines, they also took over the debt, and they should be paying that debt. She said the Sewer Authority is responsible for paying the Pennvest loans. Deakos said that the Sewer Authority owes for a 2005 borrowing as well. Hahn said the official documents would say what is being transferred to them. He said that Council approved it and a Pennvest loan paid for that.

Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton said the GHJSA took the 2008 borrowing and accepted the storm sewer debt. She asked that information be supplied to support the $300,000 in the budget for sewer transmission fees for repairs. Cuozzo said that maintenance should be separate from salaries. She asked where that money went the last two years. Cuozzo said the last sewer contract was for the Terrace, and those contracts were awarded in 2010 and 2011. One of them was with Schumacher. Hahn told Cuozzo she would need to file a right-to-know request for that information. Cuozzo said the Terrace project was for $687,000 and there should be $600,000 for sewer expenses.

Dominic Tolerico, Garfield Street, Hazleton, asked if the stormwater management fee is needed to balance the budget, and Hahn replied yes because it is miscellaneous revenue. Tolerico asked what dollar amount was allotted to be spent on repairs. Hahn said he did not have that information available right now. He added that repairs are different than maintenance. Tolerico asked if the stormwater management fees will pay for repairs or balance the budget. Hahn said the Stormwater Management Ordinance is not passed yet and, if it passes, a stormwater management fund would need to be set up. The Highway Department does a lot of the work, so they would need to be reimbursed out of that fund as well. Perry commented that the stormwater management fee will not be in place for this year. Hahn said there are more than 10 inlets that need to be repaired and that work would be put out to bid. Tolerico asked when the fee would need to be paid, and Hahn said at the end of each year. Tolerico said the Water Authority is profitable, so maybe the Sewer Authority is too. He said we should turn all of liability over to them. Mope said that the Stormwater Management Ordinance was based on an Ordinance from Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Mount Lebanon has an average salary of $91,000 and 61% of the residents have college degrees. Mope commented that are not like us. They have a combined system and that was not portrayed in the presentation. Tolerico asked why the financial responsibility of this was not placed in the agreement. Mundie commented that the City Solicitor should be here to address some of these items. Tolerico asked why the systems have to be separated, and Perry replied that it was mandated by the state. Perry said that the Water Authority pays us $400,000 per year for services. Tolerico commented that Can-Do buys water and resells it to industry. Mundie said the Water Authority is in the midst of changing its rates. Tolerico said we need to generate some significant revenue. Schadder commented that we need to get someone into the former St. Joseph’s Hospital, and we need to bring in more jobs.

Mike Wilfing, Hazleton asked for a list of UCC permit fees for Alfred Benesch, and asked why we are paying a BCO hourly. He commented on Ordinance 2013-11 and stated this would need to go to the Department of Labor and Industry for approval. Hahn told Wilfing he would need to file a right-to-know request for that information. Mundie asked Hahn for the UCC permit fees from January to the present. Hahn said that the invoices were already sent to you for the last three years. Mundie asked about the Airport budget. Hahn said that the budget was given to Council today. Mundie asked if there is a line item for all of the employees at the Airport, and if any more subcategories were created. Hahn replied that he has started working on it. Mundie said he wants the total dollar amount paid to Alfred Benesch for the Airport. Hahn said the report is not broken by UCC fees. He added that those invoices were sent to him several times.

Comments from Mayor or City Administrator:  None.

Comments from Council:  Mope thanked everyone for coming. She said she listened to everyone’s comments carefully, and she knows that a lot of people are struggling financially. That is why her and Mundie placed the two grant resolutions on the agenda. Mope said that Hahn knows how to apply for grants and he has been doing that for a while. She said the Water Authority received a $23,000 grant recently, and they also got a grant for $6.5 million in the past. She commented that we need to go after these grants aggressively. There are a lot of things that are not being addressed. Mope thanked everyone for their input. She commented that other municipalities are thriving and we need to change something. She added that our tax base decreases and we have less money in the long run.

Mundie said there is a pile of rubble on McKinley Street for a while, and it is a health hazard. DeAndrea said the owner cannot pay the fees to have it cleaned up. DeAndrea said it is a long, drawn-out process to go through in the court system. The owner has a court hearing on September 9, 2013 on the matter. DeAndrea said we cannot move any faster on this until after the court hearing. He said we have been there three times a week. DeAndrea said the legal process has begun and it is now in the Solicitor’s hands. Mope asked if the City can clean it up and then send them a bill. DeAndrea said we do not have the money to collect it and haul it away. The City would like to take these properties if we could. DeAndrea said we could be fined if we take the rubbish and burn it or dump it, and we would have to pay exorbitant fees to have it hauled away. Wech said the owner had a fire, but had no insurance and no fire escrow. DeAndrea said he was on the phone for three days with the owner regarding the payment for the demolition. He said the owner was charged $15,000 for the demolition but he only paid half, so they only hauled away half. DeAndrea commented that there is no quick way to clean this up. DeAndrea said that land banks work in different communities. One of the problems is that the properties we would end up going after are blighted and we would be taking on the expense of fixing them up. Mope asked if the Health Department has been there, and DeAndrea said they have been there several times. Schadder said he talked to Wech about this and he said the same thing. Wech showed him a stack of tickets that have been written with regard to this matter. Wech was in the process of writing out the 47th one when Schadder was there. DeAndrea said the law states that a lien may be placed on the property, which we would collect when it is sold. The problem with that is that these properties are not worth anything because of the condition they are in. He said we need to place a judgment on the owner’s home instead because it is worth a lot more. DeAndrea said we need the funds to afford the cost of a lawyer. We needed the fines to build up so that we can pay for a lawyer. Leshko said this is how the fire escrow works. Wech said we are actively moving forward on this matter. Perry asked if this was a rental property. DeAndrea said no, and they had no insurance. He suggested creating an ordinance requiring people to have insurance on their homes. Mundie asked what the estimate is to clean up the site, and DeAndrea said about $7,000. Mundie asked for an update on the investigation into the recent beating incident, and DeAndrea replied that he cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.

Schadder thanked everyone for coming. He said David Baldinger will be here next Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. to show a presentation with regard to the proposed elimination of property taxes. There is currently a bill in the House regarding this matter. He asked everyone to attend this important meeting.

Bast thanked everyone for their input and for attending tonight’s meeting.

Perry thanked everyone for coming. He said that we do not want to “drop the ball” anymore. He said he hopes the Rental Registration Ordinance will address some of these problems. Perry said Wilkes-Barre has a three strikes rule wherein if the police, code enforcement, health, etc. come to your property three times in certain time period, you are no longer able to rent our your property. DeAndrea said we have an ordinance similar to that, but he is trying to redo it. It currently reads three strikes in 60 days, but it should read three times in six months or even one year. He commented that the Ordinance needs to be “tightened up a bit.”

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