2013-9-19 Council Minutes

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

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Thursday, September 19, 2013 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m.

Silent Meditation and Pledge of Allegiance:  A silent moment was taken followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

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

Minutes of Previous Meetings:  None.

Proclamations/Communications:  None.

Courtesy of the Floor:  Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2013-86. She said we should wait to update the City Code until all of the changes to the ordinances are completed. She added that there is no money in the budget right now for this. Deakos said it is not a “sound business decision” to update a Code that will already be outdated when completed.

Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, commented on Resolution 2013-97. She stated the original contract with MEM regarding the streetlights included maintenance. In 2002, $1.6 million was borrowed and MEM was paid for this service out of that. Cuozzo thought this Resolution should be separated into three resolutions because there are three separate items in it. She wanted to know where all the money went that was supposed to be paid to MEM.

Craig Budde, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2013-18. He said he supports this Ordinance. There are people on the corner of Wyoming Street and Diamond Avenue that have a yard sale every day for the last month, and this needs to be stopped.

Donna Plesh, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2013-18 and said she supports this Ordinance. She said she sees truckloads of items coming into a home on Laurel Street, and they have a yard sale every weekend. Plesh said there are others as well. She commented that this constitutes a business and they should have a business license, be paying mercantile tax, and be paying for an inspection. Mundie asked if this would be considered a business, and Slusser said it “sounds like it.”

Dr. Helen Jumpeter, 137 West Birch Street, Hazleton said she is against the Yard Sale Ordinance. She said only a few residents in town have caused problems with their yard sales, and these problems should be addressed by the police department. They do not reflect the behavior of any other Hazleton residents who conduct or attend yard sales. Jumpeter said it is unfair to punish everyone for the mistakes of a few people. She said it is the job of the Police Department to ensure all rights-of-way and sidewalks are free for everyone to use, and that the appropriate rules for signage are followed. Jumpeter said the Police Department can educate the few at fault individuals on the spot, or fine them after repeated violations. She commented that Hazleton should not become a “police state, where everyone’s activities are subject to strict ordinances and monetary fines.” Yard sales have been going on for many years and there have not been any problems. She said it is all getting too “bureaucratic.” She objects to the Ordinance in its entirety, but especially Section three regarding the 15-day permit. The weather is too unpredictable to have such a short timeframe. She also did not like the 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. hours, and that safe parking be made available. Jumpeter said the City of Hazleton designed the parking structure of the City, and no individual has the ability or responsibility to determine if these areas are safe. She felt the City had no valid legal reason to implement this Ordinance, and she felt this would bring an end to yard sales for everyone.

Sylvia Thomas, 409 West 6th Street, Hazleton said she “sympathizes” with Dr. Jumpeter, but she believes the situation has gotten out of hand. Thomas heard of several areas in the City where they have truckloads of items coming in, and they are selling it out of their garages daily. That constitutes a business and it is not fair to the local businesses that pay their share. She commented that she hopes this Ordinance passes.

             

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2013-16 Modifying Consolidated Plans for CDBG Program Years 2010-2012-2013 (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 2013-16 Modifying Consolidated Plans for CDBG Program Years 2010-2012-2013 (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 2013-18 An Ordinance of the City of Hazleton to Require Permits for Yard Sales, to Regulate the Number of Yard Sales Permissible, to Establish a Time of Removal of Yard Sale Signs, and to Provide Penalties for Violations Thereof (2nd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Perry asked about the legalities of this Ordinance, and how many yards sales constitutes a business. Slusser said the Ordinance is legally sound, and most of the surrounding communities have a similar version already in place, such as Hazle Township and West Hazleton Borough. He said the particulars of the Ordinance are up to Council. Mope asked if the Police Department could deal with the people who are having an excessive amount of yard sales. Slusser said the Police Department would not be able to deal with that, and potentially it would be Code Enforcement. He added that if the proper permitting is not in place, then it would be a code issue. Slusser said there are other components to the Ordinance. DeAndrea came up to the podium to answer some questions. He said the biggest issue is that there is nothing in writing stating the number of times you can sell something before it is considered a business. We need this ordinance because it is definitive about the number that are allowed. Mope said the problem is the people who are habitually turning this into a business. She said the police need to go after the people that are creating the problems. DeAndrea said he has no laws in writing that say what he can go after them for. Mope commented that the people that are having yard sales are not creating any problems. DeAndrea said he needs something in writing to differentiate between who to go after and who not to. Right now he cannot go after anyone. Mope said some people are breaking the law and everyone is being punished for it. DeAndrea disagreed with this statement. He cannot see how limiting people to five yard sales a year is punishment. DeAndrea commented that a majority of the citizens do not speed, so does that mean we should take down all of the speed limit signs. Mope said the public is not happy with this Ordinance because they feel we are “micromanaging” them. DeAndrea said he did not have a single person say anything negative about the Yard Sale Ordinance. Mope said she received a lot of complaints. DeAndrea said he is asking City Council to help the Police Department police the City, and he needs a way to go after anything illegal. Mope said the Police Department should be going after the major crimes and not these small things. DeAndrea said that by looking into these smaller infractions, they are able to make arrests for major crimes such as drug dealing, etc. The most recent drug bust was conducted because of a leash law violation under the Quality of Life Ordinance. A Quality of Life issue started the investigation. DeAndrea asked if Mope would like him not to enforce these as well. Perry said that Mope was concerned with the people running this as a business, and the Chief is saying that there is no fair way of doing this unless we do it for everyone. Slusser said in certain circumstances you may be able to close down these people, but the problem then becomes that his office will need to become involved, the magistrate’s office will need to become involved, and they may have a difference of opinion. Slusser commented that it is going to be a subjective determination by the magistrate if, for example, 30 in a row is a business or if it is more like 75 in row. You will need to provide the proof at the time of the hearing. Slusser said he believes that DeAndrea was trying to do this in a more efficient manner than opposing harm on the law-abiding citizens. Mope said she understands DeAndrea’s intent, but she does not feel this is necessary in order to enforce the law. Mope said we should go after the habitual offenders. DeAndrea disagreed and asked what constitutes the term “habitual.” Mundie replied it means “every week.” DeAndrea commented that Mundie is telling him that people who have one yard sale a week should be arrested. Mundie said there is a home on Laurel Street where a truck drops off a load of items to be sold at a yard sale every week. Mundie said that this is not right and they are violating some law. DeAndrea asked Mundie to tell him what law they are breaking. Mundie replied disturbing the peace because they have things on the sidewalk, and DeAndrea said they are not making noise, so that would not work. DeAndrea asked what would happen if they are just having it on their front porch or in their garage, and not on the sidewalk. Mope said DeAndrea was able to stop a van full of catalytic converters from coming into the City, but he cannot do anything about the yard sales. DeAndrea said that van had a business name on its side and was a legitimate business that came into the City to do business without a business license. He stated the problem is that these people live in the City. DeAndrea said he would be happy to enforce any number Council sets of how many yard sales can be held throughout the year. He just wants to have something in writing that he can enforce, because there is no law that he can do this with right now. Schadder gave an example where “underground garages” in a residential neighborhood are not permitted in accordance with the Zoning Ordinance. He said that as he interprets it that would also include yard sales, and asked DeAndrea if that was a correct assumption. DeAndrea said right now a yard sale is not considered a business, so there is nothing to say you cannot have one. Schadder asked how he would differentiate between a “body shop” and a yard sale. DeAndrea said a body shop would need to go before zoning and would have to be a business. The problem they are running into with the “underground garages” is that they are working in their own garages, and acting as if they are working on their friends’ cars for no money. Under this circumstance, it would not be considered a business. DeAndrea said yard sales are not businesses and that why you can have them in residential areas without needing a business license or zoning. The problem is that people find loopholes, and this is not the City we remember. The things we did not need an Ordinance for before, we now need because things are being done differently. He said he is just asking for help from Council. Perry said that as a police department you are unable to do anything at this time, and DeAndrea agreed. Perry asked about the section of the Ordinance regarding parking. DeAndrea said he got this from Hazle Township’s and West Hazleton’s Ordinances. It is no different than if you were going to have a block party. You should alert you guests to where they can and cannot park, so that they do not get a ticket. DeAndrea said if someone attending the yard sale parks illegally, no one is going to ticket the owner of the home having the yard sale. He added that the Ordinances from the other municipalities only allowed one sign, but his allows five signs. He also took out the jail sentence because he did not think that was necessary. He said he did not think it was unreasonable to ask someone to come to City Hall for a free permit to have a yard sale. DeAndrea suggested posting the permits for the yard sales on the City’s website, so everyone could see where they are being held. There is a large portion of the community that uses yard sales to do illegal things, such as selling heroin, selling stolen items, etc., right in front of their house, and we never had that problem in the past. DeAndrea said he sees that problem on a daily basis. He added that heroin that sells for $10 a bag in New York City, sells for $3 a bag in Hazleton, and people come here to buy and resell it in New York City. We have 5th and 6th graders using heroin. He is asking Council to help him regulate this type of culture within the City. DeAndrea said it is the little things that build us to the bigger things, and a lot of investigations regarding drug dealing start with quality of life issues. Mope said if the goods are stolen, the police can step in and arrest them. DeAndrea stated that you have to prove the goods are stolen to begin with, and you cannot just go and rummage through everyone’s yard sales. He said there is such a thing as due process. Mope said she does not believe stolen items are being sold at yard sales. They are more likely to sell them in a back alley somewhere. DeAndrea disagreed. DeAndrea asked when the last time Mope interviewed a heroin addict, because he just did yesterday. They will do anything and sell anything anyway they can to be able to buy more heroin. Mope commented that is his job to do that, and DeAndrea agreed. He said it surprises him that she will sit here and argue with him about knowing his job. Perry commented that it is time to start respecting each other here. Perry thanked DeAndrea for his input. He asked Slusser if Code Enforcement could do something at this time. Slusser said they could, but they have a difficult burden to meet. Perry said it would just be a longer process that may result in nothing. Slusser stated that it is another tool to allow the police to do what he is asking them to do. Schadder asked if Wech received any complaints about yard sales over the summer. Wech said it is only about three or four people that abuse it. He added that he agrees with DeAndrea that an Ordinance regarding yard sales is needed. Schadder suggested just allowing them on weekends. Mope said so many good people are being penalized over this. Schadder said he received numerous complaints about this. Mope said she was just in Nanticoke and they have constant yard sales. It is a friendly community way for them to get together and know each other. Schadder said we need to bring everyone’s concerns into play here, and try and create something. Mope said she does not believe this is a “violent enough area” that we need to start regulating such things. There are more important things in the City. Schadder agreed with this. Mundie suggested having two a year without a permit, and then after that you need to come in a get a permit. Perry said that is a great idea, but how do you know when they have the first two. Perry said coming into town to get a permit is not an easy task. He suggested having something available online. Mundie said you might create a bigger problem because people might get frustrated and just start dumping things along the road. Perry said the only problem is that they have to get a permit, but it would be free. Mope said that we have a small workforce and we are using them for “nonsensical things” at this point. Perry said he would like to give the police a “tool” to utilize regarding this matter. Mope said the police need to address the major issues and not things such as this. DeAndrea said that there is nothing that precludes anyone for applying for the permit by mail, and receiving it in the mail. He added that they could also call City Hall and apply over the phone. DeAndrea said he is not against any regulations Council makes. He just wants to be able to determine who is having them. Mundie said this is an “inconvenience” to the people who abide by the law. Mundie made a motion to amend the Ordinance to have two yard sales per year without requiring a permit. Mope seconded the motion.

1st Motion to Amend:

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Mope.

Roll Call (on 1st Motion to Amend):  Bast-no; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-no; Perry-no

1ST MOTION TO AMEND FAILS 3-2

Back on the Question:

DeAndrea said he does not want to penalize good people. The reason for stopping them at 5:00 p.m. is that he wanted to allow them all year round, instead of restricting the months. He suggested changing the 5:00 p.m. ending time to sundown. Perry made a motion to change it to sundown. Mundie seconded the motion.

2nd Motion to Amend:

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call (on 2nd Motion to Amend):  Bast-yes; Mope-yes; Mundie-yes; Schadder-yes; Perry-yes

2ND MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

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

ORDINANCE FAILS 4-1

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Ordinance 2013-19 Amending Ordinance 95-18, Control of Animals; Ordinance 98-24, Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia; Ordinance 95-18, Fireworks and Firearms; Ordinance 95-18, City Parks Curfew Ordinance; Ordinance 95-18, Disturbing the Peace; Ordinance 2005-12, Prohibiting Smoking at Playgrounds; and Ordinance 2004-15, Prohibiting Alcoholic Beverages in Public by Providing for, Amending, and Opposing Penalties for Violations Thereof  (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 2013-19 Amending Ordinance 95-18, Control of Animals; Ordinance 98-24, Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia; Ordinance 95-18, Fireworks and Firearms; Ordinance 95-18, City Parks Curfew Ordinance; Ordinance 95-18, Disturbing the Peace; Ordinance 2005-12, Prohibiting Smoking at Playgrounds; and Ordinance 2004-15, Prohibiting Alcoholic Beverages in Public by Providing for, Amending, and Opposing Penalties for Violations Thereof  (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 2013-20 An Ordinance of the City of Hazleton Rescinding Ordinance 2006-14 Entitled an Ordinance to Authorize the Erection of Various Signs and the Changing of Garibaldi and Manhattan Courts to One-Way to Facilitate the Re-Opening of the “Castle” School Building at Wyoming and Ninth Streets (2nd Reading)

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Schadder.

On the Question:

Bast said this Ordinance makes these streets two-way streets again.

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

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Ordinance 2013-20 An Ordinance of the City of Hazleton Rescinding Ordinance 2006-14 Entitled an Ordinance to Authorize the Erection of Various Signs and the Changing of Garibaldi and Manhattan Courts to One-Way to Facilitate the Re-Opening of the “Castle” School Building at Wyoming and Ninth Streets (3rd Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Schadder.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES

             

RESOLUTIONS

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

At this point, Hahn said he reached out to a few other firms, but he has not received any quotes back from them yet. He asked that a similar resolution regarding this matter be reintroduced at some other meeting. Bast asked if Council could just let this resolution die, and Slusser said yes.

NO MOTION MADE TO REMOVE FROM TABLE – RESOLUTION FAILS

             

New Business:

ORDINANCES

None.

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2013-96 Adopting the Reduced Amortization Option According to Chapter 6 of Act 205 of 1984 (P.L. 1005, No. 205) as Amended by Act 44, 2009

Presented by Perry. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Perry read the Minimum Municipal Obligation (MMO) for the pension aloud, as follows: (1) Police Department - $2,441,378; (2) Fire - $1,415,781; (3) Non-Uniformed - $197,724; and (4) Transit - $0.00.

Mundie asked if we are paying less than we normally would this time, and Hahn replied yes. Mundie asked for the reason for this. Bast said that this has been done for the last few years, and Hahn agreed. Mundie asked if it is always 75%, and Hahn said yes. Mope asked why is this being done to begin with. She said this will just extend what we owe for a longer period of time. Hahn said it was an option that was provided after the financial collapse of the country in 2009. A lot of the pension plans were significantly impacted from some of those losses, and this was done at that time at the state level. He said this was provided as an option to municipalities. He said it does extend the time out farther. Mope had concerns with this. She asked if our collection of taxes and fees is where it should be. Hahn said the budget for the EIT tax was $3,332,734, and $2,604,439 has been brought in to date. We are at about 70% of the budget year and 78% of the budgeted revenue has already come. He commented that it should end up about even by the end of the year. The state kicks in some money for the pension at about $558,000. Withholdings that are taken out of personnel’s paychecks will be moved over, which is about $659,000. Hahn said that everything is on track, and we are little bit ahead. He commented that we are basically on budget for the year. Mope suggested that it may be more beneficial to pay the entire amount instead of just 75%. Perry said he does not believe we can pay more than 75% at this time. Hahn said it would need to either come out of the general fund and be transferred over, or the Act 205 tax would need to be increased to bring in some more money. He said he could look into that for next year, and give Council some options. Mope asked Hahn to look into this matter. Schadder said even a slight increase in the percentage would be a good idea.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2013-97 Resolution Approving a Performance Contract Request for Proposals

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Hahn said Mr. Joe Clifford of C Group Energy Services is here to speak to Council. Joe Clifford said he spoke with Hahn and they felt it would be a good idea to come in and speak about the project. Clifford said this will provide the City with some great opportunities to update some infrastructure, secure some grants, save energy, and to address some serious maintenance problems. Clifford said he is from C Group Energy Services in Conyngham. He started this company about one and a half years ago, after retiring from PPL with 40 years of service. He and his partner have a combined total of over 80 years of domestic and international experience. They have in depth knowledge of the energy industry, and the ESCO industry, and he has practical, on-hands experience in performance contracting. Clifford said they are a licensed broker and marketer in the State of Pennsylvania with highly training business and technical employees. Clifford is a licenses professional engineer in the State of Pennsylvania since 1978. His partner is an architectural engineer from Clarks Summit. Their fees do not “kick in” until some value is brought to the client. He said that C Group Energy Services has not been in business very long, but he has personally been in this business for 40 years. Clifford said some of their clients include the Pocono Mountain Library, East Monroe Library, Clarks Green Borough, and Abington Council of Governments. He added that he was responsible for the recent $37,000 savings on the street lighting. Clifford said his company focuses on Northeastern Pennsylvania. He saw that the City was struggling and he offered to meet with Hahn. They are an energy brokering/energy consulting business, and they work with 10 of the largest energy companies in the country. They help clients deal with consumption of energy. C Group Energy Services focuses on energy purchasing, energy efficiency and load management, and monitoring. The Pennsylvania law call Act 57 allows local governments and school districts to enter into a guaranteed energy contract, where a company would put together a proposal based on their energy audit, and aimed at reducing energy costs and consumption. Clifford said this law ensures a fully competitive, fully transparent RFP and selection process. This law defines the whole process from start to finish. The law states that the improvements must be paid through existing budgets. The energy services company bears the financial performance risk. They are obligated to guarantee the performance, so a bond would need to be put in place. Clifford said his company would identify and evaluate energy savings opportunities, develop the engineering design and specs, manage the project, arrange for financing, conduct training, and guarantee the savings meet or exceed the annual payments for all projects. Clifford said this Resolution is not asking for acceptance of an RFP, but is asking for approval to put an ad in the newspaper to solicit proposals. The RFP will state that the City has a right of refusal of all RFPs that come in. He recommends a panel consisting of the business manager, council members, etc., be created to be part of the selection process. The panel would then develop a criteria to judge the RFPs. Clifford said the current street-lighting system is a minimum of 25 years old, and is an “old technology by today’s standards from an energy efficiency point of view.” Currently, LED lights are the “leading edge technology.” Clifford said the advantages to LED lights is that they use less energy, they have a life of 100,000 hours, and each comes with a 10-year warranty replacement for both the labor and the fixture itself. He said his fees will be included in the project cost, and if a project does not go forward, he does not get paid. Mundie asked what he did with Hahn, and Clifford said he reviewed some earlier contracts that were in place for electric purchasing. He said we were being charged the same for street lighting as what we were being charged for lighting City Hall. Most of City Hall’s lights are used at the peak time during the day, which is the high price time for electricity, and street lighting is in the evenings when prices are lower. Clifford said he and Hahn reached out to the existing supplier and negotiated a better rate (from 8.5¢ to 6.2¢ per kWh). Mundie asked if Clifford was paid for this service, and Clifford replied no, it is included in the price of the electricity with Direct Energy. The City currently uses 900,000 kWh a year for street lighting. If the project moves ahead, that will go down to 500,000 kWh a year. Clifford said he gets paid on consumption, and he wants to give back to the community. Mundie asked what Clifford did at PPL. Clifford replied that he retired from PPL as Vice President of Marketing, and he was also Director of Marketing for PPL Energy Plus. Mundie asked him if he has a partner, and Clifford said yes, Dennis McGraw of Clarks Summit. Clifford said he has not worked on street lighting before with any other clients. Mundie asked how many projects he worked on with Direct Energy, and Clifford said about three. Clifford said he normally requests pricing from nine to 10 companies. Direct Energy, Con Ed Solutions, PPL Energy Plus, Florida Power and Light, and Hess Energy are the companies he usually works with. Perry commented that this is similar with what each individual consumer does, but Clifford is doing it on a much bigger scale. Clifford agreed. He felt the City is better served on its own individual contract because of the “uniqueness of [our] load curve.” Mope said we ended up paying $1.6 million to MEM and we did not receive anything from it. She said that is why she is apprehensive about doing this. Bast said this is not the same thing. Perry said MEM was the company that was supposed to do the work, and Clifford will not be doing that. Mope said that the Streets Department has been doing all of the work in the interim, and she has a list of all the lights that have already been switched over to LED. She commented that the City is perfectly capable of doing this in house. Mope said we need to start buying the LED lights in bulk, so that we can get a better price. She added that we should continue to use our labor force instead of contracting it out. Mope added that eventually this is going to get passed on to the taxpayers because we still do not know how we are going to pay for this. Mope said she wants guarantees before proceeding. She added that we can do this by applying for and receiving grants. Mope stated that the heating system is unique because it is a steam boiler, and we may not have the appropriate gas lines in place to make a high efficiency boiler work. Hahn stated that nothing in these documents obligates the City, and there is no contractual arrangement with any company. It is just authorizing the City to advertise and solicit requests for proposals from companies that would then be evaluated. Hahn said this would then have to go before Council before moving ahead. Hahn suggested using some of the savings to purchase more lights for the Streets Departments to change. Approximately 60 bulbs have been converted to LEDs throughout the City out of 1,700. Hahn commented that it would take 28 years to change all of them at that rate. Mope said they were only given enough funds to do four or five at a time. She added that streetlights were removed for the Broad Street Corridor Project, and the new ones are not energy efficient. Clifford commented that nothing can move forward without Council’s approval. Hahn said we could probably get a grant from PPL for about $50,000 for this project. He commented that Council was concerned about the Streets Department doing more street repairs. Having them change more streetlights would pull more manpower off the streets. Mope said we are taking work away from our own labor force. Perry commented that there are not enough of them to even pave the streets. Mope said they need to have the proper materials and tools first to perform the road work. Hahn said the money we save on street lighting could be used to buy more materials for the road work. He said he has been discussing street lighting for the past nine months with City employees and officials. Hahn said he has talked to Friedman Electric and All Phase Electric about this. The problem is that anything over $18,000 has to be put out for bid, which requires bid specs be put together, advertising, etc. Mope asked what happened to the old fixtures that were removed on Broad Street. Hahn said that was reported to PPL because there is a per pole charge per month from them. He did not know what happened to the old lights. Mope said she heard they were hauled away. Clifford said he hopes the proposals we receive are more economically than replacing them one at a time by the Streets Department. Clifford said he engineered street lights early in his career for PPL, so he has experience in that field. Mundie asked if the RFP would allow us to have our employees perform the work. Clifford said he would need to discuss that with the companies that want to submit a proposal. Mundie asked if Clifford has a contract with the City, and Clifford replied no. He said that Hahn would be the managing that RFP, and he would be assisting Hahn with that. Perry thanked Clifford for his time. Schadder said that Clifford deserves a lot of credit for this. He asked Hahn if this Resolution should be broken up to address the different items in it. Hahn said the Guaranteed Energy Saving Contract allows for the City to work somebody. We can use the savings to pay for the work that was done, or do something such as replace the boiler in City Hall. Hahn said the other items were put in the Resolution as a suggestion, but there will probably not be enough of a savings to do all of these things. Mundie said the RFP would have everything separated, and Clifford agreed. Bast said he talked to Hahn the other day about this. He said he thinks it make sense to put out an RFP to see if we can save money on our electricity usage, and also try to upgrade the infrastructure in the City. Mope said that we cannot afford to take on another loan. Mundie was concerned that this would put some of the Streets Department employees out of work. Mundie asked if any of these companies provide financing, and Hahn said some of them do. Mundie asked if these lights are as bright as the old lights, and Clifford said they will cleaner, clearer and much brighter. Mundie asked if this will affect the agreement we have with Direct Energy. Clifford said the City is locked in for the time being.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1

             

Comments from the Audience:  A gentleman from Locust Street, who did not give his name, said there was an incident last night and the church on 8th and Alter Streets was burglarized. He said all the copper tubing was removed, and several thousands of dollars in damage was done. They also took the communion wine. He said they were professionals. This was the first time this church was ever broken into. He said years ago patrols would go up and down all the City streets four or five times a night, but he never sees them anymore. This crime took several hours to do, and could have been avoided if someone was patrolling this area. He said the Chief of Police is too involved in writing new ordinances, and he should be concentrating on police business instead. He said the Police Department is reactive instead of proactive, and we need to have police start patrolling again. He said no one in the neighborhood saw or heard anything. He thanked the Chief for having the police come down to the church so quickly early this morning. He said he is still against the Rental Registration Ordinance and he is supporting H.A.L.O. with regard to the court injunction. He said he does not know why this bill has to be paid to Northeast Revenue Service on Cedar Street, and City employees should be handling this. Perry said they are the collector of that fee. Perry said we do not have enough people here to collect the fee. The gentleman said he hopes H.A.L.O. wins their fight against the City. He stated that the City workers do not have enough time to do the work they are supposed to be doing, so how are they going to work on streetlights too. The City is filthy and dirty, the streets are a mess, and the curbs and sewer inlets are covered with garbage.

Paul Stolbe, Berwick, said he owns 11 properties in Hazleton, and he does not agree with the Ordinance regarding the inspection of rental properties. He said everyone used to take care of their property. Stolbe said that he is being charged $75.00 so that the City could come in and inspect his property. He feels this service should be done for free. He said all of his properties are up to code and they all pass inspection. Perry stated it costs the employees time and money to go to the property and perform the inspections. Mundie asked if that is in the Ordinance, and Hahn said yes. Mundie and Mope said they both voted no on this Ordinance. Perry explained that there was an incident where a ceiling fell down on a child’s head, as well as several incidents where the Fire Department gets called to fight a fire, and finds doors locked or barricaded from the inside, and locking people in. Perry said we need to do something to protect the renters. Perry said that a survey was done and over 50% of the landlords in Hazleton are from out-of-state. He said this percentage of landlords are affecting the small percentage of landlords are doing everything properly in accordance with the City Code. Perry said he understands the frustration, but we cannot single anyone out and it has to be a uniform system. Stolbe said he is going to sell his properties to someone in New York, because he will get more money. Perry responded that is the reason why we need to have this in place.

Sylvia Thomas, 409 West 6th Street, Hazleton asked if the City really believes the bad landlords are going to register their properties. She commented that the good landlords are going to be penalized and the bad landlords are going to continue to “get away with it.”

Comments from Mayor or City Administrator:  None.

Comments from Council:  Mundie said we declared an emergency on McKinley Street and the City can go ahead and clean that up. He said that we can bill the owner because we have done it before. Wech said that the only time that was done was the Arizona Bar on Alter Street. Perry said we would have to assume the cost before we could charge the owner. Mundie said he is working on that. Mope said there is CD money specifically for that purpose, i.e. emergency purposes. Mike Wilfing said the City expects everyone to comply with the Ordinance, but the City does not comply with their own Code. Wilfing said the International Property Maintenance Code states that it should be cleaned up, and then a lien placed on the property. Mundie said there is an invoice for $43,000 for the HCA from Alfred Benesch. Perry said that amount was established by Diane Panzarella in Licenses and Permits, and not Alfred Benesch. This was based on the cost of the renovations. Mundie asked if Hahn is “okay” with Alfred Benesch charging $43,000. Perry said that is the bill they are working off of based upon the work they are doing. Hahn said that is what the Ordinance reads regarding the assessment of fees for building permits and plan reviews. Bast said that is based on the Ordinance Mundie voted on. Mundie said Dominic Yannuzzi charges the City whatever he wants. Hahn said the Ordinance reads 1.2% of the value is the charge for the inspection, which is what Alfred Benesch was hired to do as the third party inspector. There is an additional 40% that goes to the City, which is the difference between the two. Hahn said there was a $40,000 inspection charge, and a $3,000 plan review. Mundie said he spoke Randy Cahalan at the HCA and he has only seen Dominic Yannuzzi on two or three occasions. Mundie said Yannuzzi does not put the specifics in his invoices. Perry said Yannuzzi is not billing us anything, he is billing that amount to the Water Authority. Hahn said they did not bill us for $43,000. Mundie commented that Alfred Benesch should not be paid anything, and they should not even be here. He said that we should be bidding that out. Hahn said that Alfred Benesch is the third party inspector for UCC. Mundie said we are paying for them to come from Pottsville. Hahn said he did not make that arrangement. Hahn added that the Ordinance was passed by Council, and it could always be amended. Mundie said West Hazleton’s fee is 1%, and Hazle Township is 1%. We are 1.5% plus 40% which equals 2.3%. Mundie said that is one of the reasons people do not want to come to Hazleton, and this should be changed. Hahn said the City collects $16,000 on that. He added that the Licenses and Permits Office is just following the Ordinance. Mundie said these bills should not be paid unless they are totally itemized. Hahn said that should all be “spelled out” in the agreement with them.

Mope thanked everyone for coming. She asked Hahn to find out what happened to the light standards from Broad Street. We may be able to reuse them or salvage them for parts. She said we could use that money for our LED lighting. Mope thanked the City workers for stepping in. She added that we have a lot of heroes in this town, and most get recognition because they are in the newspaper a lot of the time. Mope said we have a lot of “unsung heroes” in this town. She said the Streets Department and Code Enforcement are some of those unsung heroes. They go out and make sure our lights work, they do what they can with what they have on their work order. If it is not on their work order, it does not give them the ability to go out and do that job. We need to give them the materials and the means to get things done. Mope said she does not believe in “outsourcing” as much as we do, and we pay a high price for that. Mope said she spoke with the Streets Department workers, and they want to do the work because it is part of City maintenance. She asked that we let them do their jobs. Mope said she is all for “building up what we have, not tearing down what we have.” She said we are looking at a minimal crew of five or six guys to do the work of the whole city. Mope commented that it is time to build up these departments.

Schadder thanked everyone for coming. He said some of tonight’s proposals were not easy to vote on. He thanked everyone for listening and offering their opinions.

Bast thanked everyone for coming. He told Clifford he is looking forward to seeing what that RFP is going to bring back.

Perry said there is so much negativity here, and we need to start focusing on the positive. He thanked the City workers and officials for doing everything they can to save money. Perry thanked Schadder for his help with the electronics recycling program. He said it went well and they met a lot of wonderful people. Perry said he received some thank you cards from people. Perry thanked the Craig and Vilma Budde for all they do for the City, and they are not recognized enough. Perry said we could all sit here and complain, but we all need to start coming up with solutions.

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

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