2014-06-17 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, JUNE 17, 2014

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 2014 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m.

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

Roll Call:  Bast-present; Cusat-present; Mope-present; Sosar-present; Mundie-present

Minutes of Previous Meetings:  The minutes of the May 27, 2014 Work Session and May 27, 2014 Regular Meeting were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications:  None.

Courtesy of the Floor:  Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2014-68. She asked that the Resolution be tabled. She said the legal status of the Parking Authority is an issue, because it was never properly renewed, therefore, it is defunct. Deakos said she downloaded the Parking Authority Act, and the Act deals with off-street public parking terminals, and the public’s needs in relation to such parking. According to the Act, they are allowed to lease and the lease should be granted on a fair and competitive basis. She said competitive means that it should be bid out. She asked if the other buildings in the area had a chance to bid on this parking. Deakos said as a building owner, no one came to her and asked her if she wants any parking spaces in the garage. She said no one went to the Broad Street Business Exchange either. She believes the competitive portion of this was not granted. Deakos said in 2013, DeAngelo Brothers was awarded an LSA grant for $1 million, and in 2014, they asked for $2 million more. This shows that the City supports DeAngelo Brothers’ downtown efforts. Deakos said she watched the Mayor’s interview on television last night, and he promised that the Parking Garage would be fully repaired. She said this is a good thing because it should have been repaired years ago. She said one of the reasons the DeAngelos are getting a break on the cost is because they will be maintaining it. Deakos said once the garage is fixed up, it will be quite a few years before they have to provide any major maintenance to it. She said she knows what the current parking rates are for the garage. The cheapest rate is $44.30 per month. For a reserved space, it is $55.50. The daily parking rate is $4.00. She multiplied 215 parking spaces by $44.00, and 35 spaces by $33.40, and that comes to a total of $10,693.00. But, according to the Lease Agreement, it will be leased out at $6,450.00, which is a $4,000 reduction in cost. Deakos said they are paying $30.00 per space for 215 spaces in the garage and 35 spaces in the strip, which comes to $7,500.00. This is $1,000 higher than they are offering to pay. Deakos said the DeAngelos do not need all of these spaces. Other people downtown rely on this parking. She said the DeAngelos agreed to offer 25% of the parking spaces to the public. She wondered if they would be charging the same rates as the Parking Authority was charging. If not, it makes renting from the other buildings cost prohibitive because the employees and owners of these businesses do not know what they will be charged to park there. She feels this encourages renters to rent space from the DeAngelo’s building and not from other buildings. This makes it non-competitive. She stated the purpose of the Parking Authority is for public parking. Deakos was concerned about the parking garage being built at Broad and Laurel Street. She stated there are a lot of streets that are not currently used for parking, such as Chestnut Street, Laurel Street, etc. She suggested having a parking study done. Deakos was also concerned with the DeAngelos using the parking at the proposed garage at Broad and Laurel Streets. She feels they will own the downtown area to the exclusion of everyone else. Deakos said that as a property owner, she finds this wrong. She felt that some of the businesses in this area would be negatively impacted. She felt having the community college downtown was a good idea, because they may be future employees or future business owners in the area. Deakos said the other businesses in the Broad Street Business Exchange did not have the option to have reserved parking when they moved in. She was concerned that tenants would be lost from the building. She asked that this Resolution be tabled until more research is done. Sally Rivera, 893 Peace Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2014-9. She said she lives near this intersection for the proposed stop sign. Her house has been hit and damaged in the front because of the speeding traffic. She has children and she wants to be able to sit in front of her house with them and not have to worry about speeding cars. Rivera said she feels a stop sign should be placed here to benefit the public. She asked Council to approve the Ordinance. Mundie asked if her neighbors feel the same way, and Rivera responded yes. A lot of high school students walk in this area, and she feels the stop sign will slow the cars down.

John Keegan, 105 Ferrara Avenue, Hazleton said he saw Resolution 2014-74 on tonight’s agenda. He does not feel anyone is entitled to his confidential tax information. He asked Attorney DeCosmo to review the IRS Codes, specifically Section 6153, Part A, and Fort Cherry School District v. Susan Copla. This was a Supreme Court decision regarding the Right-to-Know Law in Pennsylvania that disallowed the sharing of W2s and 1099s. Keegan said he finds it “appalling” that Council wants access to private tax information. He said he does not believe anyone has a right to this information. He said that this Resolution should be reviewed to see what it is worded the way it is. Mope said she believes this is between the Administrator and Berkheimer. Keegan said the Resolution states “the proper City officials of the governing body,” and Council is the governing body. Sosar thanked Keegan for recognizing Council as the governing body. Mundie said the City Administrator has been the liaison for this information in the past. He asked the Administration about this, and he believes they have always had a liaison with the tax agency. Keegan said he does not believe Council or anyone in the City government has a right to confidential tax information. Mope asked who put this Resolution on the agenda, and the City Clerk said it was put on by Tom Pribula. Sosar asked if Keegan would prefer that Council vote down this Resolution. Keegan reiterated that no one is entitled to confidential tax information, and this should have never been placed on the agenda. He asked that it be removed entirely from the agenda. He said that Council is in charge of what goes on its agenda, not the Mayor. Keegan said that the Mayor can put something on the agenda, but Council is in charge of it. He stated “…you are an architect of this government, and you don’t want to follow it. That’s what the problem is.” Keegan said with regard to Resolution 2014-68, Dee Deakos currently gets a free parking spot. He believes this is why she is against it.

A woman who lives on Seybert Street said a lot of people in town do not have a smartphone and do not know how to use one. She asked if the old meters could be left the way they are for this reason. Mundie said it is the Mayor’s idea regarding the parking app, and he has not approached Council about this yet. He assured her that the meters will be kept the way they are for the time being. Mope said this was suggested by the Mayor. Sosar said he is not “computer literate,” and he understands her concerns. He said “when this governing body decides, and only when this governing body decides, that is what will happen, and we are not ready to do that, and I don’t see it for the foreseeable future.” She asked to keep the parking meters “simple.”

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton asked about Ordinance 2014-8. He said he noticed for fiscal year 2011, there is “Housing Rehab NSP - $1,110.04.” He asked if this is all there is allocated for blight remediation for the entire City for that year. For fiscal year 2014 for City Hall it says $15,285.17. He asked if this is all there is and he considers this “abysmal.” Rabo said according to the census there are 150 properties in the City that go vacant every year since 2011. There is not one board or commission in the City that actually meet on a regular basis regarding this matter. Rabo said “the Redevelopment Authority is used as a dummy corporation.” He said $5 million was used by the Redevelopment Authority for debt relief for the City. He said the City should apply for $1 million instead for this issue. Sosar agreed with Rabo. Mundie said Fermin will discuss that when we get to that Ordinance. Sosar said Karen Parrish, who was here at the last meeting, suggested that as soon as we get everything established for lower income, we cannot ask for more money. He said we could ask for money to take care of some of the projects. He said we need to find the areas of need before we can apply for more money. Rabo said “we ask for LSA grants for $1 million, $2 million…for the downtown revitalization, but neighborhood revitalization seems to take a back seat.” Sosar said we need to have all of our boards and commission working together, and not “dummy corporations.” Rabo said “they need to be reconstituted.” Sosar said they understand that. Mope stated they work independently of each other, and no one is sharing information. She said the downtown area is coming along nicely, but we have to pay attention to the rest of the City too. She said she does not want to neglect “the needs and the wants of the rest of the City.” Sosar said there have been arguments here before about who the government body is, what should be getting done, and who should be putting ordinances and resolutions on the agenda. He said some people have finally admitted who has the authority to do what, and how it works. He stated that they are going to do that. Mope said Council has not been receiving information as it should, and it cannot continue. Rabo some ordinances are obsolete because of the re-enacted Third Class City Code. He commented on Resolution 2014-80 regarding the Mayor’s veto, and he stated the Mayor’s veto means nothing and is moot. Rabo said, under Section 2431 (Parking Lots) of the Re-Enacted Third Class City Code, Council may acquire by lease, purchase or condemnation proceedings land in which its judgment be necessary and desirable for the purpose of establishing and maintaining lots for the sole purpose of parking motor vehicles. He continued to read the rest of that section of the Code aloud. Sosar said the governing body of the City is taking care of this and knows what it has to do. Rabo said he hopes the Chief Executive Officer of the municipality understands that. Sosar asked to give them time to straighten these things out.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton said he is glad Council is taken action to take back control of the City. He encouraged them to override the Mayor’s veto as stated in Resolution 2014-80.

John Homa, Grant Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2014-80. He said he is in favor of this Resolution, and overriding the Mayor’s veto. Homa said the Mayor “needs to be stopped” and “the games have got to end.”

             

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

None.

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2014-68 Authorization to Execute Lease Agreement Between the Hazleton Parking Authority, the City of Hazleton, and DHD Realty Holding, LLC  (TABLED 5/27/14)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

Roll Call (on Motion to Remove from Table):  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Mundie asked Neal DeAngelo of DHD Realty Holding to come to the podium, and go over the changes in the Lease. Mope asked him to go over Dee Deakos’ concerns. DeAngelo said there were three or four changes to the Lease. Sosar said he believes this will help out everyone in the community. DeAngelo said that has been their goal the whole time. The lease was amended to include that 25% of the garage parking will be made available to the public at all times. A minimum of 25% of DBI’s parking spaces (a minimum of 30 spaces) will be made available during its non-working hours. The current work hours for DBI are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sosar stated that the public will still be able to utilize those parking spaces, and it will not become a problem. DeAngelo agreed with that statement. He said if additional spaces were ever added to the garage, a minimum of 50% will be made available to the public at all times. There is an option to purchase. This option can only be executed after each 180-day cycle/term during the 10-year period. DeAngelo said they are very transparent, and it is going to cost more than $50.00 a space to maintain the building and pay for utilities in the garage. Last year, the utilities for the garage were over $6,000. DeAngelo said he does not believe they will ever claim the proposed parking garage at Broad and Laurel Street for any reason. He said after the renovations are completed, a count will be done, and the $30.00 rate will change. Sosar said the City is trying to be a good neighbor to invite a business downtown, but to also protect the citizens who need to utilize the parking garage on a regular basis. He believes this is a substantial agreement that will help out both sides. Mundie asked if the $5 million in insurance is standard for this type of facility. DeAngelo did not know. Mundie said this seems like a reasonable amount. Neal DeAngelo, Sr. said that is the amount that was recommended to him. Mundie asked if this covers the City as well, and DeAngelo said yes. Mope said a lot of complaints were received that the garage was not being plowed in a timely manner after a snow storm. DeAngelo said that will no longer be an issue. He believes they could do a better job of this because it will be there focus, and the Streets Department does not have the time or manpower to do all of this work. Sosar said the Streets Department workers “have a lot on their plates.” Mope asked how it works if other businesses want to rent spaces in the garage. DeAngelo said they can rent the spaces just as anyone can do now. Mope asked if any discounts will be given. DeAngelo said they are trying to encourage people to come downtown. Mundie said they are not going to charge ridiculous amounts of money, so that nobody comes there. DeAngelo said he believes everyone will be paying what they pay now. He believes $30.00 a month is a fair amount. Mope asked about the Mine Street Parking Lot. DeAngelo said they will look at who has parking now and where they park, and they will honor that. They are not trying to kick anyone out. They are renting out the garage for their business for security reasons and for a maintenance reason. He said their attorney recommended leasing the whole garage. Mundie asked if surveillance cameras will be installed at the garage. DeAngelo said he believes they will do that. He said he believes the Parking Garage will be better maintained, and more secure after the renovations are completed. Cusat said he looked at the last six years’ worth of audits for the Parking Authority. Last year, their revenue was $68,000, and DeAngelo’s company is guaranteeing $78,000. They will also be taking on $102,000 in expenses. Cusat said to him it seems like a great deal. Cusat said he calculated 239 spaces in the garage, and 44 on the strip. DeAngelo said the value to them is for the tenants, the people downtown, and their employees. Mope asked if the parking attendant will still have a job. DeAngelo, Sr. said they are looking at some electronic options for this, but they are not sure about this yet. Mundie asked when this is scheduled to begin. DeAngelo said he would like to start this right away. Cusat asked if the Parking Authority still exists. Mundie said that is another issue that is for the Mayor to the work out. DeAngelo said as he understands that is why the Parking Authority and the City are parties in this matter. They would like to get approvals and signatures from both parties to cover their bases. Sosar said “this governing body is going to take care of what it needs to, and the Administration can do whatever it is that they feel they need to, when they need to, if they need to.” Mundie said this should have been done at least six months ago. He added that he know the DeAngelos are going to be under some strict deadlines now, but that is not Council’s fault. It is the Administration’s fault. Sosar said we are cooperating together, so that things can now move ahead. Cusat was concerned about whether or not Council was voting on the portion of the garage over the fire station. He asked if the Parking Authority does not exist, will you have to come back to Council and have the other part of the agreement signed. Cusat said the City owns the fire station and the 30 spaces on top of it. He said he is assuming this is the reason Council is giving its authority. DeAngelo Sr. asked Council to defer to its Legal Advisor, Attorney Charlie DeCosmo, regarding this issue. Mundie said DeCosmo is privy to some of Council’s information, but not all of the City’s business, therefore, he cannot answer for the Solicitor, Attorney Chris Slusser. Mundie said he wished Slusser was here, and he should be here for every meeting. Mundie said that the Mayor does not understand that Council decides ordinances, laws, and budgets, and he just administers them. DeAngelo said they are looking for approval from the City for all of its spaces, and then they will get the Parking Authority to sign off on their part. If disbandment happens, then he will approach that issue at that point. Mope said she believes if the Parking Authority does not exist, the property belongs to the City. DeAngelo asked if it could be approved pending some of these issues. Mundie said sooner or later, we are going to have to take the Parking Authority over, but we are going to do it on our terms, and not the Mayor’s. He added that the Mayor is not going to dictate what he wants and what he wants us to do.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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

Resolution 2014-69 Awarding Audit for 2013 (TABLED 5/27/14)

NO MOTION MADE TO REMOVE FROM TABLE – RESOLUTION FAILS

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

Resolution 2014-74 A Resolution of the Governing Body of the City of Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Authorizing, Empowering, and Directing the Proper City Officials of the Governing Body to Appoint a Liaison Between it and Berkheimer, the Duly Appointed Collector of Local Taxes for the City of Hazleton, for the Express Purpose of Sharing Confidential Tax Information with the City of Hazleton for Official Purposes (TABLED 5/27/14)

At this point, Mundie said he talked to Pribula, and Pribula said he is too busy to do this. Normally, he would be the liaison. Mope said the Administrator has always been the liaison in the past.

NO MOTION MADE TO REMOVE FROM TABLE – RESOLUTION FAILS

             

New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2014-8 Amending the Annual Plan for the Community Planning and Development Programs with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Fiscal Year 2014 (1st Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Fermin said the $1,227.00 is not the only amount put into there. She said that was the remaining balance from 2011, and she is moving it forward so that she can close out the 2011 housing rehab activity. She added that there was $34,550 in 2013 for housing rehab. Fermin added that if they get approval from HUD for the 2014 budget, they will have close to $40,000 for housing rehab. Sosar asked if she has an engineer, who is working on these projects, approved and a contract signed right now. Fermin said the only project moving forward with an engineer is the elevator project. Barry Isett is working on that, and Mike Ebersole is the engineer, who specializes in elevators. Sosar asked if that project is moving ahead, and Fermin said yes. Fermin said the contract with Barry Isett has not been signed yet, but they are working off of their previous contract. She said the Mayor discussed it with them, and this project was supposed to be done under their previous contract. Fermin said Barry Isett has been “gracious enough” to continue working on the elevator project. This is the only project that is being worked on. Mope asked about the Green Street cleanup project, and Fermin said that is on hold at this time. Mope asked if we will lose that money, and Fermin responded she applied for an extension from DCED. She was given an extension until June 2015. Sosar said he was under the impression that we must apply for Phase 2 of that project in June or July. Fermin said she received the verbal award for it, but she has not received the paperwork for it yet. Mope asked for the reason why Fermin needed to ask for an extension, and Fermin responded that she does not have an engineer for the project because the contract has not been signed. Mundie said Council voted 5-0 to have that contract signed. He asked DeCosmo if anything could be filed in court to force the Mayor to sign that contract. Sosar said he wants to draft a letter to the Auditor General, Attorney General, Commission on Local Government, DCED, HUD, etc., because these are federal funds and these agencies need to know what is going in Hazleton. Sosar said this is not Fermin’s fault, and she is just stuck in the middle. He said he wants everyone in the state and federal government to know what is going on in this City. Cusat asked if the Council President can sign the contract and send it in. Fermin said she would need to see who is authorized to sign it, but she believes the Mayor is listed as the authorized signer. Mundie agreed with Fermin. He added that the Mayor cannot overrule Council and put in a different engineer. Bast thanked Fermin for taking the time to discuss this matter with him.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

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

Ordinance 2014-9 An Ordinance to Authorize the Erection of a Stop Sign at 19th and Peace Streets (1st Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Chief DeAndrea said he spent over four hours at that intersection in a marked patrol vehicle. There is a lot of traffic using that intersection. He said his presence at the intersection failed to stop vehicles from going through the stop sign. He added a lot of cars wait until the last minute to use their brakes at the stop sign on Peace Street in the following block. He believes there is enough evidence to warrant erecting a stop sign at this intersection. Continuing west on 19th Street, this is the only intersection from West Hazleton that does not have a stop sign on the north-south street, which would be Peace Street at 19th Street. He believes it would be a lot safer for pedestrians and traffic to have a stop sign installed at this location.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2014-77 Awarding Audit for 2013, 2014 and 2015

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Mundie said the Mayor had something in the newspaper about having the audit done on time, but the Mayor does not dictate what Council does. Council is the governing body that presents the ordinances that he has to follow. He said when Council awards the audit, the auditors will have enough time to get their work done. Mundie said he has some other information to get and some other questions he would like answered. Cusat asked if one year could be awarded instead in order to get the 2013 audit completed. He is worried about meeting the required timelines. Mundie said that could be discussed at a later time. He added that both auditors said they would be able to get the work done on time. Sosar said if we need to, Council can call a special meeting to address this matter. Mope said last year’s audit was not started until August. Mundie said Robert Moore stated the big problem was with the Administration. Bast asked both auditing firms how much time they would need to complete the audit, if given all of the requested documentation. SB & Company said once the information is received, they could have it completed in two weeks. Robert Moore said they could have it completed in accordance with the timeframe approved by Council. Mundie made a motion to table the resolution, and Mope seconded the motion.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Mope.

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

MOTION TO TABLE PASSES 4-1 RESOLUTION TABLED

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

Resolution 2014-78 Netrastar Police Training Partnership

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Mundie asked if they use businesses to subsidize this, and Chief DeAndrea said yes. Bast said he was on Netrastar’s website, and it seems that they have different tiers if you want to give different amounts of money. Mundie asked if the advertisements will be on when the officers are doing their training. DeAndrea said yes, but they cannot click on them. Mundie asked if the advertisements are also on their website. DeAndrea said he did not know. Mundie asked how long Scranton and Wilkes-Barre are using this program. DeAndrea responded that Scranton has been using this for a year, and Wilkes-Barre is just getting up and running. He said that even if they do not get someone to advertise, once he enters into this agreement, he has the training program on the network. Mundie asked if the state police have anything similar to this. DeAndrea said yes, they have their own Bureau and staff that does training and education. They no longer go to academies. Mope asked if DeAndrea thinks this is not going to be beneficial to his police officer, can it be stopped. DeAndrea responded yes, at any time, or at any time he is directed to do so. Sosar said he is concerned with manpower and time constraints. He asked how much time it will take for DeAndrea to write 10 lessons a month. DeAndrea said he is under no obligation to provide them with lessons. Mundie asked if this will be mandatory to take the training, and DeAndrea said yes. He feels this is a good policy from a liability standpoint, so that he can prove the officers train 10 days a month and what they go over in that training. Bast said he believes this is a really great idea. He said DeAndrea could plug in what questions occur more often, and this could be an asset to the department. Bast stated that when they go to court, they will already have the training. He stated that officers will no longer have to go to the training, instead it comes to them. He believes this will make the Police Department more efficient and better able to do its job. DeAndrea said his department is great at a lot of things, but is deficient in several areas, and one of them is training records. This is a free tool for these training records.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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

Resolution 2014-79 Approval of Municipal Lease for an Undercover Auto Theft Task Force Vehicle between Susquehanna Bank and the City of Hazleton

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Cusat.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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

Resolution 2014-80 A Resolution Reconsidering and Overriding the Mayor’s Veto of Ordinance 2014-7

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Cusat said the Mayor gave five reasons for his veto of this Ordinance, and he believes his reasons are all incorrect. Bast asked Cusat to read the Mayor’s reasons aloud for the record. Cusat said the Mayor’s reasons for the veto were as follows: (1) According to Ordinance 2006-25, there is a limit of two restrictive signs. This is the Handicapped Parking Ordinance, and the word “restrictive” is not in there at all; (2) Assigning the Code Enforcement and not the Police Department to enforce the Ordinance. Cusat said the Code Department handles handicapped Parking signs; (3) Twenty-five dollar fee, which is the same as the handicapped parking fee; (4) Unused signs will have to be removed causing a burden on the Department of Public Works. Cusat said there is no rush to take them down, and when the snow ban signs go up, they should be able to take these parking signs down; and (5) He wants to put in Pango, which is the smartphone app to pay for parking. Cusat said this is something that should be done a few years from now. Mope said that under the new Third Class City Code, Council controls the ordinances for parking.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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

Resolution 2014-81 Amending Resolution 2014-66 Awarding the Contract for Road Materials for the Year 2014

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

           

Comments from the Audience:  Charlie Ziegler, Harrison Street, Hazleton commented on the abandoned and illegally parked cars throughout the City. He said he does a lot of walking through Hazleton, and there are literally hundreds of cars that either abandoned or illegally parked. He believes the City is losing tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. Mundie asked if any of them have stickers on them, and Ziegler replied most of them do not have stickers, registrations, plates, etc. Ziegler said one example is in the area of 10th and Grant Streets. There is an abandoned car there for several months. The police went there, and the car has a legal inspection sticker and a legal plate on it. Ziegler said this car has flat tires, windows down, and the stereo ripped out of the dashboard. He said the City is now conducting street sweeping, so this would be the perfect opportunity to have this car towed. He said the street sweeper came down the street, went around the car, and the car was never tagged or towed. Ziegler said this makes the property in that area look bad. Ziegler said he does not blame Code Enforcement or the Police Department for this, because “their plates are full.” He said someone needs to devote their time to just go around the City and tagged these cars. He said it could be an employee of the Parking Authority, or a retired police officer, and it could be done part-time. Mope asked DeAndrea if the car is supposed to be moved after a certain period of time, and DeAndrea responded no, as long as it is legally registered and inspected. He added that even if it was not inspected or not registered, it could still be parked there, but it would be ticketed. Mope said a few years ago her son was away and it was parked in the same spot for two weeks. A police officer told her that the car needed to be moved or it will be considered abandoned. Mundie asked if it could come under the Nuisance Ordinance. Ziegler said there is so many around that are not being addressed, and something needs to be done. He said sometimes when the cars are tagged, no one ever follows up on them. Mope said that she believes the Fire Department was supposed to be working on this as well. Sosar said this is not a new problem, and it is not just happening in Hazleton; it is happening everywhere. He said we need to check with the other communities about how they deal with this issue. Sosar asked DeAndrea to check into this matter further with some other municipalities. DeAndrea said he does not need to look into the matter. He said parking ticket revenue for the City of Hazleton from 2012, when he became Chief, through 2103, has gone up $120,000. No one can say the police are not ticketing vehicles. He said his hands are tied by the Vehicle Code, because he cannot tow a car if it is illegal to tow it. The car needs to be deemed a hazard or it has to fall into certain reasons why it could be towed. DeAndrea said he will check with the Solicitor to see if he can come back in front of Council with the Parking Ordinance and better address the issue. He said one of the ordinances has a time period in it. DeAndrea said he does not want anyone legally parking their car in front of someone’s house, they leave for vacation, the car is towed, and now they have a $50-$100 per day storage fee because your car was there too long. Mundie said other cities have this problem, and he asked the Chief to check in with some other municipalities and see how they deal with this issue. DeAndrea said he will make some phone calls. He said he towed 19 cars one day when the street sweeper was going through. Mundie said if a car has four flat tires and the windows are out, then that is not a drivable car. DeAndrea said he will deal with this specific issue himself before he leaves tonight. He said he believes that something that should be written into the Street Sweeping Ordinance is that if your car is parked there, it will not be ticketed, but it will be towed. He deems it a hazard and costs the City extra money. Mundie felt this would hinder people who are on their way to work in the morning. DeAndrea said the signs are put up well in advance of the street sweeping. Mope said because of the inclement weather, the street sweeping did not get done when it was supposed to. She said the signs were up for quite a while, and people could not keep their cars away from their residence for an indefinite period of time. DeAndrea said the sign says “Emergency-No Parking Block,” and no one tells anybody what the emergency is. People assume it is okay to put their car back, but they do not know exactly what is going on. Mope said they usually have it in the paper when and what streets are being swept. She said she believes we should not be using emergency signs for this purpose, and we should be using signs that say street sweeping. Street sweeping is not an emergency. DeAndrea disagreed. Mope said it is not fair to the residents who are waiting on the City to do its job, and then they are inconvenienced for a certain period of time. She said people have groceries, children, etc., to get out of their cars. DeAndrea asked if that means Mope does not want the Police Department to tow the cars. Mundie said he thinks towing the cars is a little extreme for this particular matter. DeAndrea said he feels it is an emergency because it is a hazard when the street sweeper cannot clear the debris and it is left behind. Then when a car goes to stop in that area, the “friction coefficient is so high it’s like you’re on ice.” Mundie stated a $75.00 ticket should be enough to deter people from violating this law. Sosar asked DeAndrea to do some research on this, and get back to them for the next meeting. Bast felt that the cars should be towed.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton commented on the abandoned cars. He said Code Enforcement and the Police Department have a lot on their plates. He said the state gave the City a remedy in the new Third Class City Code, called nuisance abatement. It calls for Council to designate a nuisance abatement officer and nuisance abatement board. Rabo said it is listed under Article 27A (Nuisance Abatement). He read aloud a portion of this article. He believes this should be taken into consideration. He added that York, Pennsylvania has a Nuisance Abatement Board. Rabo said in Section 1901, Subsection J, of the new Third Class City Code, Council may also provide contingent funds for necessary repairs, and place bids without advertising. Rabo said that something was posted on a social media site regarding solicitation of volunteers for auxiliary police. He asked if DeAndrea gave anyone authorization to do this. DeAndrea said yes, he gave it to the Northeast Crime Watch. He said they have been running that for him to get volunteers, so he has “a leg up” when he is ready to enact this. Rabo asked if Council was made aware of this first. Mundie asked DeAndrea if he picked Craig and Vilmarie Budde to be the contact people regarding these volunteers. DeAndrea said yes, they are the Northeast Crime Watch. Rabo said he cannot understand how someone who is not trained, does not have a background in law enforcement, or does not have a military background can effectively select volunteers for this purpose. He said that Council should have been made aware of this ahead of time. Rabo said Craig Budde stated online that the City does not need liability insurance to cover the auxiliary police. He believes that is not a true statement. He said he researched this and the auxiliary police volunteers need to have their own liability insurance or “be subject to their own devices.” He said he had case law regarding this matter. Rabo read from this case law. He said the Act, Article 9, Sub-Statute 113 (New York), provides immunity to auxiliary police officers to negligent acts only when performing duties “relating to civil defense but not limited to activities pursuant thereto in preparation for anticipated attack, during attack, or following attack, or false warning thereof, or in connection with an authorized drill or test.” He also stated that there is a case entitled Fitzgibbon v. The County of Nassau, where an auxiliary police officer crossing a street at 11:00 p.m. was struck and injured by a marked patrol car owned by the defendant. He said the auxiliary police need liability protection. Under the auxiliary police statute it says that only in emergencies can force or arrest powers be used, which needs to be provide for by the Governor, as stated in Section 6. He read a portion of this section aloud. He said the auxiliary police are meant to supplement not take over the existing police force. Bast said he does not believe anyone here thinks that is the case. Rabo said it also states in that statute that the auxiliary police are required to have the same physical and psychological testing as the regular police force. Sosar asked Rabo to highlight the information he has read and send it to either the City Clerk or directly to Council. This will save a lot of time and it will disseminate the information. Rabo said that “fly-by-nighters from Brooklyn, New York” should not be involved in the selection of volunteers for the auxiliary police.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton said he talked to two of the crews who were cleaning out the storm drains in his neighborhood this past week. He said he was told that they did not have a record of the drains they were doing on Fern Street and Lee Court, until they got calls about a backup. He said these gentlemen did a great job and did a lot of work for the City. Tarantino asked if there is map of all the storm drains that could be crossed out as they are completed. Sosar said he does not know if something like that exists. There is also an issue of what is the City’s responsibility, and what is the Sewer Authority’s responsibility. Sosar said the Streets Department guys do a great job, but there is no way to break that down at this time. Mike Vislocky of the Streets Department said the vac truck used to go out on a daily basis in the summer, but they are so short-handed right now, it only goes out maybe two or three times a week. Vislocky said they used to try to get all of the inlets done in the summer. He added that they are attending to the ones that are backing up first. Tarantino said there should be some kind of map or computer program to help out with this issue. He said these two men from the Streets Department did a great job on the drains. He added that it was nice to see something getting done correctly. Mope stated that considering they are very undermanned in that department, they do a terrific job. Sosar agreed. Tarantino said Council should look into a multimeter like they use in New York and Philadelphia, where there is one meter in each block, you grab a ticket, put it in your car, and you can use a credit card or cash to pay for it. He believes this would be better than a smartphone app. Mundie said that sounds like a good idea. Tarantino asked if there is any feature on the traffic signals for the hearing impaired. Mundie said they would have to check with the state and the City Engineer about that. Tarantino asked about what is going on with the work at the former St. Joseph’s Hospital. Mundie said all he knows is what he read in the newspaper. They have not received any information from the Administration. Mundie said in the newspaper, the owner said they are going on with their plans, but it got pushed back. Tarantino asked why the City is fining the Fire Company for not having a business license and taken action against them. He felt this was completely ridiculous. Sosar suggested he go and ask the Mayor about that. Tarantino said the Fire Company should not be billed by the City.

Steve Olien(?), 10th and Grant Streets, Hazleton commented on the abandoned car mentioned by Charlie Ziegler. He said the City’s Abandoned Vehicle Ordinance has a provision in that if a car is unable to be driven and parked on a city street, even though it is has a legal inspection sticker and plate, it is considered abandoned if it is over 48 hours. He said this car has been there since the end of February. He has had at least four City employees there, and he figured something would have been done about it by now. Olien said he keeps his property nice and keep it cleaned up. He said cars were towed on Diamond Avenue during the street sweeping, but this car is still there. It has flat tires, broken windows, and the stereo is ripped out of it. He said that because of this car, his side of the street is a mess. Mundie said he will have someone look into the matter. He added that this is the first time he is hearing about this. Mope asked DeAndrea to write down the information with regard to this abandoned car. Olien asked if the HPD Facebook page has any relation to the department. He said he posted this on that page, and he got a lot of answers from people. One of the answers suggested that he call 911. Olien said he was under the impression that 911 was for emergencies only. He said that when he went back to that page, his whole posting was deleted. Mope said she does not believe it is related to the Police Department.

Chief Frank DeAndrea said he had asked the Northeast Crime Watch, Craig and Vilmarie Budde, to post something to start to solicit for volunteers. He said he is in the “infancy” of determining what it is that we will need with an auxiliary patrol. He said although there are laws that allow for this, he does not know if it will be good for this City. DeAndrea said he also met with Attorney Solt at the Slusser Law Firm and asked for a legal opinion on all things regarding this matter, such as what releases are required, what happens with liability insurance and other insurance, and what powers can we and do we want to give them, etc. He said when he formulates a plan he guarantees that he will come before Council again with a rough draft of his proposal, perhaps through a work session. He said he is nowhere near even having Council consider this option at this time. Mundie said going to the Solicitor all the time costs a lot of money. He suggested that perhaps he could find the answers to some of his questions by contacting another municipality that already has an auxiliary police. They may be able to give us some of the answers we need. DeAndrea said he understands. He said he gave Solt a packet of information regarding this matter when he met with him. DeAndrea added that he has been working on this with the Northeast Crime Watch since 2012. Cusat said the person who is in charge of this put everyone’s criminal past on Facebook, and he does not want someone like that representing the City in any way. DeAndrea said he is not representing the City. He added that he does not go on Facebook and he cannot control what goes on Facebook. DeAndrea asked Cusat to print out what was on Facebook and give it to him, so he can look into it. DeAndrea said it was his intention to take something off of his plate, and ask someone to give him some help. Cusat said it seems like he is a bit hotheaded when someone says something he does not like, and he has a serious issue with this.

Comments from Mayor or Director of Administration:  None.

Comments from Council:  Bast thanked everyone for coming, and asked everyone to have a nice 4th of July.

Mope asked everyone to have a nice night and thanked everyone for coming. She said they try to do things as fairly as they can, and they try to do their best.

Cusat said there is a new head of the Recreation Department and he is working with the HIP Center on their summer program. He does not know if he was put into the position by executive order or not. He said he would have liked to get a chance to meet this person first. Mundie asked who is now the head of this department, and Cusat said Fred Barletta. Mundie said there is also a new Director for the Airport that no one told Council about. Mope said there a lot of people Council does not know about. Cusat stated for the past few months, he has been working with the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania on putting together a local land bank. He would like to have a presentation put together over the next few weeks.

Sosar asked DeAndrea to tell Attorney Slusser that Council said hello. He added that Council has asked him a lot of questions, but he is refusing to answer them.

Adjournment:  Mundie motioned to adjourn the meeting with Mope seconding the motion. Meeting adjourned.