2014-09-09 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2014

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 6:30 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 August 19, 2014 Work Session and Regular Meeting were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications:  None.

Courtesy of the Floor:  Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2014-92. He said he gave Cusat a copy of the book Grant Writing for Dummies to help the City in obtaining grants.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2014-99. He said some of the City’s Ordinances are either obsolete, wrong, or not in compliance with state laws. He asked if the Mayor and Department Heads would abide by the Code if it is was updated. He commented on Resolution 2014-100. Rabo asked if the Vacant Property Committee and Blighted Building Committee are two separate committees that do the same thing. He asked if that is the case, how does that work. Mope said there are two committees, one is for blighted properties but someone is still living in them, and the other is for vacant properties. Rabo said the Redevelopment Law states that the Blighted Building Committee and Vacant Property Committee are the same thing. He commented that there should be a Nuisance Abatement Board if it is an occupied building, instead of a Blighted Building Committee. He said all of the ordinances need to be reviewed and researched first before proceeding with updating the City Code Book. Sosar said the boards and commissions need to be functioning together. When that happens, then we can start moving ahead. He agreed a lot of things could be condensed into one committee. Sosar said if you have “well-oiled committees and commissions” working and doing what they need to do, they would review what we already have, and come up with what needs to be fixed, eliminated, and retained. Rabo said in 2011, the City attempted to do this, but it was done “woefully inadequately,” or not in compliance with state law. He commented that the people on these boards did not have any idea what to do, and the solicitors of those boards did not seem to know anything about how the meetings are supposed to be run. Sosar stated “This has been ad lib government by this administration for a long time.” He stated that we need to put together “sound working committees” that will work in unison with one another. Sosar commented that “having a committee just to have a committee is not worth it.” Rabo said you need qualified and certified people on these committees and boards, and not people who are friends and family members of certain individuals within the City. He said he is on the Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority based upon his qualifications and merits. Mope said this is a goal that they are trying to work towards. She added that we have to make sure they work properly, have the right information, have guidance, etc. Rabo suggested a public interview process for those individuals on these boards which would provide full transparency. Mope said they do that now by having people come to the meetings, answer questions, and supply their resumes. She added that they are trying to “resurrect” these boards, but we need the Mayor’s cooperation. Rabo asked how much the person who writes the grants will receive. He stated he asked someone if the Comprehensive Plan is updated, will the City receive more money, and that person said yes. Mope agreed that the Comprehensive Plan needs to be updated.

                                                    

Old Business:

ORDINANCES
Ordinance 2014-13    An Ordinance Allowing On-Street Parking on Laurel Street (1st Reading) (TABLED 8/19/14)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Bast.

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

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE FAILS 3-2
ORDINANCE FAILS

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Ordinance 2014-14    An Ordinance Allowing On-Street Parking on the West Side of Pine Street (1st Reading) (TABLED 8/19/14)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Bast.

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

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE FAILS 3-2
ORDINANCE FAILS

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Ordinance 2014-15    An Ordinance Allowing On-Street Parking on Wyoming Street (1st Reading) (TABLED 8/19/14)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Bast.

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

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE FAILS 3-2
ORDINANCE FAILS

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Ordinance 2014-16    An Ordinance Allowing On-Street Parking on the North Side of Walnut Street (1st Reading) (TABLED 8/19/14)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Bast.

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

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE FAILS 3-2
ORDINANCE FAILS

                                                    

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2014-92    A Resolution Authorizing the Preparation and Solicitation of Requests for Proposals for Independent Grant Writing Services to Assist the City of Hazleton (TABLED 8/19/14)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Bast.

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

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE FAILS 3-2
RESOLUTION FAILS

                                                    

New Business:

ORDINANCES

None.

                                                    

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2014-96    A Resolution Reconsidering and Overriding the Mayor’s Veto of Ordinance 2014-10

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Mope asked what this resolution pertains to, and Bast asked the same question. Mundie said this is regarding the allowance of on-street, non-metered parking on Chestnut Street. He added that if we do not override this veto, there will not be parking on Chestnut Street. Bast said the original Ordinance provided free on-street parking. Mope said there is a problem with the contract with DHD Realty Holdings concerning the parking on Chestnut Street. She believes this Resolution should die for this reason. Mundie said they are not sure if it is going to be free parking anyway. He suggested letting this die, and re-introducing it at a later date. If the Mayor vetoes it again, then Council can override his veto. Cusat suggested discussing the situation regarding the Chestnut Street parking. Mundie said that the Mayor has not decided if it will stay as free parking, or if it is going to be paid parking. Cusat said that as it stands right now, there is no parking allowed there at all. Mope said that is how it will stay until Council finds out what is going on there. Cusat said the Parking Authority has no right to sell spaces on a City street where there is currently no parking for the public, and it was not part of the original agreement with DHD. Mope said the Mayor seems to be doing whatever he wants. Mundie stated that he wants some reassurances that if this is passed, it is going to stay as free public parking. Cusat said he wants the public to know that there are lines painted on Chestnut Street, but that is incorrect, because there is currently no parking on Chestnut Street.

Roll Call:  Bast-no; Cusat-no; Mope-no; Sosar-no; Mundie-no

RESOLUTION FAILS

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Resolution 2014-97    A Resolution Reconsidering and Overriding the Mayor’s Veto of Ordinance 2014-11


Presented by Mope. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

The City Clerk said this Resolution concerns the Ordinance regarding the creation of new line items in the budget. Mundie said the newspapers have been quoting the Mayor saying that this Ordinance is all about Council cutting salaries, etc., and that is totally false. He said Council could cut a line item down to zero anyway, including salaries, and it does not matter where it is at. Mundie said the Mayor is stating something that is not a fact. He commented that this is not being done to cut salaries. Mundie commented that the Mayor does not understand “how city government works.” Mope said Council has the ability to create new budget line items. Mundie said this will help Council track line items much better. He commented that Council could cut salaries without having a separate line item. Mope said this Ordinance creates transparency. Mundie said it was discussed about looking at other cities and how they do their budgets, such as Lancaster. He stated he brought Lancaster’s budget here five or six years ago in order to have their format used on our budget. Cusat said most of the line items that were put into this ordinance were missing last year, such as incentive pay, and these are things that we are contractually obligated to pay. He said he does not understand why the Mayor vetoed this. Mundie said some line items were omitted because they were not being used. Cusat stated that it was not done to go after an individual person.
    
Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2014-98    A Resolution Reconsidering and Overriding the Mayor’s Veto of Ordinance 2014-12


Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

The City Clerk said this Resolution concerns the Ordinance regarding the opening of bids. Mope said she has the minutes from the October 21, 2009 Council meeting when Mayor Yannuzzi was on City Council. She read from those minutes regarding Resolution 2009-56, which stated “Nilles stated that past practice was to open bids at the council meeting. Nilles commented that he feels they should start being opened at the Council meetings again. Yannuzzi commented that if that is done, the Resolution awarding the bid cannot be placed on the agenda and voted on until the next scheduled Council meeting.” Mope then read the votes with regard to that Resolution, and all Council members voted yes, including Mayor Yannuzzi. She said bids were opened at Council meeting while the Mayor sat on City Council. She commented “now that he is on the other side, he seems to have a problem with this.” Mope said that this is within Council’s duties according to the law. She added that his memo that he sent out regarding this matter was his opinion, and did not come from the Solicitor. Mope said she is in favor of having bids opened at Council meetings. Cusat said he does not see what the difference is, and a Council meeting is the most publically convenient meeting anyone can come to. Mope agreed. Cusat added that the department heads could stay after work, and there could be a 5:00 pm work session to open them. He felt that the citizens of Hazleton should be able to come here and see what bids were received. Mope felt it is more accessible for contractors and the public to have the bids opened at a Council meeting.

Roll Call:  Bast-no; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1

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Resolution 2014-99    Agreement to Supplement the City of Hazleton’s Code of Ordinances

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Cusat said at the last meeting Mundie preferred to use this money for the purchase of the pothole repair machine. After the meeting was over, he found out the machine was already ordered, and it will be here in a week or two. It is being completely paid for out of the state money from the liquid fuels. Cusat felt it could be brought back up so that Council could discuss it again. He stated this has been in the budget for the last four years. He added that the money for the pothole repair machine is not coming from any tax money. Mope said Bast has always been in favor of this, but it has come to the point that Council is passing things and the Mayor is ignoring them. She felt this is not the time for this. Cusat said when you have to find the law right now, you have to go through the Code Book, the Third Class City Code, and over 2,000 Ordinances on the City Clerk’s computer to find what you are looking for. Mope said she always needs to go through years and years of books, etc., to find something, and it is not that hard. Cusat felt it would be easier for the public to know what the laws are if everything was located in one place, such as the internet. He stated that over the summer, many complaints were received about outside burning. The Police Department went to these locations and passed out the Ordinance to those people stating they were doing nothing wrong. Cusat felt that this would save money on police calls if they know what the laws are. Mope said people interpret things differently, and they would still need to go to the Code Enforcement Office and see if it is correct. Cusat said it would be simpler to just look it up on the internet. Mope said you would still need to call Code Enforcement to report it, so they can ask about the law when the call. Cusat said if they know it is not illegal, then they will not have to call. Sosar said when he spoke about this last time, he not only spoke about the pothole repair machine, but also how much the governance of the City is costing us right now. He still believes that the Administration has this City on an “untenable situation” with regard to finances. Sosar said he understands the need to have this codified. He felt that it would be moot to do this right now. Bast said it has been 12 years since this was done. Sosar said he felt this money needs to be spent in the “most frugal and judicial way possible.” Cusat stated he does not believe that the money for this will be placed back into the budget again. He commented that he feels the City’s finances are not going to be any better next year than it is this year. He felt that we are going to be in worse shape next year. Mope felt this was a good reason not to do this. Cusat said it will help people determine what is right and wrong in the City. Mope said right now we do not even know what we can afford. Cusat felt it will always be that way. Mope commented that “we are going to have to bite the bullet for now.” Bast said we have been doing that for the past three years. Mope felt that they need to wait until the Mayor makes an improvement in the City’s situation. She stated that according to the Mayor, we are in the black. Cusat said that we are never going to be in the black. Mope said we also took out a Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note, and she does not know what is going within this City. She said she is “not playing this game anymore, and right now it’s more important to watch every penny until we find out what’s going on.”

Roll Call:  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-no; Sosar-no; Mundie-no

RESOLUTION FAILS 3-2

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Resolution 2014-100    Appointment to the Vacant Property Review Committee – Jeff Cusat

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Bast.

On the Question:

Mundie asked Cusat if the Mayor is appointing him to this committee. Cusat responded that he asked the Mayor to appoint him to the committee, which was discussed at the last work session. Cusat said former Council Member Jim Perry is still listed on the committee. Mundie asked who is on this Committee right now, but Cusat did not know. Cusat said this committee needs to be functioning in order for the Redevelopment Authority to obtain money. Mope said that is the Mayor’s responsibility to do that. Sosar said these types of boards and committees need to be in working order as soon as possible. He stated he asked to be on the committee instead of Cusat. Sosar suggested tabling the resolution until the next meeting, so Council could find out what is going on with this committee. Sosar made a motion to table the Resolution, and Mundie seconded the motion.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

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

MOTION TO TABLE PASSES
RESOLUTION TABLED

                                            

Comments from the Audience:  Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton said there is a trailer that is licensed and being used as a mobile restaurant that is on a lot at Tamarack and Wyoming Streets. He stated this does not appear to be a mobile restaurant, because he has not seen it move from the lot. Tarantino asked if there are any codes or zoning conditions that would allow this. Mundie said he will have Code Enforcement check it out tomorrow. Tarantino asked about the permit process for opening up a driveway. He said a lot of people have put in driveways in his neighborhood, and he would like to know if those people have gone through the proper procedures. He stated that he noticed throughout the City that people are turning their front lawns into driveways. He believes this is going to decrease property values. Mundie said he believed the City encouraged people to use off-street parking, so the City streets were not so congested. He asked Wech what the rules are, and Wech responded that all off-street parking has to go through zoning first. Mundie said if someone you know did it without going to zoning, then you could file a complaint and Code Enforcement can check it out. Tarantino said he will be filing complaints on several properties. He asked about the status of the 2015 budget. Mundie said they have not heard anything yet, but they do, they will let him know. Tarantino commented that he finds it “very disrespectful” that the Mayor ignores resolutions and ordinances passed by Council, just because he feels it is against his executive policies. Tarantino added that it is also disrespectful to the citizens of Hazleton. Mundie agreed with him.

Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton asked if Council has received the Capital Budget yet. Mope said no. Cuozzo asked if Council asked for it, and Mope said yes. Cuozzo suggested asking for it publically. Mundie asked the City Clerk to send a memo to the Mayor regarding this matter.

Bill Farninger, Vine Manor, Hazleton said he needs to cross Vine Street from Mine Street. He said it is an “extremely dangerous” intersection, and asked that crosswalks be placed there. Mundie asked the City Clerk to send a memo to DeAndrea regarding this matter. Farninger said when a train is coming through, there are people going through the gates that come down on Vine Street by the railroad tracks. Mundie said Council will check into both of the matters.

Bob Condrick, Lincoln Street, Hazleton commented on the storm water fee. His property is on a corner lot and is 200ʺ X 32ʺ. Condrick stated he bought the front half of the property from the former owner many years ago, but it was never officially subdivided. He added that there were two separate deeds created at that time. He stated he has received two storm water bills in the amount of $25.00 each for both the front and back halves of the property. Condrick stated the back half of his property has no sidewalks, no curbs, and no storm drain. He appealed it, but it was rejected because the City believes it is a separate property. He said the water that comes down his alley drains out onto 15th Street, and he does not see why he has to pay an additional $25.00. Mundie said he agrees, and the only person on Council who voted for the storm water fee was Bast. He suggested Bast answer his questions. Mundie stated the Ordinance was written by the Mayor and Dominic Yannuzzi, the Mayor’s cousin. Condrick felt that he does not owe the extra $25.00, so he should not have to pay it. Mope agreed with him. She stated that quite a large portion of the residents of the City are senior citizens, who are on fixed incomes. She felt $25.00 was a lot of money for a lot of people. Mope added that there is no appeal process in the Ordinance, and his appeal should never have been denied. Sosar said he appealed his bill as well. He feels that there is “ad lib government going on in this City,” and he has proof of it tonight. He stated he asked for a formal hearing because he had questions about the Ordinance, the general fund versus a dedicated fund, its publication, its formula, etc. Sosar said he asked the City Clerk to prepare and forward a memo to Pribula regarding this matter, but he did not receive anything back. He asked for it again personally by hand delivering a note to Pribula. Sosar stated that Pribula had plenty to say about him and members of this audience about misleading people in this City about appealing this process. His note asked for three things: (1) how much was Dominic Yannuzzi paid to take care of the storm water fee, (2) how much Dominic Yannuzzi had been paid for the preparation of the timbering contract, which was done incorrectly, and (3) why he had not received his formal hearing. Sosar said Pribula asked Dominic Yannuzzi specifically about this matter, because the reply came from Dominic Yannuzzi as project manager. He read from Dominic Yannuzzi’s response, as follows: “Tom, here is the breakdown. Timbering – July 2013 - $1,260.00, August 2013 - $1,440.00, September 2013 - $1,560.00, grand total $4,200.00; Storm Water – total $2,800.00.” He received no answer regarding his request for a formal hearing. Sosar said this email was sent by Dominic Yannuzzi to Tom Pribula, and the Mayor was cc’d on the email. He added that he received a formal letter from the Mayor’s office dated August 20, 2014. He read from the letter, as follows: “Dear Dr. Sosar, in response to your handwritten note (1) the answer is $0, (2) the answer is $0, and (3) meeting is denied.” Sosar said he checked with the Solicitor prior the meeting during the executive session, and the Solicitor was not aware of any of this. He said this leads him to believe that either the decision was made by Dominic Yannuzzi or the Mayor without legal advice. Sosar commented “This City is being run exactly the way he wants it, only as he wants it, you’ve heard him say…if I don’t like what Council does, I’m going to do only what I want to do, and I will take under consideration if I want to follow your ordinances or not.” He reiterated that this is “total ad lib government.” Condrick asked why no one went around the City to all of the lots to see if any storm drains existed. He also asked where this $25.00 is going. Mundie said he does not believe there is an appeal process in place. Sosar said he does not know of anyone that had their appeal heard. Condrick said he is not going to pay this fee, and they better not put a lien on his property. Mope said the Storm Water Ordinance was never advertised. Mundie said the total amount paid to Dominic Yannuzzi’s firm over the last two and one-half years is over $400,000. Condrick commented that everyone on Council was elected by the residents of the City of Hazleton to represent them, including the Mayor. He asked why the Mayor is not at the Council meetings, and stated that he should be here because that is the law. Condrick said he must be afraid to show up because he is doing everything wrong. Mundie agreed. Sosar said the Mayor has stated that he does not want to be belittled, berated, and called names. He said this proves that he does not want to listen, and does not want to follow the rules. Condrick commented that the Mayor should be impeached.
Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton said one appeal went through regarding the storm water fee. She helped them write the appeal. It was for someone who has three acres of land and they got a bill for $1,000, but it was all vacant land. She gave them the Ordinance that stated it was $5.00 an acre if it was vacant. Deakos said Dominic Yannuzzi called these people on the phone and asked them to settle it for $250.00. They did not accept it because it was only supposed to be for $15.00. Sosar said he would like to know when, where and how Dominic Yannuzzi was selected as being the arbiter. He stated that someone who is the writer of the Ordinance should not be the arbiter or judge. Sosar stated that you are asked to forward your complaints to the Department of Administration. When he handed his appeal in, the Acting Director of Administration took it from him, and “tossed it in a box and said that’s Dominic’s problem, not mine.” He wants to know who made that decision, because the governing body did not. Mope said an article in the newspaper the Mayor stated that Berkheimer was doing the appeals process, which is not true. Deakos said if anyone on Council wants to talk to this person, she would give them their names and contact information. Sosar said he would like that information.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton commented that he feels the Storm Water Ordinance violates state law, specifically, the Storm Water Management Act. He said that the form Council passed it because there was a $500,000 hole in the budget. It states in the Storm Water Management Act, that it must follow the requirements of the Act itself, must follow the County’s Storm Water Management Plan, there must be a public hearing, and the fee needs to be placed in a dedicated fund, not the general fund. Rabo commented “we have an impotent and incompetent mayor.” He said that the local newspaper wrote about what was done with the blighted properties. He stated only two things were actually done, the Pine Street project, and the Cranberry-Walnut project. The Cranberry-Walnut project was done by the Redevelopment Authority under the current mayor. Rabo said these were the only two projects that were done in the past 15 years. He commented that the Barletta and Yannuzzi administrations are lying when they say they have done everything they can with regard to the City’s blighted properties. He stated that prior to the Downtown Hazleton Alliance embarking on the revitalization of Broad Street, he said that the Redevelopment Authority should take care of the blighted areas around the downtown. Rabo said the Elm Street designation should also be used along with the Main Street designation. He commented that he read an article in the newspaper about Cusat meeting with the Pittston Redevelopment Authority Chairman Lombardo. Lombardo stated in that article that he came up with ideas for revitalizing downtown Hazleton. Rabo said he read an article online dated September 29, 2012, where Lombardo said “if we can’t stabilize our neighborhoods…we can’t move forward with our downtown.” Rabo asked Cusat what changed with regard to Lombardo’s comments. He also asked if Lombardo knows that the Mayor uses the Redevelopment Authority as a “dummy corporation.” Rabo suggested informing Lombardo of that fact first. Rabo said he would like to discuss this matter with Lombardo personally. He stated that Lombardo said that instead of driving out property owners, we should be soliciting to encourage property owners to buy in the City. Rabo said we need to “broaden the tax base instead of brining in renters.” He said that at one of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance meetings, the Mayor stated that the people who have been born and raised here, and have lived here most of their lives, do not matter anymore. Rabo commented that the Mayor does not care about the City. He added that if anyone wants to impeach the Mayor, they need to talk to the state representatives first, but they will not do anything because they are “in cahoots” with the Mayor.

Comments from Mayor or Director of Administration:  None.

Comments from Council:  Bast commented on the Storm Water fee. He said this Council had the ability to repeal that Ordinance when they came onboard, but they did not do that. He believes the reason for this is because there would have been a $500,000 hole in the budget. Bast said back in December, the new majority said they had a lot of ideas for the City and how to generate money. He said he asked Mundie what those ideas were, and Mundie responded that he was not going to tell anyone yet. Bast said it has been over nine months since the new majority took over, and no ideas have been mentioned yet. He commented that the new majority just blames everyone else, and it would be nice if someone would come up with a new idea. Bast said that all of his ideas were “shot down,” and he believes that was politically motivated. Mundie commented that the Storm Water fee was Bast’s idea. Bast stated he would like to hear something constructive come from this majority to help the City financially. He wondered where the $500,000 will be coming from for next year, because the City is still going to be in the hole. He commented that resumes are brought to Council for positions on boards and commissions, and those people also come to the meetings to answer questions. But, this is not the case if it is someone the majority wants to appoint. Bast said when he first took office two and half years ago, Mundie stated Nilles was horrible and he would never put him on the Water Authority. He added that now, two and half years later, Mundie put Nilles’ name up to do the job. Bast said Mundie has made comments to people about Dick Ammon that he is taking two or three hour lunches up at the Water Authority. He commented that if anyone tries to get rid of him, they are going to be out of job when the new term comes up. Bast commented that Ammon is making “big bucks” at the Water Authority, and Ammon feels he could do whatever he wants. Sosar called for point of order, and reminded everyone that this is for comments of the floor. He said it is not an opportunity to belittle anyone or take personal shots at people. Bast said he has sat next Mundie for almost the last three years. Sosar said it is wrong for personal people to have to take these “shots.” Bast said it makes him “disgusted” how the majority acts, and that it is all politically motivated and for the benefit of their friends. He stated he got into this for the people of Hazleton, and he thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

Cusat said he spent four hours in Pittston with former Mayor Mike Lombardo, and “the progress they made is incredible.” He said this was accomplished by everyone working together, and going and beyond the call of duty. Cusat said he hopes we can get to that point sometime. He thanked everyone for coming to the meeting.

Sosar said in years passed, the Mayor always got whatever he wanted. But, now there are people that are questioning things. Sosar commented “When people are supposedly talking to one another and they still can’t get the answers right, there’s something terribly wrong going on in this City.” He felt this is the reason why the City is in the shape that it is right now. Sosar said it is hard to move forward because there is not even a budget passed yet for this year. He said the Mayor’s chair is vacant, and the Solicitor has not shown up to the Council meetings since April. He stated that Council has asked for legal opinions and updates on court cases, and we get no response. He believes that the order is being given from the Mayor’s office that no one is to work with Council, answer their questions, or abide by what they want to do. Sosar said it was written in the newspaper that the Mayor stated that if he likes what Council does, he will follow it, but if he does not like it, then he is going to just say that it is wrong, it is illegal, it does not matter, and he is going to follow whatever he wants. He commented that this is not how to run a city. He said this is a “detriment to the good people of the City.” Sosar said Council cannot make plans to move ahead, because the Mayor blocks everything that Council wants to do. Sosar introduced a Penn State student by the name of Jairo Estrella, who is looking for an internship here in the City. He said that he would like Estrella to work with various departments in the City, not just the City Council. Sosar felt that working with all of the departments will give him an idea of what local government is all about. He encouraged City officials to “extend a welcoming hand and offer him encouragement.” Sosar apologized for what went on at tonight’s meeting, but said that sometimes there are difficulties within the government and we do not always see eye-to-eye. He welcomed Estrella and said he was happy to have him here. He also thanked everyone for coming to the meeting.

Mope said she concurs with Sosar’s comments. She said she has trouble with creating a new Code Book, because it has taken Council over eight months to undo a lot of things that were done incorrectly over the years by the previous Councils. She said Council has been working on things without cooperation and without an attorney present. Mope said Slusser is not totally at fault, because in order for him to stay on as the City Solicitor, he has to do what the Mayor tells him to do, because that is who appoints him to that position. She said Council does not get cooperation or good leadership, and we have failed the residents of this community because of it. She said they are trying their best to work with the Administration, but to no avail. Mope said at one time Bast asked her to meet with him to make a deal with her. He asked her if should would pick his guy, he would give her someone she wants. Mope said she told him no, and she did not vote for him. Bast stated that he did that just to see what Mope would say, and she does that to him all the time. Mope said Bast did the same thing to Mundie. Bast responded that he did that to see what Mundie’s intentions were, and what he was all about. He commented that Mundie is all about himself. Mope said Bast made promises to the public, he wanted to have a forensic audit, he has disappointed the public, and the public is calling him out now. Bast said he found out it would cost too much money to perform the forensic audit. He added that it would have cost $75,000. Mope commented that Bast has been negative to her and to Council since that time. Bast said he has been negative towards her since the day he stated that people came to his front door and threatened him because he would not put Dick Ammon on the Water Authority, and she responded by saying “get used to it.” Mope commented that Bast has a chip on his shoulder, and he better get used to the fact that he is no longer part of the majority. Mope apologized to the public for her outburst. She said she appreciates everyone in attendance, and everyone that provides input to try to make the City a better place. Mope commented that the Mayor’s inability to cooperate with Council needs to be addressed as soon as possible. She added that as soon as they know where the City stands with the budget, they will be able to move forward. She thanked everyone for coming to the meeting.

Mundie said he wished the Mayor and Director of Administration would have been here tonight to answer questions. He commented that by neither of them being here, it makes it difficult to work City government. Mundie stated there is no reason why the Mayor, Director of Administration, or City Solicitor cannot be here to help Council with the issues concerning the City government. Mundie apologized to Ammon for the personal attack on him. He said we are not here to do that. He added that Bast received his information from John Keegan, but it is incorrect. Mundie said they are here to get the City moving forward. He commented that Bast’s majority did what they wanted to do for the last three years. He had many ideas that were shot down. Bast said Mundie never came up with an idea over the last three years. Mundie said he came to Council with many ideas, but they were ignored by the President and the majority of Council. He said Council passed a budget with salary cuts within reason, they added $100,000 to the Streets Department, and it was a workable budget. Mundie said they have good ideas to move the City forward, but the Mayor does not agree with what they want to do, and that is why we are going to court. He hoped that Council will win the court case, and the Mayor will be forced to implement some of Council’s changes. Mundie said he feels these changes will be better for the City. He added that they are not in favor of the Storm Water fees or taxing people out of their homes, and that is why the last Council lost. He commented that people cannot afford any more new taxes, and we need to find a different way to run City government. Mundie agreed with Sosar’s comments. He said he believes that they are going to win the court case against the Mayor, and then the City could move forward. He thanked everyone for coming to the meeting.

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