2014-1-6 Council Inauguration Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
INAUGURATION/REGULAR MEETING
MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2014

Call to Order:  Council met for the inauguration ceremony and regular meeting on Monday, January 6, 2014 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 10:15 a.m.

Silent Meditation and Pledge of Allegiance:  An invocation was given by Father Joseph Evancho and followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call of Outgoing Council:   Bast-Present; Mope-Present; Mundie-Present; Schadder-Absent; Perry-Present

Minutes of Previous Meeting:  The minutes of the December 5, 2013 and December 19, 2013 regular meetings were approved unanimously.

Remarks of Outgoing/Current City Council members and other City Officials:  Perry said his goal was to represent the best interests of all of the citizens of Hazleton, and not political self-motivation and power. He said he wanted to improve the finances and services the City provides to its residents. Perry said that we may be the only city in Pennsylvania right now that has reduced City taxes by paying down our debt for now and in the future. Perry said he leaves here today with his head held high, he never missed a meeting in four years, and he has represented the City in a dignified and professional manner, which was at times lacking on Council. He had a conversation with Senator John Yudichak and asked him why he can work with Representative Tarah Toohil and Congressman Lou Barletta regardless of political affiliation and City Council cannot. He said they came to the conclusion that it should be about helping people and not personal political vendettas. Perry said he cares about his City because he lives here and he is involved in many groups and organizations. He said it is easy to point fingers, degrade workers, and blame others for our problems, but the answers lie in what are you willing to do to improve our community. Perry said he will continue to stay involved in the community. He thanked all of the dedicated City workers, administrators, and Shema for all of her support and help over the years.

At this point, the Oath of Office was given to Jeff Cusat by Magistrate James Dixon, and to Jack Mundie and David Sosar by Judge Correale Stevens. The new Council members took their seats on Council.

Roll Call of New Council:  Bast-present; Cusat-present; Mope-present; Sosar-present; Mundie-present.

Remarks by Newly Elected Council Members:  Cusat thanked the citizens of Hazleton for voting for him to represent them for the next four years. He said he will do his best to help and support the City as best he can.

Sosar thanked everyone for being here. He said it means a lot to him and shows him the confidence the voters had in him when they elected him to this position. He promised that he would not let them down. He thanked his parents for their support. Sosar thanked his wife, sons, daughters-in-law, and future daughters-in-law for their support. He thanked the Hazleton voters. Sosar said you may not always agree with what I say and do, but he will be open, explain, and do what he has to do. He stated no less should be expected from him, and no less should be expected from anyone in the City. Sosar said solving the City’s problems is not going to happen overnight. Situations have been created and there are long-standing problems in the City which developed over a long period of time. He promised Council will work on them. Sosar said he believes Council will earn the trust of the City’s residents. He said he reads a lot about government, and teaches it as well. One of the things that is most important to him is the trust of being able to carry out the laws that are created and being open with people. He stated Council will not be a rubber stamp, and we will ask questions, going to get to the bottom of things, and do they best they can in every way possible. Sosar said the catch phrase in this City has been family and friends. He said he has heard and read about this too many times in the City government about family and friends. Sosar said he will appoint people that he trusts, and people that he believes will do the best for the City. If people still want to say that is family and friends, then so be it. Sosar said he is here to talk straight. We need to pull all of our resources together. Sosar said there are lot of good ideas, and those ideas do not just come from Council. He said he spoke with a friend about new state programs that the City may want to look into. He said he would be happy to share them with Hahn. He stated this may be a way to get some money to help fix some of the things that are going on in this City. Sosar said that “We need to be creative and look outside the model and paradigm that has existed in this City. We need to do different things. We cannot live with the same old paradigm. It doesn’t work.” Sosar said we are getting deeper and deeper in debt. He asked for everyone’s prayers, wishes and ideas. He said he is going to work for the people of this City to the best of his ability.

Mundie thanked everyone for coming. He thanked his family and friends who supported him in the election. He said he ran with Sosar and he could not have a better running mate. It was the first time he ever ran with a running mate, and he knew he was the right person. Mundie said Sosar cares about the City and he is going to do what is best and right for the City. He said he had a lot of help to get here. He added that it is not easy to get here, and it is rare to get a fourth term in office. Mundie said the last person who got four terms on Council was Jim Ferry. He thanked Perry and Schadder. He said we did not always agree on things, but that is part of democracy and that is what makes our country great. Mundie stated that a lot times they had good ideas that he agreed with, and they also had ideas he did not agree with. He said this was the same when Lou Barletta was Mayor. He said he is going to speak out whether it is a good idea or a bad idea. Mundie said this Council cares about the City, and we are going to work together and be open and transparent. He said everything is going to be placed on the website, such as contracts. He said anything the government creates is a record that you have a right to see. That is what the Open Records Act states. He added that a place to lodge complaints will be put on the website as well. Mundie said there will be a lot of changes made. He added that with the help of everyone in the City and on Council, we are going to make Hazleton a better place. He said we are going to work hard to earn your trust.

Proclamations and Communications:  None.  

At this point, City Clerk Lisa Shema announced the Resolutions for the appointments of the President and Vice President of Council for the year 2014.

Appointment of President and Vice President of Council:

Resolution 2014-1 Appointment of President of Council

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Mope made a motion to nominate Jack Mundie as Council President, and Sosar seconded the motion. After receiving no other nominations, Sosar asked that the nominations be closed. There were no objections and the nominations were closed.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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  Resolution 2014-2 Appointment of Vice President of Council

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Sosar made a motion to nominate Jean Mope as Council Vice President, and Mundie seconded the motion. After receiving no other nominations, Sosar asked that the nominations be closed. There were no objections and the nominations were closed.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Shema then turned over the gavel to the new President for the year 2014, Jack Mundie.

At this point, Mundie announced that Council will now proceed with the appointment of Council’s Legal Advisor.

Resolution 2014-3 Confirmation of Council Legal Advisor – Skokoski & DeCosmo

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Mayor Yannuzzi said the Administration is against Council having its own legal advisor. He said he was on Council when they had one, and it was very difficult. He said it went back and forth between the Solicitor and Legal Advisor, and they had two different opinions on a lot of issues. Mundie said he hopes that the Solicitor and Legal Advisor will be able to work together. Mayor Yannuzzi said Slusser was not at the Council meetings because he was ordered not to go by him. When Council asked him to be there, he was always there. Mope said she felt Council needed its own legal advisor because Slusser was not always here when they needed him. She added that there was a lack of communication between the Council Members and the former Council President. Mayor Yannuzzi said the Legal Advisor cannot make laws as per the Third Class City Code, and these things will still have to go through the Solicitor. Attorney Frank Skokoski of the Law Firm of Skokoski & DeCosmo said he would like to work with the Administration. Skokoski said Section 47 of the Code clearly states that the Legal Advisor gives Council legal advice, attends meetings, assists the City Clerk, etc. Mayor Yannuzzi said that is in the Administrative Code and not the Third Class City Code. Skokoski said it is their job to advice Council. They could also participate in executive sessions with Slusser. Mayor Yannuzzi said that Council asks for the Solicitor’s advice, but they never believe him. Skokoski said he is here to answer any of Council’s questions. Bast asked Skokoski if this is a “payback” to him because he was trying to get a Water Authority member to get Attorney Pete O’Donnell back as their solicitor. Bast says he knows that Skokoski spoke with a Water Authority member about this. Skokoski said that has nothing to do with his job as Council’s Legal Advisor. He said he has been involved in West Hazleton and Hazle Township for years. He does not need this job, and he is just trying to help out the City and Council. He stated Council will be seeking his legal advice when there are conflicts. Skokoski said he will represent Council unbiased, based on the law, and to the best of his ability. He stated he is not trying to interfere in any way, nor is he trying to cause more financial hardship to the City’s taxpayers. Sosar said everyone knows what it has been like here for the past year. Council needs advice, and we need to consider other alternatives. He believes Skokoski & DeCosmo will be a big help. Mope said this is to enhance what we already have, and not to take anyone away from anything. She commented that Slusser should have been at the meetings for the public’s sake. She felt it will benefit Council and the public, so everyone’s questions are addressed. Cusat asked what the Legal Advisor will be charging for his services. Mundie replied it will be the same as the Solicitor, which is $125.00 per hour. Cusat felt that his fee should be placed in the Resolution. Mundie said he will submit a contract once the Resolution is passed. Mayor Yannuzzi was concerned that Council was voting on approving this without a contract. Mope said we cannot get a contract until they are appointed as Legal Advisor. Cusat was concerned that the wording in the Resolution says they are “confirmed.”

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 3-2            

Mundie then proceeded with the regular order of business.

Courtesy of the Floor (Remarks):  Craig Budde, 605 Arthur Street, Hazleton commented that he hoped the new Council members can all work together. He commented on the five blank appointments in the agenda, and asked why they are blank. He said the public should be allowed to see who is being appointed. Cusat said they are blank so that the Council members can nominate someone on the floor. He also commented on Resolution 2014-3 regarding the confirmation of Council’s legal advisor. He said this is going to get costly and Council should just use the City solicitor for advice. Budde said he supports Resolutions 2014-9 and 2014-10 and they should be approved by Council. He said this will bring in much needed revenue and will be good for the City. He added that he felt getting rid of the Airport would be a mistake. Budde commented on the appointment of the Council’s Legal Advisor. He suggested using the money to fix the roads instead of paying for a Legal Advisor. He added that Council is free to use the City Solicitor anytime it wants to. Mundie said Council cannot sit here without legal counsel at every meeting, because we are being held accountable for the decisions we make. Budde felt that legal counsel does not have to present at each and every meeting, and he felt that it was a waste of money. Budde suggested that the City reach out to the Hispanic community, and start appointing more members of the Hispanic community to the boards, authorities, and commissions in the City.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2014-9 regarding the lease-purchase agreement for the Airport. She said the budget needs to be amended if the amount is more than 5%. She felt this Resolution should be tabled and thoroughly reviewed before proceeding. Deakos said they will be spending more than expected on this matter.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton welcomed and congratulated the new Council Members. He hoped Council will be able to work together. Rabo commented that the Airport is a “fiscal albatross.” He said the money should be used for the streets instead. He stated the Airport is only for a few privileged people, and it should be sold to a private business and taxed. Rabo said it is not a “socialist enterprise” to do this.

Donald Leshko, Fire Chief for the City of Hazleton, commented on Resolution 2014-10. He said he supports this Resolution because it will be adding two medical helicopters to the area. He stated that we value our care and health of the citizens. Leshko said it will be a tremendous benefit to the community and its residents. He asked Council to support this Resolution and vote yes.

Thomas Hall, Department Commander of the Civil Air Patrol, said he supports Resolutions 2014-9 and 2014-10. The Civil Air Patrol has been in business for 70 years. During the storms Irene and Lee, they worked hundreds of hours lifting equipment. Hall said they do search and rescue of downed aircrafts. He said there needs to be trained people to perform search and rescue. He commended Council for having this on the agenda. Hall said the Airport is a tremendous resource, and it is a great Airport to operate out of. Mundie asks if it helps to have them at the Airport. Hall said they are sometimes called upon by emergency personnel because they are able to identify problems from the air. Air lift capacity is vital. Hall added that sometimes they are called upon emergency management officials as well. Mope said we need more open dialogue, and asked Hall to feel free to contact Council at any time.

Chris Puza, Hazleton wished the Council Members well. He thanked Jim Perry for his work on City Council. Puza commented on Resolution 2014-3, and asked if there was ever a formal proposal presented by Skokoski & DeCosmo to Council. He was concerned how having a Legal Advisor at the Council meetings would affect the taxpayers. Mundie said Council will make cuts to the budget and find the money to pay them. He added that this will not increase the taxes paid by the residents. Mundie added that the Code states Council may have its own Legal Advisor. Puza said that he thought Slusser was very good as the Solicitor, and he hoped Skoskoski & DeCosmo were trustworthy. Mundie said that Slusser was only at a handful of meetings last year, and Council needs someone here at every meeting. Puza said Council should be using the Slusser instead of hiring Skokoski & DeCosmo. Mope said Council had its own counsel in the past, Attorney Jim Ferry. She said it is up to Council whether we use them or not. Mope said that we will make our decision when the budget is amended. Puza expressed his concerns about the “big budget gaps.” He was afraid it was going to cost the taxpayers more money. Mundie said Council will be making cuts, but the budget will still balance and be the same. Puza suggested Council receive a formal proposal from Skokoski & DeCosmo before proceeding.

Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton congratulated the new Council Members. She said she hopes to see a big change in the City. Cuozzo commented on Resolution 2014-10. She said, as someone who has used a medical helicopter before, they provide a great service. She said they can park at the Airport whenever they want to, so why does the City have to be the “go-between.” Cuozzo said the City should be concerned with fixing the streets, buying equipment for the Streets Department and the Police Department, and providing more police protection. She heard this was owned by the former Mayor’s girlfriend. She asked where the money is coming from for the second hangar.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton commented on the appointment of a Legal Advisor to Council. He felt it was a good idea and good use of money. He said the County Council always has a solicitor present at their meetings. Mundie commented that Hazleton is probably the only municipality in the Commonwealth that does not have a solicitor present at all of its meetings. Rabo said legal counsel should be here at every meeting to give opinions on any legal matters that come up. He said the hangars at the Airport are just there for storage and are overpriced. He said a brand new hangar can be purchased for the same price.

           

Old Business: 

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2013-31 An Ordinance Making Transfers of the General Appropriations Ordinance for the Year 2013 Beginning January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Hahn said there were areas of expenditures where the money was not spent, but it was budget for. This will move that money to the line items that went over budget. Mope asked if these things were already paid for, and Hahn replied yes. Sosar asked how far back the outstanding expenditures go. Hahn said he did not know offhand, but no money was moved. Mayor Yannuzzi said that most of these things become apparent at the end of the year. Sosar said Council needs regular updates about such things. He said Council should be receiving monthly reports on transfers, overages, etc. If the transfer is over 5%, Council needs to step in. He said it is very difficult to do this at the end of the year. Sosar stated we need a continual accounting of the monthly finances, whether over or under budget. He said he is no pointing fingers, but he heard the City was in good shape up until the end of the year. He stated that the budget needs to be monitored much more closely, and Council needs to know about these things early on. Mundie asked if the money was transferred yet, and Hahn said no. Mundie asked if they were paid, and Hahn said yes. Mundie said we need to be given the transfers two to three months before, so that it can be reviewed thoroughly, and so that we can anticipate these things. Mope said that Dennis Moore stated to her that he is having a difficult time with the audit because he is having a hard time following the transfers. Hahn said he gives monthly reports to Council, and there were many years before he became City Administrator that transfers were not done. Mundie said these transfers need to be made throughout the year, and not all at once at the end of the year. Hahn said there still may be some at the end of the year. He added that Moore said no transfers were being done before, but now they are. Hahn said he is tracking purchases more closely, and he has a part-time employee doing that purchasing. Mope said Council is not blaming anyone in particular, but this is how it should be done from here on. Hahn commented that sometimes these things take a few months.

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

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Ordinance 2013-31 An Ordinance Making Transfers of the General Appropriations Ordinance for the Year 2013 Beginning January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Mundie.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Ordinance 2013-32 An Ordinance Making Supplemental Appropriations of the General Appropriations Ordinance for the Year 2013 Beginning January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Hahn said this is extra revenue that he is asking to be moved to the expense category. Sosar asked if this was a supplement to the other Ordinance. Hahn stated this is revenue that was over and above what was budgeted.

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

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Ordinance 2013-32 An Ordinance Making Supplemental Appropriations of the General Appropriations Ordinance for the Year 2013 Beginning January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Ordinance 2013-33 An Ordinance Making Supplemental Appropriations of the Sewer Transmission Appropriations Ordinance for the Year 2013 Beginning January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Cusat said he does not see the matching amounts for the sewer transmission fees. Hahn said when this was turned over to the Authority, this was received afterwards. He added that bills came in later on. Hahn said that there was an error and that should not be listed under contract services. Cusat stated that on April 29, 2013, $200,000 in commercial sewer transmission fees went in and out, and it should still be in here for accounting purposes. He also asked about the $20,000 for the new street sweeper. Hahn said that early in the year the $200,000 was used and replaced. Mope said that still should have gone to Council because of the zero line item balance. Hahn said that can be corrected. Mope asked if the additional $20,000 was for wages. Hahn that was separate item. He stated $200,000 was returned but $20,000 is still outstanding. Cusat made a motion to amend the Ordinance to include the $200,000 in general fund wages (line item #492-5276) going in and out. Mundie seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Roll Call (as amended):  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

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Ordinance 2013-33 An Ordinance Making Supplemental Appropriations of the Sewer Transmission Appropriations Ordinance for the Year 2013 Beginning January 1, 2013 and Ending December 31, 2013 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call (as amended):  Bast-yes; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

           

  RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2013-122 A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the Hazleton Regional Airport (TABLED 12/19/13)

NO MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE MADE – RESOLUTION FAILS

           

New Business:

ORDINANCES

None.

           

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2014-4 Council Meetings for the Year 2014

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Cusat.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2014-5 Approving Purchase Order for the Purchase of a 23' Ford Small Wheelchair Transit Vehicle from Rohrer Bus Sales

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Sharp said they are looking to purchase an ADA van that holds six wheelchairs. This will be a state capital purchase with PETAF funds. He said he needs to use up the rest of the money. Sharp said this will be contracted out to Easton Coach for $50,000.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2014-6 Appointment to Water Authority – Phil Andras

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Mope made a motion to appoint Phil Andras to the Hazleton City Authority, and Sosar seconded the motion. Bast said he should have been told who was being nominated for this. Mundie said he was on the Water Authority before for 15 years. Bast said Andras has used his position at the Water Authority to his advantage over the years. He said Andras had an issue with a company who did work on his car, so he pulled their contract with the Water Authority. Bast added that he also told several people that they will never get a job at the Water Authority. He commented that what is going on up there for the past 20 years is “disgusting.” Sosar said he sat on the Water Authority for 10 years, and it is his seat on the Authority that needs to be filled. He has worked with many people at the Authority over the years. Sosar commented that there is no one who knows the science, watershed, finances and the system better than Andras. Sosar said he “takes umbrage” to what Bast said. He asked that Bast show him that Andras does not know what he is doing. Sosar commented that Andras is a personal environmentalist and is very qualified for this position.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1

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Resolution 2014-7 Appointment to Sewer Authority – Grace Cuozzo

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Mope made a motion to appoint Grace Cuozzo to the Sewer Authority, and Cusat seconded the motion. Bast said he was not made aware of this appointment prior to the meeting. He stated that qualified people are being removed from the Sewer Authority, and being replaced with unqualified people. Bast said that he has been told Cuozzo is being placed on the Sewer Authority so that Attorney Pete O’Donnell could get a job as the solicitor, because he cannot get his own job. Sosar stated that he has known Cuozzo since 1991, and they have not always seen things eye-to-eye. He said Cuozzo is very involved in the community, and she knows everything that is going on in the City. Sosar commented that he does not know anyone who knows more about the governmental functions of the Sewer Authority than Cuozzo. Mope said she is quite knowledgeable, very involved in the community, and she respects her for that.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1

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Resolution 2014-8 Reappointment to Health Services Authority – Ted Sherrock

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Mope made a motion to reappoint Ted Sherrock to the Sewer Authority, and Sosar seconded the motion. Bast asked is there is a resume for Sherrock. He said there is no transparency regarding any of these appointments. Mundie said this is a reappointment and felt no resume was necessary. Sherrock said he has been on the Health Services Authority for many years, and he has never missed a meeting. He said Council is welcome to question him about anything.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY ----------------------------------------------

Resolution 2014-9 Approving Agreement between the City of Hazleton and Edward Maranuk for Lease-Purchase of Hangar at the Hazleton Regional Airport

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Mundie said an executive session was held with regard to Lehigh Valley Hospital and Medivac. Mope said the meeting was only 30 minutes long, and they cannot be rushed into such things. She stated they need more time to ask question and get information. Mope said she is not trying to “micromanage” anything, but this cannot happen again. Bast thanked Dominic Yannuzzi for answering all of his questions about this matter. He said Yannuzzi did not want to tell anyone about this until everything was “set in stone.” Mundie stated that Council should not have to do things “on the fly” without any information. He said that part of the problem in the past was that the Administration was keeping Council in the dark. Mundie said Council needs to time to “digest” the information and do what is best for the City.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2014-10 Approving Agreement between the City of Hazleton and the Lehigh Valley Hospital for a Business Building and Aircraft Space Lease Agreement at the Hazleton Regional Airport

Presented by Bast. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Mope said that, from the executive session, this should be beneficial to the community. She does not want anything that will hurt the hospital. She said she does not know if the hospital will be staying or moving to Hazle Township, and she does not want to do anything to promote its leaving. Bast thanked Lehigh Valley Hospital and Medivac for coming to the executive session and answering their questions. He also thanked Yannuzzi. He stated he believes this will be good for the area. Bast said this will decrease the time involved in responding to accidents that require medical attention, and it is a “win-win” situation. He believes this will provide the area with much better medical services. Sosar said he admires what these individuals do. He said he is working for the improvement of services for the citizens of Hazleton. He thanked them for coming, and asked them to keep Council informed. Mundie thanked Lehigh Valley Hospital and Medivac for coming. He commented that their jobs are not easy, and he hoped this will help.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

             

Comments from the Audience:  Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton asked how much the City will be receiving for the hangar at the Airport. Mundie said it will be $3,000 per month. Deakos said transfers were ignored for years, and she brought this to the Administration’s attention many times. She said Mayor Yannuzzi ignored this fact. Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton was disappointed that Council passed the Resolution regarding the lease-purchase of the hangar at the Airport. He said the hospital should purchase the Airport from the City. He asked how many hours the streets department spends at the Airport. Mundie asked Hahn to provide him with expenses for the City employees doing work at the Airport. Hahn said he would get that to him. Rabo said the Administration needs to be fiscally responsible. They need to focus on priorities and not on the “wish list.” He said finances need to be spent more reasonably. He thanked everyone for their time, and he hoped this Council will be more productive. Rabo said there are a lot of condemned properties in the City, and the one on McKinley Street has been like that since April of 2013. He stated the Code says that the Mayor can get a judgment on the property to clean it up, because it is a public health hazard. Rabo asked where the Redevelopment Authority has been, because they have not met since February of 2013. He said there is a condemned property on his street, and something has to be done about it already. Rabo said he has gone to the County Council, State Representatives, etc., and everyone keeps telling him nothing can be done. He is sick of the runaround.

Charles Ziegler, Hazleton said he has been before Council before regarding the condition in Hazleton. He said there is trash and abandoned cars everywhere in the City. Mundie asked Ziegler if he informed anyone about this. Mayor said he would need to talk to the Police Department or Code Enforcement. DeAndrea said his department is working on this problem. Mundie asked if DeAndrea could speak with Ziegler directly, and DeAndrea replied that Ziegler could come see him at any time, and he will try to answer his questions to the best of his ability. Ziegler said sometimes the garbage truck does not pick up all of the garbage. Mundie said the garbage was turned over to the Water Authority, and he would need to contact them about that. DeAndrea said he discussed this with the Solicitor, and there may be a “grandfathering” issue after adopting the IPMC. He said some of the vehicles have been here for a long time. He had code identify each one of the vehicles. DeAndrea said Code is in the process of writing the violations and they will have 30 days thereafter to answer the violation. After that, they will go to the magistrate. Mundie asked about towing the vehicles. DeAndrea said if it is on private property, we cannot do that. He said of the violators are prominent businesses, and he wanted to make sure everything was legal before proceeding. He said this was approved by the Solicitor and he is now taking the necessary steps. DeAndrea said he hopes to rectify the situation in a month. Mundie asked about the McKinley Street property. DeAndrea said it is in the New Jersey court, and we are awaiting the court date. Mundie said we should use Community Development money to clean it up. Mayor Yannuzzi said we are not in the job of cleaning up everyone’s property for them. He added that he does not want to use taxpayer money on private properties.

Mike Wilfing, Hazleton congratulated the new Council Members. He said there are three ordinances that cover abandoned vehicles in the City. He commented that the McKinley Street property should be cleaned up and a lien should be put on the property. DeAndrea said it is easy to get a lien, but the property was abandoned after it had been in a fire. He said this property may never be sold because of the extensive damage, and then we will never get the money from the lien. Mundie commented that there is money be spent to meet with Slusser on a regular basis, when it could be used to clean up McKinley Street. He commented that he feels this property is a danger to the public. DeAndrea said he is afraid this will set a precedent, and was concerned about how it will be determined whose property gets cleaned up and whose does not. Mundie said that would be Council’s decision to make. Mope said she would like a list of what properties are deemed the most dangerous. Mundie said he would like a list of all abandoned/condemned houses in the City. DeAndrea said he could get a list of the condemned house but not the abandoned ones. He asked where to “draw the line” with this. Mope said that by law, this should be boarded up, and no one has done that. DeAndrea said the problem with that is the next day the boards are removed. Mope said this is just rubble and it is dangerous to everyone, especially children. She said the sidewalk is also roped off, so it is dangerous for those people walking on the street. DeAndrea said the state said it is okay for people to walk on the sidewalk on the other side of the street if they cannot walk on that side. He asked why it is okay for the state to say but not us. Mope said that children do not follow directions, and someone is going to get hurt. Mundie said this is going on for far too long. Wilfing said a Code was adopted, and the City should follow it more closely. Mundie asked Wilfing if he did this in New Jersey, and Wilfing replied yes, it was cleaned up.

Comments from Mayor Yannuzzi or City Administrator:  Mayor Yannuzzi thanked Perry and Schadder for their service on Council. He said it is very difficult to serve the public, and it takes a strong person to do so. Any person sitting there is a strong person. He welcomed Sosar and Cusat to Council. Mayor Yannuzzi said that Council and the Administration need to start working together. He stated that Hahn is very accommodating and will get Council any information they need.

Hahn said he received more details regarding the insurance costs, and will be supplying that to Council shortly. He said the Administration will be presenting Council with an amended budget. He suggested that Council schedule a work session to discuss revenues and expenses. Council made a decision to schedule a work session for January 16, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. Hahn said he will also have information regarding the dissolution of the Parking Authority made available at that time.

Comments from Council:  Bast thanked Perry and Schadder for their service, and he welcomed Cusat and Sosar. He said he hoped that Council can get along better than they did before. He thanked Mary Malone and Jim Edwards from the hospital for coming. Bast thanked everyone for their opinions. Bast said the Mayor and Council are elected to make decisions that are in the best interests of the City. He said we do not always agree, but we have the City’s best interests at heart.

Cusat thanked everyone for coming, and said he is going to fight for what is right, and work with everyone here. He said he is going to treat the taxpayers’ money as if it was his own.

Sosar thanked everyone for coming. He said he looks forward to working with the Administration. He loves the City and will work with the best intentions. He thanked Perry and Schadder for their service on Council. He said this is not an easy job to do.

Mope thanked Perry and Schadder for their service, and also thank John Sullivan for this service on the Sewer Authority. She thanked everyone for coming. Mope said the more we know about what is going on in the City the better. She said she wants to know what the public is thinking. She said she looks forward to working with the new Council. She thanked the Mayor for attending the meeting. Mope said she is looking forward to working with Council’s Legal Advisor, and she believes this will help the people and the City of Hazleton. Mope commented that this is very difficult job, but she is looking out for the City’s best interests.

Mundie thanked Perry and Schadder for their service on Council, and he said it is not an easy job. He also thanked John Sullivan for his service on the Sewer Authority. He said it is nothing personal, but he felt it was the right thing to do putting Grace Cuozzo on the board. Mundie said we are all trying to work together. He said Council is trying to make changes and do what is right. He stated that Council will have disagreements and probably make some mistakes, but we are doing our best. Mundie added that there will be changes coming to the City’s website, and he plans on placing as much information as possible on it in the near future.

Benediction:  None.

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