2014-10-07 Council Meeting Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2014

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Tuesday, October 7, 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 September 23, 2014 regular meeting were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications:  None.

Courtesy of the Floor:  Dave Fatula, 105 Mark Road, Hazleton, President of Local 507, commented on Resolution 2014-103. He said he met with Cusat regarding the seven-year contract. Cusat felt that the contract was illegal because “you cannot bind your successor.” Fatula said that according to the Union’s legal counsel, it is binding arbitration and the length of time is not an issue as long as both sides come to an agreement. He stated that if this contract was only until the end of the Mayor’s term, there would be no contract until the new Mayor is voted in, and then negotiations would need to be conducted with that person, and it would only be for four years, but the arbitration time of November 12th would be missed. Fatula stated that this would the City would always be in arbitration because there would be no contract every fourth year. Sosar said he understands what Fatula is saying regarding the beginning of another mayor’s term of office, but he does not think that was the general intent of the legal opinion. He believes what they mean is that within any mayor’s term, that person would have the opportunity to negotiate a contract, whether it is the first year, third year, etc. He does not believe this will cause any great difficulty. Sosar said this comes in under the binding of the person who would be the next mayor would never have an opportunity to sit and meet with the firefighters and negotiate a contract. He believes “this is the spirit of the law, rather than the letter” of the law. Fatula said if that was the case, every contract would start and end every four years, and that is not the way it is. Sosar said he has been involved in contracts for a long period of time, and he has had two-year and four-year contracts. When he worked with the Hazleton Area School District, it was a three-year contract. Sosar said he has been watching the position of the federal government, and there is a lot of discussion right now that they are going to stop pouring money into the federal government sometime next year. This will lead to a lot of confusion in the market and the government, and the possibility of inflation. Sosar said a seven-year contract can be damaging for both the firefighters and the City because of what we may be facing in the future. He stated that if there is inflation, the firefighters will suffer because you will be bound by a contract that you cannot afford to buy what you used to be able to before. If there is a recession, you are asking the people of Hazleton to finance something that may become problematic. Mundie said Slusser stated in an email that a seven-year contract is illegal and Council cannot vote on it. Sosar asked if Slusser was involved in the negotiations, and Fatula said no. Sosar asked if there was any lawyer involved in the negotiations, and Fatula said no. He added that he does not know what was discussed outside of the negotiations. Fatula said he was involved in the negotiations, along with the committee, the Mayor, and Pribula. Sosar said he hoped that they had legal counsel sit in on these negotiations with them, and Fatula said no, they did not. Bast said it is not necessary, and he has also negotiated contracts in the past. Fatula said they then forwarded the contract to their legal Counsel, who approved it.

             

  Old Business:

ORDINANCES

None.

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2014-101 Adopting the Reduced Amortization Option According to Chapter 6 of the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act, Act 205 of 1984 (P.L. 1005, No. 205), as amended by Act 44 of 2009 (P.L. 396, No. 44) (TABLED 9/23/14)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

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

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES RESOLUTION REMOVED FROM TABLE

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Cusat.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1

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Resolution 2014-103 Approving Contract between the City of Hazleton and the International Association of Firefighters Union, Local No. 507 (TABLED 9/23/14)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Cusat.

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

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES RESOLUTION REMOVED FROM TABLE

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Cusat read from Slusser legal opinion, as follows: “I have also been recently asked to provide my opinion relative to whether or not the proposed CBA with the City firefighters may be for a seven-year term. In short, the answer is that it may not. I have also conferred with the City’s labor counsel and he concurs with my opinion. Specifically, this is because the court sees this as a governmental function rather than a proprietary function. A governmental function cannot be contracted in excess of the term of the governing body, in this case four years, or the term of the Council. A propriety function can be contracted for 10, 20 or even 30 or more years. There is actually an appellate court decision involving the HA on this very issue regarding a land lease with a hunting club, where the court ruled that the lease was a proprietary function, and thus was a proper and enforceable event through the term of 30 years. The result was different, but the court did a thorough job explaining each function in its opinion, which provides guidance in rendering this opinion to you. Thank you. Chris Slusser.” Cusat said in the decision, the court broke down all of the different governmental functions and the proprietary functions. Mundie said the City Clerk could get him a copy of the opinion if he would like to see it. Sosar made a motion to table the Resolution again, 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

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Resolution 2014-104 Entering into Negotiations with Glenmede Trust Company, N.A., for Investment Management Services of the City of Hazleton’s Pension Assets (TABLED 9/23/14)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Cusat. 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 RESOLUTION REMOVED FROM TABLE

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Mundie said the Pension Board voted for Glenmede. Sosar asked DeAndrea if this is just approving the negotiations for a contract, and this is not for actually entering into a contract at this time. DeAndrea responded yes. He added that in accordance with the RFP, before the winner may officially be notified, Council needs to “ratify” this in order to enter into contract negotiations. If Council voted no, we cannot notify anyone about this. Once a contract is put together, it will come back to Council for approval. Mundie asked how long the City was with the previous company, and DeAndrea responded 16 years. Mundie asked if there were any problems with the previous company over the past 16 years. Fatula responded that there was a lack of reporting and the associated costs were an issue. DeAndrea said they went 16 years without any contract, and there were some issues with getting questions answered in a timely fashion. The Super Board decided through the unions that it was time to put out an RFP. Mundie asked whose administration this was started under, and Fatula said Marsicano. Mundie said that no one was able to find a contract with the previous company, and DeAndrea agreed.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

              New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2014-17 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 Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Mope asked what is going to be done with the money that is being transferred to City Hall. Fermin said it is going to the elevator project. Mope asked how far along we are with that project. Fermin responded that they received only one bid for the RFP they put out in August, and HUD will not accept only one. She put it out to bid again, the bids came back today, and the City Engineer is currently reviewing the proposals. She hopes to award the project for the next Council meeting. Cusat asked why she is not using the CD Engineer, and Fermin responded because Community Development does not have an engineer at this time. Mope said she thought Barry Isset had this project, and Fermin said they do but she does not have a signed contract with them. Sosar asked why there is not contract with them, and Fermin responded that the Mayor will not sign the contract. Mope said Council passed a resolution a few months ago making Barry Isset the engineer for CD. She said that even if they did not have a signed contract with the City, they were supposed to finish the elevator project. Fermin said Dominic Yannuzzi from Alfred Benesch is doing this, and Community Development has not paid for any of his services. She said she is assuming that he is working on this in his free time. Mope asked who is doing the elevator, and Fermin responded that the work is being done by Dominic Yannuzzi as the City’s Consulting Engineer. Mope asked who gave him this job, and Mundie said the Mayor did. Fermin said she can assure Council that Community Development has not paid Alfred Benesch anything for his services. Mope said Council gave this to Barry Isset, the Mayor will not sign the contract, and now it went out to bid again. She does not want there to be any legal problems with this matters. Fermin said she does not believe that there will be any legal problems, because there has been no exchange of HUD funds to an engineering firm that was not properly procured. Fermin felt that Dominic Yannuzzi did not need to be here because this is only regarding a transfer of funds. Sosar said it does have something to do with him if he is doing the work. Mundie said Fermin would not know if the City was paying him even though CD is not. Mope asked what happens to the money that is put aside to pay for CD’s engineering services. Fermin said it is just sitting there until she has an engineer. Mope asked if Barry Isset was paid yet for any of their work on the elevator, and Fermin said yes, they were paid up to date. Sosar told Fermin not to pay any engineer until she hears from Council. Fermin said she does not plan on paying Dominic Yannuzzi because according to HUD, the firm she pays has to be properly procured. Mope asked Fermin to let them know if any funds are used to pay Dominic Yannuzzi or Alfred Benesch. Fermin said yes, but she would not be privy to any information about this if the administration decides to pay him. Sosar said that would need to come before Council as a transfer. He added that no transfers have been brought to Council by the Administration this year, and Mope agreed. Sosar said they may need to pursue a legal solution to get this matter resolved. Mope asked if the contract will be with a new firm, and Fermin said yes. Fermin said the first bid received was “astronomical” at $286,000, and Community Development does not have those types of funds. She said it was put out to bid again because HUD prefers at least two bids. Mundie asked if there is a timeframe of when this project will be completed, and Fermin said it should be finished either in the middle or the end of February 2015. Sosar said Scranton is running into the same problems with their elevator, and their City Council decided to hold its meetings at another location that is handicapped accessible. He suggested this Council look into the same thing.

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

---------------------------------------------- Ordinance 2014-18 An Ordinance of the City of Hazleton Rescinding Ordinance 2013-20 and Re-Enacting Ordinance 2006-14 Entitled an Ordinance to Authorize the Erection of Various Signs and the Changing of Garibaldi and Manhattan Courts to One-Way Streets to Facilitate the Re-Opening of the “Castle” School Building at Wyoming and 9th Streets, and Adding the Plowing of Snow to the West Side of Manhattan Court between 9th Street and 11th Street (1st Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Sosar asked why this is being reversed. DeAndrea said the “Castle” school building has lost some staffing, and it is no longer feasible or capable for the current staff to post at all of the intersections on Manhattan Court to properly stop cars from coming in the wrong direction, or stopping the children from crossing the street. Last year, it was working but this year they do not have enough staff to do it. He said the school district administration is concerned with the children stepping out in front of or between cars and buses. He saw this happen first hand. He made a temporary change until Council could vote on this. DeAndrea said this reverts back to Ordinance 2006-14, except for the snow plowing. It does not make sense to push the snow to where the buses have to pull in. He stated “Because the castle has now turned into a transit let’s use buses, it’s the request to put in here…permanent…between 9th and 11th Streets be pushed to the west side.”

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

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2014-106 Appointments to Junior Council

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Bast thanked all of the young people who showed interest and applied to be on Junior Council, and to spend time here once every two weeks during the school year. He said he knows it is a time commitment and sometimes the meetings can be very long. They may have other commitments such as sports or other clubs to participate in, and they also have homework. He also thanked their parents for supporting them. Sosar agreed. Cusat asked if any of the students were here, and the City Clerk said no. Sosar asked if they would be notified for the next meeting, and the City Clerk said yes.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2014-107 Recognizing November 2014 as Epilepsy Awareness Month

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2014-108 Approving and Hiring Police Officer in Accordance with Police Civil Service Rules – Bret Green

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Mundie asked who Bret Green is replacing, and DeAndrea responded that she is replacing Lieutenant John Leonard, who retired. DeAndrea said there was one resignation and one retirement for 2014. Jessica Levine replaced Detective Chris Orozco, who left in July or August. DeAndrea said that this will be the second woman on the police force. Mundie asked where she lives, and DeAndrea said she will be within 10 miles of the City limits once she commences employment. She was a part-time police officer with the West Hazleton Police. Mundie asked if it is 10 air miles or street miles, and DeAndrea responded he does not believe that has ever been defined. DeAndrea said he usually uses Google Maps to determine if they live within 10 miles of the City limits. Sosar asked for Green’s work experience. DeAndrea said they had 15 applicants in June for the Police Civil Service test. Nine passed the physical, agility, and written test, and of those nine, three passed and entered into the oral examination and successfully passed. DeAndrea said the number one applicant was Jessica Levine, who was hired, and Bret Green is the number two applicant. She has been a local police officer for several years. DeAndrea said he has not personally heard anything bad or anything that would negate her from being a Hazleton City Police Officer. Sosar asked if she had any military experience, and DeAndrea responded no. He added that she is currently Act 120, which means she is ready to come right on board. Sosar asked if she has any other training, such as a degree in criminal justice. DeAndrea did not know, but said she meets all of the qualifications and she is next on the list. Mope said we need to accommodate the women police officers with their own locker rooms, and asked what they are using in the meantime. DeAndrea said they are using the ticket clerk’s old office as the female locker room at this time, and she is aware of this. He said there is ample space available until the can officially build a second locker room, which will need an ADA accessible bathroom.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

           

Comments from the Audience:  Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton said there is a food truck on Wyoming and Tamarack Streets. They are claiming they are a mobile restaurant and they are covered by the Mobile Truck Act. He said he has not seen that truck move for several months. He asked if they have any authorization or approval to do this. Mope said he would need to talk to DeAndrea about that after the meeting. DeAndrea said this falls under the Health Department for the inspections. Unfortunately, there is no ordinance that specifically covers mobile food vendors, and it meets the criteria of a mobile food vendor. DeAndrea said because of this, they only need a yearly health inspection. Mundie asked if the vendor needs a permit, and DeAndrea responded that they need a business license and a health inspection. DeAndrea added that it is a different set of criteria than if it was a restaurant. He said the owner has a license to operate the food truck, and he has been inspected by the Health Department. Sosar asked if a health certificate was granted, and DeAndrea said he believe there is one. Sosar said a lot of these food trucks are popping up all over the place. DeAndrea said he is planning on putting before Council an ordinance that will change the governance of mobile food vendors. He said it is not fair to all the businesses that pay all of the fees, licenses, and permits. He feels they should either be considered a business just like anything else, or strict requirements should be created to be considered a mobile food vendor. DeAndrea commented that no one should have to listen to their generators run all night in one location. Sosar suggested DeAndrea contact Scranton about this because they had the same problem. DeAndrea said he has reached out to several cities about this. He said he has been out at 2:00 am or 3:00 am on Saturdays and Sundays policing these vendors, but there are some loopholes they fall into. Mope agreed. Tarantino said the food trucks should be required to have a motor in them, and not just be a “stand alone vans.” He said there is another trailer up by the old Weis Market that is doing the same thing. Mope said this is a new occurrence for Hazleton, but it now has to be addressed. She said in New York, they have it all the time, and suggested looking into how they handle this issue. Tarantino said some of the courts in the City should be studied and maybe turned into one way. He lives on Lee Court and it is very narrow when two vehicles are coming towards each other. Sosar said there are more people parking in the courts than ever before. A lot of homes in the courts have been subdivided, and there are now more people parking there. Tarantino asked what the status is regarding the money from the casinos for rehabilitating City Hall. Mope and Mundie said it has just been awarded and they have just started looking into different things. Tarantino asked if Council has to approve the spending of this money, and Sosar and Mundie said yes.

Dan Basala, West Hazleton, asked the City to again look into an ordinance concerning yard sales. He said people are having yard sales and selling brand new items, such as on Alter Street. It is not fair to the business people that pay for their permits and licenses. Mundie said he recently received a copy of that ordinance, and they will be looking into it again. Basala commented about the garages that open up and work on cars on the streets and on the sidewalks. They are blocking the sidewalks and leaking oil all over. Mope suggested he address that with DeAndrea. DeAndrea said they address as many as they can and they are out there every day. Mundie commented that they are doing a good job. Basala said there are always cars doubled parked in the area of Tunnessen’s Automotive. DeAndrea said he will look into it.

Carol Ann “Miss Fabrege” Zielinski, owner of Fabrege Follies, Hazleton said her business is located on Broad Street between Vine and Locust Streets, and has been for the past 25 years. She lives at the corner of Diamond Avenue and Locust Street. She said over the past few years, especially in the past few months, crime has grown exponentially, and it has affected her business. Her enrollment is down 20%. The bank and the street across the street from her business were robbed, and she feels it is just a matter of time before her business gets hit. She has a parking lot behind her business, but it is not well lit. She asked if the police department could drive past the front and back of her business a few more times each evening. Zielinski said the citizens of Hazleton cannot sit back and let these crimes happen. They need to get involved. She said she will not allow “a bunch of thugs” to take over Hazleton. Zielinski said she is willing to offer her time and skills to help clean up this City and reduce crime. Mundie asked DeAndrea if there is a crime watch group in her area. DeAndrea said there is not one for Broad Street. He added that he would like to give her his phone number so that he can talk to her clientele about this. He will also ask his patrols to do a few more passes in the area of her business. Mope suggested Zielinski’s should make sure her parking lot is well lit, and perhaps she should invest in a security system with surveillance cameras. She added that she has one in her own home. Zielinski agreed and said she would like to be more proactive instead of reactive. Zielinski questioned the concealed weapon and open carry laws in Pennsylvania. DeAndrea said it is your right to open carry in Pennsylvania with or without a protection permit, but there are certain places that you cannot open carry, such as federal building, courthouses, schools, private businesses that do not allow weapons, etc. A protection permit allows you to carry a weapon that is concealed. Sosar asked if Zielinski had cameras on her building, would she have a problem with those cameras being aimed at her parking lot and viewed on the internet. She said she would have to think about that before answering, because she generally does not like the government watching her. But, she understands the problems that the City is facing. Sosar felt if cameras were placed on public walkways, public streets, etc., criminals would “think twice” before committing any crimes. Mope suggested Zielinski talk to Judy Yurcho, who is involved in the crime watch meetings.

Judy Yurcho, 984 North Locust Street, Hazleton commented that this is the second time the firefighters came to the meeting to have their contract approved, and there was no progress. She stated it is not the fault of Council, because they need clarification on certain things first. She said Solicitor says one thing about the contract, and the union’s attorney says another thing, and no one is on the same page. Yurcho stated that the firefighters work very hard and they risk their lives. They are always there “in a heartbeat” if you are raising money for any cause. Yurcho said everyone needs to get in the same room and discuss this. Mundie stated he suggested contacting a professional negotiator for all City contracts. Yurcho said these firefighters are City workers, who will work without a contract if they have to, and the Mayor cannot even come to the meeting. She added that the Mayor also tells the Solicitor to come to the meetings. Yurcho commented on the increase in crime in the City. She said an innocent person is going to get killed if something does not change. She said the citizens need to get involved. The taxpayers cannot afford to hire any more police officers. Yurcho said at her crime watch meeting, it was discussed about a home that was foreclosed on by the bank. The bank put up signs all over the house stating that the house was foreclosed on and abandoned. Someone checking on the house noticed that the house had been broken into, and all of the copper pipes were cut and were waiting to get removed. She said last night when she was coming home, she saw a truck parked up again the same house, and one of the second floor lights was on. She went home and called 911, and the responded within 10 minutes. But, by this time, the light was off and no one was there. She spoke with the police officers who responded and they said the basement door was unsecured. Yurcho asked if there is a way the crime watch groups can get a list of all of the foreclosed and abandoned properties in the City. She said the banks that own these properties need to make sure their buildings are secure. Mundie said DeAndrea is working on that right now. DeAndrea stated they are working on getting another type of registration going where foreclosed and abandoned buildings need to be registered and they must pay a fee. It costs the City money every time a police officer, code officer, etc., responds to a call. DeAndrea said there are way too many of these types of buildings and we are spending too much of our resources on these foreclosed and abandoned properties. He said that when his officers respond to something at these buildings, they could be helping someone elsewhere who really needs a police officer. DeAndrea stated that he is doing some research on this matter. Mope said the City has been bearing the cost of boarding up these buildings, and we need the banks to step up, secure these buildings properly, and be financially responsible for them. Yurcho said she is “fed up” with all of this crime. Mope said neighbors need to get to know their neighbors again. Yurcho urged everyone to get involved, and call the police if you see something suspicious.

Bill Boran, 319 West Green Street, Hazleton agreed with Yurcho. He said a neighbor of his had furniture stolen out of his backyard, and there were shots fired near the corner of Spruce and Vine Streets. Boran was angry and disappointed that the Mayor and the Solicitor did not attend the meeting. He said the Administration is not transparent. Boran added that the Mayor not showing up to the meetings is a “sign of disrespect” and is “inexcusable.” He said the citizens can no longer trust the Administration. Boran said he is very irritated that public money is being used to finance private projects. He read in the newspaper that more public money is going into the former HNB building, and this is wrong. He felt these types of funds should go to the police department instead. Boran commented that he does not respect the Mayor in any way. Boran stated he is willing to protect his home and family from all of the crime going on in the City. He believes all of the shots going on in the City lately are the beginning of a “cartel war or turf war,”  because there is a lot of gang activity in this town. Boran said he wants to “take this City back.” He encouraged people to get involved by providing the police with information and reporting suspicious activities and crime. Boran suggested the citizens of Hazleton march the streets. He stated that a lot of people have moved out of Hazleton because of the taxes and crime. He asked everyone to take five minutes out of their day and take a walk around their block. He asked everyone to keep their eyes and ears open.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton agreed that we need more police officers, but said that we cannot afford to fund full-time officers. More full-time employees are going to increase the City’s pension obligations, as well as other expenses. She said the only way to afford more police officers is to hire part-time officers. Once a full-time officer retires or resigns, one of the part-time officers would be promoted to full-time.

Judy Dowd, Hazleton asked who now owns the Parking Garage. She said on Tuesday of last week there was a meeting at her apartment building and people from outside the area parked on Chestnut Street. There were no signs there stating there was no parking, and all of these people received parking tickets. Dowd said the next day a sign went up stating it was “permit parking only.” She said the Mayor cannot tell her what permit parking means. She has a permit to park in the Parking Garage, and the Parking Garage is closed tomorrow. The Mayor told her she needs to give him her license plate number, and make and model of her car or it will be towed. Dowd wanted to know if her permit covers this area on Chestnut Street. She said she spoke with “Deb,” and was told the Parking Authority still exists, and the Mayor said it has been dissolved. She asked where her monthly check is going, and who does she need to start making it out to. Dowd said the Mayor is “ticketing people on a fixed income, who had no idea they could not park there.” She said lines were painted there, but there were no meters. Dowd added that the structural issues at the Parking Garage are still not being addressed, and they are still going forward with building a walkway. Dowd said she keeps getting told that the structural issues will be addressed in three days, and this has been going on for a month. She said she has been writing her checks for her permit to the HPA and someone has been cashing them. Sosar said the question of whether or not there is still a Parking Authority keeps coming up. Mope asked Slusser about this a month ago, and he said everything had been dispersed, but the paperwork had not yet been signed. Dowd said the Parking Garage had a sign up that it will be closed on October 8, 2014, and no one was sent a letter telling them this. She said there are people that just store their cars in there, and do not use it on a regular basis. Mundie said they will get some information from Slusser regarding this matter. Cusat said he believes the paperwork from the state came in two weeks ago that the Parking Authority was dissolved. The Mayor just told the Parking Authority employees about this. Cusat said even though the lines are painted and there is a sign posted on Chestnut Street, there is still no parking there. Mundie asked the City Clerk to send Slusser a letter asking if the Parking Authority is dissolved, and also to whom the checks should be written and where they should be sent for the permit parking.

Dominic Tolerico, Garfield Street, Hazleton asked if the list of rental properties in Hazleton is a public document. Mundie said that might fall under the Open Records Law, but he would ask Slusser about it. Tolerico said felony convictions are public knowledge. The list of rental properties could be cross referenced with the list of felony convictions to find out where these people are living. He said this could be done by the crime watch groups. Tolerico said this may be used as a deterrent to crime. Mope said they would need to talk to DeAndrea about this, because she does not want the City to be accused of profiling. Mope asked the City Clerk to send a memo to Slusser regarding this matter.

Joe Scalise, Alter Street, Hazleton commented about the fire that occurred on 10th and Alter Streets. He said the Fire Department did an excellent job putting out the fire. He asked who cleans this up now because it is very hazardous there. Mundie asked Mike Wilfing about this, and Wilfing said they are working on it and it is currently at the Magistrate’s office. Brian Mandak of the Fire Department said there are some issues with this property because the owner lives in Berwick and he does not have a clear title to the property.

Comments from Mayor or Director of Administration:  None.

Comments from Council:  Bast said Council received another letter from Atty. Charles DeCosmo regarding the lawsuit that was in front of Judge Burke on October 1, 2014. He asked when DeCosmo was hired to represent Council in this matter, how much is he getting paid, and where is the engagement letter. Mundie said he could get the minutes on this to Bast. Mope said she believes DeCosmo gave a written opinion on this matter, which can also be given to Bast. Bast asked that the Council majority send him all of this information as soon as possible. He thanked everyone for coming.

Cusat asked if the new parking sign ordinance could be sent along with the invoices for the business licenses. Mundie said that is a great idea. He stated they could make that suggestion, but the Administration does whatever it wants. Mundie asked the City Clerk to send the Mayor a memo regarding this matter. Cusat asked if extra work sessions or meetings could be scheduled regarding the budget because he will be away in November. Mundie was agreeable to this. Cusat said he was asked if Council could do anything to get the brace welded back onto the plow truck at the Airport, because Dominic Yannuzzi wants to buy a new plow truck. Mundie said someone talked to him about it as well. Mundie suggested contacting Frank Vito to have one of the Streets Department workers look at it. Cusat wanted to clarify that Council did not raise taxes $1 million. He said Council voted to put the question regarding this matter on the ballot in order to give the public the choice. He thanked everyone for coming.

Mope thanked everyone for coming to and participating in the meeting. She said she appreciates all of the input and all of the enthusiasm. She agreed that we all have to work together. Mope said Council passed Resolution 2014-107 recognizing November as Epilepsy Awareness Month. She stated this organization does a great job, it has been doing this work for 40 years, and it is a worthwhile cause. Mope asked everyone to be patient because they are working without the Mayor, Administrator, or Solicitor at this time. She hoped things will change so that the City can move forward. Mope thanked DeAndrea for coming and for giving his input.

Sosar said he knows the suffering families go through concerning epilepsy, and he feels it is a very worthwhile cause. He thanked Chief DeAndrea, Fire Chief Leshko, and all of the firefighters for coming. He said “without attendance here, there is no accountability, there’s no responsibility.” Sosar stated that it is easy to govern when there are no questions, and you are not responsible for what goes on. He said whether you agree or disagree with what Council does, they have been here for every meeting to answer questions. He said he would be happy to march with the citizens of Hazleton against crime. Sosar said Council is here doing what it can. He does not want it to sound like he is inciting conflict. He stated that the residents of Hazleton have his support.

Mundie said he was at the 75th anniversary for Catholic Social Services and he congratulated them. He said he had a cousin who had epilepsy, who had surgery 20 years ago in Montreal, and it worked for him. Mundie said it is a good cause and we should all be aware of it. He asked people to help and donate to the research of this medical condition.

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