2014-12-17 Special Meeting Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
SPECIAL MEETING
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2014

Call to Order:  Council met in special session on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m.

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

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

Courtesy of the Floor:  Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on the Budget Ordinance and the storm water fee. She said this fee was set by resolution instead of ordinance and it was only for one year. She said the $25.00 minimum fee and the penalties for nonpayment were not in the ordinance. Deakos stated she knows someone who owns three acres of minelands and they received a bill for over $1,000. Dominic Yannuzzi called this person and asked him to pay $250 instead. She commented that the legalities of this are questionable. Sosar vouched for Deakos and said he spoke to the same person.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton commented on the tax claims and transfer tax. He said the tax claims are historically paid in March. He asked why the transfer was increased so much. Rabo said the City should try to get the money it is owed from everyone, such as the airport. He asked when the airport is going to pay back the City. Rabo said Council needs to look into new revenue streams. He added that the City’s tax base is eroding and the homestead exemption was recently repealed by the County, so taxpayers are going to have to pay more.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton stated that Wilkes-Barre has fees charged to the owners of cell phone towers and this is something the City should look into.

Dave Fatula, 105 Mark Road, Hazleton stated the Fire Department’s 2015 budget already reflects the salaries and other increases of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. He asked when the new contract will come before Council again for a vote. Mundie said he is waiting to receive clarification on a few items in the contract first. Fatula said he was under the impression that Council already received a response from the labor attorney. Sosar said they received different responses from different solicitors. Fatula said if the only issue is the term of the contract, then he expects it to be voted on by the end of the year.

             

Business at Hand:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2014-20 An Ordinance Providing for the Appropriation of Specific Amounts Estimated as Required for the Various Departments of the Government of the City of Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania for and during the Fiscal Year, Dating from January 1, 2015 and Ending December 31, 2015 (Budget) (TABLED 12/11/14) (2nd Reading)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call (on Motion to Remove from Table):  Bast-absent; Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

The following amendments were made to the 2015 Budget:

  LINE ITEM #  DESCRIPTION  PRESENTED  SECONDED  VOTES  BAST CUSAT MOPE SOSAR MUNDIE 1 301-3100  R/E Tax Curr. Yr. - Lower to 3.2 mills Reduced by $116,000 Mope Sosar Absent No Yes Yes Yes 2 310-3100 R/E Transfer Tax – Increase to 1.5% (1% to City and 0.5% to School District) – Add $145,000 Mope Sosar Absent  Yes Yes Yes Yes 3 321-3800 Cable TV Franchise – Increase by $10,000 Mope Sosar Absent No Yes Yes Yes 4 392-3201

392-3207 Transfer In from Sewer Trans. - $400,000 Transfer Out from Storm Water Acct. - $300,000 Mope Mundie Absent No Yes Yes Yes 5 401-5100 Mayor’s Dept. Salaries – Remove 3% increase  Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 6 401-5190

401-5191 Mayor’s Dept. Salaries – Adjust FICA Adjust Medicare Mundie Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 7 402-5100 Administration Salaries – Remove 3% Increase Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 8 402-5190

402-5191 Administration Salaries – Adjust FICA Adjust Medicare Mope Mundie Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 9 405-5100

405-5190 405-5191 Salary City Clerk – Remove 3% Increase Adjust FICA Adjust Medicare Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 10 407-5100

407-5190 407-5191 Salary Admin. Asst. – Remove 3% Increase Adjust FICA Adjust Medicare Mope Sosar Absent No Yes Yes Yes 11 408-5450 Contracted Services – Engineering – Reduce by $10,000 Mundie Mope Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 12 409-5100 Maintenance Salaries – Reduce by $25,000 Mope Sosar Absent No Yes Yes Yes 13 410-5102 Policemen Salaries – Increase by $103,839 Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 14 410-5191 Policemen Salaries – Adjust Medicare Sosar Mope Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 15 410-5460 Meetings, Conf., Seminars (Police) – Reduce by $5,000 Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes  BAST CUSAT MOPE SOSAR MUNDIE 16 410-5470 Other Expenses (Police) – Reduce by $20,000 Mope Sosar Absent No Yes Yes Yes 17 411-5100

411-5191 Fire Dept. Salaries – Remove 3% Increase Adjust Medicare Mope Mundie Absent No Yes Yes Yes 18 413-5100

413-5190 413-5191 Code Enf. Salaries – Remove 3% Increase Adjust FICA Adjust Medicare Sosar Mope Absent No Yes Yes Yes 19 413-5450 Contracted Services (Code Enf.) – Reduce by $30,000 Mope Sosar Absent No Yes Yes Yes 20 421-5100

421-5190 421-5191 Health Dept. Salaries – Remove 3% Increase Adjust FICA Adjust Medicare Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 21 410-5470 Other Expense (Police) – Increase by $20,000 Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 22 410-5100 Non-Uniformed Salaries (Police) – Reduce by $2,150 Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 23 430-5100

430-5190 430-5191 Wages (Public Works) – Remove 3% Increase Adjust FICA Adjust Medicare Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 24 007-364-3120 Stormwater Fees – Decrease by $375,000 Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 25 007-492-5276

007-492-5470 Trsf. To G/F Wages (Stormwater) – Reduce by $300,000 Other Expenses (Stormwater) – Reduce by $75,000 Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes 26 008-396-3820

008-492-5276 Prior Yr. Fund Balance (STF) – Increase by $400,000 Trsf. to G/F Wages (Sewer) – Increase by $400,000 Mope Sosar Absent Yes Yes Yes Yes

On the Question (continued):

Cusat commented that we are using the December 19, 2013 budget. Mope said no decision was made by the Judge yet regarding that matter, but by law it reverts back to that budget. Cusat stated the Administration said the $400,000 sewer transmission fund money was already used as revenue. Sosar said we are responsible for putting it back. Mundie stated that Council determines how to spend the City’s money, not the Administration. Sosar stated the Mayor has been using the December 19, 2013 budget for this year. Mope commented that the City needs to hire a controller to avoid these problems. Sosar said he researched this matter, and if the budget is vetoed by the Mayor, Council has three days to override the veto. He said he hopes the administration brings transfers to Council next year. He added that we need to be following a “more realistic” budget. Mundie said that in order to put the $400,000 back into the sewer transmission fee account, we will need to rescind and redo the vote for that particular item. Cusat said he will not do that. Mundie suggested getting a legal opinion on this matter. He said Council did not increase anything; it only made a correction. Sosar stated that there needs to be a super majority if a line item is increased by 25% or more or 10% of the aggregate amount. Mundie said the grand totals for the budget as amended are revenues $9,276,378, and expenses 9,276,378. The budget is balanced. 

Roll Call (on Budget, as amended):  Bast-absent; Cusat-no; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

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

Ordinance 2014-21 An Ordinance Amending Ordinances 1878, 1932, 88-52, and 2004-38, Providing for Assessment Levy, and Collection of a Tax for General Municipal Purposes and Imposing Additional Tax for the Sole Purpose of Funding Required Benefits to be Paid to or on Behalf of Pension Recipients Pursuant to Act 205, known as the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act, which is Directly Related to the Pension Plan of the City of Hazleton (2nd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

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

Ordinance 2014-21 An Ordinance Amending Ordinances 1878, 1932, 88-52, and 2004-38, Providing for Assessment Levy, and Collection of a Tax for General Municipal Purposes and Imposing Additional Tax for the Sole Purpose of Funding Required Benefits to be Paid to or on Behalf of Pension Recipients Pursuant to Act 205, known as the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act, which is Directly Related to the Pension Plan of the City of Hazleton (3rd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES

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

Ordinance 2014-22 Re-Enacting Ordinances 1931, 1932, and 1933, which Continue in Force and Effect for the Period January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015, Imposing the Real Estate Tax, Earned Income Tax, Per Capita Tax, and Resident Tax, Respectively (2nd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Cusat suggested changing the real estate transfer tax from 1% to 1.5%, with the City receiving 1% and the school district receiving 0.5%. Mope agreed and made a motion to increase the real estate transfer tax from 1% to 1.5%. Sosar seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

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

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

Ordinance 2014-22 Re-Enacting Ordinances 1931, 1932, and 1933, which Continue in Force and Effect for the Period January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015, Imposing the Real Estate Tax, Earned Income Tax, Per Capita Tax, and Resident Tax, Respectively (3rd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES AS AMENDED

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

Ordinance 2014-23 An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 88-14, Re-Enacting the Mercantile and Business Privilege Tax for the Period of January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

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

Ordinance 2014-23 An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 88-14, Re-Enacting the Mercantile and Business Privilege Tax for the Period of January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES

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

Ordinance 2014-24 An Ordinance of the City of Hazleton Fixing the Tax Rate of Real Estate Located in the City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, for All City Purposes for the Fiscal Year 2015, Beginning January 1, 2015 and Ending December 31, 2015 (TABLED 12/11/14) (1st Reading)

Sosar made a motion to remove this Ordinance from the table, and Mope seconded the motion.

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

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

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Sosar made a motion to amend the millage for general revenue purposes from 3.28 to 3.12 to reflect the reduction in salaries. Mundie seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend:

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

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

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

Ordinance 2014-25 Re-Enacting Realty Transfer Tax Provisions Pursuant to Article XI-D of the Tax Reform Code of 1971, and Authorizing the Department of Revenue of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to Determine, Collect, and Enforce the Tax, Interest, and Penalties (2nd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Cusat made a motion to amend the realty transfer tax to 1.5%, and Sosar seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

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

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

Ordinance 2014-25 Re-Enacting Realty Transfer Tax Provisions Pursuant to Article XI-D of the Tax Reform Code of 1971, and Authorizing the Department of Revenue of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to Determine, Collect, and Enforce the Tax, Interest, and Penalties (3rd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES AS AMENDED

             

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2014-141 Council Meetings for the Year 2015

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Cusat asked that some of the dates of the Council meetings be changed because he attended Big Brothers/Big Sisters meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of every month. Mundie made a motion to table the resolution so the dates could be adjusted to accommodate Cusat’s schedule, and Cusat seconded the motion.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Cusat.

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

MOTION TO TABLE PASSES

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

Select Language

enes

Search Our Site