2015-03-17 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY,  MARCH 17, 2015

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Tuesday , March 17, 2015 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.

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

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

Minutes of Previous Meetings:  The minutes of the December 30, 2014 special meeting were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications:    None.

Courtesy of the Floor:  Norman Tarantino , 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2015-10 regarding mobile food establishments. He said he hopes this will address the one that is located at Tamarack and Wyom ing Streets, because it never moves. He encouraged Council to pass this Ordinance.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2015-9 regarding BYOB establishments.  He strongly supports this Ordinance. He stated a particular lounge in the City is causing a lot of violence , and this needs to be addressed. Rabo feels it is necessary to pass this Ordinance for the safety and security of the residents of Hazleton. He said that Ordinance 2015-10 should be tabled because it brings up a zoning issue, and the Zoning Ordinance will need to be amended . He commented that a "land use ordinance" needs to go through the Planning Commission first in accordance with the Municipal Planning Code.

Dominic Talerico, Garfield Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2015-11 ,  specifically, Sections 103 and 104. He had questions regarding when code inspectors can enter a building and inspect it, as well as the appointment of deputies and adopting the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). Mike Wilfing , Code Enforcement Supervisor , said the IPMC was already adopted, and this Ordinance is just to fill in some blanks wh ich are specific to the City of Hazleton. Wilfing said the IPMC was adopted by the City many years ago. He stated that the new staff members in his department are being trained on the IPMC. Bob Cohen, City Solicitor, said this is for the updated 2015 IPMC. The 2006 IPMC was previously adopted by the City.

Judy Yurcho , 984 North Locust Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2015-8. She asked if there are any new permits required. Cusat said no. A sliding scale was used before, but now it will be a fixed rate. Mope said this will actually save people a little bit of money. Wilfing said the last Ordinance was not done properly regarding this matter. This one provides more clarification. There will be no sliding scale. He added that this was previously done under the Uniform Construction Code (UCC). Yurcho commented about $125.00 engineering fee that her mother was charged when she had her roof done. DeAndrea said that time, the Licenses and Permits Office was going by the UCC, but it made no sense. He said exorbitant rates were being charged. DeAndrea said Wilfing reviewed this and it was decided to use a fixed fee schedule instead of a sliding fee schedule . This will help with smaller projects.

   

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

  Ordinance  2015-7   An Ordinance Approving the Consolidated Strategy for Housing and Community Development Programs for Fiscal Years 2015-2019 & Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2015 and Revision to FY 2014 Budget (2nd Reading)  

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

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

Ordinance  2015-7 An Ordinance Approving the Consolidated Strategy for Housing and Community Development Programs for Fiscal Years 2015-2019 & Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2015 and Revision to FY 2014 Budget (3rd Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE  PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Ordinance  2015-8  

An Ordinance requiring Hazleton City Work Authorization  Permits for Certain Items Once Covered by Ordinance 2009- 16 (Previously Rescinded) and Ordinance 2013-11 regarding Exemptions to the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, and Rescinding Ordinance 2013-11 (2nd Reading)  

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Mope said she will be abstaining from voting because it has to do with zoning , and she currently has a zoning issue going on with the City.

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

Ordinance 2015-8 An Ordinance requiring Hazleton City Work Authorization Permits for Certain Items Once Covered by Ordinance 2009-16 (Previously Rescinded) and Ordinance 2013-11 regarding Exemptions to the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, and Rescinding Ordinance 2013-11 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 4-1 (4-YESSES; 1-ABSTAIN)

   

RESOLUTIONS

None.

New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance  2015-9  Rescinding Ordinance 2009-12  Entitled "Chronic Nuisance Properties," and an Ordinance in Conjunction with Superseding Third Class City Code, 53 P.S. §37701-A , et seq., Nuisance Abatement , Enacted March 19, 2014 (151 Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Mundie asked if Cohen review this Ordinance. Cohen responded that he wrote this Ordinance because the Third Class City Code statute passed last year supersedes our Ordinance .

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

Ordinance  2015-10 Regulating Mobile Food Service Establishments  (151 Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Sosar said he has some questions and concerns about this Ordinance . He stated Section 4 (Zoning) is not clear regarding stationary locations. Cusat said he sent the wrong version of this Ordinance. It should state five hours in that section. Sosar asked if there were any ordinances like this in Wilkes-Barre or Scranton, and if so, how are they enforced. He also had an issue with being parked in front of a "fixed" restaurant. Bast said there would be an issue if the mobile food establishment was allowed to park there by the owner of the fixed restaurant. This would be beneficial for both of them. Sosar said he likes the idea of having them park 100 feet from the primary entrance of a business, but he is concerned that the "framework " in downtown Hazleton will not allow it. Mundie said he does not want to close anyone's business, but business owners need to follow the laws. Cohen said he will get information from Wilkes-Ba rre and Scranton regarding this matter. Sosar said that Allentown and Bloomsburg have them as well. Mundie made a motion to table the Ordinance and Bast seconded the Motion.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Bast.

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

MOTION TO TABLE PASSES 4-1 (4-YESSES;  1-ABSTAIN) ORDINANCE  TABLED  

Ordinance  2015-11 An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 2007-15 regarding Property Inspections to Provide for the Use of the 2015 IPMC Edition and to Incorporate the Sample Ordinance Therein to the City of Hazleton (1st Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

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

Ordinance  2015-12 An Ordinance Making Transfers of the General Appropriat ion Ordinance for the Year 2015 Beginning January 1, 2015 and Ending December 31, 2015 (1st Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Mundie made a motion to table the Ordinance, and Bast seconded the motion.

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

MOTION TO TABLE PASSES 3-1-1 (3-YESSES; 1-NO; 1-ABSTAIN) ORDINANCE TABLED

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2015-41  Requesting Approval for Disability Retirement for Detective Sergeant Christopher Tessitore

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

DeAndrea said Tessitore sustained a broken neck and had to have surgery. He was previously pinned between two cars apprehending a drug dealer, and recently broke his neck in car crash while in pursuit of a suspect. The workers compensation insurance carrier has deemed that he can no longer perform his duties as a police officer. DeAndrea said he lost feeling in his right arm and the nerves are not regenerating . He stated that this request is being asked of Council because Tessitore does not have 20 years of service in yet. Mundie asked what happens if they do not approve this. DeAndrea responded he will then have to stay on workers compensat ion and the City will have to pay him Heart & Lung benefits as well. He would also still be listed on the rolls and the City will not be able to hire a new officer to replace him. DeAndrea said this will save the City money, because in three more years , he would be able to collect 75% of his salary. He said he believes this is the right thing to do.

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

RESOLUTION  PASSES 4-1 (4-YESSES ; 1-ABSTAIN)

   

Comments from the Audience:   Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton said farmers markets should be exempt from the rules and regulations in the Mobile Food Establishment Ordinance. They are doing a good thing and improving the downtown Hazleton area. They should not have to pay a fee to operate. Tarantino asked if the City's curfew for minors is being enforced . Sosar said yes and DeAndrea will use his "latitude" to enforce it. He commented that the City curfew is very important, and DeAndrea will do what needs to be done. Tarantino said there are a lot of people putting in driveways without zoning approval. He asked for information on this matter, but still has not received it. He said the property next to him at 152 North Lee Court is empty and damage is being done to it. He said he reported it to the police but nothing is being done about it. Mundie said he will have Code Enforcement check into it. Tarantino said he will be cleaning up his yard now that the weather has broken. He added that Mark Thompson should be recognized for all the hard work he has done over the years . Mundie said a resolution will be done when he is officially retired.

Judy Dowd, Hazleton commented on the Parking Garage on Wyoming Street. She said it is in very bad shape and it should be condemned or demolished . She said one entire deck is missing. Sosar said he checked this out for himself and shared 36 pictures of the problems with the Parking Garage with City officials. He was told it is being worked on. Sosar said he just wants the City to be aware of the problems with the Garage, and he wants the citizens of Hazleton to be safe. He said he will not encourage anyone to walk into that garage because he feels it is not safe. Sosar said he gave the information to Wilfing and DeAndrea.

Judy Yurcho , 984 North Locust Street , Hazleton said the City needs to follow up and be consistent with things . She said the owners of 545 West 20th Street took their fence down and they are parking in their yard. Some cars have no tags or license plates on them. She said Code Enforcement talked to the owner and fined him $50.00 , but no one ever followed up on it. She has seen these people take a license plate off of one car and put it on another. She talked to a police officer about this, but nothing is being done. DeAndrea said if a car is not registered and does not have a license plate, it is considered abandoned . Yurcho said the City needs to go after these people, follow up and be consistent. She said the City looks like a "slum" and people need to start taking pride in their properties . Mope asked if Yurcho filed a written complaint regarding this matter. Yurcho responded yes, but the cars are still there. They were there all winter . She felt the cars may be stolen because of them switching license plates. She stated that she would like to see more cars getting towed for violations.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton thanked Council for passing the first reading of the Nuisance Abatement Ordinance . He said he agrees that the City needs to be more consistent with handling complaints . Rabo said there should be a district in the City just for adult-oriented businesses. This would need to go through Planning. He added that the Blighted Property Committee needs to be reinstated. Sosar commented that all committees in the City need to work in conjunction with each other. Rabo said the blighted properties are getting worse. He asked what is going on with the former St. Joseph's Hospital. Mope said there was a covenant signed by the owners that the building could not be a medical facility. The owners had 18 months to decide what they were going to do with it. It has now changed hands and she does not know if that covenant still applies. Cohen said it depends on how it was written.

Ted Sherrock , 67 Franklin Street, Hazleton said representat ives from St. Mary's Byzantine Church asked him to ask the City to clean up the streets. He said people have no pride and are not following the rules and regulations of the City. Sherrock said there is a problem with people putting their trash out too early, and this causes it to blow around. Mundie said the Water Authority is looking into this problem, and they will be patrolling the City as well. Bast stated there is an ordinance in place regarding when to put out your trash. Violators should be fined but they are not. Sherrock said no one is doing anything about this , and we need to clean up our City streets. Mope said people need to start taking pride in their neighborhoods . She stated that if you see something on the ground, pick it up and put in the trash. Sherrock suggested putting something in with the water bill regarding this matter. Sosar said that is a good idea, and he will look into it.

Dominic Tolerico , Garfield Street, Hazleton asked how the IPMC provisions will be enforced . Mundie said the City is hiring more code enforcement people to take care of this matter. DeAndrea agreed . Tolerico suggesting combing the Code Enforcement and Fire Departments . Sosar said there may problems with  

firefighters doing code enforcement work . He added that more code enforcement officers have been hired and hopefully they will be able to handle everything.

Comments from Mayor or Director of Administration:   None.

Comments from Junior Council:  Joel Soto thanked everyone for coming. He agreed with Yurcho that most people do not take care of their properties, and something needs to be done about this.

Josh Narrow asked if there was ever an ordinance regarding the food trucks done before. Cusat said no. Mundie said Council will be making some changes to that Ordinance.

Alex Ortiz said the City would be a lot cleaner if everyone pitched in.

Comments from Council:   Bast thanked everyone for coming. He agreed with everyone on the condition of the City. He said he is constantly picking up garbage , and wishes other people would do the same thing. Bast said there is a problem with people putting out their garbage too early. It blows out of the trash receptacle and ends up all over the neighborhood .

Cusat thanked everyone for coming and wished everyone a Happy Easter.

Mope thanked everyone for coming and wished everyone a Happy Easter. She recently looked at the condition of the Parking Garage, and she hoped the City does something about it as soon as possible. She said there is not much more City Council can do about this. Mope said everyone needs to pitch in and do their part to clean up the City. She added that we need to start helping each other out. She also thanked Tessitore for his service to the City.

Sosar thanked everyone for coming. He said an asphalt recycler was purchased for $30 ,000 but it is not being used. He saw the Streets Department workers using cold patch to fill the potholes. He questioned why the machine is not being used. Sosar said he hopes the Administration addresses this matter. He said last Thursday he asked the City Administrator for the amount of money lent to the Airport, what funds were affected, and how much was repaid. He also asked about transfers that should be coming to Council. He said he still has not received a reply. Sosar stated the Airport owes the City $50,000 this year and we are $22,600 short in cable franchise fees. He wondered why the City cannot get this money back. The Mayor said the Airport made a $100,000 profit last year. Sosar stated that Council raised the cable franchise fee $10 ,000, but the Mayor raised it $12,000. He added that the Parking Garage fees were doubled when put into the budget and still have not been fixed. Sosar said the City was already $500,000 in the hole, when the current budget started . He said there should be central purchasing to save the City some money. Sosar commented that we need to find savings wherever we can. Sosar asked about tires that were purchased recently for the Police Department. DeAndrea said this went through the Highway Department. Sosar said we should be going through Costars for the best pricing on tires. This is not DeAndrea's fault. Sosar asked where Cohen's new computer came from, but Cohen did not know. Mundie explained that Costars is a program where the City can buy things at the state's lowest price. Sosar said we need to be saving money for the taxpayers , and people need to know what is going on in the City. Sosar said he suspects that we are going to need matching money for the new hangars at the Airport .

Mundie agreed with everyone Sosar said. He said the Asphalt Recycler should be used right now to fill the potholes. He said there is a lot of asphalt available to use in the machine. He said he asked Frank Vito, Highway Department Foreman, to send updates to Council on the use of this machine. Mope said some Council members went to the demonstration of this machine, and thought it would be a good thing to purchase for the City. She said there are a lot of potholes in the City that need to be fixed. Mundie said that Council put $100 ,000 in the budget to hire part-time police officer because he believes it will be a big help. He thanked Tessitore for his service to the City.

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