2015-09-08 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2015

Call to Order: Council met in regular session on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 6:30 pm.

 

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

Minutes of Previous Meetings: Cusat made a motion to correct a typographical error in the August 18, 2015 minutes. Sosar seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend Minutes:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

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

MOTION TO AMEND THE AUGUST 18, 2015 MINUTES PASSES

The minutes of the August 18, 2015 Regular Meeting were approved unanimously, as amended.

 

Proclamations/Communications: Councilman Keith Bast’s resignation letter was read aloud by the City Clerk. A motion was made by Sosar to accept Bast’s resignation from City Council. Mope seconded the motion.

Motion to Accept Keith Bast’s resignation:

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

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

MOTION TO ACCEPT KEITH BAST’S RESIGNATION PASSES

Courtesy of the Floor: Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton asked if the hangars at the Airport were assessed. Dominic Yannuzzi, City Engineer, said yes, and their base value was set by the Bureau of Aviation (BOA) with no improvements. This includes depreciation. Cuozzo asked when the paperwork will be made available to the public. Yannuzzi said it will be made available to the public when approved by the BOA. He added all the hangars are 100% occupied right now. Cuozzo questioned Resolution 2015-81. She stated the City should not borrow money for this project, and we need to look more closely at our borrowings and purchases. The City should not own these four hangars. She stated Yannuzzi already has them filled and has leases for these hangars. This should have been brought to Council earlier and there should have been a public hearing on this matter. She asked Council to vote no on this Resolution. Yannuzzi stated the lease revenue will also benefit the City. The Airport hangars are 100% occupied. The current leases will be transferred to the City. Yannuzzi said the revenue from the hangars will pay what is owed on them, and the rest will be revenue for the City. Donations are also coming in for the Airport. Yannuzzi said the Airport is “economically viable” and this will significantly help the City. He added that the City will be able to use some of the hangar space to store equipment.

 

Kevin Skinner, no address given, said he is a former pilot. He believes the current projects going on at the Airport will attract bigger planes. The widening of the streets and the beltway will also bring in more traffic. He said a bigger Airport means there will be bigger corporate entities using it. He also believes this will help make Valmont and Humboldt Industrial Parks bigger.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton said no capital budget was established for this year, and no debt service was established for the borrowing for the Airport project. There is currently a lame duck administration, but a lot of money is being spent. She believes this is moving too fast, and we should wait for the new administration and the new Mayor to come in before moving forward.

Judy Yurcho, 984 North Locust Street, Hazleton said the City is financially “strapped,” there is high unemployment, and the infrastructure is falling apart. She said we need to use what we have and do any more borrowing. Too much money is being spent in the downtown area and the rest of the City is being neglected. Yurcho said we need to more business and revenue in the City. She said the City needs to apply for grants to fixe these problems, and not just make it pretty.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton said the City needs to establish an Airport Authority. This way we will get input from other municipalities. The Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress is wrong to build a park at this location. This land should be sold and developed. It should be an investment property.

Sylvia Thomas, 409 West 6th Street, Hazleton said the City is in “shambles,” and crime is running rampant. She commented that we need to do more about crime instead of beautifying the City.

                                                                                                                                                           

 

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2015-18       An OrdinanceIncreasing the Indebtedness of the City of Hazleton, Luzerne County,Pennsylvania, by the Issuance of a GeneralObligation Notein the Amount of $300,000 for Sundry Purposes;Fixing the Form, Number, Date, Interest, and MaturityThereof; Makinga Covenant for the Payment of the Debt Service on the Note; Providing for the Filing of the RequiredDocument; Providing for the Appointment of aSinking FundDepository for the Note; and AuthorizingExecution,Saleand Delivery Thereof (2nd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Cusat.

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

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Ordinance 2015-18       An OrdinanceIncreasing the Indebtedness of the City of Hazleton, Luzerne County,Pennsylvania, by the Issuance of a GeneralObligation Notein the Amount of $300,000 for Sundry Purposes;Fixing the Form, Number, Date, Interest, and MaturityThereof; Makinga Covenant for the Payment of the Debt Service on the Note; Providing for the Filing of the RequiredDocument; Providing for the Appointment of aSinking FundDepository for the Note; and AuthorizingExecution,Saleand Delivery Thereof (3rd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Cusat.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

                                                                                                                                                           


RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2015-57      Hazleton Regional Airport Easement Agreement with Woelfel Children’s Real Estate Trust (TABLED 8/18/15)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Mope.

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

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

RESOLUTION REMOVED FROM TABLE

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Sosar was concerned about the impact of these roads, as well as the care and maintenance of them. He asked if it will be an overall benefit to the City. Dominic Yannuzzi, City Engineer, said the Woelfel children take full responsibility to maintain and improve the easement area and install maintenance utilities. The City’s land value will increase exponentially. He referenced page three, items four and five of the Easement Agreement. Mope stated the City will oversee the maintenance, and they will do the repairs if we determine they need to be done. Cusat asked if this would be considered a driveway. Yannuzzi responded yes. It is nonexclusive and needs to meet design standards. They are donating 1.78 acres and $10,000 to the Airport. Yannuzzi said the reason for this is there are obstructions on their property that need to be removed. Mundie made a motion to table the Resolution, and Mope seconded the motion.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Mope.

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

MOTION TO TABLE PASSES 3-1

RESOLUTION TABLED

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Resolution 2015-70      Approving a Cost-of-Living Increase for the Hazleton Police Department for the Years 2016, 2017 and 2018 (TABLED 8/18/15)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Cusat. No Second.

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE FAILS DUE TO LACK OF SECOND

RESOLUTION FAILS

                                                                                                                                                           

 

New Business:

ORDINANCES

None.

                                                                                                                                                           

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2015-79      Approving the Purchase of a New ADA Accessible Van for Hazleton Public Transit

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Ralph Sharp, Director of Hazleton Public Transit, said PennDOT wants them to use 1517 funds instead of Act 47 funds. That is why this is being done.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-80      Authorizing the Mayor to Sign the ERISA Investment Management Agreements with the Glenmede Trust Company, N.A., for the Management of the Police, Fire and Non-Uniformed Employees’ Pension Plans

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Sosar said he has a lot of questions about this. He said the Agreements are lengthy, complicated and argumentative, and the City Solicitor is not here to answer his questions. Sosar motioned to table the Resolution and Cusat seconded the motion.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Cusat.

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

MOTION TO TABLE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

RESOLUTION TABLED

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Resolution 2015-81      Authorization to Execute Cooperation Agreement Between the City of Hazleton and the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Krista Schneider, Executive Director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, said Item #3 of the Agreement needs to be amended to include language that costs will be billed on an hourly basis. Cusat made a motion to amend the Agreement to include language that states they will be billed on an hourly basis. Mundie seconded the motion.


 

Motion to Amend Cooperation Agreement:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

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

MOTION TO AMEND THE COOPERATION AGREEMENT PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-82      Requesting Approval for Disability Retirement for Patrol Officer Jeffrey Turse

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Chief Frank DeAndrea said Jeffrey Turse is currently off work without any pay. He is not on Heart and Lung because that is for a permanent disability. Turse has been off work for six months and does not have long-term disability. He is currently on a leave of absence under FMLA. Sosar made a motion to adjourn to executive session to discuss this matter further. Mundie seconded the motion.

Motion to Adjourn to Executive Session:

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call (on Motion to Adjourn to Executive Session): Cusat-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

MOTION TO ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

At this point, Council went into Executive Session. Upon their return, they voted on this Resolution.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-83      A Resolution Requesting a Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant for the Wyoming Street Streetscape and Safety Improvement Project

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Sosar said the City has to pay a 30% match for this. He was concerned that this would have a negative impact on the taxpayers. Krista Schneider, Executive Director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress said this would be paid through liquid fuels. This is distributed throughout Pennsylvania by a certain formula. She said a PIB loan may be used and paid back with liquid fuels. Sosar asked if this can be less. Schneider responded they typically never get the full amount. The last two grants received were around 50% of the amount requested. Dominic Yannuzzi a 10-year loan with the PIB is under 2% interest. Mope said she was concerned with using liquid fuels money. Yannuzzi said revenue will be increasing until 2018, and the City can expect $50,000 to $60,000 more per year in liquid fuels. Mope said Wyoming Street needs to be done but so do other areas of the City. She wants these areas to get some attention as well.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-84      Approving the Bill of Sale and Lease Termination Agreement between the City of Hazleton and the City of Philadelphia, Trustee under the Will of Stephen Girard, Deceased, Acting by the Board of City Trusts for Purchase of Hangar at the Hazleton Regional Airport

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-85      Approving the Bill of Sale and Lease Termination Agreement between the City of Hazleton and Richard Schreibmaier for Purchase of Hangar at the Hazleton Regional Airport

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Mundie asked Yannuzzi if Tom Pribula and Bob Cohen, City Solicitor, looked over this Agreement. Yannuzzi responded yes. He said this will not cost the City anything. It will be paid off by the tenants in a period of months instead of years.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-86      Approving Agreement between the City of Hazleton and Olson Aircraft Company, LLC for a Business Building and Aircraft Space Lease Agreement and Limited Commercial Operation Agreement at the Hazleton Regional Airport

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Mundie asked Yannuzzi if Tom Pribula and Bob Cohen, City Solicitor, looked over this Agreement. Yannuzzi responded yes. He stated it is a five-year lease with the option to extend it for another five years. The revenue will five to six times what we usually get for a hangar. Yannuzzi stated this company wants to expand from 22 employees to 30 employees within the first 12 months of operation. He stated he used the standard lease to keep it consistent. Mundie asked if this will negatively impact the City’s finances. Yannuzzi responded no. He feels it will be beneficial to the City. Mope felt this company will be bringing in his clientele to the area. Cusat asked if they need approval from Hazle Township Zoning, and Yannuzzi responded no because it is the same use.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

                                                                                                                                                           

Comments from the Audience: Judy Yurcho, 984 North Locust Street, Hazleton talked about all of the criminal activity in her neighborhood. She said that no new businesses will be coming into this area that pay well because of this. She stated other areas of Hazleton need to be addressed, not just the downtown area. Yurcho felt illegal drugs will be in the new City Park once it is built. Mope said the FBI needs to be centralized in Hazleton. Hey have said that Hazleton is a hub of drug activity. Yurcho said there will be a crime watch meeting on October 5, 2015, and she asked Cusat and Mundie to come and speak at the meeting.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton said he loves this area and is looking for another place to live. He said Hazleton is worthwhile to fight for. He put in his name to fill the vacancy on Council.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton said he spoke to the head of the Election Board and the question regarding a tax increase in order to hire more police officers will not be on the ballot. He stated that under the Third Class City Code, Section 1213, the Mayor may declare a state of emergency. This is something that the Mayor should look into. Mope stated the Redevelopment Authority should look into getting grants for the rest of the City. Rabo commented that the Redevelopment Authority and the Planning Commission need to work together. Mope said the new Mayor needs to step up and do what is right for the City. Council intends on having a good working relationship with the new Mayor.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton said crime is everywhere and needs to be addressed regionally. She stated the City needs state and federal police assistance. Part-time police officers are very effective in other municipalities, and we need push for part-time officers. She said we all need to step up to work on the City’s drug problem.

Kevin Skinner, no address given, thanked the Streets Department for putting up the new street signs. Mike Vislocky, Streets Department employee, said they are still working on putting up more signs. They are doing the biggest sections right now. Skinner asked why the west end of Hazleton is being ignored. There is a dip in front of his house that is not marked, lots of potholes on his street, an unused handicapped sign is still up, and nothing is being done. Skinner asked why McKinley Street Park is still closed. Sosar said he will check into the matter at the Water Authority meeting on Thursday. Skinner stated he picks up the garbage in the park, and he has come across used needles, condoms, prescription medications, etc. He is sick of the crime in this area and he is prepared to let his house go and move out of Hazleton.

Ted Sherrock, Hazleton, said he went to a seminar in Lancaster and their downtown is now vibrant and making a positive impact on the community. This type of thing needs to start with the administration and the Mayor.

Comments from Mayor: None.

Comments from Council: Cusat said sometimes in business you need to get into debt to improve. He does not believe Hazleton is in shambles. He thanked everyone for coming.

Sosar said there was never going to be a referendum question on the ballot for the November election. The Police Chief, Police Officers, the Mayor, and the Union spoke out against hiring part-time police officers. He felt there should be more people from the federal government and the state government helping the City fight crime. Council put money aside in last year’s budget for the hiring of part-time police officers. Sosar said the first full-time officer hired was a part-time officer prior to coming to Hazleton. Sosar felt there should be another way to contact the police department other than 911.

Mope said she believes the FBI should come here and set up central headquarters to address the crime in the City. Part-time police could take on the “menial” tasks to free up full-time police officers. She thanked everyone for coming.

Mundie thanked everyone for coming. He said there are still a lot of positives in Hazleton. He stated a letter was sent to the May from Council regarding the hiring of part-time police officers. The Mayor did not respond to the letter. Mundie said 30% to 40% of the budget is used for travelling prisoners to Wilkes-Barre. The Mayor and the Administration will not try it. He said he would continue to try to contact the Mayor about this.

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

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