2015-09-22 Council Minutes


Call to Order: Council met in regular session on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 6:00 pm.


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


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

Minutes of Previous Meetings: The minutes of the September 8, 2015 Work Session and Regular Meeting were approved unanimously.



Proclamations/Communications: None.

Courtesy of the Floor: Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton commented on the Liquor License Transfer Resolution. He said the City has lost a lot of its liquor licenses, and we need to bring them back in. This will bring in more business to the area.



Old Business:





Resolution 2015-57      Hazleton Regional Airport Easement Agreement with Woelfel Children’s Real Estate Trust (TABLED 9/8/15)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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



Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Mundie questioned Part D of the non-exclusive Easement Agreement. Dominic Yannuzzi, City Engineer, the City is the Grantor and will give a permanent and non-exclusive agreement to the Grantee. Mundie said that means the City never has a say in the use of this piece of property. Yannuzzi said it can be worded differently. Bob Cohen, City Solicitor, said he is unable to word this differently because he does not know what was negotiated between the parties. Yannuzzi said the City would still own the property. Cohen said even though it is a non-exclusive agreement, the City still has rights to the property. Yannuzzi stated non-exclusive means the City can also use the property. Yannuzzi said at the last meeting Mope questioned if the Grantee will make reasonable repairs to the property at issue, such as paving the driveway, etc. Cohen said he does not see a problem with putting that terminology into the Agreement. Mundie questioned paragraph seven regarding the wording “hold Grantees harmless.” Cohen said this means that whoever is at fault will be held responsible. He suggested adding the wording “except for the negligence of the Grantee” to this paragraph. Yannuzzi pointed out that paragraph eight states the Grantee will get all of the necessary permits. The City will get 1.78 acres from the Woelfels and the Woelfels will pay for all of the subdivision costs. They also made a $10,000 donation to the Airport. Yannuzzi said the Woelfels allowed the City to remove the air space obstructions.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Mope.

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




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

At this point, Bob Cohen, City Solicitor, stated this Resolution should be tabled again because it does not comply with the Act 44 Pension Law, and needs to be rewritten. He said Council may also opt to not present it and let it die.





New Business:





Resolution 2015-87      A Resolution Authorizing the Transfer of Liquor License No. R-6543 and LID No. 12288 to SAI Hazleton, LLC for Premises Located at 285 South Church Street, Hazleton, Luzerne County, PA

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Cusat made a motion to amend the Resolution to correct a typographical error. In the second paragraph, John P. Rodgers, Esquire should be changed to Joseph Mashinski, Esquire. Mope seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mope.

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


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



Resolution 2015-88      Adopting the Reduce 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)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Sosar stated he would like a final confirmation from Tom Pribula that we are still able to take this deduction. Mope said Council can make this contingent on Pribula’s answer.

At this point, Mundie read the Minimum Municipal Obligation (MMO) for each of the pension plans, with the reduced amortization for the Police and Fire pension plans, as follows:

POLICE - $2,498,784

FIRE - $1,515,962

NON-UNIFORMED - $383,317


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



Resolution 2015-89      Recommendation of Award for Hazleton Public Works Garage Roof Project

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

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



Comments from the Audience: Sylvia Thomas, 409 West 6th Street, Hazleton recommended Dee Deakos and Antonio Rodriguez to fill the vacancy on City Council because they will look out for the welfare of the City and its people.

Judy Yurcho, 984 North Locust Street, Hazleton said the vacancy on City Council needs to be filled by someone who cares about the City, regardless of what political party they belong to. She stated the Mayor is blaming Council for the lack of police officers, but this is incorrect. The City cannot afford it and the taxpayers cannot afford a tax increase. Yurcho said the City needs to find alternative sources of revenue other than the taxpayers. She stated that 90% of the current police force does not live in Hazleton, so they would not be contributing to the tax base. Yurcho commented that more police will not guarantee less crime. She asked Council and the City officials to keep track of all the money coming in and the money going out.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton said the Third Class City Code states that the Mayor and Council are supposed to be getting reports from the Police Department on a regular basis. He added there is a specific formula for determining the crime rate, and asked if DeAndrea used this formula. There is also a formula to determine the number of police officers required in a community. Rabo believes DeAndrea is not basing his figures on these formulas. He said DeAndrea is not giving out the facts. Rabo was concerned about a certain Director of a non-profit organization making decisions regarding blight, and asked why that person is preparing a blighted properties list for the City. This is the job of the Redevelopment Authority and the Code Enforcement Department. He had concerns about a house that was redeveloped, but there is still a lot of problems with it. The Redevelopment Authority approving the funding of this project. If this house would have been inspected properly, it would have been torn down. Rabo said the Director of Community Development does not and should not oversee the Redevelopment Authority.

Antonio Rodriguez, 718 Muir Avenue, Hazleton asked that the record show that Sylvia Thomas spoke out of her own mind and heart, and no one influenced her statement.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton said he hoped the candidates for the vacancy on Council will be able to talk to the Council members. He would be happy to discuss any matter with them. He said he would just like to give back to the City.

Kim Ator, 584 North Laurel Street, Hazleton said she sent in a resume for the vacant Council seat. She has experience with preparing budgets and cares about what is going on in the City. She said she would do what is right for the City and its people if selected.

Ted Sherrock, 67 Franklin Street, Hazleton asked Council to consider him for the vacant seat on Council. He said he gets along well with all of the Council members. He stated he owned a family business for many years, and he comes to most of the Council meetings.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton asked Council to consider her for the vacant seat on Council. She said she has been coming to the meeting for many years and she is also a business owner. She felt this experience would help City Council if she is selected.

Comments from Mayor: None.

Comments from Council: Cusat stated that there needs to be a vote by Council to take something off the agenda. He said because of his Resolution regarding the Council vacancy being taken off the agenda, there now needs to be a special meeting. This meeting needs to be advertised and will cost additional money. He was hoping the Resolution would be presented and seconded so that everyone on Council could discuss the matter.

Sosar thanked everyone for coming. He said he felt it was premature to put the Council Vacancy Resolution on the agenda at this time. This should not be taken lightly. He said the Council members did not violate the Sunshine Law and he can talk to any Council member at any time. The Sunshine Law is only violated if there is a discussion between three or more Council members. Sosar suggested having a special meeting next week to select an appropriate person to fill the vacancy. Cusat asked if there will be a name to vote on next week. Sosar said the name will be left blank, and it will be decided and voted on during the meeting. He stated that although Keith Bast was not here for a few months, Council could not do anything until he handed in his resignation. Sosar felt the Resolution that was placed on the agenda regarding this matter was just a “political ploy.” He felt Council was being pressured and were being pitted against each other. He will take his time in making this decision. Sosar asked that a special meeting be called for Tuesday, September 29, 2015 to vote on this matter.

Mope stated the prior Council was required to have the approval of two Council members in order to put something on the agenda. She was surprised that Cusat put on the Resolution appointing Kim Ator to the vacant Council seat. Mope said they are trying to give more people the opportunity to apply for the vacancy. She thanked everyone for coming.

Mundie said this vacancy is an “important spot on Council.” The more people that apply, the better. He stated this is a hard decision to make, and they will pick the person who has the best interest in the City. Council has 30 days from the date of resignation to fill the seat. If this does not happen, then a Judge will decide the matter. He stated that have until October 8, 2015 to fill the vacancy.

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

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