2015-10-06 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2015

Call to Order: Council met in regular session on Tuesday, October 6, 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-absent; Mundie-present

Minutes of Previous Meetings: The minutes of the September 22, 2015 Liquor License Transfer Hearing and Regular Meeting, September 29, 2015 Special Meeting were approved unanimously.

 

Proclamations/Communications: None.

Courtesy of the Floor: Antonio Rodriguez, 718 Muir Avenue, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2015-21. He asked who decides how much money the City receives. Fermin responded HUD determines the amount. This is only an estimate. Last year the City received $658,000. Rodriguez stated this is not enough money. City officials need to contact Congressman Lou Barletta and ask him to work with us.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton asked who the City will be using as its collection agency, and is it already in place. Mundie said this was given to Council by the Administration, and he has some of the same questions to ask. Tarantino asked if the stormwater fee is being reinstated and Mundie said no, this is just a provision.

 

Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2015-24. She asked how a fine can be placed on something that is nonexistent (referring to the Stormwater Collection and Management Plan Ordinance, Ordinance 2013-13). Cuozzo commented on Ordinance 2015-23. She said this Ordinances states to fine the property owner or occupant. This would be dependent on what the problem is in order to determine responsibility. She asked Council to vote no on this Ordinance.

 

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2015-24. He stated he went over this previously and told Council it does not follow the Pennsylvania Stormwater Management Act, and is therefore not legally binding. He said the proposed change to the Quality of Life Ordinance make things more confusing. He asked Council to vote no on the amendment to the Stormwater Ordinance.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2015-21, specifically the City lighting project. She questioned what happened to the $1 million the City borrowed for this several years ago. Mundie said the Administration at that time was sending payments to MEM. Council told Mary Ellen Lieb, the Acting City Administrator at that time, not to send them any more money, but Lieb continued to send payments. He said this needs to be investigated further.

 

                                                                                                                                                           

 

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

None.

                                                                                                                                                           


RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2015-57      Hazleton Regional Airport Easement Agreement with Woelfel Children’s Real Estate Trust (TABLED 9/22/15)

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Mundie.

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

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES

RESOLUTION REMOVED FROM TABLE

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Mundie said he did not talk to the City Solicitor about this, and he is currently on vacation. He said he is voting yes with the provision that he reviews the Easement Agreement before it is signed.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

                                                                                                                                                           

 

New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2015-21       An Ordinance Approving the CDBG Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2016 (1st Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Mundie asked how this is different from the last budget. Fermin said there are more street improvements included, improvements to the Senior Center, the City lighting project, and $10,000 for overtime for the Police Department. She added that there is also $65,000 left over for housing rehab.

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

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Ordinance 2015-22       An Ordinance Amending the Parking Ordinance, as Amended, in the City of Hazleton, Ordinance 2009-24, as Amended (1st Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Mundie said he and Sosar have a lot of questions to ask the City Solicitor regarding this Ordinance.

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

ORDINANCE FAILS 2-1-1 (2-NO; 1-YES; 1-ABSENT)

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Ordinance 2015-23       An Ordinance Amending the Quality of Life and Violation Ticket Process Ordinance in the City of Hazleton, Ordinance 2013-12 (1st Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Mundie said he has questions to ask the City Solicitor regarding this Ordinance. Cusat said the Administration is trying to bring in some outstanding monies in before the end of the year.

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

ORDINANCE FAILS 2-1-1 (2-NO; 1-YES; 1-ABSENT)

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Ordinance 2015-24       An Ordinance Amending the Existing Stormwater Collection and Management Plan Ordinance, Ordinance 2013-13 (1st Reading)

Presented by Mundie. No Second.

ORDINANCE FAILS DUE TO LACK OF SECOND

                                                                                                                                                           

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2015-92      Fair Housing Resolution

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Fermin stated this is a general Resolution that needs to be passed because of the HOME Grant in accordance with HUD’s regulations.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

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Resolution 2015-93      Appointments to Junior Council

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Cusat.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES

                                                                                                                                                           

Comments from the Audience: Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton thanked Council for voting no on the amendment to the Stormwater Ordinance. She commented that there was a lot of information missing from the Ordinance such as the deadline for payment, penalties, appeals, etc. Mope said none of the correct provisions were put into this Ordinance. Cuozzo stated this is geared more toward the sewer lines, which the City no longer possesses. She stated the Mayor should have been present at this meeting to answer questions regarding the amendment to the Stormwater Ordinance.

Antonio Rodriguez, 718 Muir Avenue, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2015-92 (Fair Housing Resolution) for Community Development. He asked why this is being done. Mundie said every municipality across the nation has to pass this Resolution if it receives grant money from the Federal government. Rodriguez was concerned with landlords renting to criminals. Mundie said landlords are allowed to deny criminals housing.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton thanked Council for voting no on the amendment to the Stormwater Ordinance. He felt the Mayor was forcing Council to pass these things because he is a “lame duck” Mayor. Tarantino commented on the vacant seat on Council. He felt Council should ask the Judge to expedite the matter because there are less than three months for that individual to serve, and sometimes these decision may take several months.

Mark Schnorr, 606 West 1st Street, Hazleton thanked Council for voting no on the amendment to the Stormwater Ordinance. He requested a special exemption to the snow ban for his street. On the odd side of the street, there are 17 garages. If the snow ban is on the even side of the street, people cannot park on the other side because of the garages. There are also two handicapped spots on the even side of the street. He asked that the snow ban always be on the odd side of his street.

Sylvia Thomas, 409 West 6th Street, Hazleton said teenagers are overdosing on drugs, high school kids are taking heroin, and there are drive-by shootings, robberies, and murders throughout the City. Property values are plummeting because of the crime. She commented that people do not feel safe in their own homes. She asked Council hire more part-time or full-time police officers to fight this increase in crime.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton said he addressed Council three years ago about organized crime and offered citizen patrol units. Nothing was ever done. He said if taxes increase and home values plummet because of crime, there will be more foreclosed and abandoned homes in Hazleton. This invites more criminal activity. He stated the City needs to come up with a plan that involves the whole community, and not just hire more police officers. State, federal and county officials need to get involved. Rabo said “blight and crime go hand in hand.”

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton said Council put $100,000 in the budget to hire part-time police officers, but the Administration never hired them. She told Council they can do a Mandamus against the Mayor with regard to this matter. Mope said the Mayor did not use Council’s budget; he used his own. Mundie stated by the time the Mandamus goes through the courts, the Mayor’s term will be up and he will be gone. Deakos said it would set an example and show that the Mayor cannot break the laws. Mundie said he sent a memo to the Mayor a month ago regarding this matter, but never received a response. Mope said Council placed a Resolution on the agenda about this, but the City Solicitor asked Council to remove it.

Comments from Mayor: None.

Comments from Council: Cusat thanked everyone for coming.

Mope thanked everyone for coming. She said the Drug Task Force that was here earlier this year with Attorney General Kathleen Kane should set up an office here. Hazleton is the “hub” for drug activity because of its location.


Mundie agreed with Mope. He suggested sending the Attorney General’s office a letter and ask them to come back.

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

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