2015-12-18 Council Minutes

MINUTES
<style="text-align: center;" data-mce-type="text/css">HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
<style="text-align: center;" data-mce-type="text/css">REGULAR MEETING
<style="text-align: center;" data-mce-type="text/css">FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2015

 

Call to Order: Council met in regular session on Friday, December 18, 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; Keegan-present; Mope-present; Sosar-present; Mundie-present

At this point, Mundie indicated an executive session was held prior to the meeting to discuss contractual matters.

 

Minutes of Previous Meetings: None.

 

Proclamations/Communications: None.

 

Courtesy of the Floor: Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2015-127. She asked what this is for and why is the finance company included on the Resolution. Mundie responded it is for a study on crime and law enforcement. This was submitted by Krista Schneider from this Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress (DHAP). Cuozzo asked why Schneider is doing this. Mundie said State Representative Tarah Toohil asked her to work on it. Keegan said it for funds for law enforcement and crime prevention for three years. It is not for DHAP. He added that the financing company is named in the Resolution because it is the with regard to an LSA grant. Cuozzo asked why the City is asking for $650,000 for the Parking Garage. Mundie said it does not belong to the DeAngelos because they missed the deadline for possession of the Parking Garage. It is now ours and the money is being requested for such things as an automated gate system, etc. Keegan said an engineering study was done on the Garage, and the $650,000 is being based on the findings from that study.

Antonio Rodriguez, 718 Muir Avenue, Hazleton said the City lost a good person with the passing of Rick Wech. He spoke about all the good things Wech did for the City and its residents. He said Wech was always an honest man and never had a personal agenda.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton stated Rick Wech was a big help he had the fire at his home and he will be missed. He asked what St. Gabriel’s House is and Mope responded it was a convent. Tarantino questioned whether it was still owned by the Diocese. Sosar said it may now be privately owned. Mundie said it would be a non-profit company.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2015-127 regarding an LSA grant. He said according to the Gaming Control website, an amount of up to $2 million can be used to fund a crime study. He read from the website. He stated last year Jenkins Township used this grant to create a regional police force. He suggested the City apply for this grant with other municipalities. Sosar said he would like to see more information regarding this grant. Mope said Council just found out about this today and the City Solicitor did not look at it. Rabo said Quality of Life violations go to the Magistrate, but some municipalities are no longer sending them there because it is a time consuming and tedious process. Instead, they were placed under the blighted properties process, which is more beneficial to everyone. Sosar said he has reviewed ordinances from Reading regarding how they handle blighted properties, and we can learn a lot from them.

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2015-17 regarding an Airport hangar. She felt the City does not need another hangar. She was concerned about taking out a loan for this and how it will affect the budget.

Ted Sherrock, 67 Franklin Street, Hazleton commented on Resolution 2015-125 regarding the grant for the Sewer Authority. He said this is a very important project. This will affect the northwest section of the City. He stated this grant money is badly needed in order to keep the rates down. This project will affect the City and Hazle Township. Sherrock asked that Council support this grant and “get behind” this project.

 

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2015-26     An Ordinance Amending the Quality of Life and Violation Ticket Process Ordinance in the City of Hazleton, Ordinance 2013-12 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

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

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Ordinance 2015-26     An Ordinance Amending the Quality of Life and Violation Ticket Process Ordinance in the City of Hazleton, Ordinance 2013-12 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Ordinance 2015-27     An Ordinance Amending the Parking Ordinance, as Amended, in the City of Hazleton, Ordinance 2009-24, as Amended (2nd Reading)

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Cusat.

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

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Ordinance 2015-27     An Ordinance Amending the Parking Ordinance, as Amended, in the City of Hazleton, Ordinance 2009-24, as Amended (3rd Reading)

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Cusat.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Ordinance 2015-29     An Ordinance of the City of Hazleton, County of Luzerne, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Amending Ordinance 95-26, Zoning Ordinance for the City of Hazleton, as well as Chapter 245 (Zoning), Part II of the Code of Ordinances for the City of Hazleton, to Provide for BYOB Establishments within the City of Hazleton as Special Exceptions, with Specific Performance Standards Attached Thereto; and Providing for Uses not Addressed within the Ordinance as Special Exceptions with Specific Performance Standards Likewise Attached Thereto, and rescinding Ordinance 2015-5, the Hazleton City BYOB Ordinance (2nd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Keegan.

On the Question:

Keegan made a motion to amend the Ordinance as follows:

Under 2.32(a) (Performance Standards), paragraph three, insert after the word “lotteries” the phrase “not licensed and authorized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” In paragraph 5, insert after the word “minor” the phrase “defined as anyone under the age of 21.” In paragraph 7, after the word “employees” insert the phrase “if working at a BYOB establishment or facility shall not consume alcoholic beverages nor,” and delete the phrase “shall not” immediately thereafter. Then insert after the word “premises” the phrase “during hours of operation.”

Cusat seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend:

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Cusat.

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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES

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

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Ordinance 2015-29     An Ordinance of the City of Hazleton, County of Luzerne, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Amending Ordinance 95-26, Zoning Ordinance for the City of Hazleton, as well as Chapter 245 (Zoning), Part II of the Code of Ordinances for the City of Hazleton, to Provide for BYOB Establishments within the City of Hazleton as Special Exceptions, with Specific Performance Standards Attached Thereto; and Providing for Uses not Addressed within the Ordinance as Special Exceptions with Specific Performance Standards Likewise Attached Thereto, and rescinding Ordinance 2015-5, the Hazleton City BYOB Ordinance (3rd Reading)

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Mope.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY AS AMENDED

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Ordinance 2015-30     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, 2016 and Ending December 31, 2016 (BUDGET) (2nd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

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

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Ordinance 2015-31     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 Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Mundie stated that the State of Pennsylvania is considering changing the pension plans, but it will only affect new workers. He felt this would not help the overall problem.

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

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Ordinance 2015-31     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: Cusat-yes; Keegan-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Ordinance 2015-32     Re-Enacting Ordinances 1931, 1932, and 1933, which Continue in Force and Effect for the Period January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016, 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:

Keegan asked if anyone had an interest in raising the real estate transfer tax to 2% or 2.5%. Mundie said it was raised last year. Keegan said there are serious budget shortfalls and we need to look at ways to get more revenue. Mope felt it may hurt the City in the long run and people are not buying homes right now. Sosar said real estate agents say this higher transfer tax affects people who are buying. Cusat said he asked for a 1% increase last year, but only got 0.5%. He would like to see it raised another 0.5%. Keegan said nobody here wants to raise taxes, but we have to in order to still have City services. We have to make the hard decisions. Mundie said he talked to a lot of people and they say they are paying exorbitant taxes. He gave a some examples. He said Luzerne County should do another reassessment. Keegan said that would not do any good because if the property values are lowered, the millage would need to be increased. Mundie said our valuations are down $900,000. Sosar stated the tax base declines every year. Keegan felt not feeling safe is what is keeping people from buying homes in Hazleton, not taxes. Mope said sometimes we need to make sacrifices to make it better for us in the long run. Keegan said we have obligations which need to be taken care of. The problem of safety needs to be addressed. Sosar said we need to have good homes available at reasonable rates. He felt Can-Do should put a professional park in Hazleton instead of Drums. People will buy homes here if a professional park is in Hazleton. We need to build up our tax base. Sosar said the root of the problem is the deterioration of the City. Mundie agreed that crime is a major problem. Sosar questions how many surveillance cameras are working and who is monitoring them. A brief discussion took place between Detective Ken Zipovsky and Sosar regarding the surveillance camera system. Keegan said we should stop collecting the per capita and residence tax, and increase taxes slightly. It is too costly to try and collect on these small taxes. Cusat said as soon as some money comes in, he will have a collection company come in and see what they can do.

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

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Ordinance 2015-33     An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 88-14, Re-Enacting the Mercantile and Business Privilege Tax for the Period of January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Sosar said this has been in place since the 1990s. Nobody likes it but we need it until we can find something to replace it. Mundie suggesting making some changes to this because it is hurting some businesses. Keegan said we are only collecting about 20% of what is owed to the City.

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

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Ordinance 2015-33     An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 88-14, Re-Enacting the Mercantile and Business Privilege Tax for the Period of January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Ordinance 2015-34     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 2016, Beginning January 1, 2016 and Ending December 31, 2016 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Mundie questioned whether the budget related Ordinances would need to be done over if Cusat presents a new budget in January. Cusat said all of them would need to be done again.

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

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Ordinance 2015-34     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 2016, Beginning January 1, 2016 and Ending December 31, 2016 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 3-2

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Ordinance 2015-35     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 Keegan. Seconded by Mope.

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

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Ordinance 2015-35     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 Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

                                                                                                                                                           

RESOLUTIONS

None.

                                                                                                                                                           

 

New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2015-36     Amending Ordinance 2015-16 (Parking Ordinance) to Include the Definition of Snow Maintenance (1st Reading)

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Keegan.

On the Question:

Keegan questioned what this was for. Cusat responded the definition for snow maintenance is missing from the ordinance tickets. We need to add this definition so we can use these tickets.

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

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Ordinance 2015-37     An Ordinance Regulating Parking Rates and Parking Enforcement within the City of Hazleton and Amending Ordinance 2009-24, as amended by Ordinance 2015-16, Regulating Parking and Establishing Fines for Violations (1st Reading)

 

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Sosar.

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

 

                                                                                                                                                           

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2015-108   A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the Saint Gabriel House

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Krista Schneider, representing the Can-Do Community Foundation, said the Diocese still owns the Saint Gabriel House, but there is a company managing the building. This helps the United Way and programs for low-income individuals. She said right now, there is a severe shortage of Section 8 housing in this area. The Saint Gabriel House has 12 apartments, but three of them cannot be used because they are too deteriorated. It is always filled to capacity. Schneider said it needs upgrades and repairs.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-109   Recognizing the Gottstein Corporation for its Sponsorship of the Hazleton Regional Airport’s Terminal Renovations

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Mundie said the renovations on the Airport Terminal look very nice. He is hopeful that this will attract more businesses and people to the Hazleton area.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-110   Granting Approval to Award a Contract for a Cell Phone Payment System for Parking – Pango Mobile Parking

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Cusat said he would like to move forward with this but wants to put it off until next year. Keegan stated he has two different apps on his phone for parking and they are very convenient. All the fees are on the customer. It tells you when your meter is about to run out and you can add more time to it right from your phone. Mundie said he was quite impressed with these apps and he feels there is a need for them. He said meters will still be available but this is just another option. Cusat made a motion to table and Mundie seconded the motion

Motion to Table:

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Mundie.

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

RESOLUTION TABLED

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Resolution 2015-111   Setting the Date of the First Council Meeting for the Year 2016

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Keegan.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-112   A Resolution Permitting the City of Hazleton to Apply for a Luzerne County Local Share Account Grant on behalf of the Hazleton Area Boxing Club

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Keegan.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-113   A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Fund for the Hazleton Little League

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Keegan.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-114   Awarding Contract for 2015-2016 Winter Emergency Snow Removal Equipment

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Keegan.

 

On the Question:

Council awarded the contract to Tri-County Excavation at $70-$75 per hour.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-115   Awarding a Contract to Furnish and Deliver Unleaded Gasoline and Diesel Fuel

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Keegan.

On the Question:

Council awarded the contract to K & K Oil at RAC + $0.20 (87 Octane Unleaded Gasoline) and RAC + $0.18 (Low Sulphur Diesel Fuel).

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-116   Approving the Donation of a Vacant Lot at the Corner of West Spring and North Wyoming Streets to the City of Hazleton

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Cusat said this property appears to have no outstanding taxes or liens. Dominic Yannuzzi said it looked like a good lot. Sosar said he would like to have the Solicitor check into it further. Sosar made a motion to table and Mope seconded the motion.

Motion to Table:

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

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

RESOLUTION TABLED

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Resolution 2015-117   Approving Bill of Sale between the City of Hazleton and L&D Land Company, LLC for Purchase of Hangar at the Hazleton Regional Airport

 

Presented by Cusat. Seconded by Keegan.


 

On the Question:

Dominic Yannuzzi said this company wants to expand its facility and make this their headquarters. It would be expanded 4/10ths of an acre. They fight fires with the planes. Yannuzzi said they currently have three aircraft and one helicopter, but they would like to increase it to five aircraft and two helicopters. He stated $5,000-$6,000 in revenue would be seen every year. The current hangar is in a state of disrepair and there is enough grant money plus the money from the Airport fund to purchase this. There will be no loan. He has a letter of commitment from the company and they are very close to obtaining a lease. Cusat asked who will take the old hangar down and Yannuzzi responded that he has someone willing to take it down for free in exchange for the steel. If it is going to cost the City anything, it will be bid out. Cusat asked if they will reimburse us for the demolition costs if it comes to that. Yannuzzi replied yes.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-118   A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for City Hall

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Mope.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-119   A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the City of Hazleton’s Municipal Garage

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Keegan.

On the Question:

Mundie said we received money for this last year. Mope said this would be for the other section of the garage. Mike Vislocky said the front office needs to be redone and the roof on the new building is starting to leak.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-120   A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the Purchase of City of Hazleton Municipal Vehicles and Equipment

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Mope.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-121   A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the Hazleton Regional Airport

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Mundie.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-122   A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the City of Hazleton’s Municipal Parking Garage

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Cusat.

On the Question:

Mope questioned if this money will go strictly to the City garage. Dominic Yannuzzi responded yes. It would be used to keep it structurally sound. A few other items also need to be completed. Yannuzzi said LED lighting will be put in the garage that will save $4,000-$5,000 per year.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-123   A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the Hazleton City Fire Department’s Station Upgrades

Presented by Keegan. Seconded by Mope.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-124   A Resolution Permitting the City of Hazleton to Apply for a Luzerne County Local Share Account Grant on Behalf of the Pennsylvania Theatre of Performing Arts

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Keegan.

On the Question:

Frank Seratch, President of the PTPA, said they applied for this grant two years ago but did not receive it. This is a huge building with huge maintenance costs. He stated the roof and heating system need to be replaced. They are a non-profit, volunteer organization. Mundie said the Pennsylvania legislature decides who gets this grant. He stated he would lobby on the PTPA’s behalf, but Seratch needs to lobby too. Mundie said the shows there are great. He added that Senator Yudichak and Representative Toohil have a big part in this process.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-125   A Resolution Requesting the City of Hazleton’s Support of Hazle Township’s Local Share Account Luzerne County Grant Application on Behalf of the Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Keegan.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-126   A Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for Streetlights for the City of Hazleton

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Cusat.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2015-127   A Resolution Permitting the City of Hazleton to Apply for a Luzerne County Local Share Account Grant for Funding a Study and Supplementing Costs Associated with Law Enforcement Needs

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Mary Malone, President of the Chamber of Commerce, said she has been working closely with the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress on this. They had a meeting with District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis and Chris Lynch regarding the crime in the City. She is concerned that some businesses will be shutting their doors if something is not done to make the City safer. Malone said State Representative Tarah Toohil is actually presenting this Resolution. The hospital and school district were asked to be involved in this matter. She said the people of this City do not feel safe and businesses are suffering. This money is needed for the study and implementation. She said the grant application needs to be submitted by December 31, 2015. Mope asked if the study will be shared with Council and Malone responded yes. Mope asked who will be responsible for the disbursement of the funds, if received. Malone responded Tarah Toohil will be the responsible party. This is her application and her project, and she will be signing off on it. Keegan said Council will need to approve all contracts regarding this matter.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

                                                                                                                                                           

 

Comments from the Audience: Sylvia Thomas, 823 North Church Street, Hazleton asked for the status of the drug task force. Mope responded that a memo was sent to Chief DeAndrea but he never responded. Thomas said she created a petition regarding this matter and she will be available after the meeting for people to sign it. Keegan said once the petition is filled out, it will need to be sent to District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis. Sosar said we have been trying to get the drug task force to come here again. Thomas stating something must be done now because drugs are ruining the young people of this town.

Antonio Rodriguez, 718 Muir Avenue, Hazleton said as “Hazletonians,” we need to stick together and rescue this community. He asked Mayor Elect Jeff Cusat to please attend City Council meetings regularly. He said we need to clean up and take back our City from the criminals.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton suggested using another program through DCED for the crime study called the Municipal Assistance Program. Property values are going down. Allentown had the biggest loss and Hazleton ranks fourth for loss at a decrease of $17,000. Hazleton needs to money to provide the services to bring about safety, as well as a viable tax base. Rabo quoted a portion of the PEL report.

Norman Tarantino, 154 North Lee Court, Hazleton asked if the City has been affected by the state budget impasse, and Mundie said no. Tarantino said there are two illegal driveways on Holly Street, as well as an abandoned property that is becoming a danger to the public. Mundie told Tarantino to speak to Code Enforcement about these matters.

Mary Malone, President of the Chamber of Commerce, asked if there will be an increase in the parking garage fees. Keegan responded yes; it will cost an extra $2.00 per month. Cusat said that may change next year.

Ken Zipovosky, Detective in the Hazleton Police Department, said the Police Department currently has six cameras on the old system and 12 on the new system. The amount of $1,612 will get four cameras for the Broad Street Corridor.

Victor Perez, President of Dominican House, 16 North Laurel Street, Hazleton said they are a nonprofit organization located in downtown Hazleton. He said people need to be motivated to invest in Hazleton. We need to change it and make it better for everyone. Perez said there are issues of crime, but the City of Paterson can be a good example to follow. He said the City needs increased police protection. Perez stated that they are part of this community too, and we need to start working together. He said he would like to work with the City on this matter.

Comments from Mayor: None.

Comments from Junior Council: Eric Degenhart commented on the grant for new streetlights. Cusat said this would be for new heads and LED bulbs. Degenhart felt the parking app would be beneficial to the community.

Comments from Council: Keegan wished everyone a joyous Christmas and thanked everyone for coming.

Cusat thanked Rick Wech for his years of service and said he will be missed. He wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

Sosar gave condolences to Rick Wech’s family regarding his recent passing. He thanked Chief DeAndrea for his years of service. Sosar stated municipal governments “hands are tied” with regard to property taxes. He said we are losing money every year, and we need to put pressure on the state legislature. He felt the City has a lot of potential which can be put to good use. Sosar wished Cusat the best as Mayor and said he looks forward to working with him. He wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

Mope said she is glad to hear everyone’s opinions. She gave condolences to Rick Wech’s family and said thank you for all his years of service to the City. Mope thanked DeAndrea for his hard work and dedication to the City. She thanked everyone for coming and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

Mundie thank DeAndrea for his dedication to the City. He said he really cared about the City. Mundie said he knew Rick Wech for 30 to 40 years and he really cared about the City. He gave his condolences to his family. Mundie wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

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