2016-04-05 Council Minutes

MINUTES

HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL

REGULAR MEETING

TUESDAY, APRIL 5, 2016

Call to Order: Council met in regular session on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm.

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

Roll Call: Cuozzo-present; Gavio-present; Mope-present; Sosar-present; Mundie-present

Minutes of Previous Meetings: The minutes of the February 15, 2016 Liquor License Transfer Meeting and the February 15, 2016 and March 1, 2016 Regular Meetings were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications: None.

Courtesy of the Floor: Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton commented on Ordinance 2016-8 regarding the changes to handicapped parking. He expressed his concerns about only allowing two handicapped parking spaces per block. Sosar said Code Enforcement should be allowed to dictate the number of spaces at its discretion based on need. Rabo commented on Resolution 2016-54. He said the City Administrator is supposed to be doing the duties of the Budget and Finance Director. He asked if these duties would be taken away from him. Mayor Cusat said this is a new job description he would like created. He said it will not be filled now but he would like it in place for the future. He said it would be easier to deal with the auditors if this is put in place. Rabo asked about the Blighted Property Committee. He asked if the name will be changed and if the vacancies will be filled anytime soon. Mayor Cusat said he is only planning on changing the name right now.

                                                                                                                                                           

Old Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2016-6         Modifying Consolidated Plan for CDBG Program Year 2013 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Ordinance 2016-7         An Ordinance Amending the Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2016 (2nd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Gavio.

On the Question:

Cuozzo asked about the reconstruction of sewer lines indicated under Street Improvements. Joe Zeller said this is for the storm sewers not the sewer lines. Cuozzo made a motion to amend page two of the Ordinance under Street Improvements to change sewer lines to storm sewers. Mope seconded the motion.

Motion to Amend:

Presented by Cuozzo. Seconded by Mope.

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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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

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Ordinance 2016-7         An Ordinance Amending the Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2016 (3rd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY AS AMENDED

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Ordinance 2016-8         Amending Ordinance 2006-25 Regulating the Issuance of Handicapped Parking Spaces and Signs, Providing for Application Review and Procedures for Issuance of Handicapped Parking Spaces and Signs, and Renewal of Handicapped Parking Spaces and Signs in the City of Hazleton (2nd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

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Ordinance 2016-8         Amending Ordinance 2006-25 Regulating the Issuance of Handicapped Parking Spaces and Signs, Providing for Application Review and Procedures for Issuance of Handicapped Parking Spaces and Signs, and Renewal of Handicapped Parking Spaces and Signs in the City of Hazleton (2nd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

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Ordinance 2016-8         Amending Ordinance 2006-25 Regulating the Issuance of Handicapped Parking Spaces and Signs, Providing for Application Review and Procedures for Issuance of Handicapped Parking Spaces and Signs, and Renewal of Handicapped Parking Spaces and Signs in the City of Hazleton (3rd Reading)

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

ORDINANCE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

                                                                                                                                                           

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2016-41      Appointment to the Hazleton Housing Authority – Anthony Columbo (Call for comments or questions; roll call) – TABLED 3/15/16

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

Roll Call (on Motion to Remove from Table): Cuozzo-no; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES 4-1

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Gavio.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-no; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1

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Resolution 2016-42      Appointment to the Hazleton Housing Authority – Ann Marie Kaschak (Call for comments or questions; roll call) – TABLED 3/15/16

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Gavio. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call (on Motion to Remove from Table): Cuozzo-no; Gavio-yes; Mope-no; Sosar-no; Mundie-yes

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE FAILS 3-2

RESOLUTION FAILS

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Resolution 2016-43      Appointment to the Planning Commission – Anne Vinatieri (Call for comments or questions; roll call) – TABLED 3/15/16

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

Roll Call (on Motion to Remove from Table): Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mope.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2016-44      Appointment to the Zoning Hearing Board – Rocco Formica (Call for comments or questions; roll call) – TABLED 3/15/16

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Gavio. No Second.

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE FAILS

RESOLUTION FAILS

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Resolution 2016-47      A Resolution Amending the Hazleton Police Department’s Towing Service Requirements (Call for comments or questions; roll call) – TABLED 3/15/16

NO PRESENTATION MADE

RESOLUTION FAILS

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Resolution 2016-48      Reappointment to the Veterans’ Affairs Advisory Board – Joseph “Sarge” Heintz (Call for comments or questions; roll call) – TABLED 3/15/16

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Cuozzo.

Roll Call (on Motion to Remove from Table): Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Presented by Cuozzo. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Cuozzo asked to have the terms of these individuals staggered instead of ending all at the same time. Mayor Cusat agreed. He suggested having two terms end in 2018, two in 2019, and two in 2020. Cuozzo made a motion to amend the term in this Resolution to end the first Monday in January 2018. Mope seconded the motion.

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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY AS AMENDED

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Resolution 2016-49      Reappointment to the Veterans’ Affairs Advisory Board – Edward Awdakimow (Call for comments or questions; roll call) – TABLED 3/15/16

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Gavio.

Roll Call (on Motion to Remove from Table): Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Presented by Cuozzo. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Cuozzo made a motion to amend the term in this Resolution to end the first Monday in January 2018. Mope seconded the motion.

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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY AS AMENDED

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Resolution 2016-50      Reappointment to the Veterans’ Affairs Advisory Board – Roman J. Baran (Call for comments or questions; roll call) – TABLED 3/15/16

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Gavio.

Roll Call (on Motion to Remove from Table): Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Presented by Cuozzo. Seconded by Mope.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2016-51      Reappointment to the Veterans’ Affairs Advisory Board – Andy Mhley (Call for comments or questions; roll call) – TABLED 3/15/16

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Gavio.

Roll Call (on Motion to Remove from Table): Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Cuozzo.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2016-52      Reappointment to the Veterans’ Affairs Advisory Board – Jim Sabatella (Call for comments or questions; roll call) – TABLED 3/15/16

Motion to Remove from Table:

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Gavio.

Roll Call (on Motion to Remove from Table): Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Cuozzo.

On the Question:

Mope made a motion to amend the term in this Resolution to end the first Monday in January 2019. Cuozzo seconded the motion.

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

MOTION TO AMEND PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY AS AMENDED

                                                                                                                                                           

New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2016-9         An Ordinance Creating a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Establishing the Number and Term of the Members, and Designating Duties and Powers of the Board (1st Reading)

Presented by Gavio. Seconded by Mundie.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-no; Gavio-yes; Mope-no; Sosar-no; Mundie-yes

ORDINANCE FAILS 3-2

                                                                                                                                                           

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2016-54      Approving the Job Description for Budget and Finance Director

Presented by Gavio. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Gavio asked if anyone is being hired right now to fill this position. Mayor Cusat responded no and said he just wants to have this in place for the future. Sosar said this would require a change to the Administrative Code, specifically changes to the Department of Administration. Optional Plan B was adopted so that the City Administrator would handle all financial matters. He was concerned with the extra expenses this position would generate and how the City could pay for it. Mayor Cusat stated this person would work under the Director of Administration. Sosar said if this is not needed now and the position is not being filled now, then this should not be passed until the need arises. Mayor Cusat stated he is concerned with this not being in place, especially since there is only one meeting per month during the summer. Sosar said Council would be able to have a special meeting if anything comes up. Mayor Cusat asked that Council at least look over the job description in the meantime. Cuozzo asked if this position has to be under the Director of Administration, and the Mayor said yes because it is in the Third Class City Code.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-no; Gavio-no; Mope-no; Sosar-no; Mundie-yes

RESOLUTION FAILS 4-1

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Resolution 2016-55      Approving the Job Description for Parking Enforcement Officer

Presented by Gavio. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Sosar said these are all part-time positions, and he is okay with this as long as things are done correctly and with proper discretion. Mayor Cusat said he “walked the meters” and saw 32 broken meters, 28 missing meters and 89 parking violations. He said the plan is to have these individuals work staggered shifts six days a week. Cuozzo asked if they will be using a hand held device, and the Mayor responded no, but they can use their cell phones to check license plates. Cuozzo stated she does not believe these people are able to process and collect fines. Mayor Cusat stated they can sit at the window and enter them into the system. Mundie asked if this was cleared with the union. Mayor Cusat said yes.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

                                                                                      

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2016-56      Authorizing the Mayor to Execute a Contract with Barry Isett and Associates for Engineering Services for the Office of Community Development

Presented by Mope. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Cuozzo asked if she can vote on this being that she was involved in the scoring process. Attorney Logsdon said yes. Mundie asked how many bids were received and Cuozzo responded 10 or 11. Mundie asked Joe Zeller if he is comfortable with Community Development using this firm, and he said yes.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

                                                                                      

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

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Resolution 2016-57      A Resolution Requesting Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Funds for the City of Hazleton’s Center City Park

Presented by Cuozzo. Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Cuozzo asked about the match on this grant. Krista Schneider, Executive Director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, said there is a 50% match for this grant. The grant was already requested and it currently pending. She said the Greenways Trails and Recreation Program Grant, if received, will be used for the 50% match. Cuozzo asked when this was requested and Schneider said in July of 2015. Cuozzo asked what happens if the grant is not received. Schneider responded this is hard to get but if they do not get it, they would still have two and a half years to find and raise the money for the match.

Roll Call: Cuozzo-yes; Gavio-yes; Mope-yes; Sosar-yes; Mundie-yes

                                                                                      

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

                                                                                                                                                           

Comments from the Audience: Theresa Meresca, 510 Muir Avenue, Hazleton said she is angry with the truck traffic on Carleton Avenue. The area where the trucks are going is filled with filth and debris and this is destroying the property value of her home. She added that the people there are blasting music and using noisy backhoes on a regular basis. Cuozzo asked if she filed a complaint with Code Enforcement. Meresca said no, and Cuozzo suggested she call Code Enforcement about this tomorrow. Sosar asked the Mayor to have Code Enforcement look into this matter. Mope said she will make sure this matter is addressed as soon as possible.

Dale Swayer, Allentown, Representative of the Highway Department’s union, Local 32BJ, SEIU, said the City recently put out an RFP for lawn maintenance. He said the Highway Department employees are already doing this job. The employees are doing this within the budget and they are doing a good job. Mayor Cusat said he cannot discuss this matter because of the grievance filed. Swayer said 15 employees are doing this job right now and most are residents of Hazleton. They are proud of their work and they have been doing it for over a decade. Swayer informed Council that a grievance was filed regarding this matter. Sosar said Council will take this under consideration. Cuozzo asked when the grievance was filed and Mike Vislocky of the Highway Department said March 30, 2016. He said he appreciates Council looking into the matter. He added that if the Mayor continues to pursue this avenue, they will move forward with the grievance. Mayor Cusat said once he discusses this with the labor attorney, he will talk to the union.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st Street, Hazleton stated he recently attended a State Representatives’ meeting and asked them to look into reforming the local tax code, so the City can hire more police officers. He was told there is already something in the works. Rabo said he has not seen any action from the Redevelopment Authority. Most programs for grants have housing and redevelopment regulations that overlap and are cross-referenced. The Redevelopment Authority can apply for grants for parks and for federal grants. Rabo asked when a new Zoning Officer will be picked. Mayor Cusat responded the Deputy Fire Chief will be performing the duties of Acting Zoning Officer.

Comments from Mayor: Mayor Cusat said the reasons he wanted to establish a Recreation Board were because of issues with playground security and equipment. He said Council should have discussed this during the meeting and he is very disappointed that it did not pass.

Comments from Junior Council: None.

Comments from Council: Cuozzo suggested the Mayor use the Tri-Area Recreation Authority instead of establishing a Recreation Board. Mayor Cusat stated the other municipalities pulled out of this Authority, and the current members are not active. Cuozzo asked what happened to the money donated to the City from a local business to purchase new playground equipment. Mayor Cusat said it is still in the fund and he is currently working on getting the equipment. The money was given specifically for a certain piece of equipment and for a certain playground. Zeller said they are trying to start back up programs such as arts and crafts, etc., at the playgrounds. Cuozzo asked the Zeller to talk to the members of the Tri-Area Recreation Authority for help.

Sosar said the City needs more recreation. We need to work together with neighborhood associations to get this going. They know the neighborhoods and they know what we need. Sosar stated we need to use the boards we already have in place. He indicated most tax reforms being discussed at this time are for school taxes and not for municipalities. He said he would like to discuss Act 90 and the Windows and Doors Ordinance with the Mayor as soon as possible. Sosar asked Schneider to write a letter to the county and ask them to create a Housing Board. The Housing Board could institute fines and other actions on violators with regard to Act 90. He stated Council is trying to move forward and trying to work with the Mayor. He asked when the Mayor’s nominations for his administration will be brought before Council. He asked the Mayor to please work with Council.

Mope thanked everyone for coming. She indicated money was donated from a local company for use at the West Court Playground. She said she asked Mayor Yannuzzi about this and he said the money was used elsewhere. She thanked Mayor Cusat for returning that money to the fund. Mope said the playgrounds are in need of fencing, so that we can control and alleviate some of the problems, and the equipment would be safe. Zeller said they are working on the West Court Playground and it should be done shortly. They are also doing repairs at the Beech Street Playground, and they are trying to keep costs down with Frank Vito’s help.

Mundie asked about the Parking Garage and what it is going to cost the City. Mayor Cusat replied there is one person maintaining it. He added that parking rent is down because of the winter. Mundie asked about DBI’s plans for the Parking Garage. The Mayor said he offered them a reduced parking rate for bulk parking. Mundie said getting involved in recreation is a good thing for the City, but he does not feel we need another committee. Mayor Cusat said Parks and Recreation Boards are commonly used in other cities, and there is a better chance of receiving grants if a board is in place. Mundie suggested the Mayor get public input on the playgrounds and get more citizens involved.

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

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