2017-03-21 Council Minutes

MINUTES
HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL
WORK SESSION MEETING
TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 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 March 7, 2017 Regular Meeting were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications:  None.

Bid Opening:  None.

Courtesy of the Floor (ON AGENDA ITEMS ONLY):  No presentations.

New Business:

WORK SESSION PRESENTATION

PRESENTATION:  A presentation by FS&L Financial Solutions, a Reading-based financial group, spoke regarding refunding of the cities outstanding 2005 bonds.  Michael Vind from FS&L Financial Solutions said the city has two outstanding issues.  One is the 2005 bond that has $2,850,000 outstanding to 12/1/2025 with an average interest rate of 4.22% with rates dropping over the last several years.  He said the bonds are callable which means the city has an opportunity to refinance without a penalty. He said the city can refinance, going from a high interest rate of 4.22% to a lower interest rate.  He said the city would save a net-of-fees of approximately $90,000- $100,000.  He said they would not extend the term. He said it would be a fixed interest rate with the city having no interest rate risk. He said the most cost-effective way would be through a local bank.  He said when FS&L receives any bids they would come back with results and council could make a decision.  He said there is no cost to the city for the bidding process in the marketplace. He said FS&L would come up with an exact amount of savings for the city. He said council does not need to make a decision now.

Cuozzo asked Mr. Vind if the savings would remain over the term of the loan. He said there are two ways to restructure the savings. He said it is either $11,000 a year annually and every year from 2017-2025 or $83,000 up-front and no increase in any year thereafter. He said once FS&L receives any bids then they would give the exact amount in savings.

Mundie asked Mayor Cusat regarding the re-financing process.  Mayor Cusat said he spoke with Tom Pribula, city administrator, and they both felt this refinancing process would be in the best interest for the city.  Mundie said council is in agreement with the mayor. Mundie asked Mayor Cusat to develop a resolution and then present this to council at the next city council meeting on April 4, 2017.  Mr. Brian Koscelansky from FS&L Financial Solutions said he would draft a resolution for the next city council meeting.     

New Business:

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2017-19  Repealing Resolution 93-7 Creating Position of Administrative Assistant Financial Operations

On the Question:

Cuozzo said council is cleaning up the personnel policy.  She said in 2014, two employees were given different job titles. She said the positions will be added to the agenda. Cuozzo said the positions being removed are the positions not being utilized. Mundie said if it affects any current jobs or positions, it will be put on hold. Gavio said anyone who has a current position may need to be restructured. He said some are dual jobs and the duties are done by the Human Resources     Coordinator or the Payroll Specialist. Gavio said some job descriptions need to be changed. Cuozzo said these positions were approved by the union but not approved by council. Sosar said Gavio should explain these positions because he spoke to Mayor Cusat. Gavio said   council is eliminating positions that no one holds. Mundie said council is not out to eliminate any positions. He said council is cleaning up the personnel policy.

Presented by Cuozzo.  Seconded by Mope.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Resolution 2017-20  Repealing Resolution 93-7 Creating Position of Administrative Assistant  Data Processing

On the Question:

Gavio asked the mayor is there is anyone in this position. The mayor said Angela Spanial-     Payroll Specialist, is in the line item for data processing. Gavio asked the mayor if Angela does     this position and if it is repealed, is this in her new description. The mayor said he did not see     the new job descriptions. Cuozzo said these jobs were approved by the union.

Presented by Cuozzo.  Seconded by Sosar.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Resolution 2017-21  Repealing Resolution 92-41 Creating Position of Computer Clerk

Presented by Gavio.  Presented by Cuozzo.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Resolution 2017-22  Repealing Resolution 95-41 Creating Position of Manager- Department of Public Services

On the Question:

Sosar asked if this is Ralph Sharp’s position. Mr. Sharp said his duties are transportation from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. He said his main duties are transportation but helps out the airport and parking departments. Mayor Cusat said in the personnel policy that transit falls under public services. Sosar said council will be opening the administrative code with titles being changed.

Presented by Cuozzo.  Seconded by Sosar.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- no; Mope- no; Sosar- no; Mundie- no

RESOLUTION FAILS 4-1


Resolution 2017-23   Repealing Resolution 91-62 Creating Position of Assistant Community Development Officer

On the Question:

Cuozzo stated there are no finances in CD to pay an assistant. Fallon Fermin stated there is no necessity for an assistant. Fermin said she is in discussion with Mayor Lou Barletta’s office and the federal government is looking to eliminate the CDBG program.  

Presented by Cuozzo.  Presented by Sosar.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Resolution 2017-24   Repealing Resolution 91-66 Creating Position of Environmental Specialist

On the Question:

Gavio asked Mayor Cusat if anyone is in this position. He said it is to be awarded shortly. He said this is called a health officer. He said the city needs a health officer. This is what the title was originally called. Cuozzo asked if the mayor has money in the budget for this position. The mayor said yes. He said currently the state is doing inspections. He said the health officer is needed to sign paperwork. Cuozzo said to pay a salary for someone to sign paperwork is not useful. Mayor Cusat said the health officer deals with any infestations- i.e.- bed bugs. Mope said Mayor Yannuzzi eliminated this position. She said the inspections were being done by the state. The money was put in the budget and the health officer was moved into the code officer department. Sosar said this should be changed in the administrative code. Mayor Cusat said this needs to be consolidated into one position. Sosar said the position needs to be posted as an- AS NEEDED-position. Mayor Cusat this position is doing a dual-job. Mope said the administrative code needs to be changed. Cuozzo said the personnel policy is not up-to-date.

Presented by Cuozzo.  Seconded by Mope.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- no; Gavio- no; Mope- no; Sosar- no; Mundie- no

RESOLUTION FAILS

Resolution 2017-25  Repealing Resolution 92-41 Creating Position of Computer Clerk

DUPLICATE RESOLUTION

Resolution 2017-26    Repealing Resolution 92-170 Creating Position of Supervisor- Tax Office

On the Question:

Mayor Cusat said he doesn’t see taxes being brought back to City Hall.    

Presented by Cuozzo.  Seconded by Mope.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Resolution 2017-27  Repealing Resolution 96-41 Creating Position of Manger- Department of Public Services

Presented by Sosar.  Seconded by Cuozzo.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- no; Gavio- no; Mope- no; Sosar- no; Mundie- no

RESOLUTION FAILS

                
Resolution 2017-28  Amending Personnel Policy to include Job Description for Human Resources Coordinator

On the Question:

Cuozzo stated this is a new position, approved by union. Mope said Nancy Doyle holds this position. Gavio asked Mayor Cusat if this is in her job title. Mayor Cusat said he did not read the job description. Mope said Nancy is now in the union. She said this job description needs to be included.

Presented by Mope.  Seconded by Cuozzo.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio-yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes-

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Resolution 2017-29    Amending Personnel Policy to Include Job Description for Payroll Specialist

On the Question:

Gavio asked if this is Angela Spanial’s position. Mope said yes. Cuozzo said this position was approved by the union. Sosar said this needs to be included in her job title.

Presented by Cuozzo.  Seconded by Mope.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie - yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Resolution 2017-30   Resolution Creating PA Transit Consolidation Study Representative for the Department of Transportation for Luzerne County

Presented by Cuozzo.  Seconded by Mundie.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Resolution 2017-31  Authorization to Apply for Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Grant for Comprehensive Park and Recreation Plan

On the Question:

Mayor Cusat said this resolution is from Barry Isett for a grant for a comprehensive plan for all parks and recreation in the city. He said the DCNR resolution is for the purpose of deciding what is in the best interest for the city to improve. Sosar asked if the grant with the corporate donor funding would cost the city any money. Mayor Cusat said the corporate donor would provide the money. Sosar asked Mayor Cusat what other recreational facilities in the study would be put together. He said all the parks which the city owns include Memorial Park and the Broad and Vine Sts. park. Mayor Cusat said the city needs more handicap-accessible equipment and  equipment for young children. Cuozzo asked Mayor Cusat if this includes the company coming in and giving a report. Mayor Cusat said if the city applies for the grant, the company would do a report. Mayor Cusat said the DCNR grant years ago included all the funding for the parks.

Presented by Gavio.  Seconded by Sosar.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- no; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1


Resolution 2017-32        Recognizing Service of David Fatula of the Hazleton City Fire Department

Presented by Mope.  Seconded by Gavio.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Resolution 2017-33   Appointing the Hazleton City Poet Laureate- Josh Narrow

On the Question:

Cuozzo stated this is a great choice.

Presented by Cuozzo.  Seconded by Mope.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

Resolution 2017-34     Commending and Thanking the Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority

Presented by Mope.  Seconded by Sosar.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Resolution 2017-35    Commending and Thanking Hazleton City Authority

Presented by Mope.  Seconded by Cuozzo.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Resolution 2017-36   Commending and Thanking the Hazleton City Road Crew

Presented by Mope.  Seconded by Cuozzo.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio-yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Resolution 2017-37   Commending and Thanking PENN DOT

Presented by Cuozzo.  Seconded by Gavio.
Roll Call:  Cuozzo- yes; Gavio- yes; Mope- yes; Sosar- yes; Mundie- yes

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Comments from the Audience:  Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st St, Hazleton, thanked the Hazleton City Authority employees in helping the city and assistance in the blizzard of 2017. He asked about the money being used for purchasing equipment for DPW. He said in 2016 the city was allocated $735,223.37. He asked how much money was left over after approval by council for the plow trucks. He also asked when the city will be receiving the $769,332.94 that PENN DOT allocated for the city for 2017. Mr. Vito said the city received this already. Rabo asked how much is left over after the purchases were made. Mayor Cusat said this is public comment and not to question the mayor. Mundie said the council did not receive this information also. Mundie told Rabo that council will try to get this information for him. Rabo asked where were PENN DOT and the Hazleton City Authority utilized for two days after the blizzard and where were the clear outs done in the city. Mr. Vito stated ten trucks, two loaders, and two city bobcats were clearing snow from Broad St. Vito said the Sewer Authority was clearing the north side of Diamond Ave. The Water Authority cleared snow from Laurel St. on Thursday and Garfield St. on Friday night. On the weekend, they removed snow on Poplar St. The DPW workers have been removing snow from the south side of the city. Rabo suggested the city should come up with an emergency response storm management plan for removal of snow. He also suggested the playgrounds, under the Redevelopment Authority, still has ownership of debt consolidation.  He said the grants should go out on state and federal levels. He said the Planning Commission should be updating the playground study for the city.  

Comments from Mayor:  Mayor Cusat thanked Josh Narrow in accepting the position of Poet Laureate for the City of Hazleton. He also thanked PENN DOT, HCA, and the Sewer Authority in the recent blizzard. He commended the city workers and said they did a magnificent job in clearing the streets.  He said the cost of the storm will cripple the city the rest of 2017.  He said the cost was $150,000 total for the storm. He also thanked Lehigh Valley Hospital for staying in Hazleton.

Comments from Junior Council:  Josh Narrow thanked council and Mayor Cusat in appointing him as Poet Laureate.

Comments from Council:  Gavio thanked Mr. Dave Fatula for his service and best wishes in his retirement. He said the street departments did a tremendous job in the recent blizzard.

Cuozzo thanked Josh Narrow, all the workers- street workers, sewer and water authority in the recent storm.  She asked the mayor where the city is in the street light project. She said the city received the money in 2016 from LSA. Mayor Cusat said he needs to see what work staff he has and the money the city has left. Mope asked if the street lights are being replaced when they are burnt out.  Mayor Cusat said when the change needs to be replaced the whole fixture is replaced. Cuozzo asked Mayor Cusat regarding the contract with Tri-County for the heavy equipment if there is a performance bond. Mayor Cusat said no. Cuozzo asked Atty. Logsdon to make sure that council be presented with any future bids. Mr. Vito said he ran into some problems in putting information together. Cuozzo said to make it a requirement in the future. Cuozzo asked Mayor Cusat regarding the purchase of a new 2012 or newer F-350 dump truck. Mayor said they are looking for bids. Cuozzo requested all the liquid fuel accounts, checks written, and bank statements. Mr. Vito said he provided Cuozzo with the whole financial package.  Mundie said we need updated information. Mayor Cusat instructed the city to obtain access to the Accu-Fund – read-only version- for the city clerk. Mayor Cusat said Lisa Shema has access to the Accu-Fund account. He said it is the accounting department’s responsibility to provide any financial records to council.

Sosar said all communities in Lackawanna County are consolidating all their bills for applying for assistance from the state of Pennsylvania. Sosar asked Mayor Cusat to approach Mr. Pedri to apply for assistance for the city of Hazleton. He said anything received from the state would be a help. Mayor Cusat said he is working on this. Sosar said there is a 30-day window of opportunity. Sosar also suggested using the liquid fuels account in purchasing trucks. Mayor Cusat said he had $125,000 available for purchasing vehicles. He immediately ordered the F-550. He presented to council purchasing four trucks. Mayor Cusat said council approved two trucks with payment in full. Sosar said council approved the first two in August, 2016.
Sosar said there was a sufficient amount of money on hand to purchase the trucks. Sosar stated the first truck was ordered October 3, 2016. Mundie said Mayor Cusat ordered a truck in October, 2016 with no money. Mayor Cusat said he had $125,000 available to purchase trucks. Mayor Cusat it takes six to eight months to receive the truck. Mundie said this truck should have been purchased in August.

Sosar said the city streets are in good shape after the snow storm.

Mope thanked Junior Council members, Josh Narrow for his new appointment, the city crews, PENN DOT, Mr. David Fatula, and Mayor Cusat for time put in for the recent blizzard. She also thanked the volunteers in helping out in our state of emergency. She also thanked the police department. She said she is happy to see Lehigh Valley Hospital staying in Hazleton. She said LVH is one of the main businesses in the city.

Mundie said he spoke with Mr. John Fletcher from the Lehigh Valley Hospital. Mr. Fletcher stated that   they will be modernizing the hospital and are expanding the OB/GYN and pediatric departments. He said the city needs the revenue.  He also commended the streets department in the recent snow storm.  Mundie said we all need to do what is best for the city.

Adjournment:  Mundie motioned to adjourn the meeting.  Meeting adjourned.

Select Language

enes

Search Our Site