2017-06-20 Council Minutes

MINUTES

HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL

REGULAR MEETING

TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 2017

Call to Order: Council met in regular session on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 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: Cuozzo-present; Gavio-present; Mope-absent; Sosar-present; Mundie-present

Minutes of Previous Meetings: The minutes of the May 23, 2017 Regular Meeting and June 6, 2017 Special Meeting were approved unanimously.

Proclamations/Communications: None.

Bid Opening: None.

Courtesy of the Floor (ON AGENDA ITEMS ONLY): Antonio Rodriquez, 718 Muir Ave., Hazleton, spoke of Ordinance 2017-14 – Amending Chapter 118- Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia of the Hazleton City Code, Regarding Violations and Penalties for the Sale, Conveyance, or Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and asked who instituted the $300.00 fine. He said it should be a $3,000 fine. Atty. Logsdon said the $300.00 fine is consistent with the magisterial district level as a summary offense. He said if a police officer was issuing a summary citation, it would be under the crimes code, 18 PACS. He said if a local Hazleton ordinance was used, the city wants to keep the fine consistent at the magisterial level.

Rodriquez said the city has a lot of crime. He said $300.00 is nothing. He said the cities drug cartel is making a lot of money. He said the 90-day prison sentence should be changed to one year. He said the city needs to be serious about this issue. Atty. Logsdon said this specific ordinance deals with drug paraphernalia. Atty. Logsdon said every drug offense is serious. Rodriquez said we need a lot of power to fight crime. Atty. Logsdon said the police use their discretion to charge them accordingly. Rodriquez said this ordinance is not well written. He suggested council table this ordinance.

Sosar said this ordinance is on the lowest level for the police department. He said there is one level of treatment, for the police, to the individual who uses illegal drugs. He said punishment should be extremely restrictive on such offenses. Rodriquez said this is why there is a high rate of crime.

Paul Esposito, owner of Victoria’s Candies, said it is a family-owned business, in Hazleton, for 84 years. He is looking into an expansion project and to make a big investment for the city. He wants to hire 25 people in the next 2-3 years. Victoria’s currently employs 20-25 people. He is applying for a small loan with a low interest rate. He said it will be a $1,200,000 investment. He said without this loan, he will not be able to carry on this project. He is asking council for approval for this loan.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st St., Hazleton, spoke of Ordinance 2017-9- Establishing a Registration and Licensure Program for All Residential Rental Properties, All Institutional Occupancies and Daycare Facilities, to amend and remove the conversions section of the ordinance that sets a fee-based schedule. He said this is in conflict with the city zoning ordinance for non-conforming use. He said it is under Section 6. Cuozzo said all the ordinance is doing is setting fees. Mundie said council is only changing the fee schedule. Rabo spoke of Ordinance 2017-10 – Ordinance to Increase the Registration Fee for Vacant/Abandoned Property Registry for the City of Hazleton and Providing for Fines for Violations. He said if this passes, he asked if the mayor or administration will collect the fee for the fines. Mundie said

he spoke with the company that collects the fines and they said there will be no extra work involved. Mundie said it would not require a city employee to collect the registration fee. Rabo said regarding 2017-17 – Ordinance Approving the Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2017, if this is an increase for any demolitions or for admen costs. He asked if Resolution 2017-54- Accepting the 2016 Annual Audit, includes city equipment or property sold. Cuozzo said this will be explained when SB& Company explains their audit. Rabo asked if there were any charges given for professional services not included in the budget. Cuozzo said SB & Co. will explain their audit at tonight’s meeting. Rabo asked if Resolution 2017-58 – Authorization to Approve the Municipal Approving for an Undercover Auto Theft Task Force Vehicle, will be a reimbursement from the state. Sosar said when council votes on this resolution, then the issue will be cleared up.


Old Business:

ORDINANCES 

Ordinance 2017-9  Amending Ordinance 2012-25 Establishing a Registration and Licensure Program for All Residential Rental Properties, All Institutional  Occupancies, and Daycare Facilities, Section 7, Subsection b (Fees) (2nd READING) 

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Gavio.

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


Ordinance 2017-9  Amending Ordinance 2012-25 Establishing a Registration and Licensure Program for All Residential Rental Properties, All Institutional Occupancies, and Daycare Facilities, Section 7, Subsection b (Fees) (3rd READING)

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Gavio.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 4-0 


Ordinance 2017-10 Amending Ordinance 2016-11 to Increase the Registration Fee for Vacant/Abandoned Property Registry for the City of Hazleton and Providing for Fines for Violations (1st READING)

ORDINANCE WAS ORIGINALLY TABLED. SOSAR MADE MOTION TO REMOVE FROM TABLE.

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

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


Presented by Gavio. Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

            Mundie spoke with Community Champion. He said there was $50,000 raised within one year. He said the fees on vacant properties were paid by banks. He said it is a registration fee. Cuozzo asked if this is registered and paid every year. Sosar asked Mayor Cusat if there was a company the city was looking into to collect the registration fee. Mayor Cusat said he has compiled a list using a database from the water and sewer departments. He said the city has started collecting fines. He said once the information is in the system, it is a matter of collecting the fees. Mundie    said it is a good thing that the city is collecting the fines. Sosar asked Mayor Cusat if it requires additional personnel to collect fines. He said one employee from the Code Enforcement Department has resigned this week. He said this department is extremely short-handed. Mayor  Cusat said the Code Department is investigating any missing business licenses. Sosar asked what the timeline is to collect the fines from the sewer and water listings. Mayor Cusat said he is   unsure. Sosar stated it needs to be done within a reasonable amount of time, preferably by the fall. Mundie asked if the city is sending out letters to property owners. Mayor Cusat said some real estate companies have paid for their listings. Cuozzo asked if property owners have to pay every year. Mayor Cusat said yes.

            Gavio asked if this can be done in-house. Mayor Cusat said it could but with a current shortage in the Code Department, it is impossible right now. Sosar asked Mayor Cusat if this could be done this year. Mayor Cusat said there are currently 500-1,000 vacant properties but does not know how many are registered. Mundie asked Mayor Cusat how many banks own the properties. Mayor Cusat said owners leave properties vacant on-purpose. He said the property still needs to be registered. Mayor Cusat said any property not owner-occupied or a rental unit needs to be registered as a vacant property. He said the city considers three categories: 1. Owner occupied. 2. Rental unit. 3. Vacant. Cuozzo said compiling the list is not a big deal. Mayor Cusat said the city only has one person employed in the Registration Department.

            Gavio said the city pay scale is under the average. Mayor Cusat said the city hall contract currently states the starting wage is $20,000/year. He said other cities are offering a higher wage. Mayor Cusat said employees are leaving due to the current contract. Cuozzo asked when the contract expired. Mayor Cusat said it expired last year. Mundie asked if Mayor Cusat could get a better handle on the vacant properties. Mayor Cusat suggested to pass this ordinance on the first reading. Sosar asked if the databases are similar from the water and sewer departments. Mayor   Cusat said it is an Excel spreadsheet. Sosar said they should be combined. Mayor Cusat said some are listed under an owner or a deed. Sosar suggested passing on the first reading and investigate how to improve the ordinance. Mundie asked Mayor Cusat to send council the lists from the sewer and water departments.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES ON 1ST READING


Ordinance 2017-11  Outdoor Burning Ordinance (2nd READING)  

Presented by Gavio. Presented by Mundie.          

On the Question:

            Cuozzo asked if Fire Chief Don Leshko corrected Article 6. She asked if this has to be presented into the second reading. Mayor Cusat said it needs to be amended. Mayor Cusat said everything    highlighted in the ordinance are the corrections. Cuozzo said she wants to present the amendment as shown on the agenda as Article 6. Atty. Logsdon said there is one other  amendment, Article 14, Subsection 1- Enforcement. Cuozzo also wanted to include this amendment, Article 14. Sosar said he has an issue with the wording, “Fifteen feet from the structure”. Sosar wished Chief Don Leshko was in attendance to present the amended ordinance. He said a lot of homes have decks with no space to grill. Mayor Cusat said the reason it is 15 feet- the city adopted the International Fire Code. The city then has to pull what codes the city wants to follow. Mundie said it should be changed to 5-6 feet. Sosar said the summer months are when people are outside grilling. He does not know how to “marry” the two together. Mayor Cusat said 15 feet does fall under the portable outdoor fireplaces. He said it is not the grills. He said  it is considered  a portable fire pit. Mayor Cusat said most fire calls are up against a house. Mundie said the ordinance does not include some numbers.

            Cuozzo wants to amend Article 16-Fines. She said $500.00 is a lot of money. She wants to move to amend ordinance to read- fines to $35-$50-$75 in one year. She said people do not read an ordinance in its entirety. She said a lot of the population is Spanish. Mayor Cusat suggested ordinance to read- fine up to $500.00. Cuozzo said that cannot be done. Mundie suggested fines to be $45-$75-$100. Gavio said the first fine should be lower than the second with a higher fine. Mayor Cusat said any fire call is a $500.00 charge. He said a lot of fire calls are open burn pits. Sosar said the resident should get a warning for the first offense. Sosar said the fire company will then re-coop the cost for fire truck travel. Mayor Cusat said a lot of fire calls, for fire pits, are in the Heights section. He said on these calls, the volunteers and the fire chief respond. Mayor Cusat said it needs to be a fine, not a warning. Gavio asked Mayor Cusat what is a fair first offense fine. Mayor Cusat said the fire department spends $2,500,000 each year on fire calls. Sosar said center city residents cannot afford the fine. Mayor Cusat said they have the   right to go to a magistrate to reduce the fine. Mayor Cusat said any fire is legal in the city, i.e. recreation, cooking or religious. Gavio said the first offense should be a warning. Mundie suggested the fine should be $50-$100. Atty. Logsdon said if a resident wants a bon fire, the resident will pay the fine. Sosar suggested the fine should be $50 for the first offense. Gavio agreed with the $50.00 first offense fine but said the second offense should be $500.00. Cuozzo said anything that is violated in this ordinance will be fined. She said this is why the city has a paid fire department. Sosar said the amendment to Article 6 is correct. Sosar said he is thinking of what is best for the city residents. He said the home owner’s fire insurance would take care of most fires. He said the third penalty should be $500.00. Mundie said he would amend the ordinance to read- $50.00 for first offense, $150.00 for second offense, and $500.00 for third offense in one year. Sosar asked Mayor Cusat if there are repeat offenders. Mayor Cusat said no because it was not illegal before. Sosar said this will send a statement to these offenders.

            Rabo asked if this was presented to the Planning Commission. Mayor Cusat said this ordinance is adopted from the International Fire Code. Atty. Logsdon agreed.

MOTION AS AMENDED:

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

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

2nd READING:

Presented by Gavio.   Seconded by Sosar.

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


Ordinance 2017-11                 Outdoor Burning Ordinance (3rd READING)  

Presented by Gavio. Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 3-1-0


New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2017-14  Amending Chapter 118 (Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia) of the Hazleton City Code, Regarding Violations and Penalties for the Sale, Conveyance, or Possession of Drug Paraphernalia- (1st READING)

Presented by Gavio. Seconded by Cuozzo.       

         On the Question:

         Cuozzo asked Atty. Logsdon what was changed. Atty. Logsdon said only one amendment was made to the ordinance. He said the original portion of 18-3 –Violations and Penalties- stated that any person guilty of a summary offense is punishable by a fine not exceeding $300.00 and a prison term affixed by the court. It took away the discretion from the district magistrate. Mundie said that is the only change. Mayor Cusat said it states “and/or”. Sosar said people could be stopped for a traffic violation and they have needles in their vehicle. He said a bong does not have to be used only for marijuana. Sosar asked how does the ordinance define who will be fined. He said he does see some ambiguity in the ordinance. Atty. Logsdon said the intent would be determined at the scene by the police. He said the possession of drug paraphernalia is a criminal offense. Sosar said some drug paraphernalia could be used for other reasons, i.e. decorative use. Mayor Cusat said medical marijuana has to be in its original bottle with a label. He said it will be treated like any other prescription. Atty. Logsdon said this ordinance is adopted by the PA state law. Atty. Logsdon said that Pennsylvania is in the infancy of drug paraphernalia regulations and the city needs to learn from other states medical marijuana ordinances.

       Antonio Rodriguez asked what the changes are. Mundie said “and/or a fine”. Atty. Logsdon said the previous ordinance stated the person would be fined and imprisoned. Now the district magistrate will determine what the penalty will be. Sosar said this includes the person at “the end use”. He said there are many different types of drugs. Sosar said the drug user will be punished.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES ON 1ST READING


Ordinance 2017-15 Amending Ordinance 2005-1 (Defining “Dangerous” or “Vicious” Dogs and Listing the Responsibilities of Owners or Keepers of such Dogs) – (1st READING)

Presented by Gavio. Seconded by Sosar.          

On the Question:         

            Mundie said this allows more people to enforce this ordinance. Atty. Logsdon said the only change is adding that the Hazleton Code Department could enforce this. Sosar asked what the definition is of a dangerous or a vicious dog. Mundie said council is changing who can enforce this ordinance. Atty. Logsdon said, in the future, he will amend and put attachments separate from the ordinance.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES ON 1st READING


Ordinance 2017-17  An Ordinance Amending Ordinance 2016-17 and Approving the Action Plan for Fiscal Year 2017-(1st READING)                                    

Presented by Sosar. Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:          

            Mayor Cusat said the original budget was for $639,000. He said the actual allocation was $639,908. He said the extra $39,000 had to be spent. Fermin said the city budgeted for $600,000. HUD had sent the city $639,908. She said the only difference from the 2016 ordinance are the streets and the admen. She said the city has a lot of rent, salaries, and operating costs.

            Mundie said he spoke to the President of the Hazleton Little League. He said they need $10,000 to finish their fields. Fallon said the last time it was presented, the mayor said it needs to be presented to city council and approved but does not know where the money would come from. She thinks it could come from the Housing Rehabilitation fund. Mundie asked Mayor Cusat if money can be given to the Hazleton Little League. He said previous mayors have given them money in the past. Fermin said they did receive every penny the previous mayor offered them. Sosar said they need money for their two bottom fields. He said it is the challenger league or  tee ball league. Mundie asked Fermin to send council a copy of the loans and payments. She said she will forward to council. She said Little League still has a pending grant not being utilized. She said she applied for an extension for the league. Mayor Cusat said there is a lot more to the Little League story then presented. Gavio said he was also approached by Little League.


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

ORDINANCE PASSES ON 1ST READING


RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2017-53  Awarding Contract for Hazleton Arts Center Renovations

Presented by Sosar.   Seconded by Gavio.

On the Question:

            Cuozzo asked if there is enough money for the renovations. Atty. Logsdon said they have  enough money. Cuozzo asked if the city or the Hazleton Arts Center has enough money for the project. Krista Schneider, Executive Director of Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, said there are three grants to fund the renovations. The first is a LSA grant, the second is a Keystone Community grant, and the third is a RACP grant. She said all three were awarded to the city with the DEHAP being a sub-grantee. She said the Arts Center has cooperation agreements for all. She said the Hazleton Arts Center project is short $100,000 and she is taking a loan with FNCB bank to fund the difference. Cuozzo asked if council could award this contract, legally, for this amount, without having the full funding. Schneider said the contract was awarded to the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress. Mundie asked if there is a time frame for the renovations to be completed. Schneider said if everything goes as planned with the contract, the earliest projected start date will be July 10th, 2017. She said they are projecting a six month renovation schedule. Mundie asked if Champion Builders are the same company who did work for the city in the past. Atty. Logsdon said he doesn’t recall.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 3-1-0

Resolution 2017-54  Accepting the 2016 Annual Audit

Presented by Mundie. Seconded by Gavio.             

On the Question:

            Christopher Lehman, Audit Partner with SB & Company, handed out a summary of their 2016 audit results, for the city of Hazleton, to each city council member. He spoke of the audit process. SB & Company was engaged to perform an audit of the financial statements for the December 31, 2016 fiscal year end. They were also engaged to perform the single audit, which is an audit of federal funding and spending that occurs during the year. They also prepare various assistance with Pennsylvania filings and DCD reports that are required to be completed with the audit. They also review and prepare a data collection report notifying the federal government that the city met the requirements with the audit. He said the GFOA, Government Financing Officers Association, sets a best practice for governments to issue their financial statements within six months to year end. SB & Co. did not discover any instances of fraud. He said there was one carry over finding that was a material weakness. Lehman said those areas have been rectified. He said he had full cooperation, audit support, by the administration department. He said there are changes in the pension plan. He said if the city does not fund the annual required contribution, there will be a liability on the financial statements. The actuaries need to look at the discount rate. He said if the discount rate goes down, it would increase the liability. He said the financial statement will show this in 2018. He said it includes the transit fund as well as all governmental activities. Lehman said the total assets for 2016 were $36,269,194. Total liabilities were $45,400,000 for 2016. He said that includes outstanding bonds and post-employment benefits. Total expenses were $23,200,000. Mundie asked if the city administrators supplied reports from our computer system. Lehman said administration gives SB & Co. trial balances and all information from the city computer system. Mundie asked Lehman if he has access to our computer system. Lehman said he does not have access to our system but is supplied by administration. He said the reports are run out of the AccuFund Accounting system in an Excel format. Mundie asked Lehman if other cities use AccuFund. Lehman said there are quite a few             systems that cities use.           

            The Total General Fund revenue was $9,477,986 with expenditures of $9,671,962. He said the total loss, for 2016, was approximately $96,000 in the general fund for the year. He said the trial balances are broken down that make up taxes and licenses, but are not listed. Mundie requested  these records. Lehman said he will forward to council. Cuozzo said SB & Co. did not note the short term TRAN note in the audit. Lehman said he will look into this. Mundie asked Lehman if he has any recommendations for the city. Lehman said there are best practices seen in other governments. Lehman suggested if there is an internal audit function that would directly report to the council, this could make the audit more efficient. He also suggested monitoring budget activities, performance audits, and cost saving measures. Mundie asked Lehman if the city has enough employees in the city and county offices. Lehman said all financial statements were done  in a timely manner. Lehman said the city administrator, Tom Pribula, is the liaison for reporting all    city financial records. Sosar asked how the city is consolidating accounts for better monitoring. He said Tom Pribula, administrator, currently is tracking and reconciling for each pension plan account. Cuozzo asked Lehman the ending balance for the pension account. He noted several funds, i.e. Police Pension Fund, Firemen Pension Fund, and Non-Uniformed Pension Fund. He said the total for all three pension accounts was $40,152,910. Cuozzo asked what the ACT 205 balance was. The total amount was $1,790,219.

Mayor Cusat said the city needs the audit report for borrowing.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-0


Resolution 2017-55  Certifying the Local Match for the State Operating Financial Assistance for Fiscal Year 2017/2018                    

Presented by Gavio. Seconded by Sosar.         

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-0          

Resolution 2017-56  Approving a Hazleton City Economic Development Loan for the Victoria’s Candies Relocation Project in the City of Hazleton

Presented by Gavio. Seconded by Mundie.          

On the Question:

            Mundie asked Paul Esposito, owner of Victoria’s Candies, where Victoria’s is relocating to. Esposito said it is 29 North Conahan Drive. Mundie asked how many square feet the building holds. He said it is 12,000 square feet. Sosar asked if this is only a manufacturing business or will there be a store. Esposito said it is zoned for both, manufacturing and retail. Sosar said Victoria’s Candies is a downtown institution. Esposito said there will be a tasting room included in this building. He said he is the President of the National Candy Association. He said his location on Laurel Street restricts any tours. He said the new building will hold corporate events, birthday parties, and factory tours. Esposito said he needs to do a lot of new renovations. He is going to purchase the building. He currently employs 25 employees and looks to hire 15 more employees. Mundie asked if he needs any other financing. Esposito said he applied for a grant but fell    through. Cuozzo asked what position the city will hold on for the property. Esposito said the city would be behind the bank in second position. Cuozzo asked where the terms came from. Joe Zeller, Community Development assistant, said it is under the cities discretion to recommend to council and are within the guidelines. Mundie agreed. Gavio complimented Esposito and his family for their long-standing tradition in the city.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-0


Resolution 2017-57   Acceptance of Parcels from Penn DOT and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania SR 93 Broad Street Corridor Project

Presented by Cuozzo. Seconded by Gavio.         

On the Question:

            Cuozzo asked what the city will do with these parcels. Mayor Cusat said the city will take the parcel and sell it. Mundie asked how big the property is. Mayor Cusat said it is right along Poplar    Street, little strips, on the west side of Poplar Street. Frank Vito said it is right by Danny’s Produce by the railroad tracks. Cuozzo asked if there are any issues with the railroad tracks. Vito said there are no issues. Mayor Cusat said PENN DOT used the parcels for staging   areas. Cuozzo suggested the parcels could be used for parking along with the Phoenix Building.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-0


Resolution 2017-58  Authorization to Approve the Municipal Financing for an Undercover Auto Theft Task Force Vehicle

Presented by Gavio. Seconded by Mundie.          

On the Question:

            Mundie asked Mayor Cusat what the vehicle will be used for. Anthony White works for the PA State Police Department. Mayor Cusat said the PA State Police Department gives the Hazleton Police Department money towards a vehicle. He said the money is budgeted for the city. He said the city will purchase the vehicle for $1.00. The other vehicle is paid off and the city can purchase a new vehicle. Mayor Cusat said if the money is not utilized than it is returned to the state. Cuozzo asked what shape the other vehicle is in purchased a few years ago. White said it is a 2014 with $36,000 miles. Sosar asked if this will cost the city any money. Mayor Cusat said the city pays the last $1.00 to purchase the vehicle.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-0    

Comments from the Audience: Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st St., Hazleton, said it has come to his attention, recently, that there are some plans for land use in the city. He said the Blighted Property and Planning Commission Committees need to be made aware of these plans. He said regarding the Burning Ordinance, he feels it should go before the Planning Commission with a public hearing held and to be incorporated in the zoning ordinance. He said regarding the Action Plan- he requests council looks into a portion of the CD that could be used for Blighted Property Committee hearings. Cuozzo asked if the Blighted Property Bylaws were adopted. Rabo said yes. He said he has a problem with any revenue, received by the city, not going back to the county. Rabo requested Mayor Cusat or council send a letter to the county for $290,000 owed to the city for the Broad St. Exchange building. Mundie and Sosar agreed. Mundie asked the city clerk to draft a letter to send to the county. Sosar said it should include all council member signatures.     

Comments from Mayor: Mayor Cusat said the annual 4th of July fireworks will be held on Monday, July 3rd with a party in the park. He said the DPW property will be the launching site. He thanked Victoria’s Candies for staying in Hazleton. He said his office is getting a lot of right-to-know requests and have turned over a few to legal counsel. He said the cost for one request is $18,000. Cuozzo said her request was sent to his private e-mail account. Mayor Cusat said he is getting inundated with the requests. Cuozzo stated she spent a lot of time on a request from the city administrator, Tom Pribula. Mundie suggested Mayor Cusat add information on the city website. Mayor Cusat said the website is on an outdated base. He said he does not want to spend the money. The company is Precision Design. He said he does not like the website and is extremely expensive to start a new website. Ralph Sharp, Hazleton Transit Director, said recently the Transit Department added upgrades to their website costing $7,800. Mundie said the city needs internet access to obtain information. Cuozzo said there is still old information on the city website. Sosar said a CIS teacher at King’s College does this as a project. He said they could put a website together and then the city could take over the project.   He suggested hiring interns to help. Mayor Cusat said the city has used interns, in the past, but most do not complete their work. Mayor Cusat wished everyone Happy 4th of July.  

Comments from Junior Council: None. 

Comments from Council: Gavio wished everyone a Happy 4th of July.

Cuozzo asked Mayor Cusat if there will be a rain date for the 4th of July fireworks. Mayor Cusat said the rain date would be July 4th or 5th. Mundie asked Mayor Cusat if the city has sponsors for the fireworks. Mayor Cusat said he has a few, small sponsors this year, but not enough to cover the cost. Mayor Cusat said he had enough sponsors, in 2016, to cover the cost of the fireworks. Mayor Cusat said it costs the city $10,000 for yearly fireworks.

Sosar wished everyone a good and safe July 4th. He thanked everyone for their input.

Mundie wished everyone a Happy 4th of July. He asked Mayor Cusat about fire apparatus donations going to the Dominican Republic. He said it was collected by the city of Dallas. Mundie said he is all for helping the less fortunate. He reminded the mayor if it is the cities equipment that it needs to come before council for their vote. Mayor Cusat said any fire equipment comes from the Firemen’s Relief Fund. Mayor Cusat said the city owns the fire trucks. He said the radio systems, ladders, and axes belongs to the volunteers or the Firemen’s Relief Fund. Mundie asked Frank Vito, Highway Department/Public Works Manager, where the city is in filling potholes. He said within the last two weeks, his workers are making process. Mayor Cusat said the city does not have the proper equipment to use the coal patch. Vito said he uses recycled milling to fill the potholes. Mundie asked when the snow plow truck is coming. Mayor Cusat said the truck should be here on June 21st. Mundie asked Vito how he determines what potholes need to be filled: by complaints, size, or a busy intersection. Vito said he first goes by resident complaints. He said his workers will be door and hot patching now.  

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

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