2017-09-19 Council Minutes

HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL

REGULAR MEETING

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2017

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 in Council Chambers. The meeting was called to order at 6:30 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 September 6, 2017 Regular Meeting were approved unanimously.

Presentations/Proclamations/Communications:   Mundie announced the 2018 Minimum Municipal Obligation (MMO) for each of the city’s four pension plans, as follows:

  • Police - $3,381,827
  • Fire - $2,107, 857
  • Non-Uniformed - $433,183
  • Public Transit - $0

BUSINESS AT HAND:        

A public hearing for an Inter-Municipal Liquor License transfer, Liquor License #R-17961, from Ronald J. Pohala, t/a Russell’s Café, 490 W. State St., Larksville Borough, Plymouth, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, 18651 to Turkey Hill, L.P., 800 Alter St., Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, 18201, was held prior to the regular city council meeting.

Gregg Pavlick of Barry Isett conducted a presentation on the City of Hazleton’s MS4 project and Storm water Ordinances and Fees.  Barry Isett & Associates are the CBG Engineer for the City of Hazleton. Gregg Pavlick said they are currently working with the city’s engineering office on the MS4 initiative for the city.  Gregg Pavlick said he was asked by Mayor Cusat to do a small presentation on what MS4 is and discussion on storm water fees for the city. He said Barry Isett has a separate department that handles this.  Pavlick said Stephanie Milewski from Barry Isett will be doing the presentation.  Mope asked if this is for storm water or erosion.  Pavlick said it is for storm water.  He said it was a fee enacted several years ago.  He said the first part of the presentation will be what storm water is.

Stephanie Milewski said MS4 is the municipal separated storm water system.  Milewski said it is in comparison to the combined storm sewer system with is considered as CS0.  MS4 is the entire separated system of storm water.  She said it does not include the combined system. She said it can be above or below ground.  She said it is federally mandated through DEP.  The Greater Hazleton Joint Sewer Authority has been tasked with the CS0’s (the combined systems) and the city of Hazleton is tasked with overseeing the MS4 (the separated storm sewer system).  She said EPA mandates MS4 but is administered through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection with a NPD ES permit (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit- PAG 13). The MS4 program was unveiled in two phases across the nation.  Phase 1 is for municipalities and counties with a population over $100,000.  Phase 2 was classified with an urbanized area.  She said if there was a population over 10,000 then the city would fall into this classification.  She said there are two different types of permits, a general or an individual permit.  She said currently, the city of Hazleton has a general permit.  The MS4 permit is broken into six components, known as minimal control measures.  She said Barry Isett helps clients with all permit compliance needs.  She said the city of Hazleton recently had a renewal due to DEP (known as NOI- notice of intent)  and submitted last week to the Department of Environmental Protection Agency. Mope asked what the cost of a permit is. Milewski said the cost is a $2,500 filing fee.  She said currently, the city of Hazleton has a number of CS0’s and are not discharging to the Chesapeake Bay Water Shed.  She said EPA did an audit and inspection a few years ago and found several items incomplete with the city paying a fine.  Cuozzo asked Milewski what was incomplete.  She said the mapping was not to standard, the programs for illicit discharge (operation and maintenance) were not written and the city had to do a storm water project and constructed a rain garden at the Hazleton Airport. DEP requires there is an agreement between two organizations.  The master water shed program is done by the Pennsylvania State University for water testing.  She said funding is a key element for the storm water project.  She said municipalities are charging a storm water fee.  Mope said the fee was instituted in the past and the fee structure was “ridiculous”. Milewski said storm water fees, across the state, range from $29.00/year to $162.00/year, for residential properties.  She said the city needs to determine the components for permit compliance.  She said the engineer looks at the daily operations, i.e., materials, equipment, or labor.  She said there is a public education and outreach component.  She said another major component is mapping. She said one requirement is water testing. She said Barry Isett & Associates are working closely with the city’s engineer and the mayor.  Mope said the residents pay for the mine lands from the acid runoff. Mope said there is a landfill with no liner in and does not get a report on this. Cuozzo said everything goes through the sewer authority. 

  Pavlick said the Chesapeake Bay, currently for the city of Hazleton, does not deal with the bay. He said as the water and sewer systems are separated then the city will have to take over the storm system and the improvements required by the EPA.   Mope said the mapping was not done and did not coincide with the counties plan.  Mope said the city will have a “hard time” selling this to the public.  Mope said, in the past, it left a “bitter taste in the public’s mouth”.  She said we have to get the public to understand this issue.  Sosar said the last storm water fee made no sense.  He said, the previous administration, tried to deal with the city council on the storm water fee.  He said the city must come up with the cash due to the state not able to fund this project.  Frank Vito, Highway Department Supervisor, said the city budget will not maintain this plan. Mope said the city now has to maintain the inlet portion of the storm water.    Cuozzo said the city is acting, through the sever authority, for this task.  She said the money has to be utilized for this specific reason.  Pavlick said there will be a water authority, sewer authority, and a storm water authority. Pavlick said the last storm water fee was written based on a parcel area.  He said his firm is recommending putting a lump sum, in place, for residential, commercial, and industrial areas.  Cuozzo said the money has to be utilized for those specific reasons.

  Mope said the sewer transmission fee was utilized by the streets department.  She said they need equipment.  Cuozzo said there have been sewers that have not been cleaned in years.  Pavlick said the fees collected will be around $643,000 and can supplement the storm water project.  Mope said many residents cannot afford the extra fee implemented.  Pavlick said there needs to be a mapping associated with the pervious area (GIS).  Mundie asked Pavlick when the Wyoming Valley put their plan into action. Pavlick said they are currently working on a system.  Milewski said their plan had to be implemented by July 14th, 2017.  Pavlick said Barry Isett & Associates are the engineer for several municipalities in the Wyoming Valley area.  Milewski said due to the EPA’s regulations, the city needs to comply.  Mope asked what projects would be instituted with the fees collected.  Pavlick said future projects are swell with rain gardens to slow the water down.  Mope said the city needs a “massive amount of money” for these ventures.  Pavlick said there are grants available for the MS4 project. Milewski said private land owners need to deal with contamination.  Cuozzo said a lot of businesses do not comply with the storm water regulations.  She said it needs to be enforced.  She said there are no barriers being placed on properties.  Milewski said MS4 is federally mandated through DEP.  She said in 2018, the city will be bumped from a general permit to an individual permit. 

  Sosar asked if Barry Isett is working with the Wyoming Valley area.  Milewski said they are working with the consultant and several municipalities that completed the study.  Sosar said the city needs to work with the Wyoming Valley to implement a plan. 

*Presentation by Marita Kelley, Deputy Director, PA Department of Community & Economic Development, Governor’s Center for Local Government Services.  Miss Kelley discussed ACT 47 and the Early Intervention program.  She said there are many wealthy municipalities under ACT 47.  She said Altoona has just exited ACT 47 after five years.  She said the city of Hazleton can leave ACT 47 under five years.  She said the situation is due to a loss of jobs and industries in the city.  Mundie asked Kelley if she reviewed the past due bills to determine the city’s financial distress.  She said the department looked at every financial factor.  She said a lot of employees will not receive a paycheck if the city does not transfer money to the treasury.  She said, currently, there is not sufficient funding to cover expenses.  She said the city is currently “holding off” on paying their bills.  Sosar said the city would receive $200,000 if the city sells its tax liens to MRS.  Kelley said the city can pay off the loan early.  She said the state is presenting the city with their options.  Sosar said the city would receive $536,000 from MRS in 2017.  He said the old taxes and the new taxes would be collected. Kelley said she will be receiving, on Sept. 22nd, the proposals from the recovery coordinator who will develop a recovery plan.  Mundie asked how long it will take.  Kelley said three to six months with a report developed sooner.  Mundie asked Mayor Cusat if he reviewed the PA Economy League of Communities in Crisis 2017 report.  Mayor Cusat said he “skimmed” through it.   Mundie said a lot of cities who came out of ACT 47 did not have a good tax base.  Kelley said ACT 47 is a governmental program.  Mundie said the state “forces” the city to leave ACT 47 within five years.  Kelley said municipalities do not have to leave within five years.  She said there is an additional three years that allows the cities to recover.  She said in addition to the loan there are grants available.  She said the state has the best interest of the city’s residents in mind. 

Cuozzo asked if any money is received through the loan, is there an accounting of where the money goes.  She said it needs to be put in specific departments.  Kelley said there is an accounting of where the money is placed with ACT 47.  She said there will be a lead financial group, lead financial management expert, a lead municipal operations expert, and two attorneys.  She said the plan will only make recommendations that are necessary.  She said there will be a public hearing to provide input.  Sosar said council will be working to customize the plan that works for the city of Hazleton.  Mope asked Kelley what happens if a municipality does not follow through with ACT 47.  Kelley said there is a grace period to pay the loan back with 0% interest and a total of 10 payments.  Mope said council does not receive the “right” numbers in the audits.  Kelley said the state will look more closely at the audits.  

Gavio said he has the confidence in the DCED staff to implement a good plan.  Kelley said Cuozzo would have an opportunity to present her own input.                

Bid Opening:    1. Awarding contract for the Laurel Street Curb Ramp Replacement Project-

  1. Multi Scape, Inc. from Pittston. BID- $375,954.  Bid bond is included.
  2. M & J Excavation, Inc. from Bloomsburg. BID - $298,352.  Bid bond is     
  3. Franzosa Trucking, Inc. from Hazleton. BID- $217,810. Bid bond is included.
  1. Awarding contract for the Demolition of 57 North Cedar Street -
  2. M & J Excavation, Inc. from Bloomsburg.  BID- $15,000.  Bid bond included.  2. Brdaric Excavation, Inc. from Luzerne.  BID- $14,000.  Bid bond included.

Mundie said the bids will be tabled until management and engineering can make a recommendation.                                    

Cuozzo asked Mayor Cusat if 128 Fulton Court property will be demolished.  Mayor Cusat said no.  He said it will sit there.

Courtesy of the Floor (ON AGENDA ITEMS ONLY): 

Sylvia Thomas, 823 North Church Street, Hazleton, said the mayor wants to borrow $850,000 from the state with no interest.  She said Mr. Mundie quoted, “how can you refuse this money”.  She asked why the council waited to come up with a financial solution for their problems.  She said the city is a disgrace.  She said the city has become a “heroine Broadway”.  She said the city will get even worse.  She said if the council and mayor would solve these problems, the city would not be in the mess it is in.  She said the city should come up with ways to generate more revenue.  She said the city should collect their own garbage.  She said the city government only fight with each other. 

Mark Rabo, 1st St., Hazleton, spoke of Ordinance 2017-19.  Rabo and Mundie asked if there is an appointed CD director.  Mayor Cusat said Joe Zeller is the overseeing the department.  Mundie asked the mayor if Mr. Zeller will attend the council meetings with any questions the council may have.  Mayor Cusat said if council is nice to Mr. Zeller he will attend.  Rabo asked the mayor to utilize the CD money for the Blighted Property Committee meetings.  He said it is under the federal statue for slum and blight removal.  He spoke of Ordinance 2017-78.  He said he has a contention with two bills included in applying for ACT 47.  He said the Alfred Benesch bill of $43,260 did not come in front of council for a vote for the transfer of funds.  He said the other bill is from Lancaster Truck Bodies of $59,040.  He asked why the liquid fuels money cannot be utilized.  He asked if the mayor transferred the money for his spending.  He said if he does not get answers, he will file a right-to-know request.   

Antonio Rodriquez, 718 Muir Ave., Hazleton, said the city does not need to transfer any more liquor licenses.  He said we need to clean up the playgrounds.  He said the residents elect council to serve the city of Hazleton.  He asked what the city would gain in transferring another liquor license.  He asked what will happen to the city if the loan is not approved. 

Mope said the city could have received $536,000 from MRS for delinquent taxes.  She said the council could still get a portion of this money.  She said the money is available if the mayor chooses to take it.

J.T. Klein, Hazleton Firefighters, LOCAL 507, said council and the mayor need to come together.  He said the city needs to get this money from ACT 47.  He said there are other people willing to help this city.  He said we need to move forward to fix the financial problem.


New Business:

ORDINANCES:

Ordinance 2017-19   Modifying Consolidated Plan for CDBG Program Year 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 (1st READING)

Presented by Gavio.  Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Cuozzo asked Don Leshko, Fire Department Chief, if the new Hazleton Fire Department Pumper Truck loan was in place at the time that the city ordered the truck.  Leshko said the truck was not ordered until the resolution was passed by council. Mayor Cusat said the Community Development director stated the truck could be paid for, over seven years, with $60,000/year payments.  Mundie asked what CD director said this.  Cuozzo said Fallon Fermin.  Mayor Cusat said the total of the truck was $455,745.  He said the CD director made a plan to pay in $60,000 increments with the interest to be paid by the city.  He said it has come to the attention of the mayor it can only be paid back in three years.  He said the city needs to cancel all projects in CDBG in 2017 to make the payment.  Mope asked why it was not discussed when the fire chief presented this. Cuozzo asked when Karen Parrish was notified this was not allowed.

Karen Parrish, Senior Project Manager for Mullin & Lonergan Associates, Inc. said she does not remember the 2014 hearing.  She said she was under the impression that the city of Hazleton was using FEMA money to pay the truck.  She said with no money received from FEMA, the back-up plan was to use money from CDBG.  Cuozzo said the city had to repay, in 1996, for the mine water reclamation.  Parrish said back then mine land studies had a 20% cap.  Cuozzo said she spoke with HUD and they said there was no problem.  Parrish said she spoke with Andrea Andrews of HUD.  She said the city of Hazleton could request paying the truck in five years.  She said there is no time and cannot accept the five-year deal.  Cuozzo asked when the LSA grant expires for the lights.  Mayor Cusat said in May, 2018.  Mope said the city is taking money out of the street lighting line item as well.  Mayor Cusat said it was the Community Director’s job to    properly plan in paying the truck off.  He said it is going to eliminate any current project in Community Development.  Mope said employees positions are not coming in front of council to be voted on. Sosar said he has listened to talk about street lighting to protect people.  He said   now there is talk about police cameras. He said now everything has changed.  He said he is happy for the purchase of the new fire truck. He said residents will suffer without the police     cameras and the proper street lights.  Vito said street lights are always being installed.  Mayor Cusat said there are either five projects or a tax increase in 2018.  He said these are the only two options the city has. Mayor Cusat said the amount to be transferred is $335,000.  He said anything not coming out of CDBG will come out of the general fund.  Parrish said this will give the city a “clean slate” to start 2018.  Cuozzo asked Parrish when she was notified about the payment plan for the truck.  She said she received an e-mail from Donald Leshko about three or four weeks ago.  Mope apologized to other departments that were counting on the money that was set aside.  Parrish said she will “cover” these things.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 3-2 ON 1st READING


Ordinance 2017-20    Amending Ordinance 2012-15, Regulating Parking Within the City of Hazleton During the Snow Season for Snow Removal and/or Plowing and Establishing a Schedule of Fines for Violations Defined  in the Various Classifications of Said Regulations
(1st READING)                                                                       

Presented by Mundie.  Seconded by Gavio.

On the Question:

Atty. Sean Logsdon said there are only three changes made on the original ordinance. He said in Section 2, the periods, October 15th and April 30th    were changed to November 1st and March   31st.  He said the wording in Section 3, Subsection A, was changed to vehicular parking will not be allowed on the side of the street which the snow season begins in an odd year with house numbers with odd numbers.  He said the third change was in Section 3, Subsection C, how the public announcements will be through newspapers, television, radio or other means, not limited to social media. Mundie asked why the dates were changed.  Mayor Cusat said the snow season is a longer period of time.  Sosar said the snow ban signs were made improperly. Mope said the dates did not match. She said the sides of the streets were reversed from even to odd. She said the sign shows the universal sign for winter is a snowflake.  Mundie asked the mayor to inform council on any changes.

Sosar said the signs cost $26,000.  He asked why they were not bided out.  Mayor Cusat said the contract was given to COSTAR.  Vito said, in the past, he has come to council and have they have not approved his projects.

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

ORDINANCE FAILS 3-2


RESOLUTIONS:

Resolution 2017-70    A Resolution of the City of Hazleton, County of Luzerne, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Approving the Transfer of Liquor License # R-17961 into the City of Hazleton

Presented by Mundie.  Seconded by Sosar.

On the Question:

Sosar said the legalities are in dealing with the liquor license only being transferred.  He said he has some problems with the resolution.  He suggested council writing a letter to the Planning and Zoning Commissions to suggest the resolution not to be approved by the particular bodies.  He said he wants to give the residents an input.  Mope said the council would like to implement a “good neighbor policy”.  Cuozzo asked if council needs to automatically approve the resolution. Sosar said this resolution is only dealing with the sale and the purchase of the license.  He said council has a responsibility to the residents on the liquor license.  Cuozzo said the neighbors of Turkey Hill have a right to input.  Cuozzo said it becomes a quality of life.  Mope said there is a demand for liquor licenses in Pennsylvania with the fee being incresed. Mayor Cusat said the sale of liquor licenses do not cause trouble. He said it is hard to turn away a business with a mercantile tax.  He said this hearing is to allow an additional license to come in.  Atty. Logsdon said the hearing was to gather evidence from the applicant to make a decision.  He said the state is now modernizing instead of privatizing to allow stores to sell six packs. Gavio asked Atty. Logsdon if council will make the final decision.  Atty. Logsdon said if the resolution is passed    by council, the applicant will request it from the city clerk and will take the next step for the             transfer of the liquor license.  Gavio said he has a problem with the spot in the city and the safety.  Mundie asked Atty. Logsdon if the case would be appealed if council does not approve. Atty. Logsdon said he would represent the city if a case was filed.

Mundie said this is in direct competition with his family’s business, Cusat’s Restaurant.  Mayor Cusat said he is not worried.  He said there are eight liquor licenses on Alter Street. 

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 3-1-0


Resolution 2017-73    Authorizing Settlement and Execution of Settlement Related Documents

Presented by Gavio.  Seconded by Cuozzo.          

On the Question:

Cuozzo asked what happened to the original agreement.  Atty. Logsdon said no previous agreement was approved. Atty. Logsdon said he revised the original agreement.  Cuozzo said   she thought a settlement was made in 2016. Mundie asked Mayor Cusat if he is ok with all the agreements.  He said it needs to be settled.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Resolution 2017-76   Awarding Contract for the City of Hazleton’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Laurel Street Curb Ramp Replacement Project

Presented by Mundie.  Seconded by Mope.

On the Question:

Gregg Pavlick said the bids can be added.  Karen Parrish said the resolution needs to be amended for HUD’s additions. Gregg Pavlick said the bid is awarded to Franzosa Trucking in the amount of $217,810.

Motion to Amend:

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

Roll Call (As Amended):

Presented by Mundie.  Seconded by Gavio.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES AS AMENDED


Resolution 2017-77    Awarding Contract for the Demolition of 57 North Cedar Street

Presented by Mope.  Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Gregg Pavlick said the bid was awarded to Brdaric Excavation, Inc. in the amount of $14,000.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Resolution 2017-78     Approving the Application for an Immediate Emergency Loan under the Authority of the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act in the Amount of  $850,000.00, and  Authorizing the Mayor to execute applications, agreements, contracts or other documents  necessary to apply for and to secure the same

Presented by Gavio.  Seconded by Mundie.

On the Question:

Sosar said there are $280,000 in outstanding delinquent taxes as of 9/19/2017. He said the charge would not be $50,000 for obtaining money from MRS.  He said it has dropped to a $30,000 fee.  Mope said that does not come from the city.  Cuozzo made a motion (amend) to reduce the amount to $650,000.  Mayor Cusat said 92% of the amount is eligible to be sold. Cuozzo said that would be approximately $200,000.  Sosar said $536,000 would be received  from MRS.   Mundie asked Mayor Cusat what the total fees are.  Mayor Cusat said there are not fees.  He said it is the total to be paid off.  Mayor Cusat said he is not selling the delinquent taxes.  Cuozzo said there would be $100,000 more if the mayor would have budgeted better.  Sosar said if the loan is not taken, city employees will not be paid in October.  Mope said the loan must be paid back by the taxpayers.  Mayor Cusat said the city wasted $330,000 to get the money earlier. Cuozzo said the city was not previously in this position.  Mope said the mayor took money out of an account without council’s approval.  Sosar asked how many cuts were done in the city of Hazleton and how much money is needed for permits.  Mundie asked how much each street cut costs. Mayor Cusat said it depends on the size. Vito said it is a few thousand a cut.  Vito said there are a lot of cuts with UGI.  Sosar said there has been misspending.  Sosar said the city administrator does not attend important financial meetings.  He said council is unaware of where money is and how it is spent.  Sosar said it is on Mayor Cusat for the $850,000 loan.  Gavio said there are financial experts monitoring the situation.  Mundie said council does not want to see employees miss a paycheck.  He said council is doing this for the city employees.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1


Mayor Cusat said he wants to put on the agenda to approve the police chief as department head.  Sosar said as long as he lives in the city of Hazleton.  Police Chief Jerry Speziale said he will be looking for different employment since the council is not happy with his service.  He was told council is not pleased with his service.  Speziale said crime is down with his leadership.  He said the residents may see his name in the Standard Speaker looking for different employment.  Gavio said Speziale is doing a great job. Mope said Mayor Cusat is creating positions, legally, that do not exist. Gavio said he wants to nominate Police Chief Jerry Speziale as the Hazleton Police Chief.  Mundie seconded the motion.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES UNANIMOUSLY


Comments from the Audience:  Antonio Rodriquez, 718 Muir Ave., Hazleton, said Police Chief Jerry Speziale is doing a good job.

Frank Vito said by council not approving the snow ban ordinance, they are making the highway department’s job a lot harder for plowing the streets.  Mope said there is a snow ban ordinance in place.  Mope said the ordinance should have been reviewed with council aware of this situation.  Mope said this is a good idea to free-up the city workers.  Mayor Cusat said the dates are wrong.  Cuozzo said this ordinance is still in place.  She said it starts October 15th, 2017.  Vito said in the mistake by making the street signs, they are trying to correct this.  Mope said the snowflake on the signs needs to be amended stating “during snow”. 

John Keegan, 105 Ferrara Ave., Hazleton, asked Miss Kelley, from DCED, if the city has to prove the $850,000 loan is being spent.  Kelley said there are validation measures.  He said Cuozzo does not understand how the loan works.  He said the city is required to supply paperwork that the loan is being spent.  He said there should not be a dedicated account. He asked Sosar how many vehicles he purchased through COSTARS for the HCA.  Sosar said they are not always the cheapest.  Keegan asked why the $220,000 did not come down from HCA.  Mayor Cusat said he never got an offer regarding the $220,000.  Mundie said he received the information but the letter was addressed to Mayor Cusat.  He asked to see a copy of the resolution from 2016 passed for MRS to sell the delinquent taxes. Mundie said Mayor Cusat would not sign the agreement with MRS. 

Mark Rabo, 1st St., Hazleton, said there are 32 municipalities involved in the Wyoming Valley storm water project. He said it would amount to $4.50/month for property owners.  He said regarding ACT 47, it is needed to get the bills “caught up”.  He said the two bills he brought up need to be investigated.  He said in the past few months, he has heard residents saying they will sell their assets and move out of the city.  He said the downfall is to the native residents. He said the properties will be owned by out-of-state residents.  He said the quality of life will not be quantified.  He said the city cannot sell the authorities and then have a huge tax increase.

Comments from Mayor:  Mayor Cusat said he thanked council in making an investment in the city.  He said Dave Bunchalk has retired from the police department after 20 years of service.  Mundie asked the mayor if the grant money has been received for the police hiring’s.  Mayor Cusat said it is reimbursed quarterly.  Cuozzo said the grant money is not reflected in the monthly financial statements. Mayor Cusat said the city did not receive the physical check. 

Comments from Junior Council:   None

Comments from Council:  Cuozzo asked Mayor Cusat if the city lost another police officer.  He said a recent hire has resigned.  Cuozzo asked when he resigned.  Mayor Cusat said this week.  Cuozzo asked how that will affect the cop’s grant.  Mayor Cusat said the city will need to hire a few officers to keep the grant.

Mope said she is happy the city employees will receive their paychecks.  Mayor Cusat said the October 22nd payroll is questionable. Mayor Cusat said the city will make the October 6th payroll with taking the  30–day grace period in not making the health insurance payment.  Mayor Cusat said he needs $250,000 for payroll and $300,000 for health insurance payment.  He said that is where the $850,000 will be going.  Mope asked Kelley how fast the city will receive the money.  Kelley said it is considered an immediate emergency loan and when the loan application is received, the DCED is moving this as fast as possible.

Mope asked Mayor Cusat if the city is purchasing the boiler.  Mayor Cusat said he bided the boiler to be purchased.  Vito said if the boiler “goes down”, the city could get emergency services to get through the winter. 

Mundie said Mayor Cusat should receive a pension.  Mayor Cusat said there are two conflicting documents which state if a mayor should get a pension.  He said one document states elected officials do not receive a pension. He said the personnel policy states that the mayor is entitled to a pension.  He said the last raise approved for the mayor was in 1996. 

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

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