2017-11-08 Council Minutes

MINUTES

HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL

REGULAR MEETING

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2017

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Wednesday, November 8, 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-absent; Gavio-present; Mope-present; Sosar-present; Mundie-present

Minutes of Previous Meetings: The minutes of the October 3, 2017 Regular Meeting were approved unanimously.

Presentations/Proclamations/Communications:  Oaths of Office were given to the Incoming Junior Council Members

Bid Opening: Awarding General Construction Bid, RAC-P funds, (Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program), Downtown Hazleton Revitalization Project, Incubator Project, for the Hazleton National Bank Building Renovations. 

  1. Bognet, Inc., Hazleton, PA. Base Bid- $912,000. Bid bond included.
  2. MultiScape, Inc., Pittston, PA. Base Bid- $980,000.  Bid bond included.
  3. D&M Construction Unlimited, Inc., Clarks Summit, PA – Base Bid- $852,269. Bid bond included.
  4. Champion Builders Inc., Kingston, PA- Base Bid- $908,300. Bid bond included.

Courtesy of the Floor (ON AGENDA ITEMS ONLY): 

Antonio Rodriguez, 718 Muir Ave., Hazleton, PA spoke of Ordinance 2017-23- An Ordinance Repealing Ordinance 2016-11, an Ordinance Creating a Registration and Maintenance of Defaulted Mortgage Properties in the City of Hazleton.  He addressed Section 2- Definitions, Section K- Vacant, definition of vacant.  He said this ordinance addresses a parcel of land, in the city, which is not legally occupied.  He said there is a lot of vacant land without a building.  He said something is wrong with the meaning of the word vacant in this ordinance.  Atty. Sean Logsdon told Mr. Rodriquez that there may be a parcel of property left vacant that no one would occupy.  Atty. Logsdon said he will adjust the definition.  Mr. Rodriquez asked what the city is going to do with empty lots that have garbage on them.  Mundie said council will address this matter.  Mr. Rodriquez said council needs to come up with a different ordinance for empty lots.

Mark Rabo, 8 West 1st St., Hazleton, PA, spoke of Ordinance 2017-19-Modifying Consolidated Plan for CDBG Program Year 2012, 2015, 2016 & 2017.  He spoke of the Hazleton Fire Department’s Fire Truck (Pumper Truck) payment. He asked if the truck needs to be paid in full or can it be made in installments.  Rabo asked if some of the CDBG money could be used for the Blighted Property Review Committee for the solicitor and public advertisements for year 2018 hearings.  Mope asked Joe Zeller, Community Development Director, regarding the funds.  Zeller said all the money is required to pay for the fire truck.  Mope asked if there is any money left in CD.  Zeller said the money left is already committed to other projects.  He said the city did not receive their 2017 allocation (funds) or a contract from HUD.  Mundie asked if this is normal that Community Development did not receive their funds. Zeller said it is not normal receiving these this late.  He said it is due to the state government.  He said the contract should be received in a few days. Zeller said the money should be received by December.   

Jerry Speziale, Hazleton Police Chief, spoke of Resolution 2017-85- Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the Purchase of Equipment for the City of Hazleton’s Police Department.  He said the LSA Grant, 2018 funds, will be used for a group violence intervention strategy.  He said the city has sustained a pattern of crime and gun violence due to drug distribution with street gangs.  He said he and Mayor Cusat want to incorporate technology and increased police presence with data-driven, hot-spot policing with this group intervention violence program.  He said this strategy is being used all over the country, i.e.- Birmingham, Boston, New York, Patterson, New Jersey. He said 5% of these groups are committing 99% of the violence. He said this grant will be able to identify these groups.  He said the police will be trained by a company.  Mope asked what type of equipment the police department needs.  Speziale said they need computers, undercover vehicles, marked vehicles, and a company that will come in and put the police through “Cease-fire University”.  He said they will stay in Hazleton as a coordinator.  He said the offenders will be called in and will be offered social assistance and addiction services.  He said the U.S. Attorney will assist the police department with this program.  He said they use trigger lock, federal and state laws.  He said it is called the Safe City Initiative or the National Safe Cities.  He said he is working with Dr. Kennedy out of John J.  He said it has reduced crime and violence tremendously. 

Sosar spoke of the resolution including the grant to include the purchase of five (5) Equipped Police Patrol Vehicles to replace an antiquated fleet.  Speziale said three of the vehicles will be marked, the same concept as the new vehicles.  He said the police focus on the group, a focus deterrent.  He said the police will need the undercover cars to fulfill this endeavor.  He said they need an increase in the police cars after the area is stabilized.  He said he met with Mr. Richard Ammon, from the HCA, to obtain cameras to place inside the police vehicles. 

Mundie asked Speziale the total amount requested for the LSA grant.  Speziale said the total amount requested is $215,825.70.


Old Business:

ORDINANCES:

Ordinance 2017-19   Modifying Consolidated Plan for CDBG Program Year 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2017 (2nd READING)

Presented by Gavio.  Seconded by Mope.

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


Ordinance 2017-19   Modifying Consolidated Plan for CDBG Program Year 2012, 2015,  2016 and 2017 (3rd READING)           

Presented by Mope.  Seconded by Gavio.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 4-0


Ordinance 2017-21  Amending Ordinance 2016-11 Increasing the Vacant/Abandoned Property Registration Fee for the City of Hazleton (2nd READING)

Presented by Mundie.  Seconded by Gavio.

MOTION TO TABLE:

Mundie motioned to table.  Sosar seconded this.

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

ORDINANCE TABLED


Ordinance 2017-21  Amending Ordinance 2016-11 Increasing the Vacant/Abandoned Property Registration Fee for the City of Hazleton (3rd READING)

ORDINANCE TABLED


NEW BUSINESS:

Ordinance 2017-22   Modifying Consolidated Plan for CDBG Program Year 2016 and 2017 (1st READING)

Presented by Mundie.  Seconded by Sosar.

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

ORDINANCE PASSES 4-0 ON 1st READING


Ordinance 2017-23   An Ordinance Repealing and Replacing Ordinance 2016-11, an Ordinance Creating a Registration and Maintenance of Defaulted Mortgage Properties in the City of Hazleton (1st READING)

Presented by Mope.  Seconded by Mundie.

ON THE QUESTION:

Mundie said the council will be tabling this ordinance. Mundie asked Atty. Logsdon if the wording needs to be clarified.  Atty. Logsdon said yes.

MOTION TO TABLE:

Sosar made the motion to table.  Mundie seconded this.

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

ORDINANCE TABLED


RESOLUTIONS:

Resolution 2017-83    Authorizing the Director of Administration to Adjust Records - Refund of 2016 City Real Estate Taxes

Presented by Mope.  Seconded by Sosar.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-0


Resolution 2017-84   Authorizing the Director of Administration to Adjust Records - Refund of 2017 City Real Estate Taxes

Presented by Gavio.  Seconded by Mope.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-0

Resolution 2017-85   Resolution Requesting Local Share Account Funds for the Purchase of Equipment for the City of Hazleton’s Police                              Department

Presented by Mope.  Seconded by Gavio.

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

RESOLUTION PASSES 4-0


Comments from the Audience: None

Comments from Mayor:  None

Comments from Junior Council:  None

Comments from Council:  Gavio congratulated the new city council members.  He said he looks forward to working with the new members.  He wanted to acknowledge Jack Mundie for his many years of public service.  He congratulated the new junior council members and said they are very valuable to the council.

Sosar congratulated the new city council members. He said he has enjoyed the last four years serving as a council member. He also congratulated the new junior council members.

Mope thanked the new junior council members for being a part of city council. She thanked them for participating. She congratulated the new city council members and looks forward to working with them. She said it has been a pleasure working with Jack Mundie and David Sosar.  

Sosar also congratulated Donald Leshko of the Hazleton City Fire Department for the purchase of their new pumper truck. Mope said the dedication was wonderful.

Mundie thanked the new junior council members for volunteering. He congratulated Jim Perry.  He also congratulated Tony Colombo on his appointment to the city council.  He also congratulated Allison Barletta. 

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

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