2018-03-14 Work Session Minutes





Council met for a work session on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in Council Chambers. The work session began at 7:30 p.m.

In attendance were Council President Bob Gavio, Vice-President Allison Barletta, Jean Mope, Anthony Colombo and James Perry.

Mayor Cusat discussed the four ordinances that are on the next city council meeting agenda on April 4, 2018.

Mayor Cusat spoke of the GIS system (Ordinance 2018-10).  Barletta asked Mayor Cusat if the city, currently, has a GIS system.  He said yes.  Mope asked when the city got the system.  Mayor Cusat said the same ordinance failed in 2016 for charging the fee.  He said this ordinance is the original GIS ordinance that was not approved in 2016. Mayor Cusat said he wants to do a “plotting” fee. He stated the GIS system will show the history of a house in the city.  Mayor Cusat said this includes any building permits, work permits, business licenses, etc.   Mayor Cusat said the police department will be able to see if there are any code violations on a home.  He said this will be an administration fee.  Barletta asked who will be using this system.  Mayor Cusat said Matt Jones, employee in the Code Department, will be using the GIS system.  He also stated billing can be done through the system.  He said the Accufund billing can be done in GIS which would cut down on obtaining a license. Mope asked what software will be obtained.  Mayor Cusat said it is cloud software. Fire Chief Donald Leshko said the police chief’s car will be installed with a computer tablet which will be connected to the GIS system.  Mayor Cusat said it is linked to the county mapping grid.  Mope asked how secure the cloud software is.  Mayor Cusat said there is nothing confidential in the system.  Mayor Cusat said the $5.00 fee is an administration fee which will pay for the software and Matt’s salary.  He said the license for the ESRI (part of the software) is $489.00.  He said the city went from five licenses down to one.  He said the city sewer grates are to be mapped.  He stated it is a long process. 

For Ordinance 2018-11- An Ordinance Repealing Ordinance 2016-13- Establishing the Role of the Office of the City Engineer, Mayor Cusat said this is to repeal an ordinance that was passed two years ago. Mope said, by law, the city is to have a city engineer.  She stated it was done as an “as needed” basis. He said this ordinance was put in place for the procedure of hiring the city engineer. Mayor Cusat said it violates third class city law. Atty. Logsdon said the ordinance states, “Mayor shall appoint city engineer by an appointed time.  If not done by the mayor, the council has the right to appoint a city engineer.”  Atty. Logsdon said the only issue is stating what the mayor’s powers and council’s powers are.

Ordinance 2018-13- Regulating Mobile Food Service Establishments.  Mayor Cusat said he worked on the original ordinance with Frank DeAndrea and Brian Mandak. He stated this ordinance is for people who come into town and park their food trucks in front of a city restaurant.  Mayor Cusat said the food trucks still need a permit and a business license.  Mayor Cusat said the ordinance contains temporary permits and “one-time” permits.  He said the food trucks need to move every two hours at least 100 feet.  Mope asked how this will effect Funfest.  Mayor Cusat said there are a list of exemptions in the ordinance. Barletta said it needs to be fair “all the way around”.  Barletta asked if a resident wanted to have a party, at their home, with a vendor.  She asked what all the requirements would be.  Mayor Cusat stated it would require a $200.00 business license.  Mayor Cusat said there is a one-time contractor license the city of Scranton utilizes.  He said they would need to buy a business license under this agreement.  Leshko said any food vendor, coming into the city, would need to obtain a $200.00 business license.  Mayor Cusat said the business ordinance needs to be amended to say, “one-time fee”. Leshko said all vendors are inspected at Funfest.  He said there are concerns with mobile food vendors having propane tanks that are not properly installed.  Mope said most food vendors are transient and need to be informed of the requirements they need to obtain.  Mope said there are vendors selling auto parts, out of trucks, in the city.  Mayor Cusat said he wants to make a license for e-commerce.  Mayor Cusat said the description of attached assignment means square footage.  Mayor Cusat said the name of applicant and business entity are all the same on the business license.  Barletta asked if the $500,000 liability insurance charge is a normal fee.  Mayor Cusat said the business license insurance minimum is $1,000.000.  Mayor Cusat there are several things to review in the business license ordinance.  Leshko said 24-hour notice is not enough time to notify the code department.  He said the vendors need to give a two week notice. Mayor Cusat said the ordinance needs to include residential area, a two-week-notice, mapping, business ordinance needs to include e-commerce, one-day permits, and review B1 and 2-13 with the affidavit included. 

Ordinance 2018-15- Ordinance Regulating Recreational Vehicles Within the City.  Barletta said some ATV’s use a credit card to get gas.  She asked how the city can prevent this.  Mayor Cusat said this ordinance works in other municipalities.  He said once this ordinance is passed, the city needs to reach out to all the gas stations to notify them of the rules.  Mope said some residents use trailers to transport the ATV’s.  Mayor Cusat said he is trying to prevent people driving ATV’s on city streets, especially Poplar Street.  Mope said there are a lot of ATV’s in the Heights area driving illegally. 

Mayor Cusat said the city needs a moving permit ordinance.  The previous ordinance was not passed.  He said the city of Freeland has a $25.00 moving-in permit and a $25.00 moving-out permit.  He said the city’s permit would be $25.00 fee and would make the landlord responsible.  Leshko said it needs to include all city departments (fire, police, and code) to observe anyone moving in without obtaining one.

Mayor Cusat said the handicap sign fee is currently $5.00.  He said the employees need to verify all the residents’ information (if placard and license plate belongs to the resident) and this fee is usually not paid the first time.  Mayor Cusat said he would like to increase the fee to $20.00/year. Mope asked if there is a certain time, during the year, the handicap signs are erected.  Mayor Cusat said the business license’s were mailed late this year. He said he wants to have the business licenses out by November 1, 2018.  Barletta asked if the residents do not renew their handicap application if the sign is taken down.  Mayor Cusat said yes. 

Mayor Cusat said regarding the reserved parking ordinance, he stated Wilkes-Barre has residential parking around the areas of the hospitals due to the number of vehicles.  He said residents who have driveways, a car cannot block any driveway.  Barletta said the city’s roads are public streets.  Mope said if a resident has a handicap parking sign, placard, and a reserved parking sign, they can park in any reserved parking area. Atty. Logsdon stated a resident can only purchase a spot in front in their house.  It does not include a household that has 3-4 cars. Mayor Cusat said it can be reserved for off-street parking in the front of their house.  Mayor Cusat said he may make it “free” this year to see how many people will sign up.  

Fire Chief Donald Leshko said he took the city of Wilkes-Barre’s draft for the false alarm ordinance.  He said Atty. Logsdon will update this ordinance. He said this includes the fire and police departments.  He said it is in Chapter 83 and the original ordinance was adopted in 1995. Leshko stated it was created for police and fire alarms, but is currently done through Luzerne County 911. Perry asked what the cost is for an offense.  Leshko said the cost is $200.00.  Mope asked what constitutes a false alarm.  Leshko said after a third offense, the fee would be implemented.  He said it means the fire department would have had to be at the scene twice.  Mope said there needs to be proof that a business made a fire call.  She said there needs to be discretion when a business is waiting for an alarm company to come out. 

Mayor Cusat said currently the civil service rules are being re-written for the city.  He said the fire chief and police chief are writing their rules for their departments.  He said they will then be sent to the commission for approval.  He said the rules will then come in front of council for approval.  

Mayor Cusat said a few city realtors suggested creating a realty board.  He said there would be volunteers to help with city inspections. Leshko said the fire department is dealing with “rooming” houses (a room with padlocks) within the city.  He stated Charlie Pedri, Code Department Director, is currently working on this issue.

Gavio adjourned the work session at 8:45 p.m.

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