2018-04-25 Work Session Minutues





Council met for a work session on Wednesday, April 25, 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.

There was discussion between city council and Mayor Cusat to schedule the PEL/DCED Public Hearing for ACT 47.  The meeting will be held on May 23, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. and then the Hazleton City Council meeting will follow.  

Also, the Pennsylvania UCC Code Changes Public Hearing will be held on May 9, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. in council chambers with the Hazleton City Council meeting to follow. 

There was discussion on the proposed Ordinance for approval pertaining to UCC changes.  Brian Mandak said it is council’s job to set any fees and not his job to write the ordinance.  He said the council has the power to change anything in the PA Construction Code.  Mope said it is not council’s job to write or update these codes.  Mope said council makes any amendments to the PA Construction Code. 

She said Charlie Pedri, Code Enforcement Manager, should be making the changes to the codes.  She said the engineers should be in charge of the codes. 

Mayor Cusat said he is working on re-working the Hazleton zoning map.  He said the state is making their second round for medical marijuana.  He said he will meet with the state and give his support, for the city of Hazleton, on this issue.  Mayor Cusat said a medical marijuana dispensary, stated by ordinance, can only be in an industrial area and conflicts with state law which can be in a commercial area.  He said the ordinance needs to be re-visited and updated.  Mayor Cusat said the dispensary can only be where a pharmacy is located.  Mayor Cusat said the state is giving seven more dispensaries to a town, with extra points, if the dispensary is located within an ACT 47 municipality.   He said these are currently located in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre.  He said the state is giving 24 more growing licenses. 

Barletta asked if the False Alarm Ordinance is currently in place.  Mayor Cusat said Donald Leshko, Hazleton Fire Chief, changed the fee to $25.00 with the police and fire departments are listed together. 

Colombo read some changes to the Fire Civil Service Rules.  He said there is a change in the processing fee- from $30.00 to $50.00.  Mayor Cusat said this is in line with the police department.  Colombo stated

the prior rule was an applicant must live within a 10-mile radius.  It has been changed to the resident must move into the city within 6 months of being hired.  He said the rules also state the physical performance and agility requirements required when testing is done.  Colombo said the rules also state a proof of address must be submitted to city hall to be employed in the Hazleton City Fire Department.

Barletta asked if Nancy Doyle’s position, former Human Resources manager, will be replaced. Mayor Cusat said no.  Mayor Cusat said the new administrative assistants duties are to be a translator and answering phone calls.  He said there is a general number for residents to call into city hall.  He said this extension # is 4960.  Mayor Cusat said she will be directing these calls to the correct departments.  Gavio asked if the administrative assistant will be doing any office work.  Mayor Cusat said yes.  Mope stated council never received her resume. Mope said her job description was not approved by city council. Mope said her salary is contracted under the union contract.  Mayor Cusat said it does not need to be approved by city council.  Gavio asked why she is not in the union.  Mayor Cusat said she is not showing interest in being part of the union. Mayor Cusat said the union does not want to negotiate with him.  Mayor Cusat said the union has not spoken to him since 2016.  He said he filed an unfair labor practice suit against the union.

Mayor Cusat said the city hall renovation project is currently underway. He said the city has a grant for $250,000, but looking for $750,000.  He said the cost of replacing the front steps will be $280,000 with $123,000 to replace the railing- total cost- $400,000.  Barletta asked if the work will be contracted out.  Mayor Cusat said no; the city public works employees will be doing the job.  Mope said the prior steps were granite.  Mayor Cusat said he will use a $500,000 grant to replace the steps.  Mayor Cusat said he wants to close city hall front steps, and place a “grand gate”.  He said he wants to direct people to the side entrance as the front entrance is not handicap accessible. He said he wants to remove some steps and place a balcony.

Barletta said the new parking tickets state the city does not accept cash.  Mayor Cusat said the city does accept cash.  He said the only colors the tickets come in is yellow, green, and orange.  Mayor Cusat said the new tickets will state- “cash accepted”.  He said the current tickets have this on them.  Barletta said the city is renting a pothole patch machine.  Mayor Cusat said it comes with an operator.  Mayor Cusat said the total cost to rent is $9,000/month.  Barletta asked Mayor Cusat if the city has a current machine.  Mayor Cusat said the city has a small recycling machine. He said the machine is not being used.  Mayor Cusat said the machine works well when a small batch is placed in it.  Mope said this machine was purchased under Mayor Yannuzzi.  Mope said council suggested using this small machine half a day.  Mayor Cusat said the city currently does not have a roller.  Barletta asked Mayor Cusat if he will be sending the public works employees to flagger school.  Mayor Cusat said he could if any employee is interested in this.

Mope asked what the city is doing with the UGI street cuts.  Mayor Cusat said the current ordinance needs to be adjusted. He said the street is patched, and then six months later the city will patch the road.   

Mayor Cusat said there should be a discussion in amending the rules of council. He said the ordinance process, with changes, needs to be worded in the rules.  He said the code book states an ordinance should be voted on with a second or final reading.  Mayor Cusat said it was misunderstood that there needs to be a third reading.  He said there needs to be a first reading, then final reading.  He said the third reading does not need to be the final reading.  He also said it needs to be in writing the proper procedure in electing a board/authority member. 

Perry asked Mayor Cusat regarding the moving permit.  He said there needs to be a better definition for moving.  Mope said most residents are moving out of the city in the early morning hours. 

Mayor Cusat also said the business license ordinance is currently being re-written by him and Fire Chief Donald Leshko. 

Gavio adjourned the work session meeting at 8:10 p.m.

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