2018-11-07 Regular Meeting Minutes

MINUTES

HAZLETON CITY COUNCIL

REGULAR MEETING

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2018

Call to Order:  Council met in regular session on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 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:  Barletta-present; Colombo-present; Mope-present; Perry-present; Gavio-present

Minutes of Previous Meetings:  The minutes of the October 24, 2018 Regular Meeting were approved unanimously.

Presentations/Proclamations/Communications: Junior Council member Julian Smith was sworn in as a new member of the Hazleton Junior Council program. 

Bid Opening:  None

The PA Department of Community and Economic Development held an ACT 47 Grant Hearing at 5:00 p.m. prior to the Hazleton City Council meeting. 


Courtesy of the Floor (ON AGENDA ITEMS ONLY):  Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, Hazleton, spoke of the financial borrowing for the City of Hazleton.  She said the amount of the loan is for $1,085,000.  She said $85,000 would be used for closing costs.  Deakos said over the life of the loan, the amount would be $300,000 with a cost of $400,000.  She stated the City would net about $600,000.  She said the City was talking about selling their delinquent property taxes.  Deakos said Mayor Cusat stated this would cost too much to do.  She said borrowing over $1,000,000 at a 40% cost would be more than selling the delinquent taxes.  She said the city administrator stated by passing an ordinance it needs to be followed because it is a law.  Deakos said she remembers the delinquent tax sale was part of the City’s budget.  She said administration choose to ignore this, thus putting the City in financial distress.  Deakos said if the City sold the delinquent taxes, the City would be “in much better shape”.  She said it is not fair for future mayor’s to be indebted by these choices.  She said this is unfunded indebtment.  Deakos stated the last two loans, through the Redevelopment Authority, used the playgrounds as collateral.  She said the City leased this to them, and then was leased back.  She said this does not sound rational.  Deakos said this loan should not be approved.  She said the selling of delinquent taxes is the best option for the City.   

Mark Rabo, 1st Street, Hazleton, spoke of the Redevelopment borrowing.  He said he was against the refinancing in 2015.  He said the $1,400,000 from the illegal immigration ordinance settlement was to be used for these legal fees.  He said using the Redevelopment Authority as a “dummy” corporation to have the debt, of the City, would hinder the authority’s ability to deal with blight within the City.  Rabo said this is “unconscionable”.  He said if the City decides to do this, it would render the Redevelopment Authority impotent to do anything with the City’s blight.  He said this would make the neighborhoods to become ghettos. He asked how much is left owed to the Redevelopment Authority from 2015.  He also asked what the conditions are, for this loan, to be taken out by the Redevelopment Authority.  Rabo also asked how long the loan will be, interest rate, and attorney fees.  He stated the City will not save money by taking a loan out through the Redevelopment Authority. Rabo said by holding onto the delinquent taxes, the money that would be saved is $25,000.  He said city council should find out everything about the loan before voting on it.

Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazleton, spoke of Ordinance 2018-41.  She said when the original borrowing was done in 2011, a complaint was filed.  She said it took DCED two months to figure a way around her complaint she filed. She said DCED’s report stated the money was borrowed by the Redevelopment Authority. Cuozzo said the Redevelopment Authority does not own the City’s playgrounds. She said they do not own the deeds.  Cuozzo said there are inconsistencies in this ordinance.  She said the Redevelopment Authority is not a lease back.  She said this is not that type of authority.  She said this is formed under the Urban Redevelopment Law.  She said it is not a financial authority to do any financing.  Cuozzo stated the $1,000,000 borrowing is costing almost $400,000.  She said this is tying people up for 10 years.  She said this keeps indebting the city.  Cuozzo said there is still borrowing from DECED in 2017.  Cuozzo told city council to think before voting on this ordinance.  She said she will file another complaint if she has to.  She said if she has to hold it up for another two months then she will do it.


Old Business:                                                                  

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2018-37    Modifying Consolidated Plan For CDBG Program Year 2018 (2nd READING)   

Presented by Barletta.  Seconded by Gavio.

Roll Call:  Barletta- yes; Colombo-yes; Mope-yes; Perry-yes; Gavio-yes.

ORDINANCE PASSES ON 2nd READING


Ordinance 2018-37    Modifying Consolidated Plan For CDBG Program Year 2018 (3rd READING)   

Presented by Perry.  Seconded by Colombo.

Roll Call:  Barletta- yes; Colombo-yes; Mope-yes; Perry-yes; Gavio-yes.

ORDINANCE PASSES


Ordinance 2018-38    Modifying Consolidated Plan For CDBG Program Year 2018 (2nd READING)   

Presented by Barletta.  Seconded by Gavio.

Roll Call:  Barletta- yes; Colombo-yes; Mope-yes; Perry-yes; Gavio-yes.

ORDINANCE PASSES ON 2nd READING


Ordinance 2018-38     Modifying Consolidated Plan For CDBG Program Year 2018 (3rd READING)   

Presented by Perry.  Seconded by Gavio.

Roll Call:  Barletta- yes; Colombo-yes; Mope-yes; Perry-yes; Gavio-yes.

ORDINANCE PASSES


RESOLUTIONS

None

New Business:

ORDINANCES

Ordinance 2018-39    An Ordinance Amending Ordinance Nos. 82-10, 82-14, 94-7 and 2003-7, regarding the Setting of Permit Fees for Cutting, Opening, or Excavating within the Cartways of the Public Highways within the City of Hazleton (1st READING)                                                                      

Presented by Barletta.  Seconded by Gavio.

On the Question:

Barletta asked what the reason is for increasing the permit fees.  Mayor Cusat said road repairs. He stated the companies are coming in, cutting a little section of roads, and the City is not receiving enough money to cover the repairs.  Mayor Cusat said the roads are then left with swales.  Barletta also asked about calendar years being reduced from six to five.  Mayor Cusat said he does not know. Barletta asked if the money is received on time.  Mayor Cusat said company’s pay when they get their permit.  He said UGI pays their permit fees monthly.  Barletta asked whether the fee of failing to obtain a permit, increased from $400.00 to $500.00, is collected.  Mayor Cusat said UGI is up front with their plans.  He stated some company’s cut-up, cracking out sidewalks and putting in driveways.  Mope asked when the gas companies do highway cuts, are they brought back to do the total repairs or is the patchwork left alone.  Mayor Cusat said the companies need to do the first patch, and then they come back with checker boarding.  He said some companies have done whole strips.  Mayor Cusat said the City is working with them.  He said instead of them putting it out and repairing their cut, they have been making the checks to the City and doing bigger stretches of roadways.  He said the whole road is being repaired and are not just doing a “patch down the middle.”  Mope said, in essence, the City roads are being repaired.  Mope said Diamond Avenue has multiple cuts in one block. Mayor Cusat said Diamond Avenue is not a City road. Mayor Cusat stated “Nanny Goat Hill” is being torn up.  Mayor Cusat stated these are the projects that are, in line, and this puts the City on a time scale.  He said he is trying to time the projects together. Barletta asked how long the excavators have to cut and dig the streets.  Mayor Cusat said the companies come and do a base coat and then come back, months later, and repair the bumps. Gavio stated it is one year, through the winter, until they can maintain the patch until it is completed. Perry asked if the cost is comparable with other municipalities.  Mayor Cusat said yes. He said Alan Wufsus, City of Hazleton Engineering Technician, checked and aligned the cost with their prices. Mope said the original agreement was for six years.  She asked if there is anything in the ordinance that states if a company comes back, within a certain period, to do a cut, will the permit fee be increased.  Mayor Cusat said yes.

Roll Call:  Barletta-yes; Colombo-yes; Mope-yes; Perry-yes; Gavio-yes.

ORDINANCE PASSES ON 1st READING


Ordinance 2018-40    Amending Ordinance 2018-10, An Ordinance Establishing Geographic Information System (G.I.S.) Documentation Fees to Record Certain Permits (1st READING)

Presented by Perry.  Seconded by Barletta.

On the Question:

Barletta stated this ordinance was just passed with an increase from $5.00 to $15.00.  Mope said there was an increase of $5.00 in April, 2018, and now the fee is $15.00.  She said the senior citizens are having a difficult time with this increase. She said they get the most handicapped permits. Perry said this should be revisited later.

Roll Call:  Barletta-no; Colombo-yes; Mope-no; Perry-no; Gavio-no.

ORDINANCE FAILS 4-1


Ordinance 2018-41   An Ordinance of the Council of the City of Hazleton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, Authorizing the Lease of Certain Real Property to the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Hazleton Pursuant to a Lease Agreement; Declaring the Guaranty of Said Authority’s Guaranteed Lease Revenue Note for the Benefit of the City of Hazleton to be a Project of the City For Which Lease Rental Debt is to be Incurred; Determining to Incur Lease Rental Debt in a Principal Amount not to Exceed One Million Dollars (1,085,000) in Respect of Said Project Such Debt To Be Evidenced by the City’s Sublease and Guaranty Agreement with Respect to Said Note; Authorizing Certain City Officers to Prepare, Certify and File with the Department of Community and Economic Development the Debt Statement Required by Section 8110 of the Local Government Unit Debt Act and Authorizing the Preparation of a Borrowing Base Certificate; Approving the Form of, and Authoring, Subject to Certain Conditions, Execution, and Delivery of  the Aforesaid Lease Agreement and Sublease and Guaranty Agreement; Repealing Inconsistent Prior Ordinances; Setting Forth Certain Conditions to the Execution and Delivery of the Aforesaid Lease Agreement and Sublease and Guaranty Agreement; and Authorizing the Proper Officers of the City to Take All Required, Necessary Or Desirable Related Action in Connection with Such Project and the Execution and Delivery of the Lease Agreement and the Sublease and        Guaranty Agreement (1st READING)

Presented by Barletta.  Seconded by Perry.

On the Question:

Ryan Hottenstein, Vice-President- Financial S&lutions, said the City is looking to borrow (NET) $1,000,000, to pay some back bills and operating costs.  He said the proposal is a structure to allow the City to borrow this amount while minimizing the impact on  next year’s cash flows through the budget.  He stated there are three pieces of debt still outstanding.  Mr. Hottenstein said there is a 2005 issue, 2015 issue, and the 2017 loan from DCED.  He said some of the positives of the City’s current debt is that there is not a lot of debt outstanding for a long time.  He said the longest debt is the DCED loan, and this pays off in ten years.  He said all the debt is off the books by 2027.  Mr. Hottenstein said there is  under ten years of existing debt from today.  He stated the current debt service is $1,220,000 per year and it stays at this level until 2023 when it starts to drop once the 2005 note is paid off.  He said it drops off even further in 2025, and $85,000 remaining in the last two years.  He said there are two options. Mr. Hottenstein said if the City borrowed the $1,000,000 plus other expenses, at a level debt service, the structure would be $134, 077, raising debt to $1,350,000 for 2019.  He said under DCED regulations this can be structured for the City’s overall debt service to remain level, but wraps around the back end minimizing the impact on a cash flow prospective, on the front end.  He said the second option is a wrapped debt service.  He said in 2018, the debt service will increase, in 2019, to $51,000 based on the terms and indicative rate, from M&T Bank, at 4.75%.  He said this wrap structure would level out the city’s debt service at $1,270,000 through 2025, and pay off in 2026, and then the last remaining year of the DCED loan, from 2017, would remain.

Brian Koscelansky, Stevens & Lee, said he was approached by the City’s administration, PEL, and DCED to find a solution for the $1,000,000 debt.  He said this is unfunded debt.  He said there are limited ways to do this under the Debt Act.  He said the Debt Act controls how the municipality would borrow money in the state.  He said this is paying for working capital expenditures.  He said then the City would need a court hearing or court approval before any borrowing can be done.  He said this process takes some time.  He said the City requested if this can be done before the end of 2018.

Mr. Koscelansky said this is a general obligation borrowing option.  He said there is a lease rental debt which was used, in the past, in 2011 and 2015.  He said it does not change the mechanics.  He said this would be the general obligation of the City to pay back the loan.  There is no recourse on the properties to the lease.  He said they is no collateral for the loan.  He said the bank has the same rights and remedies under the Debt Act.  He said this structure allows the timing to be controlled better.  He said this can be done, on the timeline, before the end of 2018.  He said the bank is getting the exact same thing.  He said this has been used in other municipalities.  He said for unfunded debt, the loan can go out for ten years.  He said this option is for eight years.  He said the Redevelopment Authority would have no impact, and there would be no recourse to the Authority.

Mope asked if this would raise the City’s debt service.  Mr. Koscelansky said yes. Barletta asked what the payments would be.  Mr. Hottenstein said, under the wrapped structure, in 2019, is $51,797.095 at 4.75%.  Mr. Hottenstein said the maximum rate is 6%.  He said there are advertising fees and filing fees.  He said there’s “built-in” room for other expenses.  Perry said, in 2024, there is a balloon payment.  Mr. Hottenstein said this is a wrapped payment to pay the loan off quicker.  Mr. Koscelansky said the typical court order process would be level debt service over a ten year period. He said this gives the City better control.  Perry said the City will not be out of ACT 47 before this loan is paid off.  Gavio stated ACT 47 is a five-year plan, and will be out of it.  Perry asked Dan what the option would be if the City does not take out this loan.  Lynch stated there are three options for city council to explore.  He said the first is borrowing to retire the deficit.  The second option is to raise real estate taxes to .8 mills for the deficit.  He said the percentage would be 16-17%.  Lynch said the third option would be to reduce expenditures and alleviate the deficit , i.e-reducing services and personnel.  Mope said the other option is selling the City’s tax delinquents.  Lynch said the delinquent taxes, over a period of 2012-2017, the total uncollected taxes amount is $2,175,765.  He stated from 2013-2018, delinquent taxes received were $2,078,576. He said, overall, the City is collecting at a rate of 95% overtime of the delinquent taxes out there.  He said the City stopped monetizing delinquent tax collection in 2017.  He said the delinquent taxes will be collected over a two-year period.  He said this year, (2018), the City has collected a total of $410,418.  He said over the period 2016-2017, the total collected is $656,636. He said this is 80% of the total delinquent taxes collected from 2016 and 2017.  He said the City will still receive the 2017 delinquent taxes into 2019. Lynch said the amount that is “out there”, the City is collecting.  He said this would not make the deficit “go away”.  Mope stated the money was needed up front in the past.  She said the tax money was coming in later.  Lynch said, previously, when the City sold the delinquent taxes, it was a cash issue.  He said the City is still getting the money, but it is over time.  Mope said, in 2017, there were three threats of layoffs.  She said the full amount of money not received was $500,000.  Lynch stated, in 2016, there was $405,440 of uncollected taxes.  He said, in 2017, there was $246,218 collected.  Mope said Jim Geronimo, from MRS, stated the amount of money to be collected was $600,000.  She said this is the amount the money is budgeted for.  Lynch said the amount of money to be received would be $823,693 by monetizing by the beginning of 2018. He said this is money that is in the operating budget.  Mope said if the City sold the 2018 taxes, this would give the City almost $500,000, close to the $1,000,000 needed, hence, not needing a loan. Lynch stated the City is budgeting to collect the delinquent taxes.  Lynch said this would not alleviate the deficit.

Perry asked how soon will the City receive this money, and are any bills not being paid.  Lynch said Accounts Payables invoices are, currently, being held in excess of $440,000, most of this is the health care insurance payment of $250,000. Perry asked how long this process will take.  Mr. Hottenstein stated, without a challenge, this process can be done by the end of 2018. He said, in 2011, when a resident challenged a lease agreement, the additional costs totaled between $25,000-$27,000.

Barletta asked what the $1,000,000 will be put towards.  Lynch stated the revenue, to date, is $9,576.603.  He said expenditures, to date, are $8,662,441.  Lynch said the difference is $914,162.  He stated there is $350,000, currently, in the General Fund account.  He said the General Fund account owes the ACT 205 account, currently, of $370,000. Lynch said the City gave itself a tax anticipation note, through the ACT 205 account, and older bills (2017) were being paid..  He stated when there are outstanding debt and bills, he said the best thing to do is look at your general ledger.  He said the TAN note paid older bills.  Barletta asked Lynch if the DCED loan for $850,000 paid all of 2017 bills.  Lynch said no.  He stated it got the City “through” 2017.  He said the 12/31/2017 balance sheet showed the City still had $350,000 in Accounts Payable, and $100,000 in Worker’s Compensation payable, and the last payroll was not made because of federal taxes were still showing as a “payable”.  Gavio asked if the majority went to payroll.  Lynch said yes.  He said it went to payroll and health insurance.  He said absent of the DCED loan, there was a $900,000 deficit in 2017.  Barletta asked if the City will be okay for 2019.  Lynch said the 2018 expense budget is close, and “right on the money”.  Mope asked if any of the money will go to the capital budget.  Lynch said no.  He said the City will need a 2019 TAN note.  Perry said the City is always behind.  Mope stated the City needed $1,500,000 from the ACT 205 pension fund account. Mope asked why the City does not need the extra $500,000. Lynch said a large portion of the $1,500,000 was used for older bills. Mope said either a TAN Note or borrowing from the ACT 205 account needed to be paid off by the end of the year. She said council was never told the City needed to take a loan out to pay the last payments for the pension.  Mayor Cusat said if the revenue that was put in the budget came in, there would not be a problem.  He said there were “bogus” and inflated revenue numbers inserted into the budget.

Lynch said there could be a revenue shortfall of $200,000- $250,000.  Gavio stated with the last budget, there was a 30% increase in taxes. He said he wanted “small increments” in increasing   the taxes over several years.  He said he wanted to ensure the senior citizens and residents would not feel the “brunt” of this.  Gavio said nothing is certain especially with revenue coming into the City.  He said with the EIT tax increase and ACT 47 Financial Plan, this is helping the City, but still has a shortfall.  Lynch said the City is seeking to strengthen its position with a capital fund budget with a capital fund balance. He said this is what the City needs to do to get in a right financial situation to provide for the citizens.  Mope said, in an ideal world, costs do increase.  She stated, in 2017, department heads and administration got raises.  She said this year there was a $1,000,000 loan, $1,000,000 for a TAN note, an increase in property taxes and EIT taxes.  She said administration and department heads are not tightening their belts.  Perry stated Mope voted for the Hazleton Police Department raises.  He told Mope she cannot have it both ways.  Mope said the police department is not part of the union, and said their contract can be re-opened.  She said the taxpayers and workers of the City are footing the bill.  Perry stated the City is borrowing $1,000,000, in 2018, and city council raised taxes 30%.  He said the last council majority has led the City to this situation.  He said it was dumped on the current city council members.  He said no delinquent tax sale will make this process better.  Perry said expenses have gone up.  Perry said it should have been the responsibility of the past four year majority of city council.  Perry said Gavio stated he tried to fix the problem while he was on city council.

Mayor Cusat spoke of the administration raises in 2017.  There were six employees who received a 1% raise.  He said one was paid out of the Transit Fund and from the Community Development Fund.  He said they received $6,000 over two years, and did not receive a raise in 2016. Mope stated the City needs to tighten their belt.  She said the taxes were not increased, but city council did bring in revenue.  She said there is an early payment agreement, with the HCA, for their master service agreement.

Mr. Hottenstein stated this is the conversation city council and administration needs to have because this for borrowing.  He said it is their debt, and this is their money to spend.

Barletta asked where the $1,000,000 is coming from.  She said she thought the deficit was $300,000.  Lynch stated the City finished 2017 with a deficit of $550,000.  He said the City did a TAN note, in the beginning of 2018, for $1,500,000.  He stated there is $370,000 still owed on this.  Lynch said there are also projected shortfalls in revenue.  He said there can be a $200,000 deficit.  Lynch said the City needs to overestimate this amount.  He said the running deficit was mentioned in the ACT 47 plan.  Barletta asked when the EIT tax rate increase money was anticipated to be received.  He said the EIT tax increase would have given the City a better cash position.  Lynch said if there was no court delay, the City would have received this revenue in November, 2018.

 Mope said she would not have anticipated revenue, from the EIT tax increase, due to employers compliance.  Mayor Cusat said once the ordinance was passed, the July, August, and September increases would have gone into the General Fund. He stated because the increase was not passed earlier, the money could not be reallocated.  Perry said PEL has supported this process. He said the other choice is to raise taxes.

Barletta asked Mr. Domines of the Pennsylvania Economy League with the big payments to be made by the City if this is a good decision.  Mr. Domines stated the wrap around payment, in 2024, the debt reduction of old debt is reduced.  He said the debt service, with the wrap around, will stay the same.  He said the debt service may need to be increased slightly to make up for $50,000, but will remain constant throughout.   Mope stated the prior older debt will go towards the balloon payment.

Roll Call:  Barletta-no; Colombo-yes; Mope-no; Perry-yes; Gavio-yes

                                               ORDINANCE PASSES ON 1st READING


                                                                       RESOLUTIONS

Resolution 2018-74    A Resolution of the City of Hazleton, County of Luzerne, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Approving the Transfer of Restaurant Liquor License No. R-3521 into the City of Hazleton from the PA Liquor Control Board

Presented by Barletta.  Seconded by Gavio.

On the Question:

Barletta stated this is not a new liquor license.  There was a typo in the original resolution.

Roll Call:  Barletta-yes; Colombo-yes; Mope-no; Perry-yes; Gavio-yes

                                                         RESOLUTION PASSES 4-1


Comments from the Audience: Mark Rabo, 1st Street, Hazleton, spoke of the administration raises in the 2017 budget.  He said there was an unauthorized hiring of personnel with money paid out with severance pay.  Rabo stated this needs to be scrutinized.  He said city council has oversight on how this money is spent.  He said it is city council’s right to question what is being spent.  Rabo spoke of the loan with the Redevelopment Authority.  He stated this monetization cannot be done on a regular basis.  He said with a shortfall with cash, he said the $800,000 deficit is the same amount of delinquent taxes to be collected.  He said the $250,000 can be collected with airport fees or the vacant registration ordinance.  He said Mayor Cusat refuses to collect on this.  He said administration refuses to do this.  Rabo said this budget needs to be scrutinized.  He said revenue needs to be “pulled” where it can be.  Rabo said there is only spending being done.  Rabo asked where the resident’s perks are. 

Dee Deakos, 43 West Mine Street, asked about the scales for weighing trucks.  She said this is revenue for the City. Gavio said he will find out about this.  Mope said they are not being used.  She said the trucks, coming into the mine lands, are weighed.  He said the City needs to look into this.  Deakos said the police department uses devices to read license plates.  She said they can determine when a car is stolen.  She said this is another source of revenue.  She said the City needs to think “outside the box”.

Margaret Quigley, 110 South Pine Street, Hazleton, said a resident who has purchased property next to her house, is planning to rent the half double by the room.  She said the resident has got permission for this.  She said the Code Enforcement Department has been to this house.  She said there is a lot of renovations being done.  She said this resident has eight rooms in this house.  She said she has not seen any zoning or advertisements in the newspaper.  She said she is one of the few property owners on this street.  Mope said there is a problem with the resident who owns this home.  Mope said the noise is intolerable, and there is no off-street parking.  Gavio stated he has seen this many times.  He said this needs to be looked into because of the increasing City population.  Mrs. Quigley said most of the street’s occupants are rentals.  Perry asked Quigley if she has spoken with the Code Department.  Barletta said city council needs to speak with Charlie Pedri from the Code Department.  Mrs. Quigley said there is a permit that is still valid.  Barletta said council will look into this matter.

Grace Cuozzo, 948 James Street, Hazelton, asked where the 2017 audit is.  Gavio stated administration stated this is still being worked on.  She said the paperwork that was supplied to council, in 2017, does not reflect these deficits.  Cuozzo said she would like to review this audit.  She said the $850,000 was to take care of everything. 

Gavio said in June, 2017, Cuozzo stated the City needed to take a loan.  Gavio said, by July, Cuozzo said the sale of the Hazleton Water Company ground would be used to subsidize this.  Cuozzo said this amount was the not the same amount presented to city council.  She said both sides needed to be presented, expenditures and income.  She said this was not presented properly. Gavio said there was to be a shortfall.  He said he wanted to go into ACT 47.  Gavio said Cuozzo stated she wanted them there for oversight.  Cuozzo said Gavio presented a same increase in taxes. Gavio said there was going to be a shortfall.  Gavio said Cuozzo stated employees should not be laid off, and she wanted to take a loan.

Ivelisse Eusracio, 860 Seybert Street, Hazleton, spoke of the $500,000 deficit.  She said now the amount is $1,000,000.  She said at every council meeting there is a taxing to the City.  She also stated the City needs more police officers on the streets.  She said the only time the policemen are seen is when something happens.  She said the recent permit ordinance needs to be enforced.  She said there was a recent break- in at a relative’s home.  They were told to put up a camera, and to call 911.  She said when the people look at the Hispanic population, they assume they are illegal and do not work.  She said every race is the same in the City.  She said they need to have a relationship with the police.  She stated Police Chief Jerry Speziale is very nice and professional with the Hispanic population. 

Comments from Mayor:   Mayor Cusat said it is a shame that people with no financial experience will try to explain delinquent taxes and loan payments.  He said the council’s, in the past, have put the City in this debt, and did not do their job.  He said the license plate readers, on the cars, cannot be used by parking enforcement and cannot run license plates.  He said the scales were being used, but the City received a $5,000 fine on November 1st.  He said it is a shame because these people do not know the day to day operations of the City.  

Comments from Council:   Mope said council was told the scales were not being used.  Mayor Cusat said she is listening to the wrong people.  Barletta said residents are just making suggestions on how to generate revenue.  Mope stated Mayor Cusat would not sign the contract to sell the delinquent taxes to MRS.  Mayor Cusat stated council tried to pass an ordinance to take away his powers. 

Barletta suggested to reach out to MRS and see what they say to compare it.  Lynch stated it is not a way to address the deficit.  He said if the City did not have funds to do a TAN, he said he sees why the past councils would monetize.  Mayor Cusat said the first year the City monetizes is good, but the rest of the years is “garbage”.  Mope said the problem was the process.

Colombo said Police Chief Jerry Speziale is doing a fabulous job, and we are all one community.  He said there was a recent article, in the Standard Speaker, about people from Canada who broke down.  He said they commended the City of Hazleton for the tremendous outpouring of generosity to them, i.e.- housing and food given to them. He said the community went above and beyond.  He also reminded everyone about Veterans Day.  He said if you see a veteran, thank them for their service.  He said Hazleton is a great city, and we need to move forward.

Perry asked how the parking reservations are going.  Mayor Cusat said there are about 50 applications that were submitted.  Mayor Cusat said anyone can go to the Parking Enforcement Office to obtain an application.  He thanked Joe Zeller for his recent article in the Standard Speaker regarding the upgrades to Altmiller Playground. He said the playground looks great.  He said the Hazleton Police Department are issuing tickets easier with online software.  He said Hazleton Municipal Airport is the only airport in Pennsylvania that is making money.

Comments from Junior Council:  None

Adjournment:  Gavio motioned to adjourn the meeting. Meeting adjourned

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