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City Council Meeting Minutes

March 1, 2011

 

CALL TO ORDER:City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on March 1, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, to receive general public comment, with the following Council members present: Renee S. Nelson, Henry Hay Nixon, Toni Smith, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Genevieve H. Ray, President, with President Ray presiding.

 
GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT

 
Joan Burgasser asked when the Human Relations Commission auction would be held because the Community Resource Center on Reinecke Place is being renovated into a community center and they could use materials such as chairs, tables, etc. Council didn't have information on an auction date.

 
Michael Helfrich alerted the Administration that he is concerned that in the new zoning draft ordinance his house is zoned as a park. He then discussed the city's financial situation and how the city is worth much more than the revenue it generates. He said we need to generate about $75 million a year in revenue in order to pay bills and provide services. Mr. Helfrich then announced a clean-up effort to take place around Eberts Lane and S. Penn St. Lastly, Mr. Helfrich relayed that shots were fired into his friends vehicle and that emergency response time needs to be enhanced.

 
Charlotte Bergdoll thanked the York Daily Record for filing an open records request with the City in order to obtain financial information about the city's move to 101 S. George St. She said Council must realize that residents need to hear answers related to this move.

 
Manuel Gomez stated that the city is cheating its youth because they will be the ones that will have to pay for the debts being incurred today. He said its sad that the media had doors slammed in their faces and had to file an open records request in order to obtain information about the city offices moving to 101 S. George St. He said he feels the city's professionals have not made an honest mistake and that citizens are hit with a brick wall when trying to get information. He encouraged residents to file requests for records when they want information instead of depending on the media to do it for us.

 
Steve Young said he read the article in the York Daily Record providing figures on the cost to move city offices to 101 S. George St. He said we should not wait for budget season to get to these financial issues. He said the city has misled its residents by providing low estimates and incorrect costs related to this move.

 
There being no further public comment, President Ray adjourned the General Committee meeting and reconvened in Legislative Session at 7:00 p.m., in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, with the following members present: Renee S. Nelson, Henry Hay Nixon, Toni Smith, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Genevieve H. Ray, President, with President Ray presiding. Mayor C. Kim Bracey was also present.

 
Members of the Administration in attendance included: Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Kevin Schreiber, Director of Economic & Community Development, Steve Buffington, Fire Chief, and Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator. Also present was Assistant Solicitor Don Hoyt.

 
Members of York City Council staff in attendance included: Dianna L. Thompson, City Clerk.

 
Pledge of Allegiance: The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

 
Approval of Minutes: Council dispensed with the reading of the Minutes of February 21, 2011 and unanimously approved them as written.

 
Correspondence and Announcements: President Ray read correspondence and announcements.

 
PRESENTATIONS: None

 
COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED
 
  • Fire Committee, Renee S. Nelson, Chair: Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, York, PA, to hear a presentation on the fire department study.
STATUS OF PRIOR COMMITTEE REFERRALS

 
  • Community Development Committee, Carol Hill-Evans, Chair:Vice President Hill-Evans reported that committee members met this evening, Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, to discuss zoning issues, specifically language related to CPTED recommended security fences. Council plans to prepare a Resolution for the March 15 agenda detailing additional proposed amendments.
SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB

 
Resolution No. 29, Session 2011,(View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in denying an application submitted by Garth Warfel for work to be done at 294 W. Market St. (Case #7-11), was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 29 came up for discussion.

 
Joan Burgasser, HARB member, explained that the applicant wanted to install a neon sign, however, HARB denied the request because HARB members ruled that a neon sign would not be appropriate for a Victorian-era building. The applicant indicated that he would present an amended application to HARB at its next meeting and has agreed to consider a barber pole instead of a neon sign.

 
Steve Young, resident, said neon signs already exist downtown and stated that Council can reject HARB's recommendation. He asked Council to table the Resolution and invite the applicant to a Council meeting to further discuss. President Ray said the applicant was invited to tonight's meeting.

 
Councilman Nixon said he has noticed neon signs in windows downtown and wonders if this is a matter of enforcement. We need to pay attention to how we enforce our ordinances, he said.

 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 29 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0. (Note: The application submitted by Garth Warfel, Case #7-11, was denied.)

 
Resolution No. 30, Session 2011,(View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in approving an application submitted by LSC Design for work to be done at 32 W. North St. (235 N. Beaver St.) was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 30 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays - 0.

 
FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

 
Bill No. 5, Ordinance No. 5, Session 2011,(View) A Bill amending Article 1763 “Property Maintenance Code” to include furniture and add exceptions to bedroom & water closet accessibility, heat supply and occupiable work spaces, which was introduced by Nelson at the February 15 meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nelson, seconded by Hill-Evans, Bill No. 5 came up for discussion.

 
Fire Chief Buffington explained that this amendment will clean up language in the code to address other amendments previously made to the code. Specifically, language was added to prohibit indoor furniture from being stored in exterior property areas.

 
Joanne Borders, resident, said she was not aware that indoor furniture stored outside wasn't already a law because they were taught in Citizen's Inspector Training that it was. Chief Buffington explained that the original citation used to address this issue was found in Section 302.5 “Rodent Harborage,” however, in order to get ahead of the problem, they are being proactive in specifically including furniture in the regulations. He said notice will be given prior to citations being issued.

 
Michael Helfrich, resident, asked if a set of Windsor chairs set out for decorative purposes would be prohibited. Chief Buffington said if the chairs are made for indoor use, then it would be a violation. Mr. Helfrich said the language should be more specific. Chief Buffington stated that we must entrust our inspectors with common sense. He said we could not address every single material in the regulation.

 
President Ray asked if we could add “upholstered” furniture to the language. Chief Buffington said he feels the ordinance is sufficient and that our inspectors will enforce this fairly.

 
Dave Moser, resident, asked if the Administration is really looking to pass an ordinance that is so vague that interpretation is left up to the inspectors. Chief Buffington said he feels the language is specific enough. Mr. Moser disagreed and said he feels this ordinance is giving blind power to the inspectors to determine their own interpretation.

 
Councilwoman Nelson said beds are not upholstered but would be considered a violation if left in an exterior property area. She said this ordinance is an effort to get rid of the obvious violations.

 
There being no further discussion, Bill No. 5, Ordinance No. 5, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
NEW BUSINESS
 
Resolution No. 31, Session 2011,(View) A Resolution appointing Kevin Schreiber as Director of Economic and Community Development and fixing said salary at $77,000 per year, was introduced by Nixon, read at length, and on motion of Nixon, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 31 came up for discussion.

 
Mayor Bracey said Director Schreiber has been serving in both capacities since she took office in 2010 and has carried out his duties well. She said she is honored to recommend his appointment.

 
Councilwoman Smith said she did some research and found that the City of Lancaster has also merged their departments of economic and community development and that their director makes $103,800. She said we are lucky that Director Schreiber has chosen to stay with us and take on the challenge.

 
President Ray said she assumes money is in the budget to pay for this salary increase. Business Administrator O'Rourke said there are positions that have been budgeted for that are currently vacant. He calculated funds leftover from unoccupied positions from January until now and said those unexpended funds would more than cover this salary increase for the remainder of 2011.

 
Steve Young, resident, said if we have positions that aren't filled, we should get rid of them and save our taxpayer dollars especially since we just had a property tax increase.

 
Manuel Gomez asked for honest figures. He said be careful because combining departments means less supervision. He stated that we just endured a tax increase and residents are losing confidence in our officials.

 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 31 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 32, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution awarding a contract to Garland/DBS, through the U.S. Communities program, to replace the main roof of the Princess St. Center at a cost of $64,303, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 32 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 33, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution awarding a contract to Worden & Shewell in the amount of $164,750 for renovations to the Rotary Kranich building, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 33 came up for discussion.

 
Director Gross said this project will be to construct the new White Rose Community Television (WRCT) studio, ADA compliant restrooms, a cooling system, and electrical upgrades.

 
Manuel Gomez, resident, asked if there will be any interruption of service during the project. Administrator O'Rourke said there will be no interruption.

 
There being no further business, Resolution No. 33 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 34, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing a 5-year lease/purchase agreement for one (1) 2011 self-propelled, large capacity mower through state contract #2420-01 and financed through M&T Bank and Real Lease for a total amount of $50,689.74, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 34 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 35, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing the release of security funds in the amount of $239,056 to Tooling Dynamics related to the land development plan submitted for expansion of the existing facility located at 905 Vogelsong Rd., was introduced by Evans, read at length, and on motion of Evans, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 35 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS: None

COUNCIL COMMENT: None
 
ADMINISTRATION COMMENT

 
Business Administrator O'Rourke announced that settlement for 101 S. George St. is scheduled for March 9. He did say that the figures reported in the newspaper were incorrect and were based on an older proposal, which has since drastically changed.

 
Public Works Director Gross said Council will receive a contract for approval on the March 15 agenda for Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects to design a floor plan for 101 S. George St., which will then be followed by contract awards, as approved by Council, for the work to be completed.

 
Discussion ensued on the processes involved with moving into the new City Hall, associated expenses, parking, and time schedules. Director Gross said we hope to begin moving this summer (June-July 2011).

 
Manuel Gomez, resident, feels residents cannot accept testimony provided by Administrator O'Rourke because information hasn't been forthcoming. He said the media does important work for the community and any misinformation given to the media was provided by the Administration.

 
Administrator O'Rourke responded that the Administration is charged with the task of protecting the interests of the city, especially since we're dealing with an international company. For our own protection, he said we cannot divulge our playing hand to the newspaper. Once the deal is made, then we can share information as appropriate.

 
Steve Young, resident, said he asked for quotes and bids but now believes those figures were made up. He said we currently do not pay for maintenance because we rent, however, we will be responsible for maintenance, and costs for maintenance, once we move into 101 S. George St. He said if there is no scandal then why not talk about it. Mr. Young stated that State Rep. Eugene DePasquale will be renting a space at 101 S. George St. but only has two years left on his term so how much will he actually be contributing to the mortgage.

 
Councilwoman Smith wrapped up discussion by pleading with residents to become part of the solution. She said we should be thankful to have a Mayor who cares about our community. She urged residents to contribute to the betterment of our community by paying your taxes and fees and help us make York a better place.

 
NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for March 1, 2011at 7:00 p.m. (Public Comment commences at 6:30 p.m.) in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA.

 
ADJOURNMENT:There being no further business, the March 1, 2011 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:35 p.m.