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City Council Meeting Minutes

September 6, 2011

 

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on June 7, 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

 
Anna Walkins, Emmanuel Church of God in Christ, announced that their church is undertaking some wonderful activities and programs that they wanted televised but phone calls to White Rose Community Television went unanswered. She said they need friendly media to showcase the work they are doing in the community.

 
Steve Young spoke out against political bullies. He said people are afraid to speak out because of fear of retaliation and personal attacks.

 
Donna Watkins (aka “The Bug Lady”) discussed problems she is having with her landlord and feels her landlord retaliated against her for reporting codes violations. She said she was given 30 days notice by the landlord to move out of the property she had been living in for 20 years. Ms. Watkins pleaded for help from the codes department.

 
Joanne Borders invited residents to attend the Safer York Weed & Seed Community meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on June 8, 2011 at Hannah Penn Middle School (cafeteria). She then announced that the York City Police Dept. and Community Partnership will be hosting an informational session on June 16, 2011 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Ferguson Elementary School to talk about what the police are doing to help improve the northeast area.

 
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.

 
Members of the Administration in attendance included: Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Kevin Schreiber, Director of Economic and Community Development, and Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator. Also present was Assistant Solicitor Mark Elion.

 
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 May 18, 2011 and unanimously approved them as written.

 
Correspondence and Announcements: President Ray read correspondence and announcements.
 
 
PRESENTATIONS
 
Bring on Play (BOP), Joe Stein, Chair: Mr. Stein invited residents to attend a community meeting on June 15, 2011 at Zion United Church of Christ to discuss the design and renovation plan for Penn Park. He outlined several fund-raising efforts in place to help fund the project.

 
Downtown Inc., Sonia Huntzinger, Director: Ms. Huntzinger introduced new employee Amanda Myers, Communications & Events Coordinator for Downtown Inc. Ms. Myers then gave a brief background about herself.

 
COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED

 
  • General Committee – President Ray announced that a General Committee meeting was held this evening (Tuesday, June 7, 2011) at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA 17404, to hear from postal representatives discussion on proposed relocation of the York Main Post Office currently located at 200 S. George St., York, PA. President Ray stated that Council also heard from the public who mostly supported operations remaining downtown. 
STATUS OF PRIOR COMMITTEE REFERRALS
 
  • General Committee – Meeting held on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, to discuss Bill No. 16 (View) – A Bill establishing a comprehensive towing ordinance, and Bill No. 20 (View) - A Bill amending Article 333 "Peddlers & Solicitors” to establish additional licensing and location requirements for food vendors within continental square.

    Bill No. 16 (Towing): Councilman Nixon reported that all Council members were present for the meeting, as well as Police Chief Wes Kahley and Director Kevin Schreiber. Public comment was received from three (3) tow operators/salvers, as well as some citizens. Chief Kahley will seek clarification on some issues brought forward during the meeting and he indicated a desire for the ordinance to be fair to the citizens, tow operators and the city, and that it provides safeguards to all concerned. Committee members voted to keep Bill No. 16 in committee at this time.

 
Bill No. 20 (Peddlers & Solicitors): President Ray reported that all Council members were present for the meeting. An explanation of the legislation was received from Director Kevin Schreiber and after hearing comments, committee members voted Bill No. 20 out of committee for consideration of final passage tonight.

 
SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB

 
Resolution No. 77, Session 2011,(View) A Resolution approving the preliminary subdivision plan submitted by the RDA to subdivide a single lot at 303-335 W. Maple St. into 12 parcels for planned development of residential units, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 77 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 78, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a certificate of appropriateness to Rilex Properties for work to be done at 357 E. Philadelphia St., Adam Keller and Charlotte Bergdoll for work to be done at 317 W. Market St., Pressley Ridge for work to be done at 141 E. Market St., York Habitat for Humanity for work to be done at 351 E. Poplar St., and 114-116 Edgar St., Gibbor Construction for work to be done at 287 W. Market St., and Randy Hirsch for work to be done at 22 N. George St., was introduced by Nixon, read at length, and on motion of Nixon, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 78 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

Bill No. 19, Ordinance No. 18, Session 2011, (
View) A Bill authorizing a supplemental ordinance to the $14 million line of credit with Fulton Bank for capital projects to include the new firehouse project in said borrowing, which was introduced by Nixon at the May 18 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nixon, seconded by Hill-Evans, Bill No. 19 came up for discussion.

 
Business Administrator O'Rourke explained that last year Council approved a $14 million borrowing (Ord. 32-10) for capital improvements. Since that time, the Administration has been reviewing the option of relocation and construction of a new fire station. In order to move forward with further review, this project must be included as one of the eligible capital improvements projects listed under the initial borrowing.

 
President Ray confirmed that this amendment does not authorize the project, it merely authorizes the project to be included in the capital improvements feasibility study. Administrator O'Rourke said that is correct.

 
There being no further discussion, Bill No. 19, Ordinance No. 18, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Final Passage of Bill 20, Ordinance No. 19, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending Article 333 "Peddlers & Solicitors” to establish additional licensing and location requirements for food vendors within continental square, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the May 18 meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nelson, Bill No. 20 came up for discussion.

 
President Ray reported that Council met in a general committee meeting on May 24, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers and heard an explanation about the legislation from Director Kevin Schreiber. After hearing comments, committee members voted Bill No. 20 out of committee for consideration of final passage tonight.

 
Director Schreiber stated that as a result of comments received, the Administration made additional amendments to the legislation as reflected in the final draft.

 
Jody Moore, owner of Home Run Snacks, said he has the following problems with this ordinance: (1) he objects to only one license being granted for Continental Square, (2) he feels it's unfair that an existing mobile vendor could be ousted if a new food outlet later decides to open within 100 ft., and (3) he disagrees with the lottery system if more than one mobile vendor applies for a spot on Continental Square. Mr. Moore said he has had perfect inspections for the past two years and feels it's unfair that he now has to go into a lottery system, which is a gamble, in order to secure a mobile vendor license for the square. Further, Mr. Moore said there are 20 empty store fronts within a one block radius of downtown York and because of that he feels that the city should be welcoming vendors but instead he said it appears the city is making it harder for them.

 
President Ray said this has been a very frustrating process,that the current legislation is only a stop-gap measure, and that she hopes a more permanent solution to managing vendors can be addressed through the Continental Square planning process that has just begun (with private funding).

 
Steve Young, resident, asked if there were surveys or reports completed to support this legislation. Director Schreiber responded that when this legislation was originally introduced, a lot of input was received and in moving through the process, this legislation was believed to be the best approach. Mr. Young feels this legislation is limiting true economic growth and he pleaded with Council to loosen the law up a bit.

 
Residents Marakay Rogers and Manuel Gomez both stated that they support mobile vendors.

 
Councilwoman Nelson said if a mobile vendor sets up in front of an empty storefront and a food establishment moves into that storefront later that year, she would like to recommend amending the law to allow the mobile vendor to remain on location until the end of the year. However, she did say that the following year, if the food establishment remains, then the mobile vendor will need to find another location. She feels that the mobile vendor should at least be given the opportunity to remain on the premises for that year if they were there first.

 
Motion to amend. After discussion, Council concurred with the recommendations of Councilwoman Nelson, and therefore, a motion was made by Nelson, seconded by Nixon, to amend Bill No. 20 to add the following:

 
333.15(f)(1) During the license period, the mobile food vendor may stay at an assigned site regardless of the subsequent opening of an eating establishment within a one hundred foot (100 ft) perimeter.

 
The motion to amend passed by the following vote: Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Jody Moore, owner of Home Run Snacks, asked Council to consider allowing two licenses to operate in the Central Business District, however, Council rejected that idea.

 
There being no further discussion, Bill No. 20, Ordinance No. 19, as amended, passed by the following vote: Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Final Passage of Bill No. 21, Ordinance No. 20, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending the 2011 CDBG Program Budgets to appropriate revenue and expenditures in the amount of $89,000 to reflect changes resulting from an adjustment of funds from 2010, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the May 18 meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nelson, Bill No. 21, Ordinance No. 20, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
 
SUPPLEMENTAL AGENDA

 
A motion was made by Nixon, seconded by Nelson, to waive the provisions of Resolution No. 215 of Session 1969 to permit consideration of a supplemental agenda containing on Resolution. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 79, Session 2011 (Supplemental Agenda)(View), A Resolution approving the Fraternal Order of Police contract extension agreement through December 31, 2014, with some modifications, was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 79 came up for discussion.

 
Business Administrator O'Rourke explained that this amendment extends the contract period to December 31, 2014 and provides for a 2.3% wage increase across the board in all classifications through the contract period. Administrator O'Rourke said he has provided Council with a spreadsheet reflecting cost impact. He said he feels this was a good deal considering they could have ended up in binding arbitration, which rarely turns out favorable for the administration.

 
Resident Steve Young said he's not impressed with granting an automatic 2.3% increase to police officers. He stated that he would much rather see incentives put in place to encourage police officers to live in the city.

 
Resident David Jones feels this contract is not favorable to the taxpayers although he said he understands the administration's hands are tied.

 
Manuel Gomez stated that residents should feel slighted because it appears this is a “take it, or else” policy.

 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 79 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
NEW BUSINESS

 
Introduction of Bill No. 22, Session 2011,(View) A Bill amending the 2011 Budget for the Human Relations Commission to appropriate expenditures to reflect grant funding rolled over from 2010, was introduced Ray, read by short title, and deferred until the July 19 meeting of Council.

 
Introduction of Bill No. 23, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending the 2011 Budget for the Health Bureau to appropriate additional revenue and expenditures for the Home Visitor Grant - $4,500.00; and Dental grant - $12,748.00, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until the July 19 meeting of Council.

 
Resolution No. 80, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing documents related to the zoning ordinance re-write to be forwarded to the York County Planning Commission for review, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 80 came up for discussion.

 
Council President Ray explained that this Resolution incorporates additional recommendations for amendments to the proposed zoning ordinance that Council agreed upon after several public meetings on the legislation. Additionally, she said she has included a separate exhibit marked “Exhibit A-1” that makes changes to the original draft dated June 1, 2011 that basically corrects minor typographical errors and inconsistencies.

 
Motion to amend. As Exhibit A-1 was not included in the Resolution language, a motion was made by Ray, seconded by Nixon, to amend Resolution No. 80 to include Exhibit A-1. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays 0.

 
President Ray then detailed the amendments to the proposed zoning ordinance as outlined in Exhibits A, A1, B, and C1-3. (View Exhibits Exhibit A, Exhibit A-1, Exhibit B, C-1, C-2 and C-3) She also stated that after discussion on height requirements for fences, Council decided to keep the language the same to allow for solid 6ft. fences instead of the CEPTED fence.

 
Andrew Stern, JMT Consultant, said he feels these amendments have addressed the concerns voiced by Council and the public. He stated that the city Planning Commission has reviewed the changes an feels this is a good ordinance and that it's ready to be forwarded to the County Planning Commission for final review.

 
President Ray reminded the public that tonight's action does not approve the Zoning Ordinance, it merely approves substantive amendments to the Zoning Ordinance that must be sent back to the County Planning Commission for a 45-day review and comment period. She said Council will hold a final public hearing before voting on the final ordinance, map and comp plan amendments.

 
Councilman Nixon thanked Mike Miller, ANA President, and Council President Ray for their expertise and attention to detail. He said if it wasn't for their attention to detail, we could have easily opened ourselves up to possible lawsuits.

 
Councilwoman Smith agreed with Councilman Nixon's comments. She stated that this was a very intense and complicated process and finally after three years of hard work, she feels we now have a solid, enforceable ordinance.

 
Mike Miller, President of the Avenues Neighborhood Association (ANA), thanked Council President Ray, JMT Consultants, and all who participated in drafting this very important legislation.

 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 80, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 81, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution awarding a contract in the amount of $880,000.00 to East Coast Contracting, Inc. for renovations to 101 S. George St. (new City Hall), was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 81 came up for discussion.

 
Public Works Director Jim Gross explained that this contract would authorize renovations to 101 S. George St. He said they sent this project to bid, with East Coast Contracting being the lowest bidder.

 
Resident Matthew Mann asked if there would be any more cost surprises as this amount is higher than originally projected by the Administration.

 
Administrator O'Rourke responded that this amount is $380,000 higher than originally anticipated. He said the design was done by an architectural firm, not the city. Therefore, there's a possibility that some aspects were missed although they have taken prudent efforts to cover those occurrences.

 
Resident Steve Young asked what happens if Council says no to this contract? Will this contract then basically become mandatory?

 
President Ray said she repeatedly asked that a “not the exceed” clause be included in the language of the contract but that never happened...now we're stuck. Furthermore, she said Council was told that we would have an opportunity to vote on each step and, therefore, she said she will vote accordingly.

 
Resident Mike Helfrich asked for a breakdown of the cost to homeowners, which Administrator O'Rourke answered.

 
Resident Manuel Gomez asked what happened to the original $500,000 projection. He said the Administration is providing unreliable information.

 
Resident David Jones said a (combined) tax rate of over 50 mills amounts to a second mortgage on every home in the city. He said the city “does not have the right to take out a second mortgage on my home in order to gamble with the money.”

 
Resident Steve Young asked if Council could amend the contract to include a refund policy. He said we still don't know the true costs such as snow removal, future repairs, mowing, etc. Mr. Young said this all equates to more money. He questioned what will happen if we don't get the $5 million grant from the state to renovate the old City Hall into a new police station.

 
Councilwoman Nelson asked when we will know about the $5 million grant because she would not support the new City Hall project if the police station renovation project is not funded. She said she would prefer to reserve the $380,000 to help fund the police station project even if that means cardboard cubicles have to be installed in the new City Hall. She said the current police station has inadequate space and it floods. She feels the police station renovation project should be treated as a priority.

 
Administrator O'Rourke said the police station and City Hall projects are completely separate issues. He stated that even if we wouldn't make renovations to the new City Hall, we still couldn't afford to make renovations to the new police station because that's a $5 million project so the $380,000 wouldn't even put a dent in the police station project.

 
President Ray said she will vote against this Resolution because she thinks it's ill-considered. She said although we are now upset about the downtown post office closing, we could have considered that building to house city offices, including fire and police. She stated that this project would take 101 S. George St. off the tax rolls, which is a major loss of revenue. President Ray said she took the Administration at their word that Council could reject any portion of the project so she said she will vote against this Resolution.

 
Vice President Hill-Evans said she will also vote against this Resolution because of the timing. If the economy is changing for the worse, why would we burden our taxpaying residents with this project.

 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 81 was defeated by the following vote: Yeas: Nixon, Smith – 2; Nays: Nelson, Hill-Evans, Ray. Therefore, Resolution No. 81 did not pass.

 
Resolution No. 82, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Metropolitan Edison for the removal of four (4) streetlights on E. Market St. and Harrison St., was introduced by Smith, read at length and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 82 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Smith, Ray – 4; Nays – 0. (Note: Councilman Nixon was not seated at the table during the vote.)

 
Resolution No. 83, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing the purchase of Playground Equipment in the amount of $53,100.00 for Westminster Park through PA State CoStars contract #014, with the vendor for said purchase being George Ely Associates, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion on Smith, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 83 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Item Pulled. (View) A Resolution authorizing the appointment of a probationary police officer was pulled from the agenda for review by the Solicitor's office.

 
Resolution No. 84, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer for the Bureau of Housing Services in the amount of $89,000 to cover the Section 108 Loan program was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Ray, Resolution No. 84 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 85, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer in the amount of $3,218.00 for the Bureau of Health for the Dental grant to reflect budget revisions submitted to the state, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 85 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: None

 
NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for July 19, 2011 at 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 June 7, 2011 meeting of Council adjourned at 9:40 p.m.