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City Council Meeting Minutes

September 20, 2011

 

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on September 20, 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
 
Tonya Thompson-Morgan, Economic Development Specialist, York City Department of Economic and Community Development, announced that the City of York, in partnership with York College of Pennsylvania and the Entrepreneurial Support Alliance, presents the thirteenth installment of the York Business Academy (YBA). The purpose of the Academy is to offer aspiring or new and existing small business owners an educational opportunity that will increase their business acumen and improve the likelihood of their success in the current economic climate. No formal education or prerequisite knowledge is required to participate in this session. There is a $35 registration fee that will be refunded if four of six classes are completed. This series of fall classes will run for six consecutive Saturday mornings starting on October 1, 2011 at the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, 410 Kings Mill Rd., York, PA 17401. York College professors, their respective MBA graduate students, student members of York College's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) organization, and other local business professionals teach each session that will focus on a major aspect of opening, owning, and operating a successful business. For more information, please contact Mrs. Thompson-Morgan at (717) 843-4948.
 
Peter Richards, York, PA, said he met with Mayor Bracey and Business Administrator O'Rourke about parking permits. He said he obtained a parking permit for the 100 block of E. Philadelphia St. and was told to tape the permit up, which he did, but said has been getting parking tickets. Mr. Richards stated that on June 11th, he was handcuffed, arrested, and placed in a holding cell for 2.5 hours for not reporting to the District Magistrate's office because of unpaid tickets. Mr. Richards referenced Article 507 “Booting” of the Codified Ordinances. He feels his situation called for booting but he was instead arrested. He stated that he was eventually found guilty because the Magistrate stated that he placed the permit in the wrong place on his vehicle's dashboard. Mr. Richards feels there is no procedure in place for residents to appeal parking violations. The matter was referred to Councilwoman Nelson for investigation.
 
Michael Helfrich, York, PA, discussed the recent flooding and stated that he spoke with FEMA representatives and insurance agents and said there is insurance available for sewer drainage and sump pumps. He said this insurance is often separate from homeowners insurance. For more information, he urged residents to call 1-800-621-FEMA.
 
Richard Rishel, York, PA, said it seems that no one is helping residents affected by the flooding. He said his neighbors have contacted FEMA and have been turned down. He asked for the city's help.
 
Michael Miller, York, PA, submitted a list of items of concern and inconsistencies with the recently adopted Zoning Code. (Read Items)
 
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, Steve Douglas, General Manager, WWTP, and Captain Russell Tschopp, Police Department. 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 September 6, 2011 and unanimously approved them as written.
 
Correspondence and Announcements
 
Councilwoman Smith announced that flood victims' assistance is being made available to residents through various programs such as the Keystone Home Energy Loan Program, which is a program that offers lowered loan rates to help flood victims replace damaged property with more energy efficient equipment. For more information on the program, please call 1-800-462-7585 or visit www.keystonehelp.com or www.patreasury.org. Additionally, she relayed that if residents need Disaster Relief Assistance such as mud out and clean up services related to the flooding, to contact Temple Baptist Church, 2550 Pine Grove Rd., York, PA 17403 or call (717) 741-3748.
 
Director Gross updated Council and the public on the paving project taking place on S. George St. He said the project was planned in coordination with York Water Company, so that below-grade infrastructure improvements would precede repaving. The project will be completed in mid-October. He thanked residents for their patience and cooperation.
 
PRESENTATIONS: None
 
COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED
 
Public Works Committee (Councilwoman Toni Smith, Chair)
Meeting held on Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to hear a presentation on the Guaranteed Energy Savings Phase II project.
 
Business Administration Committee(Councilman Henry Nixon, Chair)
Kronos with TeleStaff component (Resolution No. 109), A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Kronos with a TeleStaff component for an employee time, attendance and scheduling system. Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers for further discussion. (Note: Resolution No. 110, a budget transfer, was also postponed as it relates to the Kronos agreement.)

General Committee(Council President Genevieve Ray, Chair)
Towing Ordinance (Bill No. 16), A Bill establishing a comprehensive towing ordinance. Committee meeting scheduled for October 18, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss final recommendations.
 
STATUS OF PRIOR COMMITTEE REFERRALS: See “Committee Meetings Scheduled”
 
 
SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB: None
 
 
FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 26, Ordinance No. 26, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending the 2011 Budget for the Department of Public Works in the amount of $30,000 for vehicle fuels, which was introduce by Smith at the September 6 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Bill No. 26, Ordinance No. 26 of Session 2011 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 27, Ordinance No. 27, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending the 2011 Budget for the Police Department in the amount of $157,000.00 for the 2010-2011 Weed & Seed Communities Strategy, which was introduced by Nelson at the September 6 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nelson, seconded by Hill-Evans, Bill No. 27, Ordinance No. 27 of Session 2011 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 28, Ordinance No. 28, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending the 2011 Budget to appropriate revenue and expenditures in the amount of $67,676.00 for a JAG award for the purpose of enhancing law enforcement operations, which was introduced by Nelson at the September 6 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nelson, seconded by Nixon, Bill No. 28 came up for discussion.
 
Captain Russ Tschopp explained that a mobile license plate reading system is a mass surveillance device that uses optical character recognition on images to read license plates on vehicles. This device would be mounted to the roof of police vehicles and would scan license plates and cross reference those plates with a live database. The database will consist of vehicles that are linked to offenses such as unpaid citations, stolen vehicles, illegal possession of firearms, robberies, fugitives, drug activity, etc. Captain Tschopp said they have used a demo of the system on about 5 to 7 details and has since seen an increase in revenues because they were able to locate offenders that resulted in payment. He said this system would allow them to be much more effective and productive.
 
President Ray said arrest rates for offenses other than traffic violations are down, and she questions if this is just a revenue generating tool or will it actually help reduce crime. Captain Tschopp responded that the scanning would return more than just parking violations. He said the device could also be used to reconstruct a crime scene or determine whether a vehicle was linked to a crime or drug offense.
 
Vice President Hill-Evans asked if certain areas will be targeted. Captain Tschopp answered that there will be targeted details. He said this system will scan automatically instead of creating a hazard for an officer who normally would be manually writing down license plates on the fly, which is also time consuming.
 
Councilwoman Smith said she was concerned about detailed discussion on this system because she does not want to divulge too much information as it might tip-off or alert known criminals.
 
Vice President Hill-Evans asked why we aren't buying more mobile reading systems if they are so great. Captain Tschopp said the economy prevents them from doing so. He said the JAG award was cut 15% this year and there is talk that it will be cut even further. He said Federal grants are drying up and state grants shouldn't be relied upon at this point either.
 
Councilman Nixon said if approved, he would like to assess this process in about a year or two because on the surface it sounds like a great piece of technology that will help combat crime and bring violators to justice.
 
Councilwoman Nelson asked if different officers will use the system. Captain Tschopp said the system would be mounted to a vehicle so it would be used by different officers.
 
Officer Ryan Anderson discussed the license plate reading system details. He said the details using the system were very successful. He said they were able to arrest individuals with outstanding warrants from about 5 to 6 years ago, as well as apprehend some fugitives. He said the system doesn't run or store personal information. The system registers the tags and/or registration plates tied to wanted individuals or criminal behavior. Without this system, he said he would never know that an individual or vehicle was linked to a crime. The database would run and store this information for cross referencing.
 
Manuel Gomez, resident, asked that this discussion be referred to committee. He said this system is an intelligence gathering mechanism. He feels the police will be sitting on a mountain of data and he questioned how that data will be safeguarded. He said through research, it has been found that some information gathered has been shared with 3rd parties. Mr. Gomez asked if we are prepared to live in a community where we are found guilty until proven innocent. He asked what mechanisms will be put in place to challenge inaccuracies. Additionally, police could be referencing an erroneous database. Mr. Gomez said if there is nothing to hide, then we should be able to discuss this further and share ideas in a community forum. Lastly, Mr. Gomez said he was opposed to the system, but that if the purchase is authorized, he would like to see periodic audits completed.
 
Matthew Mann, resident, shared the same concerns as Mr. Gomez. He said privacy fears of government tracking citizens' movements, mis-identification, high error rates, and increased government spending are legitimate concerns tied to this system. He said there is too much potential for this system to go wrong.
 
Officer Anderson replied that the state police have used this system for years. It's also used in the private sector.
 
President Ray said she's not opposed to this tool but she feels policy issues need to be further discussed. She said she is less interested in the revenue-generating aspect as she is interested in it serving as a crime fighting tool. She said she understands the concerns raised by residents and as such will recommend that Bill No. 28 be amended to remove funding for the mobile license plate reading system in order for it and related legislation to be referred to Council’s Police Committee. 
 
Motion to amend. A motion was made by Ray, seconded by Nelson, to amend Bill No. 28, to remove revenue line item 50-500-39090-10157 in the amount of $25,820.00 and expense line item 50-500-46120-10157 in the amount of $25,820.00. The motion to amend passed by the following vote: Nelson, Hill-Evans, Ray – 3; Nays – Nixon, Smith – 2.
 
Motion to refer to committee. President Ray made a motion to refer further discussion on the mobile license plate reading system to the Police Committee. The motion was seconded by Nelson, and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
There being no further discussion, Bill No. 28, Ordinance No. 28, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0. Therefore, Bill No. 28 in the amount of $67,676.00 for the JAG award passed, however, funding for the mobile license plate reading system in the amount of $25,820.00 did not pass.
 
Referred to committee. Bill No. 29, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending the 2011 Budget for the Police Department in the amount of $25,820.00 for purchase of a mobile license plate reading system was referred to the Police Committee as it relates to Bill No. 28.
 
Referred to committee. Resolution No. 111, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer for the Police Department in the amount of $25,820.00 for an Interfund Transfer for purchase of a mobile license plate reading system was was referred to the Police Committee as it relates to Bill No. 28.
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 30, Ordinance No. 29, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending the 2011 Budget for the Police Department in the amount of $390.00 for unspent DCED grant funds, which was introduced by Nelson at the September 6 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nelson, seconded by Hill-Evans, Bill No. 30, Ordinance No. 29, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
 
NEW BUSINESS
 
Introduction of Bill No. 31, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending Article 931 "Sanitary Sewers" of the Codified Ordinances, subsection 931.02(b)(6) "Prohibited Wastes" to modify local limits, was introduced by Smith, read by short title, and deferred until the October 4 meeting of Council.
 
Introduction of Bill No. 32, Session 2011, (View) A Bill accepting a dedication of land from the estate of Carroll Gemmill located at 1001 & 1003 S. Queen St., was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until the October 4 meeting of Council.
 
Resolution No. 112, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution amending a term of membership on the York City Housing Authority Board for James Crosby to correct term expiration to read April 1, 2014, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 112 came up for discussion.
 
City Clerk Dianna Thompson explained that the term of membership as established in Resolution No. 106 adopted at Council's September 6 meeting was incorrect. The correct term of membership for Mr. Crosby on the York City Housing Authority Board should be April 1, 2014.
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 112 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Resolution No. 113, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing submission of an application for a Solar Energy Program grant in the amount of $1 million for the Solar Energy Program Project at the York City Ice Arena, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution N. 113 came up for discussion.
 
Director Gross explained that while the Ice Arena provides comprehensive recreational, educational and economic benefits, the facility necessitates considerable electrical demand to operate its multitude of programs. The City of York places the reduction of energy consumption at a high priority. In addition to saving tax payer dollars and maximizing limited financial resources, the City is firmly committed to reducing energy consumption to meet environmental benefits, create jobs, and reduce peak load. Fortunately, the Ice Arena has an existing exposed roof that is ideally suited for solar generation, which will displace purchased electricity. Grant support from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development will allow the City of York to install and implement a solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system to reduce the city’s reliance on nonrenewable energy sources. The City of York will provide the required 50% cash match through its guaranteed energy efficiency project: phase II. This project is part of the City’s overall energy efficiency initiative, which will include building upgrades to its old City Hall to house the police department, energy upgrades of a New City Hall, and retrofits to the sewer maintenance building. Energy efficiency upgrades will create a more cost and environmentally efficient city.
 
Evan Metzel, resident, asked why not just sell the property. Director Gross said, unfortunately, it is hard to sell real estate with outstanding debt attached to it.
 
Manuel Gomez, resident, asked if we know how much we will actually be saving using this technology. 
 
Vipin Goel, Johnson Controls,responded that the solar project will generate 571 MWhrs in the first year and will have a useful life beyond 25 years. Energy efficiency and responsible management of public resources is a top priority, which is why the city is partnering with Johnson Controls to design a public website that communicates the system’s energy savings and pollution reduction performance data in an accessible and transparent manner. Real-time and public information about the economic and environmental benefits of the system will enhance the proposed solar project by increasing community awareness about solar electric generation. Community engagement will promote the importance of solar power generation, reducing dependence upon the grid, and increasing energy and economic savings for the City and surrounding communities.
 
Marie Rohleder, resident, asked if the Ice Rink's roof is sturdy enough to house this unit. Mr. Goel responded that the project went through a full engineering study and the roof is sound and can tolerate the solar panels.
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 113 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Resolution No. 114, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Johnson Controls for installation and service of certain energy efficient equipment for the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (GESA), Phase II project, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 114 came up for discussion.
 
Director Gross stated that the city had originally selected Johnson Controls from a list of qualified firms through the request for proposals process for the Phase I project done in 2008. He said Johnson Controls made an assessment of energy consumption characteristics of various city facilities and existing equipment and has submitted an Investment Grade Audit for the Phase II project. The City wishes to retain Johnson Controls to purchase, install and service certain energy efficient equipment for the purpose of achieving energy cost reductions within noted facilities.
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 114 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Resolution No. 115, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution awarding a contract to Kinsley Construction in the amount of $225,006.82 for the Memorial Park Improvements Project, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 115 came up for discussion.
 
Director Gross said this project is being funded by a $200,000.00 DCNR grant, and donations from the York County Convention and Visitor's Bureau and the Hoffman Foundation.
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 115 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Resolution No. 116, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Musco Lighting in the amount of $187,500.00, through the CoStars program, for the Memorial Park Improvements Project – Lighting, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 116 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Resolution No. 117, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer for the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) in the amount of $106,000.00 to cover costs for sludge disposal and other contractual services, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 117 came up for discussion.
 
General Manager Steve Douglas, WWTP, explained that this transfer does not include costs associated with the flood. Although the plant did take on water, he said they were up and operational within 24 hours. He stated that this transfer will cover costs associated with additional contractual services secured for non-flood related issues. Manager Douglas said there is a typographical error in the Resolution in that the transfer is being made in the Intermunicipal Sewer fund, not the City Sewer Fund. The City Clerk said she would make the correction on the final Resolution.
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 117 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Resolution No. 118, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer for the Health Department in the amount of $15,111.63 to cover expenses for the remainder of the year, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 118 came up for discussion.
 
President Ray said although the Health Department has a pretty good track record in maintaining its budget, she said she is concerned about the increase in travel and conference expenses and a decrease in the medical supplies line item. President Ray sought an explanation but unfortunately there was no one in attendance to explain the requests.
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 118 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith – 4; Nays – Ray – 1.
 
Introduction of Bill No. 33, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending Title 4 "Stormwater Management" of the Codified Ordinances to repeal current language and replace with a comprehensive Stormwater Management ordinance, was introduced by Smith, read by short title, and came up for discussion.
 
Jeff Shue, C.S. Davidson, explained that Title 4 of the Codified Ordinances was last updated in 2009. However, this model Ordinance contains standards and criteria consistent with the Act 167 Stormwater Management elements of the Integrated Water Resources Plan (IWRP), of which this Ordinance is a part. Following adoption by the County, and approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) of the IWRP, York County municipalities must within six (6) months adopt or amend and implement ordinances to regulate development in a manner consistent with Act 167 and the IWRP. He said the six month deadline for the City to adopt this ordinance will occur on October 12. Mr. Shue outlined some of the changes in this ordinance – most notably, how impervious improvements will be heavily scrutinized and that developers will now have to contact DEP directly if they are having difficulty meeting criteria.
 
Councilman Nixon asked how difficult it will be to train staff on the new guidelines and if there are additional costs associated with the new regulations. Mr. Shue responded that he will be working with staff and providing materials to help with implementation of the new regulations. He did say there is cost associated with these new regulations and that the developer can set up an escrow account.
 
There being no further discussion, Bill No. 33 was deferred until the October 4 meeting of Council.
 
 
REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS 
 
Business Administration Committee(Councilman Henry Nixon, Chair)
Kronos with TeleStaff component (Resolution No. 109), A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Kronos with a TeleStaff component for an employee time, attendance and scheduling system. Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers for further discussion. (Note: Resolution No. 110, a budget transfer, was also postponed as it relates to the Kronos agreement.)

General Committee(Council President Genevieve Ray, Chair)
Towing Ordinance (Bill No. 16), A Bill establishing a comprehensive towing ordinance. Committee meeting scheduled for October 18, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss final recommendations.
 
Police Committee (Councilwoman Renee S. Nelson, Chair)
Meeting date to be determined to discuss the potential purchase of a mobile license plate reading system.
 
 
COUNCIL COMMENT: None
 
 
ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None
 
 
NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for October 4, 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 September 20, 2011 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:42 p.m.