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City Council Meeting Minutes

December 7, 2010

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on December 7, 2010 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

 

Carl Sallade said he is a lifelong resident having had owned his property since 1956. Mr. Sallade stated that he is alarmed by the school district's taxation. He said he knows this is not Council's responsibility but Council should be aware of this when contemplating its own taxation. He asked Council to consider the strain taxation is placing on its residents and businesses and that Council should exercise restraint when imposing taxes.

 

Steve Young relayed that a client's business was recently robbed and he's aware of how crime changes you forever. As a proactive measure, he said many businesses now have security cameras on-site.

 

Franklin Williams said he is concerned about the proposed 12.8% tax increase, especially since the city's average household income is between $23,000-$26,000. He said those who prepared the budget make more than the average resident.

 

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 Development/Interim Director of Community Development, Steve Buffington, Fire Chief, and Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator. Also present was Assistant Solicitor Don Hoyt and Captain Russell Tschopp, Police.

 

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 November 16, 2010 and unanimously approved them as written.

 

Correspondence and Announcements: No announcements.


PRESENTATIONS

Jessica Fieldhouse, RUN Community Resource Coordinator, YMCA of York, gave an overview of the RUN program.

 

“Resources for Urban Neighborhoods (RUN) is a joint venture of the Women’s Giving Circle of the York County Community Foundation and the York County Community Foundation’s Fund for York County. The Women’s Giving Circle brings together women who want to learn more about their community and leverage their charitable dollars for greater impact.”

 

“The York County Community Foundation is committed to preserving and enriching the quality of life in York County. Through leadership in advancing, encouraging, and celebrating philanthropy for the public good, it strengthens the community now and for generations to come.”

“It is one more initiative in the YMCA's continuing effort to enhance the City's western edge, an effort that includes the past rehabilitation of 27 blighted properties on West Market, West King and North Beaver streets, the planned renovation of 11 more units on West Princess Street, and the new construction of five townhouses on South West Street.”

Source: www.runyork.org

 

Ms. Fieldhouse added that as part of the RUN program, they have gathered information from community surveys to determine constituents' wants and needs.

 

She then briefly discussed the 2011 Neighborhood Pride Program. Ms. Fieldhouse explained that this program will award selected neighborhoods funds in increments of $5,000 to beautify their neighborhood. She said they already have applicants prepared to apply. Applications will be taken on a rolling bases.

 

Ms. Fieldhouse said an information session will be held on January 11, 2011 at the YMCA beginning at 6 p.m. For more information on these and other programs, please contact Jessica Fieldhouse at (717) 843-7884, ext. 243.

 

COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED: See “Schedule E”

 

STATUS OF PRIOR COMMITTEE REFERRALS: None


SUBDIVISION/LAND DEVELOPMENT/HARB

Resolution No. 149, Session 2010, (View) A Resolution approving the final subdivision plan submitted by Robert Kinsley to combine parcels related to the project at 235 N. Beaver St. was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 149 came up for discussion.

 

David Koratich, LSC Design, explained that they will take two properties and combine them to allow them to add a 1,000 sq. ft. vestibule for the new charter school, which is slated to open summer 2011.

 

There being no further questions, Resolution No. 149 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 

Resolution No. 150, Session 2010, (View) A Resolution approving the final land development plan submitted by Robert Kinsley to construct a building addition and make site improvements at 235 N. Beaver St. was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 150 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 

Resolution No. 151, Session 2010, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a certificate of appropriateness to Dan Ness for work to be done at 357 E. Philadelphia St., Kweku Parker for work to be done at 484-486 W. Philadelphia St., John Shepard for work to be done at 56 S. Pershing Ave., Pekala Architects for work to be done at 37 W. Market St. (Rosenmiller Bldg.), Steven Scott for work to be done at 454 W. Philadelphia St., Fox Restoration & Remodeling for work to be done at 163 S. Pine St., Crispus Attucks Association for work to be done at 614-616 S. George St., YMCA of York for work to be done at 342 W. Market St., Hogg Construction for work to be done at 241 E. King St. (Trinity U.M. Church), and Tidings of Peace for work to be done at 339 E. Poplar St., was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 151 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 

FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

 

Final Passage of Bill No. 37, Ordinance No. 32, Session 2010, (View) A Bill authorizing a Bond Note in the amount of $14,000,000.00 for capital improvements (City Hall, Arch St. & Poor House Run Interceptors, Community Centers, Ohio Blenders), which was introduced by Nixon at the November 16, 2010 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nixon, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 37 came up for discussion.

 

Attorney Steve Hovis, Stock & Leader (Bond Counsel) and Brad Remming, Public Financial Management, were present to outline the bond note. Attorney Hovis explained that requests for proposals were done to seek financing for this note, with Sovereign Bank offering the best rate. He discussed the projects to be covered under this note (See pg. 2 of Bill No. 37, Ordinance No. 32 for an outline of projects.)

 

President Ray asked what will happen if the new City Hall project falls through. Attorney Hovis stated that the city is bound by the terms of the note as there is no back-up language to allow flexibility. He said if the city doesn't expend funds for the City Hall project, then the city will only be obligated to finance what is actually drawn down. He said the note comes due on or before December 31, 2011 so the city will have to have financing in place by that time in order to meet payment obligations.

 

President Ray asked if we could shift money from one project covered by the note to another. Attorney Hovis said monies can be shifted.

 

Attorney Hovis went on to explain that the ordinance does provide that if the City determines not to proceed with one or more of the Projects, proceeds of the note may be allocated as needed for the remaining projects. Furthermore, the ordinance does not identify the specific amount allocated to any project. The allocation of funds would ultimately be controlled by City Council in that any contract in excess of $10,000 must be advertised and bid pursuant to the Third Class City Code and, pursuant to Article 137 of the City of York Codified Ordinances, the Council must approve any contract that is in excess of a certain formula figure which I believe Michael indicated was in the $40,000 range for 2011.

 

Attorney Hovis and Business Administrator O'Rourke briefly touched on the 2011 Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note (TRAN) and the possibility of the city losing its bank qualification if we put this borrowing off until next year.

 

Steve Young, city resident, said he feels residents are not getting all the information. Bill No. 37 as it appears on tonight's agenda is full of blanks, he said. If we continue to refinance projects, we'll never see the end of this tunnel. Mr. Young then questioned proposed renovations to 101 S. George St. (new location site for City Hall) and asked if we're borrowing money now to buy the building, how long will we have to wait to see the building renovated, 10 to 20 years? Administrator O'Rourke responded that a $100,000 per year debt service is a small portion of the General Fund budget and we still can do renovations with the money allotted.

 

Councilwoman Smith interjected that purchasing 101 S. George St. will cost taxpayers less money over time. This project makes sense, she said.

 

Councilman Nixon spoke about the benefits of all the projects to be funded by this note. The large parking area next to this building is large enough to be developed into tax generating property. He discussed needed improvements to the community centers that will benefit our residents and how the overall projects to be covered by the note will make for a better York community.

 

Vice President Hill-Evans stated that she believes in these projects but struggles over the fact that we must borrow $10 million to get $5 million dollars from the state. While these projects are necessary, she said she questions the timing. We need to try to get out from under this debt first. No matter how we break this down, it's going to cost our residents money. Vice President Hill-Evans went on to say that having spoken to residents, she doesn't believe now is the time to take on these debts.

 

Councilwoman Nelson broke down the debt service and the amount these projects would cost a homeowner per month. She said we really don't have a lot of wiggle room and feels this may be the best option in the long run.

 

President Ray said she too has been struggling with this issue. She agrees that we need improved

quarters for our staff but she is concerned about the 12.8% property tax increase and how it will affect

our residents. This note will lead to additional long-term debt and we continue to be unable to trim the budget to alleviate this debt. President Ray stated that she loathes the thought of taking action on an item that will incur more debt. She said the fact that we have not absolutely secured the $5 million municipal investment grant (View) only adds to her frustration. Purchasing 101 S. George St. will remove yet another property from our tax rolls, which is another concern because the property now pays about $150,000 per year to the city, school district, county and downtown BID. She then discussed the cost breakdown associated with renovations to 101 S. George St. President Ray said she will look to be prudent in this action and feels we are rushing into this purchase and into the full $14 million debt. She said if we were not being rushed, she feels would could explore other options. We are in deep financial straits and we need to be cautious.

 

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 37, Ordinance No. 32, passed by the following vote: Nelson, Nixon, Smith – 3; Nays – Hill-Evans, Ray – 2.


NEW BUSINESS

Introduction of Bill No. 38, Session 2010, (View) A Bill approving the 2011-2015 York Business Improvement District Authority Plan, was introduced by Ray, read by short title, and deferred until the December 21 meeting of Council.

 

Pulled for Agenda. An ordinance amending Article 333 “Peddlers and Solicitor's” of the Codified Ordinances to repeal Sections 333.15 “Central Business District Sidewalk Food Vendor License” and 333.16 “Nighttime Continental Square Vendor License” was pulled from the agenda for further review and discussion.

 

Resolution No. 152, Session 2010, (View) A Resolution reappointing Phyllis Ann Dowling to the Human Relations Commission, which term shall expire July 16, 2013, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 152 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 

Resolution No. 153, Session 2010, (View) A Resolution authorizing an agreement for the purchase of generation of electricity for City electric accounts through an RFP process with the assistance of Enernoc, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 153 came up for discussion.

 

Public Works Director Gross explained that Met-Ed's (city's electricity provided) rate cap will come off at the end of the year and we'd like to lock in a rate to avoid the default rate. He said if we avoid Met-Ed's default rate, the city will save approximately $378,000. The city will partake an the requests for proposals process in order to find the cheapest per kilowatt hour usage. He said amounts shall not exceed those listed in the Resolution.

 

For more information on choosing an electric provider, please visit: www.papowerswitch.com.

 

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 153 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 

Resolution No. 154, Session 2010, (View) A Resolution amending fees for the Dept. of Fire/Rescue Services for Fire Alarm Connection, False Alarm, & Standby, was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 154 was deferred until the December 21 meeting of Council. (Note: In accordance with Ordinance No. 19 of 1997, fee legislation must sit for at least one meeting prior to consideration of final passage.)

 

Resolution No. 155, Session 2010, (View) A Resolution amending fees associated with Article 1501 "Standard Adopted" of the Fire Prevention Code - Codified Ordinances, was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 155 was deferred until the December 21 meeting of Council. (Note: In accordance with Ordinance No. 19 of 1997, fee legislation must sit for at least one meeting prior to consideration of final passage.)

 

Resolution No. 156, Session 2010, (View) A Resolution authorizing and agreement with Capital Blue Cross for Health Insurance Administrator Services for years 2011 through 2013 for non-union and union city employees, was introduced by Nixon, read at length and on motion of Nixon, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 156 came up for discussion.

 

Business Administrator O'Rourke explained that Riverside Consulting Group distributed Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to the current medical insurance administrator, Capital Blue Cross (CBC) and two local competitors – Highmark Blue Shield and SouthCentral Preferred. SouthCentral Preferred declined to quote. CBC and Highmark submitted proposals with three year pricing. The CBC submission provided the greatest overall savings - $26,000 in savings for the first year (2011) and an overall savings of $80,000 over the three year term. Both vendors were invited to make an on-site finalist presentations to City of York Human Resources staff. The decision was made to continue offering CBC to employees based on pricing, service – including a new dedicated customer service team to address both Human Resources issues as well as participant issues, and to avoid any employee disruption.

 

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 156 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 

Resolution No. 157, Session 2010, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer for the Police Dept. in the amount of $13,570.73 for uniforms and training, was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 157 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 

Resolution No. 158, Session 2010, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer for the Parking Bureau/PEO in the amount of $4,325 for printing of parking invoices, was introduced by Nixon, read at length, and on motion of Nixon, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 158 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 

REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS: See “Schedule E”


COUNCIL COMMENT: None

ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None

 

RESUMPTION OF PUBLIC COMMENT

 

Rebecca Jackson, President, Opportunity Inc., O.H.C.D., reported on the “Foreclosure Intervention Workshop” held on Saturday, November 20, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Charter School, 559 W. King St., York, PA. She said local and out-of-town clients met with GMAC, PNC, and Freddie Mac service lenders and counselors regarding mortgage delinquency and foreclosure. She said it was a well attended event. She said she is waiting for a report from the lenders on their assistance to the families. For more information, please call (717) 650-0513.

 

Joanne Borders also attended the workshop and said it was very productive. She thanked Councilwoman Toni Smith, resident Jerri Zimmerman, and others who helped to make this a successful event.

 

NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for December 21, 2010 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 December 7, 2010 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:50 p.m.