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City Council Meeting Minutes

September 4, 2012

 

CALL TO ORDER:  City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on September 4, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 101 S. George St., York, PA, to receive general public comment, with the following Council members present: Joanne Borders, Michael Ray Helfrich, Renee S. Nelson, and Carol Hill-Evans, President, with President Hill-Evans presiding. 
 
GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT
 
Jeremy Holtzapple suggested that City Council meetings be posted online for public viewing within 3 days after recording. He also said the links on the city's website to view WRCT videos is incorrect.
 
Ethan Britch complained that a neighbor has spray painted the curb to indicate handicapped parking. He said as a result, he is unable to park in front of his house. 
 
Leo Lunger stated that the Fair opens at 10:00 a.m., however, parking tickets aren't issued until after 4:00 p.m. for those illegally parked in the permit parking areas. Mr. Lunger said neighbors in the Avenues area plan to circulate a petition requesting the city to declare more events at the York Fairgrounds so that residents have parking during events at the fair. He said if more declared events cannot be added, then neighbors request the Avenues be made permit parking from May 1st through September 31st
 
Joe Haberle asked for results from the collection of delinquent sewer and refuse accounts. President Hill-Evans said that Business Administrator O'Rourke attended the last meeting to give an update but became ill before he was able to give his report. Mr. Haberle then discussed the recent leasing of 10 police vehicles. He asked what were the details of that purchase. President Hill-Evans said she doesn't have the details with her this evening but details were provided via email to members of Council. As a result of the information provided, Council held a special meeting on July 26, 2012 to authorize purchase of said vehicles. (Read Minutes)
 
Robert Rockwell said it speaks well of the city when reports are made available to the public. As such, he said he hopes the city continues to make information – such as the results of the collections efforts for the delinquent sewer and refuse accounts – readily available to the public for review.
 
Craig Smith stated that he has also requested an update on the collection efforts made on the delinquent sewer and refuse, and real estate accounts. He said information related to this effort should be made available to the public online or in the newspaper.
 
There being no further public comment, President Hill-Evans adjourned the General Committee meeting and reconvened in Legislative Session at 7:00 p.m., in Council Chambers, 101 S. George St., York, PA, with the following members present: Joanne Borders, Michael Ray Helfrich, Renee S. Nelson, and Carol Hill-Evans, President, with President Hill-Evans presiding. 
 
Members of the Administration in attendance included: Kevin Schreiber, Director of Economic and Community Development, 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-Mitchell, City Clerk.
 
Pledge of Allegiance: The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. 
 
Approval of Minutes: Council dispensed with the reading of the Minutes of August 21, 2012 and unanimously approved them as written.
 
Correspondence and Announcements: President Hill-Evans read the following press release:
 
York City Council to Restore Intent of Committees
 
City Council President Carol Hill-Evans has announced that City Council will restore its original intent of City Council Committee meetings as adopted by the Rules and Procedures of Council. Committees were established as a means to review and discuss at length recommendations and matters referred to it “prior” to formal legislative action. Rule No. 5 reads: “Before coming to a vote of the Council, all resolutions and bills affecting specific departments shall be referred to the committee in charge of that department, unless otherwise approved by Council....”
 
City Council has established the following Committees: Police, Fire, Public Works, Economic and Community Development, Business Administration, and Rules and Administrative Code.
 
Council President Hill-Evans said, “Committees serve as the working unit of an organization and is a means to take work and break it into manageable portions. Additionally, effective committee meetings will help to remove time consuming detail from our legislative sessions and allow for a more thoughtful and respectful exchange of ideas and information.”
 
Council will convene its first committee meeting on September 24, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers with subsequent meetings being held every 4th Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 101 S. George St., York, PA. 
 
If you are a person with a disability and plan to attend, please call (717) 849-2883 if any accommodations are needed to participate in the proceedings. Persons with hearing impairments may contact the Deaf Center at TDD 848-6765.
 
PRESENTATIONS: None
 
 
COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED: None
 
 
STATUS OF PRIOR COMMITTEE REFERRALS: No reports.
 
 
SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB
 
Resolution No. 90, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution approving the final land development plan submitted by Chick-Fil-A to construct a 4,736 sq. ft., one-story bldg. at 922 Loucks Rd., was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Borders, Resolution No. 90 came up for discussion.
 
Justin Thornton, Laser Consulting, Civil Engineer, (Chick-Fil-A representatives John Matinez and Attorney Mike Bavick were also in attendance), outlined that Chick-Fil-A is planning to move into a vacant steakhouse located at 922 Loucks Rd. He provided an aerial view of the project area. They plan to tear down the existing restaurant and build an approximately 4,735 square foot, one-story building. He said they are not changing access points. Plans also include installation of a small underground basin for increased stormwater flow. Mr. Thornton had in his possession a draft HOP (highway occupancy permit), signal plans from PennDot and milars. He said all zoning issues have been addressed and the planning commission has approved their plan as well. 
 
President Hill-Evans asked if the city engineer's comments have been addressed. Mr. Thornton said the letter they received on August 6 outlined the conditions and he can provide written information to Council. 
 
John Martinez, Chick-Fil-A Consultant, added that Chick-Fil-A will be open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. but will be closed on Sundays.
 
Councilman Helfrich applauded the developers efforts to re-use the site and to reduce stormwater flow in the area. He then asked about the draft HOP and the $15,000 attached to it. Mr. Martinez answered that during the HOP process, a traffic study was completed and improvements were made. One of the improvements discussed was a $15,000 contribution to the city for a Loucks Rd. evaluation. As such, Chick-Fil-A will be contributing $15,000 for this endeavor. 
 
Director Schreiber added that this donation will pay for the traffic study at that intersection. If the study recommends that improvements be made, its possible that YAMPO might help finance those improvements. 
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 90 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 4; Nays – 0.
 
Motion to introduce as a whole. A motion was made by Nelson, seconded by Helfrich, to introduce Resolution No.'s 91 & 92 together. The motion passed unanimously. 
 
Resolution No. 91, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution Re-approving the final subdivision plan submitted by CSP York LLC to consolidate three parcels into one at 625 E. Philadelphia St. (Helen Thackston Charter School); and
 
Resolution No. 92, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution re-approving the final land development plan submitted by CSP York LLC to expand the existing school facility at 625 E. Philadelphia St. (Helen Thackston Charter School)
 
Resolution No.'s 91 & 92 were introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Helfrich, the Resolutions came up for discussion.
 
Director Schreiber explained that both plans were previously approved by Council, however, the applicant failed to record the plans with the Recorder of Deeds within 90-days, therefore, re-approval is necessary. 
 
Councilwoman Nelson asked for clarification about the homes on Wallace St. Mr. Lee Bostic of Helen Thackston Charter School answered that they plan to demolish two homes on Wallace St. as part of the project. 
 
Councilwoman Borders said she will abstain from voting as she serves on the Board of Directors for the Helen Thackston Charter School.  
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No.'s 91 & 92 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nelson, Hill-Evans; Nays – 0; Abstained – Borders – 1. 
 
Resolution No. 93, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution approving the final land development plan submitted by Pennex Aluminum to construct a 20,000 sq. ft., one-story building at 2205 Pennsylvania Ave., was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Helfrich, Resolution No. 93 came up for discussion.
 
Director Schreiber outlined that Pennex is located in the city's industrial park and has an opportunity to expand its business. As such, a construction expansion of approximately 20,000 sq. ft. to their existing facility is being requested. 
 
Councilman Helfrich said he appreciates Pennex doing business with the City and he hopes Pennex will try to implement stormwater management strategies and will keep all materials on its property.
 
Brad Peters, Site Design Concepts, said he would take those thoughts into consideration.
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 93 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 4; Nays – 0.
 
Resolution No. 94, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution approving the final subdivision plan submitted by Habitat for Humanity to subdivide one lot into two at 321 & 323 E. Poplar St., was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Borders, Resolution No. 94 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 4; Nays – 0.
 
 
FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS
 
Final Passage of Bill No. 29, Ordinance 28, Session 2012, (View) A Bill amending the 2012 Budget for PHFA Rental Rehab-Permits/Clean & Seal Program in the amount of $69,891.00 to reflect rollover funds, which was introduced by by Nelson at the August 21, 2012 meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nelson, seconded by Borders, Bill No. 29, Ordinance No. 28, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 4; Nays – 0.
 
NEW BUSINESS
 
Introduction of Bill No. 30, Session 2012, (View) A Bill amending Article 333 "Peddlers & Solicitors” to exempt arts and street performers from registration under certain conditions, was introduced by Helfrich, read by short title, and deferred until the September 18 meeting of Council. 
 
Resolution No. 95, Session 2012, (View) A Resolution approving a 1% COLA for Human Relations Commission staff, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Borders, Resolution No. 95 came up for discussion.
 
Business Administrator O'Rourke explained that HRC employees are not NAFF (non-affiliated) employees. He said compensation for HRC employees is cover by procedures set forth in the HRC law in that their salaries have to be set by the Human Relations Commission and approved by the Mayor and Council. Also, the Administrative Intake employee for the HRC began working for the city on October 10, 2011 and had signed an offer of employment letter, therefore, she doesn't become eligible for a COLA until January 2013. The offer letter included a series of pay increases signed by the employee. Additionally, he said city employees would never receive a COLA so soon after they have started employment. 
 
Councilman Helfrich asked if we should amend the resolution. 
 
Administrator O'Rourke said that the Administrative Intake employee is covered under a separate compensation plan that was offered to her in the offer of employment letter, which she accepted. He said the NAFF language does not apply because there is a separate procedure for establishing compensation for HRC employees.
 
Stephanie Seaton, Executive Director, HRC, read Codified Ordinance Article 185.10(b)(4) regarding appointment of employees to the commission in that appointments and compensation are subject to Article 165, which qualifies HRC employees as NAFF. Additionally, she said the salary structure set forth in the offer of employment letter for the Administrative Intake employee was set by the Human Resources Office not the Human Relations Commission. So she said this all contradicts what Mr. O'Rourke is saying. She said in her 12 years of employment, HRC staff has been granted a COLA along with all other NAFF employees. 
 
Administrator O'Rourke said last year an amendment to the HRC ordinance was made regarding accountability. It was agreed that the HRC ordinance is what applies. He said the quote that Director Seaton left out in the ordinance was “with prior approval of the mayor and council.” So there is a procedure to establish compensation. He stated that we are simply trying to follow the HRC ordinance and who does what. He said he can't say whether our HR folks were in touch with the HRC prior to the offer letter but he said he does know an offer letter for the Administrative Intake person outlined starting salary, payment increments, and qualification for a COLA in January 2013. Administrator O'Rourke said qualification for a COLA doesn't automatically mean you get one. He said in January 2013, the HRC can establish a COLA for the Administrative Intake person, which must be approved by the Mayor and Council. 
 
Councilman Helfrich again ask if we want to amend the Resolution to be in line with what Administrator O'Rourke is saying in that HRC staff are not NAFF employees. 
 
Director Seaton said she started this process in June and was told various procedures to follow but if the Administrative Intake person is under a separate contact, then why was her pay set up by the Human Resources Department. 
 
President Hill-Evans followed up on Councilman Helfrich's question and asked do we need to take out the NAFF portion of the Resolution and if that would be a substantial amendment. Assistant Solicitor Hoyt said when you are talking about a Resolution that applies to two people and you take one out, a 50% amendment has to be a substantial amendment. 
 
Administrator O'Rourke then clarified that he is not saying that they are not NAFF because they are not members of a union. He said the distinction he is trying to make is that employees who fall under the supervision of the Mayor do not require a 3rd party to approve compensation. The HRC is not a department of the City of York and therefore requires approval of 3 entities (HRC, Mayor and Council). He said NAFF is not the issue, lumping the HRC with other employees of the city's departments is the issue. He further stated that the other issue is that the Administrative Intake person has a separate compensation plan up to January 2013. 
 
President Hill-Evans said we are going to vote on the Resolution as it stands with the understanding that the Administrative Intake person has an employment agreement that she signed which doesn't make her eligible for a COLA until January 2013. 
 
Director Seaton said a lot of inconsistencies exist that need to be addressed. President Hill-Evans said maybe we need to take a deeper look into the HRC ordinance and make adjustments to help keep these kinds of conversations from happening. 
 
Councilman Helfrich added that Council is one leg of this 3-legged stool and that if there is a discrepancy in procedures, the Commission should take that up with the Mayor. 
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 95 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Borders, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 4; Nays – 0.
 
SPECIAL REPORT – SEWER & REFUSE DEBT COLLECTION
 
Business Administrator O'Rourke explained that we are carrying through with the water termination notices under the new delinquent sewer/refuse collection process. The following are highlights from his report:
 
1.         So far three buildings with delinquent accounts have had water shut off. 
2.         We are implementing a process with the solicitor's office to record liens and identify parcels of real estate that we will take to sheriff sale or implement some method to gain compensation for the delinquencies. We will then seek deficiency judgment so we can go after personal property. 
3.         We have over 1,400 payment plans in place with a majority making payments. 
4.         It is estimated that the city will receive in excess of $1 million in collections this year. 
5.         There have been some problems identifying owners of vacant properties so we are looking at procedures to deal with that type of situation. 
6.         Some of the accounts have balances so large that the monthly payment for interest can be as high as $300-$500 so we are trying to structure payment plans. 
7.         If residents applied for payment plans during the amnesty period, we waived penalties and interest but those who applied for payment plans after the amnesty period won't have their penalties or interest waived. 
8.         We have been advised by the solicitor’s office that we cannot give out personal account information because it would be an unfair debt collection practice which is prohibited under the Debt Collection Law. 
9.         The Administration is working on putting together a program that will have information about the debt collection process available on the city's website. 
10.       The Administration will be providing regular updates to Council that can be shared with the media and public. 
 
REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS: None
 
COUNCIL COMMENT: None
 
ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None
 
NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for September 18, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. (Public Comment commences at 6:30 p.m.) in City Council Chambers, 101 S. George St., York, PA.
 
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the September 4, 2012 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:05 p.m.