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City Council Meeting Minutes

January 16, 2007

City Council convened in Regular Session at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16, 2007, in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, with the following members present: Toni Smith, Wm. Lee Smallwood, Vickie Washington, Joseph R. Musso, Vice President, and Cameron Texter, President, with President Texter presiding. Mayor John Brenner was also present.

Members of the Administration in attendance included: Kendra Hunter, Director of the Bureau of Permits, Planning & Zoning, and Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator. Also present was Assistant Solicitor Christopher Connard. Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Kim Bracey, Director of Community Development, Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development, Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner, and John Senft, Fire Chief, were absent.

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

A motion was made by Washington, seconded by Smallwood, to dispense with the reading of the Minutes of December 28, 2006 and January 2, 2007, and approve them as written. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays - 0.


Agenda Item
President Texter asked that agenda item #4 approving cost of living increases for Directors be considered for action as requested by Mayor Brenner so that he may return to Governor Ed Rendell’s inaugural ball in Harrisburg. Therefore, Council considered said item.

Resolution No. 6, Session 2007, A Resolution approving a 3.6% cost of living adjustment for the Director of Public Works ($71,025), Director of Community Development ($62,160), Director of Economic Development ($62,160), Business Administrator ($90,037), Fire Chief ($70,588), and Police Commissioner ($77,700), with said adjustment being effective January 1, 2007, was introduced by Smallwood, read at length, and on motion of Smallwood, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 6 came up for discussion.

Mayor Brenner asked for Council’s support in approving the above-mentioned COLA’s. Mayor Brenner stated these are our key leaders and that this increase is well deserved. Because of financial challenges, he said, we haven’t been able to give a COLA to Directors since 2004. He said this 3.6% COLA does not make up for prior years because from January 1, 2004 through September 30, 2006, the Consumer Price Index (CPU) has increased 9.12%. However, he did say non-affiliated employees, excluding Directors, received a 2.5% COLA in 2005. Mayor Brenner said he doesn’t want to lose any of his Directors because of their professionalism, leadership, and loyalty to the City of York.

Councilman Smallwood said he would support this Resolution because he also feels Directors are deserving of this adjustment.

Councilwoman Washington stated she is concerned that all Directors are listed on one Resolution because she feels some increases are justified and some are not. She said she would like to see performance evaluations for each Director because the only evaluation she is able to review is the 2006 audit, which reflects bad management with regard to CDBG accounts. Because of findings related to improper handling of CDBG monies, she does not feel certain Directors deserve a raise.

Councilwoman Smith disagreed. She said she feels that Directors more than deserve this increase. She stated that through experience she has seen qualified employees leave the City because they are approached by other businesses offering higher wages. Councilwoman Smith especially praised the work of our Business Administrator. She said she recalls a time when we didn’t have a Business Administrator and the City’s real estate taxes increased by 40%. She feels Directors are short staffed and underpaid.

Vice President Musso clarified that Directors are not receiving a raise, they are receiving a cost of living adjustment and performance evaluations are not needed for a COLA. He said a COLA is to adjust employees’ salaries to help them cope with increased living expenses. Vice President Musso recalled that a few years ago the city was scrapping for money because we thought we’d have a $10 million deficit by 2010 but now that projection has dropped to $2 million. We are doing better as a city, he said, which a huge part of this turnaround is attributed to the hard work of the city’s Directors and staff. Additionally, he said you can’t give a COLA to some Directors and not to others.

President Texter also supports this COLA. He said staff is paying more for health care and other expenses in addition to doing more work with less staff. Directors have made major decision to help better our city and he commends their accomplishments and efforts.

Ed Berry, 247 E. Maple St., York, PA, agreed with Vice President Musso that either all Directors get a COLA or none. You can’t pick and choose, he said. Mr. Berry said he feels most of the Department Heads are doing a good job and that Council is especially doing a great job especially when considering the hassle you receive day in and day out. Mr. Berry pleaded with Council to support this Resolution because this city is worth saving and the efforts made by these Directors is a step in the right direction.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 6 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 4; Nays – Washington – 1.

Mayor Brenner thanked Council for supporting Resolution No. 6. He then departed the meeting at 7:45 p.m.

Public Comment
President Texter moved back to the printed agenda and considered public comment.

Kim Bolt, 1016 S. Pine St., York, PA, and President of Veterans Memorial Park Neighborhood Association, thanked Mayor Brenner and city staff for Operation Clean Sweep and for increasing police patrols in her neighborhood. However, she said she comes to Council again tonight asking for more help. She explained that drugs and prostitution has cropped up again. She said neighbors are picking up drug paraphernalia on a daily basis. Mr. Bolt said she is aware that the police department is understaffed and overworked but police attention is needed quickly because our children are now involved. She described an incident where a child pulled a fake gun on another child. Ms. Bolt said the Association works hard on a daily basis to keep the neighborhood safe, however, crime is increasing in severity and intensity. Next, Ms. Bolt spoke about several accidents at the intersection of Springdale Ave. and S. Pine St. She stated at least one accident per month happens at this intersection. Ms. Bolt said Association members approached the city’s Traffic Safety Committee (TSC) about making this intersection a 4-way stop but after the TSC completed a traffic study, the request was denied. She said it is only a matter of time before a child gets hurt or killed.

Councilman Smallwood stated that this is a classic case of inner city crime spreading to the outer ring of our community. He said it is only a matter of time before these activities move to our neighboring municipalities making this a huge countywide problem. This matter definitely needs attention, he said.

Councilwoman Smith asked Ms. Bolt several questions about traffic at the intersection of S. Pine St. and Springdale Ave. She questioned why an accident study wasn’t done before the request was denied. Councilwoman Smith said she would look into this for Ms. Bolt.

Tim Page, 680 E. Princess St., York, PA, discussed a junkyard in his neighborhood and how it is a disgrace that the city allows this junkyard to operate outside of the law. Mr. Page mentioned a junkyard located in West York that is well maintained and doesn’t infringe on the health and safety of its neighbors. However, the junkyard on E. Princess St., he said, is in direct violation of the city’s noise and zoning laws, and environmental erosion laws, yet the city won’t do anything to bring this company into compliance. He asked why the city permits this disgusting operation to continue.

Ed Berry, 247 E. Maple St., York, PA, explained that at the last Council meeting he asked Council about looking into having the sidewalks fixed along Pine St. and Wilson Court. However, after his comments, he said another individual got up and spoke with hostility and he hopes the Council doesn’t think he was in cahoots with that person. Mr. Berry then spoke about charges brought up on a young man that dropped a flowerpot on a police officer’s head. He said this young man is being charged with attempted homicide, which he feels the charges don’t fit the crime. He believes this young man is being excessively charged. Mr. Berry asked why attempted homicide charges weren’t brought against a man who just recently got into a high speed chase with a police car then tried to ram the police car. Not only was this man involved in the 1969 killing of Lillie Belle Allen, a black woman, during the ’69 riots, but now he’s trying to ram a police car. Mr. Berry asked why this man isn’t he being charged with attempted homicide. We need to use common sense when enforcing these laws, he said.

Committee Reports

The following chairpersons announced upcoming committee meetings:

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 – Economic Development Committee, Vice President Joseph R. Musso, Chair: Committee meeting scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers to discuss how to increase communication between the Business Improvement District Authority and taxpayers and to ascertain a positive framework from which to establish the future direction of the BID. Residents living in the BID area are encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 – General Committee meeting scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to hear from the city’s auditing firm, Maillie, Falconiero & Co., a formal presentation on the city’s Annual Financial Report year ending December 31, 2005 (2005 audit).

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 – Business Administration Committee, Councilman Wm. Lee Smallwood, Chair: Committee meeting scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers to hear from representatives from Prime Buchholz (city’s consultants) information on the city’s current pension outline.

Agenda
Resolution No. 7, Session 2007, A Resolution appointing Jeffry A. Carey, Jr., Christopher Thompson, and Gregg Luft, as probationary police officers effective January 8, 2007, was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Washington, Resolution No. 7 came up for discussion.

Councilwoman Washington asked what efforts are being made to recruit minority and city residents. President Texter outlined the recruitment process.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 7 passed by the following vote: Yeas –
Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Motion to introduce as a whole. A motion was made by Musso, seconded by Washington to introduce agenda items 2-3 as a whole (Resolution No.’s 8-9). The motion passed unanimously. Therefore, the following Resolutions were introduced:

Resolution No. 8, Session 2007, A Resolution appointing Matthew Jackson as a member of the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority to fill the unexpired term of George Hodges, which term shall expire January 5, 2010, was introduced by Musso and read at length.

Resolution No. 9, Session 2007, A Resolution appointing Harvey Holloway, Jr. as a member of the York City Human Relations Commission, which term shall expire July 16, 2009, was introduced by Washington and read at length.

On motion of Washington, seconded by Musso, Resolution No.’s 8-9 came up for discussion.

Council thanked Mr. Jackson and Mr. Holloway for their willingness to serve. As Mr. Holloway was present he spoke a few words then thanked Council for the opportunity to serve the City of York. There being no further discussion, Resolution No.’s 8 and 9 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

The City Clerk then administered the Oath of Office to Mr. Harvey Holloway, Jr.

Resolution No. 10, Session 2006, A Resolution approving an encroachment agreement submitted by CSP of York, LLC to install a handicap ramp at 235 S. Pine St., York, PA, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 10 came up for discussion.

Vice President Musso said this ramp will be installed on behalf of disabled citizen Mike Rhine. Vice President Musso apologized to Mr. Rhine that this process took so long but he was glad the ramp was finally getting installed. Mr. Rhine was present and thanked Council for considered this Resolution.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 10 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 11, Session 2007, A Resolution approving the final subdivision plan submitted by Mitchco, Inc. for work to be done at 15-23 E. Philadelphia St., was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Smallwood, Resolution No. 11 came up for discussion.

Blaine Markel of James Holly and Associates, was onboard and explained the project. Mr. Markel outlined that this is the former York Dispatch building located on the corner of N. George and E. Philadelphia Streets. The land will be developed to house a new Commerce Bank because they expressed an interest in opening a branch in downtown York.

Larry Lugaro, Director of Construction & Development, Commerce Bank, was also present and explained that he will manage the project and is available to answer any questions. He then presented Council with conceptual renderings of the proposed development. Mr. Lugaro stated that this project is being solely funded through Commerce Bank.

Mr. Markel and Mr. Lugaro then answered a few project questions from Council.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 11 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 12, Session 2007, A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a certificate of appropriateness for work to be covered in the application submitted by United Realty & Development for work to be done at 100-102 S. Beaver St. and 110-112 W. King St., was introduced by Smallwood, read at length, and on motion of Smallwood, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 11 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Requests for future meetings

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 – Economic Development Committee, Vice President Joseph R. Musso, Chair: Committee meeting scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers to discuss how to increase communication between the Business Improvement District Authority and taxpayers and to ascertain a positive framework from which to establish the future direction of the BID. Residents living in the BID area are encouraged to attend.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007 – General Committee meeting scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to hear from the city’s auditing firm, Maillie, Falconiero & Co., a formal presentation on the city’s Annual Financial Report year ending December 31, 2005 (2005 audit).

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 – General Committee meeting scheduled for 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to allow the York City Sewer Authority to provide information to Council and the public about planned improvements to the Wastewater Treatment Plant and information on a $10 million dollar borrowing that is planned to finance these improvements. An ordinance backing the bond will be scheduled to be introduced at the February 6 regular City Council meeting

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 – Business Administration Committee, Councilman Wm. Lee Smallwood, Chair: Committee meeting scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers to hear from representatives from Prime Buchholz (city’s consultants) information on the city’s current pension outline.

Council Comment:
Vice President Musso announced changes in the Planning Commission’s officers. He said Genevieve Ray would be stepping down as Chairperson, and Mike Johnson will take this charge. Mike Buckingham will serve as vice-chair and Matt Sommer as secretary. Ms. Ray will continue her service on the commission but not as an officer.

Administration Comment: None

Next Meeting: The next regular meeting of York City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, February 6, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA.

Adjournment: There being no further business, the January 16, 2007 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:10 p.m.