City Council Meeting Minutes
October 15, 2013
CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on October 15, 2013 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: David Satterlee, Michael Ray Helfrich, Renee S. Nelson, Henry Hay Nixon, Vice President, and Carol Hill-Evans, President, with President Hill-Evans presiding.
GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT
Chet Landis, York, PA, spoke about the York Building Products (“YBP”) curative amendment request and that they have been trying to keep abreast of the various meetings on this request. He said residents of the Avenues neighborhood who are not members of the Avenues Association have taken it upon themselves to print up and hand deliver information on the progress of the curative amendment. Unfortunately, he said short notice on meeting cancellations and timeline changes is creating a problem. He urged Council to discuss YBP’s request with the neighborhood because this is a serious issue.
Lester Abbott, York, PA, complimented the trash collection service. He said they come early and pick up every piece of trash.
Charlotte Bergdoll, Cherry Lane Realty, applauded all involved in repaving the street and sidewalk on Hartley St. She then announced that the Halloween Parade will be held on October 26 beginning at the York Fairgrounds. For more information, please contact her at (717) 846-1345.
Franklin Williams, York, PA, urged the city to stop making streets and intersections more dangerous by narrowing them. He said crosswalk laws should be amended to require pedestrians to raise a hand forward to signal intent or desire to cross the street. Lastly, he said speed limits in alleyways should be posted at 15 mph.
There being no further public comment, President Hill-Evans adjourned the General Committee meeting and convened in Legislative Session at 7:00 p.m., in Council Chambers, 101 S. George St., York, PA, with the following members present: David Satterlee, Michael Ray Helfrich, Renee S. Nelson, Henry Hay Nixon, Vice President, and Carol Hill-Evans, President, with President Hill-Evans presiding.
Members of the Administration in attendance included: Jim Gross, Director of Public Works. 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 October 1, 2013 and unanimously approved them as written.
Correspondence and Announcements: President Hill-Evans read correspondence and announcements.
Cheryl Thompson, Associate Professor, York College, gave a brief presentation on York College’s Nurse Managed Centers. York College of Pennsylvania’s Department of Nursing operates Nurse Managed Centers where students are provided service learning opportunities and underserved populations in York are provided health promotion services. For more information on Nurse Managed Center, please contact the Stabler Department of Nursing at (717) 815-1790 or visit their website at www.ycp.edu/academics/academic-departments/nursing/facilities/nurse-managed-centers/.
COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED
Committee Work Sessions: Scheduled for Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss items for November’s legislative agenda.
STATUS OF PRIOR COMMITTEE REFERRALS
• Booting: A Bill amending Article 507 “Booting” of the Codified Ordinances was discussed at length at Council’s 9/25/13 committee meeting and remains in committee at this time.
• Mobile Food Vendors: A Bill amending Article 333 “Peddlers & Solicitors” of the Codified Ordinances to increase the number of mobile food vendor licenses authorized to operate in Continental Square was discussed at Council’s 9/25/13 committee meeting and remains in committee at this time.
• Bill No. 16: A Bill amending Article 181 “General Provisions” of the Codified Ordinances to establish that individuals may only serve on one board or commission at a time was voted out of committee on 9/25/13 and was formally introduced at Council’s 10/1/15 meeting. The Bill is currently under review by the solicitor’s office for possible further amendments.
SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB
Resolution No. 78, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a certificate of appropriateness to Steve Billet for work to be done at 256 W. Philadelphia St.; Meg Hill-Grigson for work to be done at 39-41 W. Philadelphia St.; and Craig Zumbrun, York City Housing Authority, for work to be done 329 & 339 E. King St., was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 78 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS
Final Passage of Bill No. 15, Ordinance No. 14, Session 2013, (View) A Bill Amending the 2013 CDBG & HOME Budgets to reflect changes resulting from closing out activities and rolling over funds from 2012, which was introduced by Nelson at the October 1 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nelson, seconded by Helfrich, Bill No. 15, Ordinance No. 14, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
Bill No. 17, Session 2013, (View) A Bill amending Part 15, Section 1501.04(14) and 1501.04(15) of the Fire Prevention Code of the York City Codified Ordinances to phase out the requirement for connection to the city’s gamewell system by July 1, 2014, which was introduced by Nixon at the October 1 meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nixon, seconded by Satterlee, Bill No. 17 came up for discussion.
Councilman Helfrich said he is not convinced by a representative who spoke during the committee meeting that minimized the time difference that would occur upon elimination of the Gamewell system. Fire Department responders have stated that we would lose response time and possibly lives by using the gamewell system. He said he’s not in favor of getting rid of it all together but would more readily entertain an opt-in/opt-out provision.
Councilman Satterlee responded that there is no evidence to support or refute that lives have been lost because of the gamewell system so he hopes Council’s vote won’t be reflective of that misconception.
Councilman Helfrich said he did not mean to imply that lives have been lost and that his comment was sort of a risk benefit analysis.
Councilman Satterlee said we would really have to discuss an opt-in/opt-out system because the cost implications could be critical. Additionally, he said based on the recommendations and assessments from the Fire Chief and the Director of Public Works, this system is costly and challenging to maintain. He said he leans more toward accepting the recommendations of our professional city staff in that it’s time to phase out this system.
Councilwoman Nelson said she is not in favor of this legislation if this phase out process means removing all gamewell systems throughout the city.
Fred DeSantis, President of the IAFF, supports keeping the gamewell system. He said this is the best system out there and the Fire Department responds quickly when the box is pulled. He said the gamewell systems is a life saving and safety mechanism as it protects hospitals, senior citizen homes, and traffic accident victims, just to name a few. Mr. DeSantis said he couldn’t support an opt-in/opt-out system because of the possible life-threating and property destruction ramifications lost in response time if the gamewell system is removed. He said he supports upgrading the system using a 10 year plan because he feels it’s worth the investment. Mr. DeSantis agreed that there are some faults with the gamewell system but that is no comparison to the lives this system saves.
Councilman Helfrich asked Mr. DeSantis if he could give some time estimates on the advanced reaction time of the gamewell system vs. 911.
Mr. DeSantis responded that as soon as you pull that handle, the Fire Department – who serves as the first responders – instantly receives the call. He gave an example of when a hurricane passed through York City and the 911 system was down but the gamewell system was still operable and was used to alert the fire department that a fire was in progress. He said it’s hard to give time estimations other than to say when the gamewell handle is pulled the Fire Department immediately gets the signal. He said there are approximately 300 gamewell boxes throughout the city with about 90 of those boxes located on city streets.
President Hill-Evans asked if there are any funds in the budget that will make up for the loss revenue associated with removing this system. Director Gross responded that he is not sure because this is a line item within the Fire Department’s budget.
Councilman Helfrich asked Director Gross if there are any grant opportunities to help maintain this system. Director Gross said he is not sure because again, this is a question for the Fire Chief.
Councilman Satterlee stated that the research and feedback he has heard in support of the system was strong; however, the information provided by our experts and the business community is that it is time for a change.
Vice President Nixon said he has taken into account of the debate behind this system. He stated that we have an excellent Fire Department who responds to approximately 300+ calls each year; however, his real concern is the $736,000.00 price tag attached to upgrading this system. He said he appreciates the comments made by Mr. DeSantis, the public, and our business owners but he has to give weight to what the Fire Chief and Public Works Director have opined with regard to the upgrade, maintenance and ongoing costs associated with maintaining this system.
Councilman Helfrich said he agrees that we have an incredible Fire Department but he feels that the gamewell system is a critical piece of infrastructure and removing it will negatively affect their response time.
There being no further discussion, Bill No. 17 FAILED by the following vote: Yeas – Nixon, Satterlee - 2; Nays – Helfrich, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 3.
Resolution No. 79, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution appointing Jose Aponte as a member of the York City Human Relations Commission to fill the unexpired term of Dolores Minaya DeAbreau, which term shall expire July 16, 2014, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 79 came up for discussion.
Mr. Aponte was in attendance and gave a brief background on himself and thanked the Mayor and Council for the nomination.
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 79 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
The City Clerk then administered the Oath of Office to Mr. Aponte.
Resolution No. 80, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution appointment Mark Rhodes as a member of the York City Human Relations Commission, to fill the expired term of Michael Gibson, which term shall expire July 16, 2014, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 80 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
Resolution No. 81, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution appointing Caroline Williams as a member of the York City Human Relations Commission to fill the expired term of Eric Orr, which term shall expire July 16, 2015, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 81 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
Resolution No. 82, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution authorizing the purchase of electric generation services for the City’s electric accounts, was introduced by Satterlee, read at length, and on motion of Satterlee, seconded by Helfrich, Resolution No. 82 came up for discussion.
Director Gross explained that approval of this resolution would allow the city to proceed with execution of electric generation contracts in time for tomorrow’s bid opening. He said he has provided Council with an Electricity Procurement fact sheet and briefly explained that we are looking at the 37 month timeframe to extend the contracts through the end of 2017. The total savings for the 152 account group and the 8 account group which is general fund expenditures is over $101,000.00. The 2 account group which is our two largest accounts, the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Ice Arena, will see an increase over the life of the contract of $62,959 or approximately $21,000 per year. Director Gross stated that this is because of higher demand charges on the large accounts. He said he believes this represents a good overall deal for the City and allows us to budget responsibly for this expense over the next four years.
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 82 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.
Resolution No. 83, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Atlantic Tactical to provide uniforms and equipment for police officers, was introduced by Nixon, read at length, and on motion of Nixon, seconded by Satterlee, Resolution No. 83 came up for discussion.
Councilman Helfrich said he is concerned that there wasn’t flexibility in the bidding process. He noted that he was informed that Yorktowne Embroidery could not bid but could provide embroidery services for the police patches. He said Yorktowne includes its embroidery in its costs; however, Atlantic Tactical does not. Furthermore, he said Yorktowne is a local business and he was told by certain police officers that they didn’t like the customer service from Atlantic Tactical. He said he would like to send this Resolution back to committee to discuss other options.
Councilman Satterlee responded that Atlantic Tactical is currently providing these services for the police department and that they do have some challenges. However, he said there is a difference between what a company has done and what a company says they can do. Councilman Satterlee stated that he does feel the restrictions on bidding is worthy of further discussion.
Motion to refer back to committee. A motion was made by Helfrich, seconded by Satterlee, to refer Resolution No. 83 back to committee. The motion passed unanimously. Therefore, Council will further discuss this at its October 23 committee work session.
REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS: None
President Hill-Evans congratulated the vendors and all involved in the food truck event. She said although it was pouring down raining, there was a large turnout and everyone seemed to have had a good time.
Councilman Helfrich thanked all who were prepared to participate in the rained out clean-up day. He also announced that this is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and this is a good time to donate to causes that educate and provide services related to domestic violence issues. Additionally, Oyster Fest will be held on October 20 at the Agricultural Museum and Yorktober Fest will be observed October 26 and 27.
ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None
NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. (Public Comment commences at 6:30 p.m.) in City Council Chambers, 101 S. George St., York, PA. (Tuesday, November 5, 2013 Council will observe Election Day.)
ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the October 15, 2013 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:20 p.m.