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City Council Meeting Minutes

December 17, 2013

 Signed Resolutions

 

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on December 17, 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

Kenneth Diaz, York, PA, said he supports Council’s intent to table Bill No. 24 establishing Article 332 “Mobile Food Carts.” He said he looks forward to further discussion on this legislation.

Fred DeSantis, President, York Professional Firefighters, thanked everyone that contributed to the “Fill the Boot Campaign” wherein they raised close to $6,000.00 which was then donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Additionally, he shared that the Vigilant Social Club donated $2,000.00 to the IAFF and that they used that money to purchase and donate equipment to the city. He said they will continue with their efforts to raise money to purchase equipment needed to serve the residents of the City of York.

Darren Borodin, mobile food vendor, said he was hoping to get clarification on the lottery system with regard to picking downtown mobile vendors for 2014. President Hill-Evans responded that Council will look to discuss this further at tomorrow’s committee meeting and that Mr. Borodin is welcome to attend.

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: David Michaels, Acting Fire Chief, 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 November 25, 2013 and December 3, 2013, and unanimously approved them as written.

Correspondence and Announcements: President Hill-Evans read correspondence and announcements.

PRESENTATIONS: None


COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED

• Committee Work Sessions: Scheduled for December 18, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.
• Council Meeting 2014: The Reorganization meeting of City Council will be held on Monday, January 6, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.


STATUS OF PRIOR COMMITTEE REFERRALS

Booting: A Bill amending Article 507 “Booting” of the Codified Ordinances remains in committee.


SPECIAL AGENDA

Resolution No. 92, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution appointing David Michaels as Fire Chief of the City of York, effective January 1, 2014 at an annual salary of $89,500.00, was introduced by Nixon, read at length, and on motion of Nixon, seconded by Helfrich, Resolution No. 92 was approved by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

President Hill-Evans and members of Council congratulated Chief Michael’s on his appointment.

Fred DeSantis, President, York Professional Firefighters, applauded Chief Michaels and said he has moved up through the ranks and is highly respected by all.

Mayor Bracey administered the Oath of Office to Chief Michaels.

Chief Michaels thanked the Mayor and Council for their support. He then introduced members of his family that were in attendance.

President Hill-Evans called for a brief recess at 7:15 p.m. to allow for congratulations and photos.

President Hill-Evans reconvened the meeting at 7:22 p.m.


SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB

Resolution No. 93, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a certificate of appropriateness to Latoya Friend for work to be done at 336 W. Princess St., was introduced by Nixon, read at length, and on motion of Nixon, seconded by Satterlee, Resolution No. 93 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.


FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

Final Passage of Resolution No. 91, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution establishing portable toilet permit fees in accordance with Article 1126 of the Codified Ordinances, which was introduced by Nixon at the December 3rd meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nixon, seconded by Helfrich, Resolution No. 91 came up for discussion.

President Hill-Evans announced that a proposed amendment was made to the portable toilet fee structure at Council’s 11/26/13 committee meeting to include language that there would be no fee for one portable toilet used for emergency home repairs lasting no more than four days that do not require a building/plumbing permit. That amendment has been incorporated into this final draft.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 91 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 23, Session 2013, (View) A Bill amending Article 1501.04 of the Fire Prevention Code to establish an opt-in/out provision for connection to the city’s gamewell system, which was introduced by Helfrich at the December 3rd meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Helfrich, seconded by Nixon, Bill No. 23 came up for discussion.

President Hill-Evans announced that proposed amendments were made to this Bill at Council’s 11/26/13 committee meeting to include an additional exemption for rental properties up to two units, and to begin exemptions for existing connections by the end of the 2014 billing cycle, with new connection exemptions becoming effective immediately upon passage of this Bill. Those amendments have been incorporated into this final draft.

Councilman Helfrich stated that Council voted to maintain the gamewell system, which unfortunately creates a burden for business owners. He said this amendment is an effort to create a happy medium by including language that commercial facilities may be deemed exempt upon installation of redundant fire alarm systems with approval of the City Fire Department and that the fire alarm system shall be connected to a central station approved by the Chief of the Department of Fire/Rescue Services; and an exemption for rental properties up to two (2) units. Additionally, these exemptions would begin at the end of the 2014 billing cycle for existing connections and would begin immediately upon passage of this Bill for any new connections.

Motion to amend. After previous discussion with the Fire Chief, Councilman Helfrich said he would like to offer an amendment to remove the exemption for rental properties up to two units, and to remove the commercial exemption to now read that Group B and Group M occupancies may be deemed exempt.

President Hill-Evans asked if this would be considered a substantial amendment thereby requiring additional advertising. Assistant Solicitor Hoyt said it is not a substantial amendment and does not require further advertising.

Therefore, a motion to amend was made by Helfrich, seconded by Nelson, and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 4; Nays – Satterlee – 1.

Vice President Nixon said he has serious concerns about the financial impact and consequences of this legislation.

President Hill-Evans agreed and said she is not in favor of this legislation because those left on the system will still be paying and those who opt out will shift the burden to taxpayers.

Councilman Helfrich stated that he voted to maintain the gamewell system for the safety of the public. However, he responded that it now sounds like President Hill-Evans wants the burden to be placed solely on the business owners. He said if the burden is slightly shifted to the residents for their own safety, then he supports it.

Councilman Satterlee responded to Councilman Helfrich that the original vote was to keep all businesses on the gamewell system and now you want to remove that responsibility, which is totally contradictory. He said he is not in support of this legislation and suggested it go back to committee.

Councilman Helfrich said he is more concerned about the 90 fireboxes currently on the street.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 23 FAILED by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon – 2; Nays – Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 3.

Final Passage of Bill No. 25, Ordinance No. 18, Session 2013, (View) A Bill amending the 2013 Budget in the amount of $104,000 in revenue and expenses to cover subdivision/development fee planning expenses, which was introduced by Nelson at the December 3rd meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Nelson, seconded by Helfrich, Bill No. 25, Ordinance No. 18, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.


NEW BUSINESS

Introduction of Bill No. 26, Session 2013, (View) A Bill amending Bill No. 20, Ordinance No. 16 of Session 2013 to clarify language regarding dissolution of the CRIZ Authority, was introduced by Helfrich, read by short title, and deferred until the January 6th meeting of Council.

Resolution No. 94, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution reappointing Benjamin Michael as a member of the Zoning Hearing Board to serve until January 1, 2019, and Joseph T. Hand as a member of the York City Sewer Authority Board to serve until January 1, 2019, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 94 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 95, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution authorizing a change of location for an economic development liquor license for Vintage Wine Bar from 2 W. Market St. to 108 N. George St. wherein the applicant intends to establish Tutoni’s Restaurant with Vintage Wine Bar to be located in the basement, was introduced by Nixon, read at length, and on motion of Nixon, seconded by Satterlee, Resolution No. 96 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 96, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution establishing the reorganization meeting of Council for Monday, January 6, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Helfrich, Resolution No. 96 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nay – 0.

SPECIAL AGENDA

Resolution No. 97, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution authorizing a salary increase for Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, to reflect a yearly salary of $90,500.00 effective January 1, 2014, was introduced by Helfrich, read at length, and on motion of Helfrich, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 97 came up for discussion.

Vice President Nixon said although he doesn’t question Director Gross’ abilities, because of the fragile state of the city’s finances, he cannot support any salary increases.

Councilman Helfrich said he feels Director Gross’ loyalty and work ethic is worthy of a reward but said he would be willing to offer a motion to increase his salary by $5,000.00.

Mayor Bracey said she submitted a request for a salary increase for Director Gross because he is deserving of it. She said she is surprised by this reaction because this was discussed at length during committee. She said voting “no” would send a bad message to our employees. She said our directors keep our city moving and we want to attract and retain quality employees.

A discussion ensued about cost of living adjustments and that Director’s have relinquished COLA’s intermittently throughout their years of service.

Motion to amend. A motion was made by Helfrich, seconded by Nelson, to amend the Resolution to increase the salary of the Public Works Director by $5,000.00 effective January 1, 2014. The motion to amend FAILED by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich – 1; Nays – Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 4.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 97 FAILED by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Satterlee – 2; Nays – Nixon, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 3.

Resolution No. 98, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution authorizing a salary increase for Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator, to reflect a yearly salary of $114,500.00 effective January 1, 2014, was introduced by Helfrich, read at length, and on motion of Helfrich, seconded by Nelson, Resolution No. 98 came up for discussion.

Vice President Nixon and Councilman Helfrich echoed their earlier comments (See discussion on Resolution No. 97).

Motion to amend. A motion was made by Helfrich, seconded by Nelson, to amend the Resolution to increase the salary of the Business Administrator by $5,000.00 effective January 1, 2014. The motion to amend FAILED by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Satterlee - 2; Nays – Nixon, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 3.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 98 FAILED by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Satterlee – 2; Nays – Nixon, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 3.

2014 BUDGET

Motion to waive Rule 215. Councilman Helfrich said he would like to offer three Resolutions amending the 2014 Budget and therefore a motion was made by Helfrich, seconded by Nelson, to waive the provisions of Resolution No. 215 of Session 1969 to permit consideration of a supplemental agenda containing 3 resolutions. The motion passed unanimously.

Councilman Helfrich prefaced his amendments by saying that he is not interested in adding any jobs that add to the pension and health care burdens of the city. He said he is willing to approve the WWTP position as full-time because he is aware of the loss of expertise that occurred with the loss of senior staff in recent years, and is also aware of the high penalties that the City will face if the facility is not run at a high standard at all times. He further stated that he is willing to approve the other requested positions at part-time status only, except for the DECD Coordinator.

Resolution No. 99, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution amending Bill No. 21 of Session 2013 (2014 York City Budget) to reduce expense line items in the General Fund and Internal Services Fund, was introduced by Helfrich, seconded by Nelson, and came up for discussion.

Councilman Helfrich broke down each amendment as follows:

City Council Budget

Councilman Helfrich said he proposes to remove $4,000.00 from Other Professional Services line item (10-110-42070-00000). He stated that the $4,000 was moved to Central Services and as such is not “extra money”. He said it would be a bad example for Council to increase our expenses when we have not stated a need and have not saved the money in another part of the budget.

The motion to amend passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

Human Relations Commission Budget

Councilman Helfrich said he proposes to reduce the Salaries line item (10-160-40010-00000) by $30,000.00. He explained that he would like to maintain 2013 staffing levels because the purpose for reducing the funding to this program remains the same. Additionally he said the main purpose of an HRC Executive Director is to administrate the department and to determine course of action for the various HRC cases. Much of the first function will be handled through the City’s Administrative Departments, while the second function can be performed by the Board. He said we have recently added expertise to the Board that could handle this function.

President Hill-Evans said that by ordinance the HRC can appoint an Executive Director but she stands by the original intent of Council which was to maintain an investigator and intake specialist only. As such, she said she supports this line item amendment.

Vice President Nixon said the HRC has gone through tough times and he doesn’t want to jeopardize their ability to run the HRC as they see fit. He said he wants them to have enough funds to become viable because he supports the mission of the HRC so he is not inclined to reduce this line item.

Councilman Satterlee said he agrees with Councilman Nixon’s comments and said he would encourage the HRC to reconsider how they are structured. The ultimate goal of the HRC is to assure there are no cases, which takes time and effort so he stated that he too is not inclined to reduce this line item.

Councilwoman Nelson said when she previously agreed to reductions in the HRC budget it was because of the disorganization that existed at the time. However, she said she is seeing improvement and therefore does not support reducing this line item.

There being no further discussion, the amendment FAILED by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Hill-Evans – 2; Nays – Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson – 3.

Economic & Community Development Budget

Councilman Helfrich said he proposes to reduce the Salaries line item (10-400-40010-00000) by $35,000.00. He said he acknowledges that the acting Director of this department is shouldering many responsibilities (upon appointment of the new Director, the acting Director will return to a Deputy and we will have a full complement). He went on to say that as an optional department that is not required by law, and in some instances duplicated by the activities of the tax-payer supported Downtown, Inc., he could not approve the growth of this Department. He said if this request is being made due to the potential CRIZ designation, any additional tasks should first be taken on by the CRIZ Authority. If it is found that we need additional staffing to fulfill our requirements under CRIZ, he said this can be revisited at a later date.

Vice President Nixon said he does not want to cripple such a vital part of our government. Approving a position in this department will make it whole. As such, he does not support reducing this line item.

President Hill-Evans said she is not opposed to reducing this line and she agrees with Councilman Helfrich’s assessment.

There being no further discussion, the amendment FAILED by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Hill-Evans – 2; Nays – Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson – 3.

Human Resources Budget

Councilman Helfrich said he proposes to reduce the Salaries line item (70-201-40010-00000) by $35,000.00. He said he feels a part-time Administrative Assistant position would suffice in handling the responsibilities of that position.

President Hill-Evans agreed that if the purpose of this position is to help alleviate the burden to the current staff, then a part-time position should be sufficient.

There being no further discussion, the amendment passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

General Fund Total

Councilman Helfrich explained that based on the amendments approved, the General Fund budget should be reduced from $41,865,947.00 to $41,861,947.00. Additionally, the Internal Services Fund should be reduced from $13,518,130.00 to $13,483,130.00.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 99, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 100, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution amending Bill No. 21 of Session 2013 (2014 York City Budget) to amend the internal services fund for the Human Resources Department to reflect a part-time employee position in the amount of $21,000.00 in line item 70-201-40020-00000 (Part-Time Employees), was introduced by Helfrich, read at length, and on motion of Helfrich, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 100 came up for discussion.

Councilman Helfrich explained that this is the companion piece to Resolution No. 99 wherein Council approved a part-time Administrative Assistant for the Human Resources Department.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 100 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 101, Session 2013, (View) A Resolution amending Bill No. 21 of Session 2013 (2014 York City Budget) to increase revenue and expenses in the Recreation Fund in the amount of $83,000.00, was introduced by Helfrich, read at length, and on motion of Helfrich, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 101 came up for discussion.

Councilman Helfrich explained that in 2012, the Recreation Tax was increased by ¼ mil to pay off the Recreation Fund deficit of $800,000 (Summary 3, par. 2). In year 2012, the City appropriated $292,694 to the Fund deficit reduction, and in 2013 appropriated another $213,840 bringing the debt down to approximately $294,000. For unknown reasons, he said the use of these funds that were to be committed to deficit reduction has not been continued in the 2014 proposed budget. Councilman Helfrich said he proposes that the taxpayers’ funds be used in the manner that they were told, and that $150,000 be used to continue the deficit reduction. This way the debt will be eliminated in 2015. He explained that this will result in one of 2 scenarios: (1) Either, the ¼ mil tax can be eliminated and taxes reduced, or (2) these funds can be moved from the Recreation Tax into the Taxes Assessed for City Operating Purposes to account for the potential 33% growth in the MMO that is scheduled to begin in 2015. (The MMO payment is currently only 75% of total due, thus adding the 25% back, actually increases the payment by 33% of current).

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 101 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 21, Ordinance No. 19, 2013, (View) A Bill adopting the 2014 York City budget, as amended by Resolutions 99, 100 and 101, which was introduced by Helfrich at the December 19 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Helfrich, seconded by Satterlee, Bill No. 21 came up for discussion.

Vice President Nixon said he is opposed to the City Clerk receiving a raise because the Directors raises were not approved and that he doesn’t support any pay increases. He said the city’s finances are in a fragile state and that this is a travesty and not well thought out.

Councilman Helfrich thanked the Mayor for holding down taxes. He responded to Councilman Nixon’s comment in that salary increases were basically granted with inclusion of cost of living adjustments in the budget. He asked Mr. Nixon if he feels this is such a travesty, why hasn’t he put forth any effort to make any amendments to anything whatsoever. He questioned why he is the only one putting forth amendments if Councilman Nixon feels our finances are in such dire straits.

President Hill-Evans said her opinions were reflected in her vote on the budget amendments. She said we held public hearings and discussed these issues at length yet Mr. Nixon said nothing. She said although she respects the opinions presented tonight, the right thing to do is pass a balanced budget, which is what we have before us tonight.

Mayor Bracey thanked Council for thoroughly reviewing the budget and feels they have presented a fair and balanced budget. She applauded Councilman Helfrich for the amendments he put forth this evening and said she hopes to work cohesively with Council in the upcoming year.

Business Administrator O’Rourke said he is commenting as a resident. He accused Council of hiding the City Clerk’s salary increase in the budget and that they are hypocrites for not approving his pay increase. He said he has never asked for a raise and he feels unappreciated for his contributions to the city. He said his wife may be looking at losing her job and that he cannot afford to live in the city anymore because his taxes have nearly doubled. Administrator O’Rourke abruptly departed the meeting after making his comments.

Motion to amend. A motion was made by Helfrich, seconded by Nelson, to amend Bill No. 21 to reflect the changes approved with adoption of Resolution No.’s 99, 100 and 101 as follows:

Total General Fund: Original: $41,865,947 / Revised: $41,861,947
Recreation Fund (Section 2): Original: $1,854,466 / Revised: $1,872,466
Internal Services Fund (Section 17) : Original: $13,518,130 / Revised: $13,504,130

The motion to amend passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 21, Ordinance No. 19, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas - Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 22, Ordinance No. 19, Session 2013, (View) A Bill adopting the 2014 tax rate (the sum of $20.37 on each one thousand dollars of assessed valuation), which was introduced by Helfrich at the November 19 meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Helfrich, seconded by Nixon, Bill No. 22, Ordinance No. 19, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.


REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS: None

COUNCIL COMMENT: None

ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None

NEXT MEETING: The reorganization meeting of City Council is scheduled for Monday, January 6, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 101 S. George St., York, PA.

ADJOURNMENT: There being no further business, the December 17, 2013 meeting of Council adjourned at 9:40 p.m.