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City Council Meeting Minutes

July 15, 2014

Signed Resolutions / Resolution No. 69 / No Bills Approved / No Committee

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on July 15, 2014 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.

I. Public Comment: 6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Manuel Gomez said he attempted to video record a mobile food vendors’ committee meeting and was challenged on his right to do so. He said it is his right under authority of the Sunshine Act to record this public meeting. He said committee members, especially its chairpersons, should be well versed in our laws. He then suggested that committee meeting dates, times, and locations be made available on the city’s website.

Heather Pratt spoke about a recent pit bull attack on her neighbor that resulted in serious injuries, and another incident where a man was walking his dogs and one of his dogs was killed by a pit bull. She encouraged Council to consider regulating dangerous dogs. She said there are some state restrictions on breed-specific legislation but she feels there are other measures that can be put into place to regulate dangerous dogs. She asked that Council consider discussing this further at a future committee meeting.

Cynthia Garry spoke of blight, suspicious activity and squatters at the property located in the 700 block of S. Court St. She asked that the appropriate city personnel look into this.

Carol Rogers Collins discussed the public health risks related to free, roaming, and un-owned feral cats. She said these cats are being fed by people in the community and the health risks, such as feces, is of great concern. She encouraged further dialogue on this issue.

Wylene Sweeney said she contacted the Fire Department about a fence located in the 100 block of E. South St. that was in need of repair and she wanted to know the follow-up to her complaint. She then discussed dangerous dogs and the need to enforce the laws we currently have on the books and to implement new laws to license and regulate these animals in a humane way.

Marie Rohleder discussed the “Take 10 on Tuesday” initiative. She said this is a wonderful initiative that needs to be advertised more.

Rachel Robinson, who serves on a non-profit PA board that educates on effective alternatives to dog breed bans, offered several resources that could assist with creating ordinances that will benefit the safety of our citizens and their dogs. For more information, visit: www.pinupsforpitbulls.org.

Charlotte Bergdoll discussed bed bugs and the best practices to prevent further spreading. She also encouraged residents to schedule large item pick up for items that are abandoned on the sidewalk or street if it’s too large to place in a garbage bag.

There being no further public comment, President Hill-Evans adjourned the general public comment session 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: Captain Steve Butler, Police; Building Code Official Steve Buffington; Deputy Director James Crosby and Tammy Bethea, Program Funding Analyst, Bureau of Housing Services; Director Barb Kovacs, Health Department; and Assistant Solicitor Jason Sabol.

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

II. Call Legislative Meeting to Order: 7:00 p.m.

III. Roll Call

IV. Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

V. Moment of Silence observed.

VI. Action on previous meeting Minutes of June 3, 2014: Council dispensed with the reading of the Minutes of the June 3, 2014 legislative session and unanimously approved them as written.

VII. Presentations, Proclamations and Awards: None

VII. Committee Meeting(s) Scheduled:

Reminders – Summer Recess Schedule

• Council’s next legislative meeting is scheduled for August 19, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers – Public Comment commences at 6:30 p.m. (Agenda items due by 12 noon on August 13)

• Council’s next committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers. (Agenda items due by 12 noon on September 17)

IX. Status of Prior Committee Referrals: No reports.

X. Legislative Agenda: (Order of Business – Action on Subdivision/Land Development & HARB Resolutions; Final Passage of Bills/Resolutions; New Business.)

Subdivision / Land Development / HARB

1. Resolution No. 64 - A Resolution Accepting the recommendations of HARB. (View)
Introduced by: Carol Hill-Evans
Originator: Historic York

Resolution No. 64, Session 2014, A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in authorizing certificates of appropriateness for work to be done in the applications filed by the following: Susquehanna Renovations for work to be done at 113 S. Duke St., 115 S. Howard St., and 25 N. Beaver St.; Andrew Swartz for work to be done at 47 N. Duke St.; and David Ritter for work to be done at 43-45 W. Market St., was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 64 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

New Business

2. Introduction of Bill No. 17 - A Bill Amending Article 308 “Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) Program.” (To include exceptions to investment opportunity eligible areas) (View)
Introduced by: Michael Ray Helfrich
Originator: Business Administration
(Note: Bills must sit for at least one meeting; therefore this Bill will be considered for final passage on or after August 19, 2014)

Introduction of Bill No. 17, Session 2014, A Bill amending Article 308 “Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) Program” to include exceptions to investment opportunity eligible areas, was introduced by Helfrich, read by short title, and deferred until the August 19 meeting of Council.


3. Introduction of Bill No. 18 - A Bill Amending the 2014 Budget. (To appropriate revenue/expenditures in the amount of $51,377.41 for a donation received from Wellspan Health for purchase of police patrol vehicles.) (View)
Introduced by: Henry Hay Nixon
Originator: Police

Introduction of Bill No. 18, Session 2014, A Bill amending the 2014 Budget for the Police Department to appropriate revenue and expenditures in the amount of $51,377.41 for a donation received from WellSpan Health for purchase of police patrol vehicles, was introduced by Nixon, read by short title, and deferred until the August 19 meeting of Council.


4. Resolution No. 65 - A Resolution Reappointing James Crosby to the York City Housing Authority Board. (View)
Introduced by: Renee S. Nelson
Originator: Mayor

Resolution No. 65, Session 2014, A Resolution reappointing James Crosby to the York City Housing Authority Board to serve until April 1, 2019, was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 65 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.


5. Resolution No. 66 - A Resolution Authorizing a budget transfer. ($10,547.00 – For the Safe & Healthy Communities initiative) (View)
Introduced by: Renee S. Nelson
Originator: Economic & Community Development (Health)

Resolution No. 66, Session 2014, A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer for the Bureau of Health in the amount of $10,547.00 for a Safe and Healthy Communities grant, was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Helfrich, Resolution No. 66 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.


6. Resolution No. 67 - A Resolution Authorizing a budget transfer in the HOME budget. ($100,000) (View)
Introduced by: Renee S. Nelson
Originator: Economic & Community Development (BHS)

Resolution No. 67, Session 2014, A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer in the HOME program budget in the amount of $100,000.00, was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 67 came up for discussion.


Director Crosby explained that this amends the HOME budget to include a Crispus Attucks CDC funding allocation of $100,000 for rehab of 605 Cleveland Ave., which is coming from previous years of unexpended funds allocated to Crispus Attucks.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 67 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.


7. Resolution No. 68 - A Resolution Amending the 2014 Annual Action Plan. (To reflect changes resulting from actual allocation of funds for the HOME program) (View)
Introduced by: Renee S. Nelson
Originator: Economic & Community Development (BHS)

Resolution No. 68, Session 2014, A Resolution amending the 2014 Annual Action Plan to reflect changes resulting from actual allocations of funds for the HOME program, was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Helfrich, Resolution No. 68 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.


Final Passage of Bills / Resolutions

8. Resolution No. 69 – A Resolution Amending Bill No. 16 “Neighborhood Improvement Ordinance” to add a subsection regulating garbage and rubbish. (View)
Introduced by: Renee S. Nelson
Originator: Economic & Community Development (PP&Z)

Motion to read by short title. A motion was made by Nelson, seconded by Helfrich, to read Resolution No. 69 by short title. The motion passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 69, Session 2014, A Resolution amending Bill No. 16 of Session 2014 “Neighborhood Improvement Ordinance” to add a subsection regulating garbage and rubbish, was introduced by Nelson, read by short title, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Helfrich, Resolution No. 69 came up for discussion.

Councilman Helfrich said this amendment is intended to consolidate ordinances into one convenient location and to include regulations for recycling. He then spoke about costs and profits associated with recycling and the benefits of recycling.

Building Code Official Buffington outlined regulations on setting out garbage and rubbish.

Councilman Satterlee discussed Section 730.08(G) wherein it reads: “ANIMAL WASTE - No owner, possessor, or responsible agent of real property shall allow animal waste, feces, urine, or other animal excrement to accumulate on their property so as to create a public nuisance, or so as to prevent others from the quiet enjoyment of their own property due to the odor.” He said the word “quiet” doesn’t quite fit with regulating animal waste.

Motion to amend. Councilman Satterlee made a motion to remove the word "quiet" from section 730.08(G). The motion was seconded by Helfrich, and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

Wylene Sweeney, resident, asked if the property owner or tenant is responsible for this ordinance.

Assistant Solicitor Sabol responded that it could be either depending on what the violation is. For instance, he said it doesn't make sense to fine a landlord for improperly setting out the garbage but it would make sense to fine a landlord for not mowing the grass.

Carl Wiley, resident, complained of trash being set out all hours and days of the week. He asked how the city will regulate littering because he feels it’s unfair to fine the homeowner when someone else has decided to litter on your property.

Greg Dorsey, resident, said he is continually getting notices for litter when it’s obvious the litter is from the Rutter's Store next door.

Manuel Gomez opined that Section (B)(1) of the ordinance makes it illegal to compost. Additionally, he asked how you can penalize someone when you don't know where the trash originated. He urged Council to allow for a warning system.

Discussion ensued on compost and possible language to regulate open air compost.

Motion to amend – withdrawn. Councilman Helfrich made a motion to add language from section (G) Animal Waste” to Section B(1) as follows: “(B)(1) Place any municipal solid waste or other material subject to decay, anywhere in the City except in a suitable container. No owner, possessor, or responsible agent of real property shall allow animal waste, feces, urine, or other animal excrement to accumulate on their property so as to create a public nuisance, or so as to prevent others from the quiet enjoyment of their own property due to the odor.” After discussion, Councilman Helfrich withdrew his motion to amend.

Building Code Official Buffington said in all his years, he does not recall fines being given for compost. There is a certain amount of latitude and judgment when enforcing these laws. He said he could implement an administrative policy to address compost until provisions, if any, are made. He recommended that we not try to amend anything on the fly tonight.

President Hill-Evans said maybe we should strike the current language in the meantime. BCO Buffington said an administrative policy would bind his personnel to abide by that policy or suffer disciplinary action -- although he doesn't believe they would be out looking for compost piles.

Councilman Helfrich said if we address this issue, we need to address it in such a fashion that it addresses the language in both areas of the codified ordinances.

Marie Rohleder, resident, said she is concerned that the new larger recycling bins don't fit though some breezeways. She said if we can't leave them in front of the property, then we need different recycling bins. She also suggested mattresses be specifically addressed in this ordinance.

Councilman Helfrich said we can visit the mattress recommendation when we address compost.

Lester Abbott, resident, asked how this ordinance handles foreclosed properties. BCO Buffington said foreclosed properties continue to be a challenge to address. He briefly outlined the foreclosure notification process.

Charlotte Bergdoll, landlord, discussed electronics collection and that it should be included as well. She then suggested authorizing dumpster placement to help resolve the trash issue.

Jane Conover, York County Community Foundation, supports the intent of this ordinance. She stated that one of the ideas in the “Beautiful York” plan includes picking up litter because we know litter impacts the ability to enjoy our properties.

Sandra Thompson, attorney, feels a warning system should be implemented. She said when we have long periods of rain, we don't have an opportunity to mow. During that time, she said she was cited for high weeds which occurred just prior to her scheduled mowing. She said there are some situations beyond property owners' control which should be considered. She also doesn't feel an administrative policy will be binding because the law currently on the books would preempt that.

Assistant Solicitor Sabol said he would not allow someone to be fined for composting.

Council discussed various points of clarification and proposed language amendments.

BCO Buffington said we cannot legislate for every situation. He said he wants residents to let him know of over zealous enforcement because that's not the intent of this ordinance. He stated that we are not out to look for extra work, we just want to make the city better and cleaner.

Motion to amend: Councilman Helfrich made a motion to add Section C(8) as follows: “8) Dispose of any electronics anywhere in the City except at a lawfully established electronics disposal facility, in full compliance with all applicable Federal, State and local laws.” The motion was seconded by Nixon and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 69, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

Motion to waive Rule 215. A motion was made by Helfrich, seconded by Nixon, to waive the provisions of Resolution No. 215 of Session 1969 to permit consideration of a supplemental agenda containing one Resolution. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Helfrich, Nixon, Satterlee, Nelson, Hill-Evans – 5; Nays – 0.

Motion to read by short title. A motion was made by Nelson, seconded by Helfrich, to read Resolution No. 70 by short title. The motion passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 70, Session 2014 (View), A Resolution amending Bill No. 16 of Session 2014, Subsection 730.99 "Fines & Penalties" to clarify the fines and penalties structure, was introduced by Nelson, read by short title, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Nixon, Resolution No. 70 came up for discussion.

Assistant Solicitor Sabol explained that typographical error were noticed and as such are being stricken from the language.

Councilman Helfrich disagreed with the fine structure because he said it's different from what was discussed in committee. BCO Buffington disagreed. The City Clerk read an excerpt from the May 28 committee meeting (read) regarding the fines structure.

Discussion ensued on the fine structure.

Assistant Solicitor Sabol suggested that a warning notice could be placed in red letters on the bottom of the citation to read something like, "This is your 2nd citation, a 3rd citation will result in a $150.00 fine."

Sandra Thompson, Attorney, said the written law is what's binding. She suggested adding language such as "same violation" to make it clearer. She said the fine structure doesn't take into account low income residents.

BCO Buffington explained the education process for this new ordinance.

President Hill-Evans suggested we table this legislation and re-work the language based on discussions this evening. Although we can't legislate every incident, she said we can make it a little clearer for our residents.

Vice President Nixon supported the suggestion to table. He said let's get this language cleaned up before we consider final passage.

Councilman Satterlee disagreed with tabling and supports making amendments from the floor.

Councilman Helfrich agreed with Councilman Satterlee but said there are some items he would like to further research so he said he's willing to table. He also said he would like to add a warning system to the legislation and asked if that would require re-advertising. Assistant Solicitor Sabol said it would not.

Motion to table. A motion was made by Hill-Evans, seconded by Nixon, to table Resolution No. 70 until a future meeting of Council. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas - Helfrich, Nixon, Nelson, Hill-Evans - 4; Nays – Satterlee – 1.


9. Final Passage of Bill No. 16 – A Bill Establishing Article 730 “Neighborhood Improvement Ordinance.” (View)
Introduced by: Renee S. Nelson
Originator: Economic & Community Development (PP&Z)

Motion to table. A motion was made by Hill-Evans, seconded by Nixon, to table Bill No. 16 until a future meeting of Council. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas - Helfrich, Nixon, Nelson, Hill-Evans - 4; Nays – Satterlee – 1.

XI. Requests for Future Meetings:

Reminders – Summer Recess Schedule

• Council’s next legislative meeting is scheduled for August 19, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers – Public Comment commences at 6:30 p.m. (Agenda items due by 12 noon on August 13)

• Council’s next committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers. (Agenda items due by 12 noon on September 17)

XII. Council Comment

Councilman Helfrich discussed a letter Council received from Representative Kevin Schreiber seeking a support letter for HB 1177, also known as the “Philadelphia Cigarette Tax.” He said HB1177 also includes provisions that enable the increased hotel tax for York, and other counties, and accelerates additional CRIZ designations. Councilman Helfrich made a motion to submit a letter of support from Council for HB1177. The motion was seconded by Nixon, and passed unanimously.

XIII. Administration Comment: None

XIV. Adjournment: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers (public comment begins at 6:30 p.m.). There being no further business, the July 15, 2014 meeting of Council meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

XV. Resumption of Public Comment Period (at the discretion of the presiding officer): None