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City Council Meeting Minutes

April 17, 2007

City Council convened in Regular Session at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, 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 not present.

Members of the Administration in attendance included: Kim Bracey, Director of Community Development. Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development, Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner, John Senft, Fire Chief, and Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator, were absent. Assistant Solicitor Don Hoyt was also absent. (Note: Assistant Solicitor Christopher Connard resigned employment with the City of York as of April 13, 2007.)

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 April 3, 2007, and approve them as written. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays - 0.

Motion to amend Agenda: A motion was made by Texter, seconded by Musso, to consider agenda items 6 and 7 (Resolution No.’s 62 & 63) prior to public comment. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0. With the motion approved, the following Resolutions were introduced:

Resolution No. 62, Session 2007, A Resolution honoring Pastor Carl H. Scott for his many accomplishments and congratulating 30th years as Pastor of Bible Tabernacle Church, was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smallwood, Resolution No. 62 came up for discussion.

Councilman Smallwood shared that Pastor Scott has known him and his family since he was a little boy and that he grew up with Pastor Scott’s children. This recognition is a long time overdue and is well deserved, he said. Councilman Smallwood said he’s sure becoming a Pastor is both challenging and rewarding and he thanked Pastor Scott for being the outstanding person he is and said he hopes he’s around for another 30 years.

Councilwoman Smith shared that she has known Pastor Scott for about 21 years and reminisced on things they accomplished together throughout the years. She thanked Pastor Scott for his loyalty and service to the community.

Vice President Musso said he is thrilled to be a part of honoring Pastor Scott and for properly recognizing the affect he has had on our community over the years. He applauded Pastor Scott’s accomplishments and congratulated him on 30th years as the Pastor of Bible Tabernacle Church.

Councilwoman Washington said it is a privilege to have Pastor Scott with us this evening to give the community an opportunity to see a great man. She said she supports this Resolution whole-heartedly and she congratulated Pastor Scott for his outstanding service to the community as a whole.

President Texter stated that Pastor Scott has made a huge difference in our community and to recognize him is something he didn’t have to think twice about. He said it takes pure devotion and perseverance to take on the challenges of society and to work on a plan to conquer those challenges. To have a man like Pastor Scott instilling the value of life, faith, and family reflects his determination and loyalty. President Texter said he was absolutely thrilled to introduce this Resolution.

Bob Reilly of Congressman Todd Platts’ office was onboard and presented Pastor Scott with a Letter of Appreciation from Congressman Platts. He apologized that the Congressman couldn’t attend tonight’s meeting but he assured Pastor Scott that Congressman Platts is delighted in taking part in celebrating the life of Pastor Scott. Mr. Reilly read the letter from the Congressman and then formally presented it to Pastor Scott and thanked him for making a difference in our community and for being a positive role model.

Mike Jefferson, 454 E. Market St., York, PA, and Associate Pastor of Bible Tabernacle, said he appreciates Pastor Scott as a Christian, devout man of God, and for what he has done for our community. He thanked Pastor Scott for being himself and thanked Council and Congressman Platts for recognizing Pastor Scott’s accomplishments and value to our community.

Rev. Carl Shannon Scott, 521 W. Philadelphia St., York, PA, thanked everyone for the kind remarks about his father, Pastor Carl H. Scott. He spoke about how blessed he is to have his father in his life. He shared that his father has taught him so much throughout the years and has been a powerful and positive influence in his life; my heart is overflowing, he said.

Rev. Thaddeus Godwin, Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Lancaster, PA, said God has blessed Pastor Scott with many talents, which he has used to bring this community together. Pastor Scott is a loyal and devoted family man, he said, and his leadership, faith, and commitment to mankind are all worth celebrating.

Ada Richardson, Licensed Minister, Bible Tabernacle Church, stated that with all that’s being said, it is especially great that Council is honoring Pastor Scott. She said the guidance he has given his congregation and the community has inspired a new generation.

Macon Tribue, 901 Wellington St., York, PA, said he is overwhelmed by all of this. Mr. Tribue shared that he has known Pastor Scott for many, many years and he has always been the outstanding person you see today. It’s wonderful that Pastor Scott is being honored, he said.

Michelle Jackson, 621 S. Beaver St., York, PA, stated that she is happy to be here this evening to witness this amazing event. She said the Scott family has played a major role in her life and they have helped her tremendously in turning her life around.

President Texter then formally presented Pastor Scott with a signed Letter of Appreciation endorsed by all members of Council.

Pastor Scott expressed his heart-felt appreciation to the members of his congregation, the public, elected officials, and family and friends. He said he could not accept this appreciation without his wife, Diane, who he asked to join him at the podium. Pastor Scott stated that his wife has been by his side the entire time and he appreciates everything she has done and has been doing in his life. He said hearing all the accolades almost makes him feel guilty. He said he did these things because he wanted to make a difference in the community, not for the recognition, though he’s appreciative. Pastor Scott stated that he sees hundreds of kids pass his church everyday and recognizes there aren’t many outreach programs for these kids. He asked that we keep our children and educational institutions in prayer. Pastor Scott thanked everyone for their kind words and for appreciating his efforts.

There being no further discussion, President Texter called for a recess at 7:30 p.m. to allow for a meet and greet session with Pastor Scott.

President Texter reconvened the meeting at 7:38 p.m.

Resolution No. 63, Session 2007, A Resolution reappointing Cindy Mitzel as a member of the York City Human Relations Commission with a term to expire July 16, 2009, and appointing Dolores Minaya De Abreu and Barbara J. Beattie as members of the York City Human Relations Commission with both terms expiring July 16, 2008, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Washington, Resolution No. 63 came up for discussion.

Council thanked the candidates for their willingness to serve the City of York.

Ms. Beattie thanked Mayor Brenner and Council for the opportunity to serve and she hopes to impart positive change.

Ms. De Abreu also thanked Mayor Brenner and Council for considering her appointment and said she hopes to learn a lot from this experience because she is eager to be involved with a service that protects our rights.

Harvey Holloway, 816 W. Princess St., York, PA, and Member of the Human Relations Commission, said as humans we are all one family but unfortunately some people have not grasped that concept yet. He said the Commission is thankful that Mayor Brenner has recommended these appointments and he hopes Council will support these nominations.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 63 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

The City Clerk then administered the Oath of Office to Ms. Beattie and Ms. De Abreu.

President Texter moved to reconvene the printed agenda. The motion was seconded by Musso and passed unanimously.

Public Comment

Jameel Saahir, 231 Harding Court, York, PA, said he wants to free Council from bondage. He asked the public to respect the Chair and to direct their comments to the Chair. He stated if speakers refuse to abide by the Council Rules, President Texter has every right to rule them out-of-order. Mr. Saahir suggested that speakers be made to adjust their comments to 3 minutes with the Council having 5 minutes to respond.

Jim Sneddon, York City Controller, relayed concerns about the audit report in the Treasurer’s control account. He updated Council on his findings. Controller Sneddon first congratulated his Deputy Controller, Wanda Anderson, for doing such a fine job in tracking dollars. He explained the accounting process used to pay invoices. During research, he said, a complication was discovered in how the City processes credit cards used by customers to pay bills. Controller Sneddon stated that the Deputy Controller found that expenditures weren’t being recorded in the daily report. Additionally, he said she found that coin deposits were being made but not deposited. My office reported these findings to the Finance Director, he said, and she said she would fix the discrepancy.

Ed Berry, W. Maple St., York, PA, spoke about freedom of speech and said he was appalled that Shock Jock Imus was fired for making a racial comment. He said he doesn’t like to see anyone’s constitutional rights stepped on and that someone needs to make the networks accountable for its decision to fire Imus. Mr. Berry then brought up the issue of gun ownership and how legislators are debating whether to introduce a law to add additional costs for owning a weapon. He feels this move wouldn’t take care of the gun problem plaguing our community. Mr. Berry suggested implementing legislation that would allow residents to appropriately protect themselves.

Jane Heller, 543 Dupont Ave., York, PA, and Representative of the Humane Society of Southern Maryland and The York County Feral Cat Coalition, discussed the work of local activists on the issue of feral / stray cat population control. She stated that feral cats can be adopted and have about the same lifespan as pet cats. Feral cats are not the cause of wildlife depletion and trap and remove procedures don’t work. However, trap, neuter, and return does work. With neutering, she said, the numbers of feral cats gradually go down. Ms. Heller said she met with the County Commissioners to ask for their support of a low-cost spay and neuter clinic. She offered to meet with Council to share ideas on local legislation to prohibit the free roaming of cats in the community. She stated that a crisis exists in York County and our animal shelters are full. She urged Council to call a committee meeting to further discuss this issue.

President Texter thanked Ms. Heller for the information and welcomed discussion. He said he would have the City Clerk look into Council’s availability to schedule a General Committee meeting.

Tina Poff, homeless, thanked Councilwoman Smith for helping her after the total loss of her home during the recent fire that burned down several houses in the 400 block of S. Queen St. She said Councilwoman Smith helped her with clothing, food, and house seeking efforts. Ms. Poff stated that she didn’t know Councilwoman Smith before the fire but she come to know her through this tragedy and she is grateful for everything she has done to help her and her family.

Councilwoman Smith pleaded with the community to donate items to help the families displaced from the fire. She explained some of the efforts taking place to assist these families but said we need help and support from the community.

There being no further discussion, the public comment session closed.

Committee Reports: None

Supplemental Agenda (Legislative)

A motion was made by Smallwood, seconded by Smith, to waive the provisions of Resolution No. 215 of Session 1969 to permit consideration of a Supplemental Agenda containing one Resolution. The motion was approved unanimously.

Resolution No. 64, Session 2007 (Supplemental Agenda), A Resolution appointing Larry Homsher to the Nuisance Abatement Board of Appeals to serve until April 1, 2009, and Kimberly Bolt to serve until April 1, 2010, was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 64 came up for discussion.

Larry Homsher, 426 W. Market St., York, PA, thanked Mayor Brenner for the nomination and thanked Council for its consideration. Vice President Musso asked Mr. Homsher that with his committed involvement in neighborhood organizations, would he be able to be impartial in reviewing and/or rendering decisions brought before the Board. Mr. Homsher explained that he has always been fair in any decision he has made and he looks at situations objectively. He said he realizes this is an important role and he intends to support the law and render decisions on what’s best for the community.

Kim Bolt, 1016 S. Pine St., York, PA, also thanked Mayor Brenner and Council for considering her appointment. She feels her role on the Board would put her in place to enact positive change. I’ve been a teacher for 12 years, she said, and my students will tell you I’m fair. Ms. Bolt said people need to be held accountable for our community and she will hold them to their responsibilities.

Councilman Smallwood said he has known Mr. Homsher and his wife for many years and he feels that both Mr. Homsher and Ms. Bolt could be fair and impartial and he would vote to support their appointments.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 64 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Legislative Agenda

Final Passage of Bill No. 14, Ordinance No. 14, Session 2007, A Bill amending the 2006 York City Budget for the Department of Community Development for the Housing Rehabilitation and Assistance Program (HRA) grant received from DCED as part of the Elm Street New Communities initiative in the amount of $501,550.00 for the prevention and elimination of blight and to build a community park and plaza in Olde Towne East, which was introduced by Musso at the April 3 meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for discussion.

Community Development Director Kim Bracey explained that this is more of a house cleaning
action. The grant was received in 2006 and should have been appropriated to the Special Project fund but was inadvertently put into the General Fund budget. The next Bill (Bill #15), she said, rolls the 2006 funds from this amendment into the 2007 budget.

There being no further discussion, on motion of Musso, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 14, Ordinance No. 14, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays –0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 15, Ordinance No. 15, Session 2007, A Bill amending the 2007 Budget for Community Development by appropriating expenditures in the amount of $501,550.00 for the Housing Rehabilitation and Assistance Program (HRA) grant received from DCED as part of the Elm Street New Communities initiative, which was introduced by Musso at the April 3 meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Musso, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 15, Ordinance No. 15, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 10, Ordinance No. 16, Session 2007, A Bill amending the 2007 Budget for the Department of Business Administration, which includes funds for a Venture Grant, in the amount of $4,000.00 from the York County Community Foundation for mentoring/government leadership programs for high school seniors, which was introduced by Smallwood at the March 20 meeting of Council, read by short title, discussed, and tabled, came up for final passage. A motion was made by Smallwood, seconded by Musso, to remove Bill No. 10 from the table. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0. Bill No. 10 came up for discussion.

Vice President Musso explained that Bill No. 10 was tabled at the April 3 meeting of Council because he had questions, which he wanted answered before consideration of final passage. The following is an excerpt from the April 3 Council meeting regarding Vice President Musso’s questions:

“Vice President Musso questioned the 3rd WHEREAS clause of the Bill, which reads: “WHEREAS, none of the funds have been expended”, which seems clear, he said. However, the next WHEREAS clause reads: “WHEREAS, the budget must be amended to reflect the expense.” He asked what expense? He said he thought funds were not been expended. He stated that he assumes Business Administration wishes to appropriate the money for a future expense.

Vice President Musso then questioned line item 10-200-43180-10092 “Refund-Subrecipient” for $4,000.00, which he interprets to mean that the money will be refunded to a subrecipient. He asked if the money being refunded to YCCF is because it was not used? Additionally, he asked if these funds are to be allocated to a future subrecipient or has the service already taken place and the funds are being allocated to pay for the service performed?”

Janis Lyman, City of York Grants Coordinator, was onboard to explain. She apologized for the confusion and said regrettably she’s not well versed on writing resolutions and/or ordinances, so she may have followed an inappropriate template in trying to say what needed to be said. However, she explained that the 2007 Budget has to include the money received for this grant in order for the City to be able to reimburse the expenses charged to the grant. She said she has an invoice for expenses during the 2005-2006 school year that has not been paid because of difficulties in getting the money and the budget into proper agreement. The School District and YCCF agreed to extend the grant period an extra year and to revise the program for this school year. The money will still be paid to the School District for the mentoring program, which was the project supported by the grant. She said City Officials are working with the School District on this year's mentoring/government activities.

Vice President Musso thanked Ms. Lyman for explaining. He then read the amendments made to Bill No. 10, which are as follows: (language in parenthesis was deleted; underlined text was added)

( “……WHEREAS, none of the funds have been expended; and)
WHEREAS, the funds were not expended during the grant period of November 1, 2004 to June 30, 2006; and
WHEREAS, the York County Community Foundation extended the grant period for another year, until June 30, 2007; and
WHEREAS, the Finance Bureau has reviewed the budget and has determined that the budget must be amended to reflect the (expense) need for reimbursing the mentoring program expenses in 2007.”

Motion to amend. A motion was made by Musso, seconded by Smallwood, to amend Bill No. 10 as shown above. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas- Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Motion to amend. The City Clerk then relayed that Michelle Busch-Young, Financial Analyst, noted that the “Description” found in the “Now, Therefore, Be It Ordained” clause should read Subrecipient Grant, not Reimbursement-Subrecipient. A motion was made by Musso, seconded by Texter, to amend Bill No. 10 to change the “Description” from Reimbursement-Subrecipient to Subrecipient Grant. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 10, Ordinance No. 16, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Introduction of Bill No. 16, Session 2007, A Bill amending Article 137 “Fiscal Procedure” of the Codified Ordinances of the City of York, Pennsylvania, regarding the process of conducting annual audit sharing information with the Mayor and the Council and appointing an audit committee, was introduced by Texter, read by short title, and came up for discussion.

President Texter explained that this legislation formally establishes the process by which the City has followed regarding the annual audit over the past few years. The process works well and ensures that Council and the public remains informed regarding the audit and the city financial operations as a whole.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 16 was deferred until the May 1 meeting of Council.

Introduction of Bill No. 17, Session 2007, A Bill approving the editing and inclusion of certain ordinances as parts of the various component codes of the Codified Ordinances of the City of York (2007 replacement pages – for 2006 laws), was introduced by Texter, read by short title, and deferred until the May 1 meeting of Council.

Resolution No. 65, Session 2007, A Resolution authorizing acceptance of a DCED grant in the amount of $250,000 for the Olde Towne East Neighborhood Improvement Project, also known as the Community Renaissance Program of the YWCA of York to be used for streetscape and façade improvements along the 200 block of E. Prospect St. in the Olde Towne East Neighborhood, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 65 came up for discussion.

Director Bracey said this is an exciting project, which is in its 3rd year of a 5-year plan. This funding will be used for streetscape improvements and lighting.

A brief discussion ensued on redevelopment improvements in the Salem Square neighborhood. Director Bracey said the city will try to spread the dollars to cover as much of the west end as possible. She said the YMCA is collaborating with the Salem Square Neighborhood Association on an improvement plan.

Jane Heller, York, PA, stated she has strong ties to the city and she’s concerned about redevelopment and how construction will mesh with the context of the block. She pointed out houses built on E. Princess St. a few years ago that don’t mesh with the surrounding houses, which causes the new houses to stick out like a sore thumb.

Dolores Minaya De Abreu, 203 S. Beaver St., York, PA, asked what the process would be to have lights installed on S. Queen St. because she has heard complaints from residents that it’s too dark. President Texter explained the procedure for requesting streetlights and suggested Ms. De Abreu contact the Public Works Director.

Harvey Holloway, 816 W. Princess St., York, PA, applauded Governor Ed Rendell for supporting neighborhood development. He said Governor Rendell understands the meaning of commitment to neighborhoods and that he appreciates the efforts of Director Bracey, the City, and local organizations for making York a better place to live, work and play.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 65 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 66, Session 2007, A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing certificates of appropriates to the YWCA of York for work to be done at 338-340 E. Princess St., and the 100-200 blocks of S. Pine St. to install 10 wrought iron grocer’s alley gates; Linda Mixter for work to be done at 632-634 S. George St. to replace all front porch columns; David Walsh for work to be done at 355-357 W. Market St. to rehab the entire building; and Dorgan & Zuck Building Contractors for work to be done 341 E. Princess St. to rehab the entire building, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Washington, Resolution No. 66 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Requests for Future Meetings

Fire Committee, Councilwoman Toni Smith, Chair: Resolution No. 21 (click on Resolution No. 21 to view), a Resolution amending licensing and inspection fees associated with day care facilities as established in Article 1761 of the Codified Ordinances remains in committee. Councilwoman Smith previously reported that she is waiting for final recommendations from the ad-hoc committee and would forward recommendations when received. No further action is requested at this time.

Public Works Committee, Councilwoman Vickie Washington, Chair: Public Works Committee meeting to be scheduled to discuss Bill No. 13 (click on Bill No. 13 to view) repealing Article 193 “Advisory Council on Recreation and Parks” of the Codified Ordinances.

General Committee, Committee meeting scheduled for May 22, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, to hear from Steve Gohn of the York Area Tax Bureau (YATB) discussion on collection efforts being made by the YATB in collecting delinquent city accounts.

Council Comment

Councilwoman Smith read at length a press release from the Mayor’s Office announcing street closures for The Ladies White Rose Run to be held on Saturday, April 21, 2007 from 9:00 a.m. until
11:00 a.m. The race will begin in front of the Y.W.C.A. in the 300 block of E. Market St. There will be NO PARKING restrictions on E. Market St. from Pine St. to Homeway Ave. from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Motion of consent. Vice President Musso announced that HARB is working on updating its bylaws, which could require changes to the Codified Ordinances. Vice President Musso asked for Council consent to attend the April 25 HARB meeting on behalf of Council to discuss the proposed changes. President Texter made a motion to consent to Vice President Musso’s attendance at said meeting. The motion was seconded by Washington, and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Vice President Musso then read a press release from the Mayor’s Office announcing that the York City Bureau of Health will join the fight to prevent HPV – human papilloma (pap-ah-LO-mah) virus – infection, a viral infection that often leads to cervical cancer. The Bureau of Health will begin offering a new vaccine, Gardasil, to prevent this cancer-causing, sexually transmitted, viral infection. Gardasil will be offered to all females age 9 to 18, who reside in the City of York. There is no charge for the vaccine if they meet the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Guidelines on insurance coverage. Parental permission is required to receive the vaccine for those younger than 18 years old. The vaccine is a three-shot series given over a 6-month period and costs approximately $130 per shot or $390 for the series.

Next, President Texter notified Council that on April 13th he received a request for information letter dated April 12th from Attorney Melissa Bevan Melewsky, Media Law Counsel, PA Newspaper Association, requesting copies of accounts or records of costs incurred as a result of Right-to-Know litigation involving the York Daily Record and the York Dispatch Newspapers. He reported that Assistant Solicitor Don Hoyt responded to the request on April 16 informing Ms. Melewsky that Council has no such documents.

Councilwoman Smith then asked for a moment of silence to pay respect to the students who lost their lives during the Virginia Tech massacre. (A lone gunman killed 30+ students, then himself)

Administration Comment: None

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

Adjournment: There being no further business the April 17, 2007 meeting of Council adjourned at 9:19 p.m.