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City Council Meeting Minutes

May 1, 2007

City Council convened in Regular Session at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 1, 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, Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development, and Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner (Whitman in at 7:18 p.m.). Also present was Assistant Solicitor Don Hoyt. John Senft, Fire Chief, Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, and Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator, 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 April 17, 2007 and approve them as written. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays - 0.


Public Comment (On items not listed on printed agenda)

Matt Leisses, Lincoln St., York, PA, reported approximately 15-20 junior high school students, in broad daylight, in the middle of the street, attacked him. He said he did nothing to provoke the attack and was merely walking when he heard the quick patter of feet approaching him from the rear. Mr. Leisses said during the attack one kid swung a board with nails at him. He was dismayed that 20 or more cars drove by the attack and did nothing. Fortunately, he explained, a woman, who is a nurse, had the gumption to stop and help him. He stated that she called the police and passed him the phone to report the attack. Mr. Leisses urged the community to take back our streets. He said he plans to start a neighborhood watch group with foot patrols. He did say that the police were able to track down four of the juveniles, whom he was able to identify. Mr. Leisses was troubled that he would have to go to Edgar Fahs Smith Middle School to identify the rest of his attackers because it is unfathomable to him that children could commit such a heinous and unwarranted act.

Vice President Musso empathized with Mr. Leisses and said until our Mayor and the Police Commissioner decide to take a stand, we as citizens need to start pushing back. Vice President Musso then reported he just received a text message stating that arrests are being made in connection with this attack.

Councilwoman Washington invited Mr. Leisses and the public to attend her town meeting on May 7th at 7:00 p.m. at the Elks Lodge located at 233 N. George St., York. She said the purpose of the meeting is to discuss youth violence and other issues affecting our city.

President Texter shared incidents where members of his family were victims of crime. As parents, he said, we have to be involved with our children because a lot of these problems begin at home. It takes the entire community to raise our kids, he stated, and it is time for parents to become proactive in the lives and future of our children.

Councilwoman Smith said she lives across the street from Devers Elementary School and is appalled by the language used by parents when addressing their children. She feels the language being used is a form of child abuse. Councilwoman Smith challenged parents, teachers, community leaders, friends and neighbors to take a stand against violence, especially youth violence; otherwise, she said, our children will be facing a very bleak future.

Commissioner Whitman said it is regrettable that we have kids behaving this way but we do have patrols following the children after school to keep a close eye on activity. He explained that the eight kids being held for questioning were encountered by one of our Captains who happened to be in the area right after the attack. He said we must remember these kids are juveniles and would be dealt with as juveniles. Commissioner Whitman pleaded with the community to not become vigilantes and reassured residents that the police department is doing everything in its power to take control of this situation. Commissioner Whitman said he supports and believes in the effectiveness of strong neighborhood watch programs but he would not allow residents to practice their own measures when dealing with these children. He then explained collaborations between the police department and school district in teaching our kids how to behave on their way home from school.

Councilman Smallwood reminisced on the days when kids had recreation centers to go to for activities and curfews set by our parents to make sure we were off the streets. We need to bring those morals back, he said.

A discussion ensued about citizen’s responsibility when witnessing a crime, law enforcement practices, youth gang trends, and the role the entertainment industry plays in glorifying crime and violence.

Michael Helfrich, 23 S. George St., York, PA, agreed that videos and video games are raising our children, which is unprecedented. He said his parents were held accountable for his actions when he was growing up and he wondered what ever happened to that rule. If parents aren’t held accountable, he said, there is no incentive for parents to take responsibility for their children. President Texter responded that curfew and truancy laws hold parents responsible though he feels our laws need to change to keep up with new trends.

Lyn Becker, Linden Ave., York, PA, and member of the Avenues Neighborhood Association, shared that her property was victimized at one time and as a human services worker, she is concerned about the safety of her clients and staff. A mutual effort has to be made involving the police, the Mayor, and the community. Ms. Becker said she doesn’t understand why a program isn’t in place to make the parents of juvenile offenders attend a mandatory parenting class.

Virginia Melody, Windsor, PA, was saddened by the comments she heard tonight and the anguish the community is living with. She said there is no definitive answer to the reason why these problems are plaguing our community and negatively influencing our kids. However, there is help she said. Ms. Melody announced the Bridge of Hope of York County. The Bridge of Hope is a non-profit Christian ministry focusing on the prevention of homelessness for women and children and offers families a solution for the long haul. She explained that a lack of basic job skills, low wages, abandonment, abuse, addiction and despair can result in a daunting cycle of poverty and homelessness. Ms. Melody said a lot of children are raising themselves because parents are out working to feed their families. She invited the public to stop by and talk to the Bridge of Hope staff. For more information on the Bridge of Hope of York County, please call (717) 747-9657 or (717) 891-3745 or you may visit their website at: www.bridgeofhopeinc.org or email: bohyorkcounty@yahoo.com.

Committee Reports

Announcement: To permit participation in the May 15th Primary Election, the next regular meeting of City Council will be held on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. instead of Tuesday, May 15.

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.

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 Tuesday, 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 Credit Bureau of York discussion on collection efforts being made by the bureau in collecting delinquent city accounts.

Appended Agenda

A motion was made by Musso, seconded by Smallwood, to amend the printed agenda to include consideration of one additional Resolution. (Note: This is not a supplemental agenda as it does not violate the provisions of Resolution No. 215 of 1969 which regulates that Council must receive agenda items prior to the Saturday before the regularly scheduled Council meeting. This agenda item was presented on the Friday before the regularly scheduled Council meeting.) The motion to amend the printed agenda passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 67, Session 2007 (Appended agenda item), A Resolution authorizing the Mayor and Controller to execute contract #C000027059 for acceptance of a DCED grant in the amount of $25,000 for the Salem Square Neighborhood Project, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Smallwood, Resolution No. 67 came up for discussion.

Director Bracey explained that this grant would be used for development of an achievable, catalytic, five-year physical environment vision to foster the viability of the Salem Square Neighborhood through partnerships with the City of York, Main Street York, area businesses and other community organizations. Councilwoman Washington asked who would receive the funding. Director Bracey said the City of York would receive the $25,000.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 67 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.
Legislative Agenda

Final Passage of Bill No. 16, Ordinance No. 17, Session 2007, A Bill amending Article 137 “Fiscal Procedures” of the York City Codified Ordinances to include language regarding the process of conducting annual audit sharing information with the Mayor and Council and appointing an audit committee, which was introduced by Texter at the April 17 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 16 came up for discussion.

President Texter explained that this amendment formally establishes procedures to keep Council and the public well informed about the audit. An audit committee would be established and shall be comprised of the Mayor or his/her designee, the Business Administrator or his/her designee, the Finance Director, the Council President or his/her designee and the Controller or his/her designee. The committee will be charged with considering all proposals for auditing contracts and/or re-contracts and recommending an independent certified public account or qualified firm to the Council. The committee will also receive all oral and written reports presented by the accountant or firm. Additionally, the Council President will give Council reports on the audit as required and the accountant or firm hired shall formally present audits and findings to the Council at a session open to the public.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 16, Ordinance No. 17, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 17, Ordinance No. 18, 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), which was introduced by Texter at the April 17 meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 17, Ordinance No. 18, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Introduction of Bill No. 18, Session 2007, A Bill amending the 2006 budget by appropriating revenue and expenditures in preparation for the 2006 audit, was introduced by Smallwood, read by short title, and came up for discussion.

Vice President Musso questioned the changes in revenue in that they exceed the expenses by nearly $400,000. He was concerned about the overall amount and asked why there is a constant under-estimation of revenue. When budget time rolls around, he said, it is critical that the numbers be as accurate as possible. President Texter responded that when estimating budgets, a $400,000 surplus is a relatively small figure in a general fund that exceeds $28 million.

Vice President Musso asked that a message be relayed to Business Administrator O’Rourke to provide a response to his questions before the next Council meeting (May 16).

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 18 was deferred until the May 16 meeting of Council.

Introduction of Bill No. 19, Session 2007 (click on Bill No. 19 to view), A Bill amending Article 1751 “Abatement of Public Nuisances” of the York City Codified Ordinances, by the addition and/or deletion of citations within Article 1751 relating to “Title 18 - Pennsylvania Crimes Code”, the “Pennsylvania Dog Law Act 151 of 1996”, and “Title 7 – General Offenses” of the York City Codified Ordinances, and establishing points assessed for federal violations, was introduced by Texter, read by short title, and came up for discussion.

Motion to refer to committee. A motion was made by Washington, seconded by Texter, to refer Bill No. 19 to the Police Committee. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas- Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

A Police Committee meeting date to discuss Bill No. 19 will be scheduled at a later date. Therefore, Bill No. 19, as referred to the Police Committee, will be considered for final passage at a future meeting of Council.

Resolution No. 68, Session 2007, A Resolution appointing Robert J. Nace as a member of the York City General Authority to fill the unexpired term of Abe Amoros, which term shall expire January 1, 2008, was introduced by Smallwood, read at length, and on motion of Smallwood, seconded by Washington, Resolution No. 68 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 69, Session 2007, A Resolution in support of the extension of Rail service from Baltimore, MD to the City of York, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Smallwood, Resolution No. 69 came up for discussion.

Vice President Musso explained his position on sponsoring this Resolution. He said he has been researching this proposal for quite some time. Vice President Musso believes a Commuter Rail, whether by light or heavy rail, from the City of Baltimore, MD to York, PA, and eventually to Harrisburg, would stimulate commerce and allow for the uninterrupted flow of people and goods along a corridor that is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing areas of the United States. The basic idea is that a Commuter Rail line to Penn Station in Baltimore would link commuters to alternate modes of travel including the Acela Express high speed rail, which offers hourly service to downtown during peak morning and afternoon rush hours between Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Furthermore, he explained, the County of York currently owns the existing rail line and right-of-way from the City of York to the Maryland line, thereby eliminating both the time and cost of land acquisition or the use of eminent domain. Vice President Musso said he has received support from as far away as Portland, Oregon for this initiative.

As for the funding aspect of this proposal, Vice President Musso asked that the Governors of Pennsylvania and Maryland consider convening a Bi-state Task Force consisting of the public and private sector, environmental organizations, local economic and community organizations and statewide commuter and freight agencies, to begin to define the feasibility and costs of the project. Additionally, this Resolution calls on our federal, state and local legislators to provide grant dollars to fund the studies necessary to adequately evaluate the possibilities of the aforementioned commuter rail extension.

President Texter commended Vice President Musso for thinking outside the box and initiating a proposal that would add to the growth and convenience of commuters to and from York. President Texter suggested that the York County Commissioners be involved in discussions based on their past history and experience in developing and strategizing projects of this magnitude.

Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development, said the Brenner Administration supports this Resolution as it ties in with Mayor Brenner’s fuel-efficient transportation planning efforts. He said we realize this will be a difficult challenge and that funding will be an issue. With collaboration from all entities mentioned, this could be workable project, he said.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 69 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 70, Session 2007, A Resolution authorizing the York City Redevelopment Authority (RDA) to apply to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for $7 million in RACP funds to be used, amongst other things, for site acquisition by the RDA of property and lands located in and related to the Northwest Triangle Project (NWT), was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Washington, Resolution No. 70 came up for discussion.

Economic Director Jackson explained that the Northwest Triangle Initiative, a top economic development priority for the city, envisions an approximately fifty million dollar ($50 million), mixed-use redevelopment project of market-rate residential, commercial office space, retail, and recreational space to be developed on brownfields duly designated as blighted by the City Planning Commission, RDA, and City Council under the state’s Urban Redevelopment Law. These are currently languishing brownfields and old industrial properties that are marked for redevelopment and often have environmental and other hazards that deter development. The NWT is bounded generally to the north and the west by the Codorus and to the east by North George Street, and intersected by numerous railroad tracks. Director Jackson stated that we will need to exercise patience because remediation of this site will take some time.

Vice President Musso asked if the $7 million would have to be matched. Director Jackson said a local match is required in order to draw down funds. However, the match, in part, would come from federal dollars. Director Jackson said he would provide Council with project budgets.

Vice President Musso then asked several budget, acquisition, and development questions, which were answered by Director Jackson.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 70 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 71, Session 2007, A Resolution authorizing budget transfers in several departments to adjust the 2006 budget in preparation of the audit, was introduced by Smallwood, read at length, and on motion of Smallwood, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 71 came up for discussion.

Motion to table. Vice President Musso said he has questions about several line items and would like his questions answered before voting on this Resolution. After discussion, Council agreed that an overall discussion regarding the budget amendments presented in Bill No. 18 and the budget transfers outlined in Resolution No. 71 needs to take place before consideration of passage. Therefore, a motion was made by Musso, seconded by Smallwood, to table Resolution No. 71 to allow for further discussion. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays 0.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 71 was tabled until the May 16 meeting of Council.

Resolution No. 72, Session 2007, A Resolution approving the preliminary / final land development plan submitted by Sunrise Holdings, LP for development at 1090 Marbrook Lane, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Washington, Resolution No. 72 came up for discussion.

Motion to amend. Vice President Musso announced that an amendment to Resolution No. 72 was presented by the York City Planning Department to add language requiring the applicant to comply with certain sections of the International Fire Code. The amendments are bolded and underlined in the body of the Resolution. A motion was made by Musso, seconded by Smallwood, to accept said amendments. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Kathy Conely, LSC Design, and John Yinger, Apple Automotive, were onboard and explained the project. Ms. Conely first presented Council with colored renderings of the project. She said development of an 8,300 square foot car wash facility would be constructed at the intersection of Marbrook Lane and Apple Way. This will be a drive through car wash that will guide vehicles through a cleaning and drying tunnel, where upon exiting, free vacuuming services would be available. Additionally, Ms. Conely explained that the car wash would offer a menu outlining various other car-detailing services available for purchase.

President Texter asked how much the project costs, how long would the development take, if the development would create new jobs, and the projected grand opening date. Mr. Yinger said the project costs roughly $2 million and they look to hire about 12-18 new employees. He said this is about a 4-month project with the projected grand opening slated for September 2007.

Vice President Musso thanked Ms. Conely for outlining the plan. He then asked why the Fire Department is providing input on land development plans. Kendra Hunter, Director of the Bureau of Permits, Planning & Zoning, explained that though there is no set policy on fire department comments, she said the Fire Department was concerned about ingress and egress of fire apparatus. As a result of their concerns, additional contingencies were added to address those concerns. She did say that the applicant was agreeable to addressing the contingencies.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 72, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Agenda items pulled. Agenda item No. 10, a Resolution approving the preliminary / final reverse subdivision plan submitted by Stewart Associates to combine lots 6 & 12 in Phase III of the York City Business & Industrial Park; and Agenda item No. 11, a Resolution approving the preliminary / final land development plan submitted by Stewart Associates to combine lots 6 & 12 in Phase III of the York City Business & Industrial Park, were pulled from the agenda at the request of the Director of the Bureau of Permits, Planning & Zoning.

Resolution No. 73, Session 2007, A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing certificates of appropriateness to Chuck Strodoski of Yost, Strodoski, Mears, for work to be done at 220-226, 232, 234 & 238 E. Princess St., 221, 225, 227-229, 231, 235-237 & 239 Prospect St. and 222-230 Prospect street for development plans related to the Renaissance Park Project; Randy Poe, Consultant for Housing Initiatives, for work to be done at 339 E. King St. to replace all windows in the building; and Matt Jackson, York City Director of Economic Development, for work to be done at 200 N. Broad St. to demolish the building (Graybill Building), was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Washington, Resolution No. 73 came up for discussion.

Director Matt Jackson said point 7 of the HARB minutes for application #17-07H (200 N. Broad St.), which reads “A future developer will still face a great deal of clean up” is incorrect as the site is shovel ready and no additional work needs to be done.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 73 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Requests for Future Meetings

Announcement: To permit participation in the Tuesday, May 15th Primary Election, the next regular meeting of City Council will be held on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. instead of Tuesday, May 15.

General Committee, Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, 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 Credit Bureau of York discussion on collection efforts being made by the bureau in collecting delinquent city accounts.

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.

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.

Police Committee, Councilman Cameron Texter, Chair: Police Committee meeting to be scheduled to discuss Bill No. 19 (click on Bill No. 19 to view) amending Article 1751 “Abatement of Public Nuisances” of the Codified Ordinances by the addition and/or deletion of statutory citations related to the PA Crimes Code, the PA Dog Law Act of 151, and Title 7 – “General Offenses” of the Codified Ordinances, and to establish points assessed for federal violations.

Council Comment

Vice President Musso announced the upcoming street rods event. He said he feels we may have lost some visitors to our surrounding municipalities because of parking problems in downtown York. He asked that a message be relayed to the Mayor to consider parking exceptions during the street rods convention to re-attract visitors to downtown York.

Administration Comment

Director Kim Bracey extended condolences to the Dowling family for the loss of Odell Dowling, co-founder of Washington-Dowling Contractors. She said Washington-Dowling Contractors has been a huge asset to the city and they have worked with the city for many, many years. Odell will be sadly missed, she said. Council also paid its condolences to the Washington-Dowling family and spoke kind words about the late Odell Dowling.

Next Meeting: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA.

Adjournment: There being no further business, the May 1, 2007 meeting of Council adjourned at 9:25 p.m.