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City Council Meeting Minutes

May 16, 2007

City Council convened in Regular Session at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 16, 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. (Note: The Council meeting was held on Wednesday instead of Tuesday in observance of Tuesday’s Primary Election.)

Members of the Administration in attendance included: Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator. Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Kim Bracey, Director of Community Development, Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development, Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner, John Senft, Fire Chief, and Don Hoyt, Assistant Solicitor, were absent.

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

A motion was made by Washington, seconded by Smith, to dispense with the reading of the Minutes of May 1, 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 the printed agenda)

Tracy Smallwood, 47 W. Jackson St., York, PA, said she is concerned about negative police interaction with local youths. Ms. Smallwood reported that on April 6th, an incident took place at her home at which time the police burst into her house and treated her, her husband, and her son very badly. She said they did nothing to warrant this type of reaction. Ms. Smallwood said she reported the incident to the York City Human Relations Commission but investigators were not optimistic about remediation of the incident. President Texter explained the procedure to file a complaint against an officer(s). He asked Ms. Smallwood to see him after the meeting to exchange contact information and he would help her with the complaint process.

Ed Berry, 247 E. Maple St., York, PA, congratulated the winners of the Tuesday primary election. He commended Councilpersons Smallwood and Washington for their service to the city and said their presence on Council would be missed. Next, Mr. Berry shared information about the Harrisburg Vet Center, 1500 N. Second St., Suite 2, Harrisburg, PA 17102, phone: Phone: (717) 782-3954. He said the center provides patient care and information on veteran’s benefits, as well as various other services and he encouraged veterans to take advantage of the services being offered. Mr. Berry then discussed how we could recognize African-American’s that helped to protect York from invasion during the 18th century. He said these men and women are worthy of recognition.

Councilman Smallwood responded that research has been done and continues to be done on the Underground Railroad and African-American heroes. He said findings from this research will be presented to the public once complete and a forum will be established to share ideas on how to memorialize historic events and how to recognize these heroes. He said a celebration recently took place commemorating events during the Civil War era.

Sterling Von Nickerson, 264 E. King St., York, PA, thanked Councilpersons Smallwood and Washington for working with him over the years on city issues. He said he is saddened that they lost re-election but praised them for a job well done. Mr. Nickerson then discussed the ice rink bond payment. He said he found that the last bond payment of $430,000 was taken from the recreation and parks budget. Additionally, he said he also found $135,000 of unappropriated funds in the recreation and parks budget. In the midst of teen violence and anarchy, Mr. Nickerson frowned that funds from the recreation and parks budget is being used to pay for a failed ice rink venture and $135,000 is just sitting there. He said drug dealers are serving as role models to our youths. These dollars should be used to create youth programs and youth centers, he said. Mr. Nickerson stated that our youth are being neglected and he urged the Administration to reallocate these funds to help our youths.

Franklin Williams, 528 W. Market St., York, PA, also took a moment to thank Councilpersons Smallwood and Washington for their service to the City of York. He congratulated all winners and losers of the primary election that ran a campaign focused on city issues instead of personal attacks. Mr. Williams told a story about a senator with excellent credentials that lost a gubernatorial election because of dirty politics. Voters want to hear about real issues not personal attacks, he said.

Presentations

Carmen Bloom, resident of Berks County, and Miss White Rose City 2007, was onboard to spread the word about the Children’s Miracle Network. Children's Miracle Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children¹s hospitals across North America. Each year the 170 Children's Miracle Network hospitals provide the finest medical care, life-saving research and preventative education to help millions of kids overcome diseases and injuries of every kind. (Source: http://www.childrensmiraclenetwork.org). Ms. Bloom said she is working towards becoming the next Miss Pennsylvania, and is hoping to continue on to compete for the title of Miss America. This year the Miss America Organization is teaming up with Children's Miracle Network to help kids in our community by raising much needed funds. Ms. Bloom said she set a goal to raise $250.00 but has raised $491.00 so far. Money raised will benefit both the Children's Miracle Network and the Miss America Scholarship Fund.

On the local front, Ms. Bloom explained the Miss York County Scholarship Organization. She said this organization is celebrating 58 years of service to the community with hundreds of volunteers working together to make available thousands of dollars for scholarships and awards for area women. For more information on this program, please write or call: The York County Scholarship Organization, 3524 E. Market St., York, PA 17402, Phone: (717 ) 755-6683.

Ms. Bloom invited residents to visit http://www.missamerica4kids.org/m.aspx?i=1369B0C7 for more information on her involvement with the Children’s Miracle Network or to make a donation. Ms. Bloom may also be contacted through email at: Cbloo080@Kutztown.edu.

Council thanked Ms. Bloom for her presentation and congratulated her on becoming Miss White Rose City 2007. Ms. Bloom then answered questions from Council about her goals and achievements.

Committee Reports

General Committee, President Texter announced that a General Committee meeting is 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 York Credit Bureau 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: President Texter announced that a Police Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, 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 151 of 1996, and Title 7 – “General Offenses” of the Codified Ordinances, and to establish points assessed for federal violations.

Legislative Agenda

Final Passage of Bill No. 18, Ordinance No. 19, Session 2007, A Bill amending the 2006 Budget by appropriating revenue and expenditures in preparation for the 2006 audit, which was introduced by Smallwood at the May 1, 2007 Council meeting, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Smallwood, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 18 came up for discussion.

Business Administrator Michael O’Rourke explained that the law requires that we must have a balanced budget. In order to tidy up the books for the audit, he said, it is customary to do budget amendments and transfers. Administrator O’Rourke made clear that the Administration’s first effort is to keep the bottom line budget figures the same but if they are not balanced, budget transfers and/or amendments are necessary to achieve those balances.

Vice President Musso questioned whether a surplus exists in the General Fund budget because in calculating under reported revenue streams, he said he comes up with a surplus of about $500,000.

Administrator O’Rourke explained that out of 951 line items reported in the budget, 191 lines are revenue based. He said it isn’t uncommon to under estimate or over estimate revenue because these figures are based on projections and historic data. Administrator O’Rourke explained at length how the budget is reviewed, how revenue projections are made, and how and when debts are paid. He said after looking at the big picture, though we are increasing revenue line items, the overall revenue budget is still under budgeted by $500,000. Additionally, the 2006 expense budget is being increased because of over-expenditures in the areas of salaries, overtime, and building rent. So by fixing last year budget, the end result will be a balanced budget. If not balanced, this would result in an audit finding.

President Texter said he participated in the audit committee meeting and gathered a lot of information regarding government finances and found that municipal budgets should have at lease 5% in unencumbered funds to cover expenses. Unfortunately, he said, the City of York has never been able to afford to do that so any surplus is an added bonus in helping to cover expenses.

Administrator O’Rourke added that unforeseen circumstances happen and money on-hand is helpful. He did say the Internal Services Fund has 5% unencumbered dollars, however, this money is already being allocated to pay other qualified debts.

A brief discussion took place about encumbrances, expenditures, revenue, pension liability, and debt services.

Vice President Musso said the manner in which the budget is being handled is unclear because he still sees a surplus of about $500,000, which he feels is being used as a “rainy day fund”. Administrator O’Rourke interjected that the budget has to be viewed in its entirety because we are about $500,000 short. He said it is important to keep in mind that we brought in $500,000 less in revenue than projected.

Ed Berry, 247 E. Maple St., York, PA, said he has no idea what is going on, and as a taxpayer, this is not acceptable. He said not everyone is conversant on budget vocabulary so he would like to see a brief report presented in layman’s terms at each Council meeting.

Sterling Von Nickerson, 264 E. King St., York, PA, asked if the risk management fund is based on activity instead of historical data. Administrator O’Rourke answered that the risk management fund covers health insurance, police professional insurance, public officials insurance, etc., and we keep track of all deductibles we pay.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 18, Ordinance No. 19, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Resolution No. 71, Session 2007, A Resolution authorizing a transfer of funds within several departments to adjust the 2006 Budget in preparation for the audit, which was introduced by Smallwood at the May 1st meeting of Council, read at length, discussed, and tabled, came up for final passage. A motion was made by Smallwood, seconded by Smith, to remove Resolution No. 71 from the table. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0. Resolution No. 71 came up for discussion.

Administrator O’Rourke reiterated earlier discussion about the 2006 expense budget being increased because of over-expenditures in the areas of salaries, overtime, and building rent. This Resolution would authorize the transfer of funds to cover these over-expenditures.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 71 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Introduction of Bill No. 20, Session 2007, A Bill amending Article 513.14 “Parking Prohibited in Specified Places” of the York City Codified Ordinances to add language for parking restrictions during events at the York Outdoor Recreation Complex (YORC), was introduced by Washington, read by short title, and deferred until the June 5th meeting of Council.

Introduction of Bill No. 21, Session 2007, A Bill amending the 2007 Budget by appropriating revenue and expenditures for the Department of Public Works for the S. Queen St. Improvement Project as costs exceeded budgeted amounts by $108,368.87 (expenditure) due to the addition of milling and paving of streets, and PennDOT has provided a reimbursement in the amount of $210,000 (revenue) toward this project to cover the milling and paving, was introduced by Washington, read in brief, and deferred until the June 5th meeting of Council.

Resolution No. 74, Session 2007, A Resolution authorizing an amendment to the Lease Agreement between the City of York and Clearwire US LLC (Res. 172-06) for the installation of equipment at Memorial Park for the transmission and reception of radio communications signals (cell phone tower), was introduced by Washington, read at length, and on motion of Washington, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 74 came up for discussion.

Director Gross explained that this action would amend the original lease agreement (Res. 172-06) between the City and Clearwire US LLC because Clearwire originally proposed to install its antenna systems at Memorial Park in an equipment cabinet on an existing stadium light pole owned by T-Mobile in a 49 sq. ft. parcel of land. However, due to the inability of the T-Mobile stadium light pole to structurally accommodate Clearwire’s antenna system, Clearwire proposes to increase its lease area and construct a new tower or pole and foundation. Director Gross said this amendment would increase the square footage from 49 sq. ft. to 400 sq. feet (an area 20’ x 20’ in size). Additionally, Clearwire’s rent would increase from $750.00 to $1,050.00 per month due to this expansion.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 74 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 75, Session 2007, A Resolution authorizing the Mayor and Controller to sign a Highway Occupancy Permit (HOP) Condition Statement on behalf of the York County Economic Development Corporation (YCED) for stormwater work to be done on Arch Street (SR 3029) in conjunction with the York Outdoor Recreation Complex (YORC), was introduced by Washington, read at length, and on motion of Washington, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 75 came up for discussion.

Tom Englerith, C.S. Davidson, explained that PennDot has required the City to apply for the HOP instead of the YCED because the city owns the sewer line located underground on Arch St. The project basically involves installing a 24” diameter RCP and inlets by open trench method and installing an 18” diameter RCP and tie-in to existing inlets by open trench method on the Arch St. sewer line.

Councilwoman Washington asked what additional responsibilities would the city take on by signing this agreement. Mr. Englerith said that information is outlined in the HOP Condition Statement, which is attached to Resolution No. 75. Mr. Englerith took a moment to outline some of the conditions of the agreement.

Sterling Von Nickerson, 264 E. King St., York, PA, asked if a traffic study was done to determine the impact, if any, this project would have on the baseball stadium project (YORC). Vice President Musso said a study was done and reviewed. Mr. Nickerson then asked if additional police coverage would be on-hand to direct traffic during activities at the YORC. President Texter responded that coverage will be handled the same was as provided during other high traffic events.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 75 passed by the following vote: Yeas Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 76, Session 2007, A Resolution awarding a contract to Kinsley Construction, Inc. for services associated with the S. Queen St. Improvement Project, which said contract is in the amount of $1,108,368.67, and shall be paid from the Capital Budget account #50-420-43316-00210, was introduced by Washington, read at length, and on motion of Washington, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 76 came up for discussion.

Director Gross explained this project would provide a streetscape with new curbs and sidewalks, street trees, lighting improvements, and paving of the roadway in the 0-600 blocks of S. Queen St.

Vice President Musso said he is concerned that only one bid was received. Director Gross said not many contractors can cover a project of this magnitude and although only one bid was received, he is pleased with the bid.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 76 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 77, Session 2007, A Resolution authorizing an encroachment agreement with The Market Street Saloon for a sidewalk café to be situated on the south side of Clark St. in the area known as Cherry Lane within the improved open area adjacent to the building line of 25 W. Market St., was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Smallwood, Resolution No. 77 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 78, Session 2007, A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing certificates of appropriateness for work to be covered in the following applications as recommended and approved by HARB: Steve Reynolds for work to be done at 257-259 E. King St. to replace windows and two front doors, partial enclosure of storefront window, and enclosure of front doorway transoms; Lance Howard for work to be done at 120 N. Queen St. to wrap windows and install new gutter and soffit on façade; Terry Sutton, Alliance Commercial Realty, for work to be done at 232 S. George St. to install a 2nd front door; Jose Mora for work to be done at 350 E. Princess St. for modifications to the front doorway and fence; and Lawrence Guzzardi, Local Rentals LLC, for work to be done at 246 E. King St. to rehab a fire damaged building, was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smallwood, Resolution No. 78 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Supplemental Agenda

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 passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 79, Session 2007 (Supplemental Agenda), A Resolution authorizing conditional letters of employment be sent to candidates as Probationary Police Officers as selected from the Police Civil Service Eligibility List (57 individuals), was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smallwood, Resolution No. 79 came up for discussion.

Matthew Mann, 1046 Edison St., York, PA, asked how many candidates would be offered letters of employment. President Texter responded that the Police Civil Service Commission would determine the number of offers based on budget appropriations and need. He then explained the appointment process.
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 79 passed by the following vote: Yeas –Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Requests for Future Meetings

General Committee, President Texter announced that a General Committee meeting is 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 York Credit Bureau discussion on collection efforts being made by the Bureau in collecting delinquent city accounts.

Police Committee, Councilman Cameron Texter, Chair: President Texter announced that a Police Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, 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 151 of 1996, and Title 7 – “General Offenses” of the Codified Ordinances, and to establish points assessed for federal violations.

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.

Councilwoman Washington reported that she spoke with Recreation and Parks Director Tom Landis who explained that full-time obligations preclude attendance at the Advisory Council meetings resulting in near dissolution, which is why Bill No. 13 abolishing the Advisory Council was placed on the Council agenda. She said she recently hosted a town meeting with local community leaders and herself serving on a panel wherein youth violence and youth activities were discussed with the public. As the two issues correlate to some degree, she said, panel members and the community have resolved to look into ways to save the Advisory Council on Recreation and Parks. This undertaking would be to collaborate and share ideas on ways to positively redirect our youths in an effort to reduce youth violence, truancy, and other issues affecting our children.

Council Comment

Vice President Musso said members from the Real Estate Investors of York contacted him and said they wish to discuss how to find middle ground on the Nuisance Abatement Ordinance (Article 1751 of the Codified Ordinances). Vice President Musso reported he would follow-up on this request.

President Texter relayed that the Audit Committee met today and the city’s auditing firm, Maillie, Falconiero & Co., has requested that our previous accounting firm, McKonly and Asbury, be involved in the process. He reported that McKonly & Asbury, LLP, has merged with Anchor Financial Group, a financial services firm, which brings together two firms that have been serving the financial services needs throughout Central PA for decades. Anchor Financial Group provides individual, corporate, and group financial products, services, and advice and is involved in the planning of each client's financial future. President Texter said he would continue to report back to Council on audit discussions.

Vice President Musso updated Council on the revised planning and zoning code project. He said bids were received from three engineering firms with JMT Engineering chosen to lead the project. JMT Engineering’s local office is located at 220 St. Charles Way, Suite 200, York, PA. JMT provides a broad range of planning services and works with communities on small scale and large scale projects such as the revamping of our planning and zoning ordinances. Vice President Musso stated that he was pleased with the proposal presented by JMT and said he would continue to keep Council abreast on the progress of this project.

Councilman Smallwood announced the progress of the William C. Goodridge Freedom House and Underground Railroad Museum project. He said a permit was granted to start work. The museum will be located at 123 E. Philadelphia St. in the City of York and will highlight the life and accomplishments of William C. Goodridge, the role he played in the Underground Railroad network, and the impact this history has had on African-Americans of yesterday and today. Planned exhibits include more than 200 Goodridge images such as photographs, postcards, panoramas, and moving pictures. Images represented will include family photos, portraits, city scenes and individual buildings, floods, fires, civic celebrations, advertising, logging camp scenes, log drives, railroads, scenic views, social and civic groups, horses and racing, and building interiors. Hologram exhibits with audio projections will be featured throughout the museum to give a real-life portrayal of events that took place at this historic site.

Councilman Smallwood, who was defeated in the Primary Election, congratulated the victors and encouraged those who were not victorious to never give up. He said he hopes the victors will be willing to establish the level of 27 years on Council and 37 years of public service like he did.

Councilwoman Washington, who was also defeated in the Primary Election, paid congratulations to the victors as well. She said serving as a public official is not an easy job. This position involves long hours, hard work and compassion. Though Council didn’t always see eye to eye, she said, she knows that each member has worked hard to better the City of York.

Councilpersons Texter, Musso, and Smith spoke kind words about Councilman Smallwood and Councilwoman Washington and thanked them for their commitment and service to the City of York. Councilwoman Smith, who won her bid for re-election, said she has been on Council for 12 years and has learned a lot from Councilman Smallwood. She said she hopes he continues to do good things for the community.

Next Meeting: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, June 5, 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 16, 2007 meeting of Council adjourned at 9:10 p.m.