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City Council Meeting Minutes

October 16, 2007

City Council convened in Regular Session at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16, 2007, in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, with the following members present: Toni Smith, Vickie Washington, Joseph R. Musso, Vice President, and Cameron Texter, President, with President Texter presiding. Councilman Wm. Lee Smallwood was absent as he’s vacationing out of state. Mayor John Brenner was not present.

Members of the Administration in attendance included: Kim Bracey, Director of Community Development. Also present was Assistant Solicitor Shaleeta Washington. 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.

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 October 2, 2007, and approve them as written. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Texter – 4; Nays - 0.

Presentations

Wellington Youth Program: Tonya Larry, Life Skills Division, Wellington Youth Program, gave a brief background on projects being undertaken by the Wellington Youth Program, which in part included a youth essay initiative. Ms. Larry introduced six youth who each read short essays on various minority, historical figures such as Dorothy Height, an African American administrator, educator, social activist, and recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal; Emmett Till a fourteen year old African-American boy from Chicago, Illinois who was brutally murdered in Money, Mississippi, and whose murder has been cited as one of the key events that energized the American Civil Rights Movement; and U.S. Senator Barack Obama, an African-American 2008 Presidential hopeful. After each essay was read, Ms. Larry read letters of appreciation from parents whose children are participating in the Wellington Youth Program.

Marion Kinnard, Director, Wellington Youth Program, thanked everyone for their support and he especailly thanked Council and the Mayor for providing matching funds for the program’s start-up costs. Mr. Kinnard said he gave a thank you letter to Councilwoman Washington and asked that she share that letter with Council and the Mayor. Councilwoman Washington said she would read the letter at the close of tonight’s meeting.

President Texter and members of Council applauded Mr. Kinnard on the success of his program and for providing a program that offers much more than sports.

Inside-Out Consulting: Kim Walsh, Founding Partner, and Kelley Gibson, Senior Account Executive, Inside-Out Consulting, were onboard to give a brief halfway point special events report. Ms. Walsh outlined several fundraising efforts such as A Taste of York City that resulted in over $18,000 raised; the Lafayette Statue and Gala held in January that raised over $12,000; and $3,000 in grant funds obtained from Wal-Mart stores on behalf of York City. In all, Ms. Walsh said Inside-Out Consulting has raised over $132,781. She then reported on various special events such as the Olde York Street Fair, Box Lunch Revue Concert Series, York Patriot Days, YorkFest Arts Festival, and Bike Nite, which were all a success. Additionally, in the advertising realm, Inside-Out Consulting has held one press conference, sent out 11 press releases, 10 media advisories, pitched five story ideas, and sent out three photo opportunity bulletins. Additionally, WSBA/WARM 103/Oldies donated $118,140 worth of advertising, York Newspaper Company donated $100,000 worth of advertising, and ABC 27 news donated $150,000 worth of advertising.

Lastly, Ms. Walsh invited Council and the public to join them in the 2008 Sponsorship Campaign Kick-Off on Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 12:30 p.m. at the York City Ice Arena. The theme this year will be to “Celebrate York City” and Inside-Out will be highlighting all the ways York City Special Events benefit both sponsors and participants.

Council thanked Ms. Walsh for her presentation and stated that they are pleased with the fundraising efforts.

Public Comment

Eugene Morgan, York, PA, thanked Councilwoman Smith for her support during his mother’s illness and eventual passing. He said Councilwoman Smith was a stranger who came into his life, stood by his side during his mother’s illness, and helped him take care of the house his mother cared for over the years. Mr. Morgan said President Texter was also a big help in lightening his burden and he thanked them both deeply for their support during his time of need.

Rev. Harvey Holloway, York City Human Relations Commission, announced the 26th annual Dr. Frederick D. Holliday Memorial Luncheon and Awards Ceremony to be held on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at the Yorktowne Hotel, located at 48 E. Market St. This annual event is held in honor of the late Dr. Holliday, former superintendent of the School District of the City of York. Tickets for the event cost $40. For more information about the event call Human Relations Commission Director Stephanie Seaton at 846-2926.

Tiffany Derr, 623 N. Hartley St., York, PA, complained of parking on N. Hartley St. She said since the old Bluebird Silk Mill has been renovated into condominiums, a two hour parking limit has been implemented on the west side of the street. Ms. Derr said that during the project’s planning process, residents were promised that parking would not become a problem. She said residents didn’t realize the new parking restriction until they started getting ticketed. President Texter said he just became aware of this situation and said he would contact the Mayor to find out what’s going on.

Tim Page, 680 E. Princess St., York, PA, stated that residents come to Council because they have no other means of approach since we’re dealing with a closed administration. He then spoke about the Bluebird Silk Mill and the carte blanche treatment they received when they first came to York. Mr. Page mentioned other big businesses in the city that he feels receives the same type of treatment and how taxpayer dollars are being used to serve these big businesses. He said he hopes that some day we will have a government that operates in the best interest of its taxpaying residents. Next, Mr. Page explained how he has extensively researched the city’s zoning laws and asked what ever happened to the Junkyard Committee. He said research has revealed tons of literature regulating junkyards. Mr. Page took a moment to read an excerpt from “environmental standards” of the zoning code. He said his interpretation is that Council has the authority to enforce these rules.

Matthew Mann, 1046 Edison St., York, PA, relayed that some bus drivers have expressed to him their displeasure over the lack of notification regarding parades. He said drivers complained that parades disrupt bus service, however, prior notification of a planned parade routes would help bus drivers alter their routes in order to follow through with services expected by their patrons. Mr. Mann then discussed the removal of public pay phones. He said he wishes payphones were never removed because he’s finding that perfect strangers are stopping him on the street asking to use his personal cell phone.

Tom Foust, 436 E. Market St., York, PA, thanked Vice President Musso for playing a key role in the Education First Parade and flag raising ceremony. Mr. Foust then discussed the Human Relations Commission’s request to fund a Housing Investigator position in the 2008 budget. He said some of the facts and statistics presented during the HRC’s budget presentation were incorrect. The main issue is jurisdiction, he said. Unfortunately, if discrimination occurs in North York, residents must file a complaint with the Harrisburg office. Mr. Foust said he has always been an advocate for a countywide Human Relations Commission and strongly supports forming such. He urged Council to continue talks with the county Commissioners in implementing a countywide commission.

Ed Berry, 247 E. Maple St., York, PA, discussed the Historic Monuments Fund, a fund used to preserve historic monuments throughout York. He said he would like to see our recreation facilities, such as the baseball stadium, become home to a monument or statue honoring those who have won a congressional metal of honor. He feels all of the Vietnam veteran memorials peppered across the county should be centrally located in the downtown area. President Texter explained the reasoning behind the locations chosen for these memorials - such as the monument located at the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, a bridge named in honor of our heroes.

Franklin Williams, 528 W. Market St., York, PA, said he witnessed elderly man being savagely beaten by a group of teens. He said a neighbor also witnessed this attack, which has left her traumatized to the point she’s moving out of the city. Mr. Williams said another neighbor, who is frequently seen outside his home sweeping, no longer sweeps because he’s afraid of becoming a victim of a violent crime. Mr. Williams said he wonders how he’ll feel come next spring when he goes out to maintain our community flowerbeds. Mr. Williams spoke of numerous violent incidents committed in his neighborhood and urged the Mayor and Police Commissioner to aggressively continue proactive measures.

Jami Shabazz, 600 block of N. Hartley St., York, PA, added to comments made by Ms. Derr about parking problems on N. Hartley St. He said he would also like to see the street repaved and streetlights installed in the alley behind Turkey Hill Minit Market. President Texter explained the petitioning process for streetlights and encouraged Mr. Shabazz and his neighbors to follow through with this process for consideration.

Committee Reports

Economic Development Committee, Joseph R. Musso, Chair: Vice President Musso reported that a meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss Bill No. 25 (Click here to view Bill), a Bill establishing Article 1729 “Vacant Property Registration” of the Codified Ordinances to create guidelines for the registration of vacant properties in the City of York and the payment of related fees.

Legislative Agenda

Final Passage of Bill No. 36, Ordinance No. 34, Session 2007, A Bill amending the 2007 CDBG Budget to reflect changes resulting from an amendment to the 2007 Annual Action Plan affecting the Literacy Council, the Spanish-American Center, and Wellington Youth Program, which was introduced by Musso at the October 2 meeting of Council and ready by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Musso, seconded by Washington, Bill No. 36 came up for discussion.

Councilwoman Washington said she is concerned that the Spanish American Center is losing its funding. She stated that she understands violations were made to the grant guidelines but feels we are kicking this organization in the back while their suffering hard times. She said the Spanish American Center provides valuable services to the community, especially the Hispanic community, and to cut their funding is a disservice.

Director Bracey explained that the Bureau of Housing Services has to be compliant when administering HUD dollars otherwise the city could lose HUD funding all together. Director Bracey did say that staff is working with the Center on compliance issues and will consider amending the 2008 Annual Action Plan if the Spanish American Center is able to come into compliance.

Vice President Musso reiterated Director Bracey’s statement in that compliance is extremely critical. He said Director Bracey is absolutely correct that the city could lose all HUD funding if we fail to administer this program correctly. He said on the positive side, this amendment would allow the Literacy Council to receive an additional $8,000 in funding and the Wellington Youth Program will receive $12,000 in funding for its program.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 36, Ordinance No. 34, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Texter – 4; Nays – 0.

Introduction of Bill No. 37, Session 2007, A Bill amending the 2007 Budget for the Bureau of Health by appropriating revenue and expenditures in the amount of $40,349.00 for an Immunization Grant, was introduced by Musso, read by short title, and deferred until the November 7 meeting of Council.

Resolution No. 142, Session 2007, A Resolution proclaiming October 21 through 27, 2007 as National Lead Poisoning Awareness Week in the City of York and encouraging residents to take advantage of the free lead poisoning prevention and testing services offered through the York City Bureau of Health Childhood Lead Poisoning Program, was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 142 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Texter – 4; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 143, Session 2007, A Resolution adopting the National League of Cities’ Platform for Strengthening Families and Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth and vowing to seek to establish the essential infrastructure for a sustained community effort to achieve the Platform’s objectives, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Musso, Resolution No. 143 came up for discussion.

Councilwoman Smith said she, along with Mayor Brenner and Community Development Director Kim Bracey, have been working with PLCM and the NLC on promoting this initiative. She said the National League of Cities (NLC) has developed a City Platform for Strengthening Families and Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth, which outlines the essential tasks necessary for sustained progress, including identifying needs and priorities, promoting effective city-school collaboration, encouraging and supporting youth voice and leadership, and measuring progress over time. Councilwoman Smith said municipalities can play a decisive role by taking action on behalf of children, youth, and families and that the City of York is committed to implementing concrete action steps listed in the Platform, including early childhood development, youth development, education and after school programs, health, safety, and much more.

Vice President Musso said he is excited about the City of York’s involvement in this initiative and offered to hold as many Community and/or Economic Development Committee meetings as necessary to achieve the objectives of this Platform.

President Texter said he hears concerns from residents about crime almost every day. If we really want to effect change, he said, we have to start at the root of the problem by making a cultural change first. He said he feels this umbrella platform is a great place to start.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 143 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Texter – 4; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 144, Session 2007, A Resolution amending the 2007 CDBG Budget to reflect changes made to the 2007 Annual Action Plan to increase funding in the amount of $8,000 for the Literacy Council; to appropriate funding in the amount of $12,000 for the Wellington Youth Program; and to remove funding for the Spanish American Center totaling $35,000, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Washington, Resolution No. 144 came up for discussion.

Councilwoman Washington took this time to read a thank you letter from Marion Kinnard, President of the Wellington Youth Program. Mr. Kinnard’s letter personally thanked Vice President Musso for his efforts to help raise funds from the private sector and thanked Councilwoman Smith for helping to raise funds to provide football and cheerleading uniforms. Mr. Kinnard’s letter thanked a myriad of people who believed in his vision and supported his efforts in bringing the Wellington Youth Program to life.

Voni Grimes, Wellington Youth Program Board member, applauded Mr. Kinnard’s efforts and the success of the Wellington Youth Program. He said Mr. Kinnard not only had a vision, he delegated and executed his plan and was able to gain support from the community. Mr. Grimes stated that he is overwhelmed by what Mr. Kinnard is doing especially since the program promotes academics first and sports second. Mr. Grimes thanked the Council, Mayor, and the community for their support.

Tom Foust, 436 E. Market St., York, PA, said the only downfall is that the Wellington Youth Program is tearing apart the other youth programs (Boys Club of York and South York) because they cannot afford to offer free sign-ups so they are losing a lot of their kids to Wellington. He said now that Wellington has received city funding, he’s sure BYC and SY would also like funding support.

Vice President Musso responded that the Wellington Youth Program was able to offer free registration because they raised enough money (private and public) to offer this incentive. He said Mr. Kinnard’s goal was to leave no child behind. Vice President Musso said he supports helping out little leagues, however, the Wellington Youth Program is offering more than just sports - they are also offering academics, which puts them ahead of the game.

An intensive debate ensued regarding youth programs and funding efforts. President Texter said a huge discussion took place during the Mayor’s budget hearings about how to fund youth programs and activities. Councilwoman Washington said the Mayor is agreeable to forming a committee to assist with programs that promote youth activities, academics, and leadership programs.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 144 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Texter – 4; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 145, Session 2007, A Resolution approving the preliminary/final land development plan submitted by HET Enterprises, LLC to redevelop 701 Loucks Rd. into a shopping center (Colony Park Corner), was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Washington, Resolution No. 145 came up for discussion.

Jessica Fieldhouse, First Capital Engineering, was onboard to explain the project. Ms. Fieldhouse said the project’s location is at the corner of Rt. 30 and Pennsylvania Ave. where the current BP Gas Station is housed. She said this plan boasts a 5,300 sq. ft. shopping center for high intensity, early morning coffee house use. There will be curb cuts on Pennsylvania Ave. and Rt. 30 for egress purposes. Most of the BP site will be demolished and the tanks removed. The mall will have outdoor seating with 26 parking spaces and drive through access off of Pennsylvania Ave. with another entrance along Rt. 30. Ms. Fieldhouse stated that the site is currently 71% impervious coverage but this project will bring that number down to about 31%. She said a sidewalk waiver is in place for the area abutting Pennsylvania Ave. and Rt. 30 and that sidewalks would instead be installed along Colony Drive for pedestrian access.

Vice President Musso questioned why a sidewalk waiver is in place for the section along Pennsylvania Ave. from the PA Ave. entrance to the handicapped ramp.

Todd Taylor, First Capital Engineering, said their plan originally had sidewalks surrounding the property, however, the plan was changed at the request of city officials. Director Bracey said to clarify, the waiver is for sidewalks along Rt. 30, not Pennsylvania Ave. as Vice President Musso has stated. Vice President Musso said the point is he wants to know why sidewalks aren’t being installed along Pennsylvania Ave.

John Lucciani, First Capital Engineering, outlined TRG’s letter regarding pedestrian facilities, which described sidewalks as proposed on this plan, which was to connect the mall to the Colony Park neighborhood as they have done. He said this is the plan that was discussed and approved at the Planning Commission meeting, per the Planning Commission’s recommendations.

Motion to amend. A discussion ensued on how to resolve this sidewalk issue. Vice President Musso said he would not approve this plan unless the sidewalk issue is resolved. President Texter asked Mr. Lucciani, Mr. Taylor and Vice President Musso if they would be agreeable to move forward if a condition was put in place to investigate Vice President Musso’s requests for sidewalks. All agreed. Therefore, Vice President Musso made a motion to amend Resolution No. 145 to add the following as the last paragraph: “BE IT FURTHER, that a proposal for sidewalks along Pennsylvania Ave. from the Pennsylvania Ave. entrance to the handicapped ramp be submitted to the City Engineer for an engineering and safety review and if a safety concern exists then this portion of sidewalk shall not be required.” The motion to amend was seconded by Washington, and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Texter – 3; Nays – Smith – 1.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 145, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Texter – 4; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 146, Session 2007, A Resolution extending the year 2006 agreements with the following agencies, for costs herein stated, to cover the period of October 1, 2007 through March 31, 2008, for the Family Health Council of Central PA and its subsidiaries to provide tobacco prevention and cessation programs in York County: WellSpan Health - $47,964; Memorial Hospital - $54,000; Hanover Hospital - $40,000; Susan P. Byrnes Health Education Center - $25,000; and York County TREND - $6,533, was introduced by Musso, read at length and on motion of Musso, seconded by Washington, Resolution No. 146 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Texter – 3; Nays – 0. (Note: Councilwoman Smith was absent from the table during the vote.)

Resolution No. 147, 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: Randy Poe, Housing Alliance of York, for work to be done at 48 S. Pine St.; Eric Menzer, Wagman Construction, for work to be done at 241 N. George St.; and Dennis Kunkle, York Co. Heritage Trust, for work to be done at 157 W. Market St. (Golden Plough Tavern), was introduced by Washington, read at length, and on motion of Washington, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 147 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Texter – 4; Nays – 0.

Requests for Future Meetings

Economic Development Committee, Joseph R. Musso, Chair: A meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss Bill No. 25 (Click here to view Bill), a Bill establishing Article 1729 “Vacant Property Registration” of the Codified Ordinances to create guidelines for the registration of vacant properties in the City of York and the payment of related fees.

Council Comment

President Texter made the following announcement:
York City Council will hold public meetings on the proposed 2008 York City Budget beginning at 6:00 p.m. each evening on November 27, November 28, and November 29, 2007 in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA. (Click here for budget notice) The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007
6:00-7:00 p.m……….. Business Administration
7:00-8:00 p.m……….. Elected & Appointed Officials, Human Relations Commission, and Solicitor’s
Office
8:00-9:00 p.m……….. Community Development – All Divisions & Bureaus
9:00 pm……………… Public Comment

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
6:00-7:00 p.m……….. Public Works – All Divisions and Bureaus
7:00-8:00 p.m……….. Economic Development – All Divisions and Bureaus
9:00 p.m…………….. Public Comment

Thursday, November 29, 2007
6:00-8:00 p.m……….. Police Department – All Divisions and Bureaus
8:00-9:00 p.m……….. Fire Department – All Divisions and Bureaus
9:00 p.m…………….. Public Comment

Next, Councilwoman Washington commented on DEP’s denial of the American Ash Recycling (AAR) general permit for processing and re-use of treated ash aggregate. She said if any employees of AAR lose their jobs because of this denial, she would like to see some sort of job training and/or job referrals offered to these displaced workers. Councilwoman Washington suggested that displaced workers contact Career Link for assistance. President Texter replied that AAR has an option to appeal DEP’s decision; otherwise AAR will have to accommodate DEP’s denial of the permit effective December 23.

Background

Council introduced the following Resolution regarding AAR’s general permit renewal application:

Resolution No. 107-07: (click to view) Opposing the application by American Ash Recycling Corp. of PA (AAR-PA) for DEP's approval of a comprehensive general permit renewal application for processing and the subsequent re-use of treated ash aggregate. The Resolution was introduced at the August 8, 2007 meeting of Council. Resolution No. 107 was referred to the Community Development Committee. A Committee meeting was held on Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers. The Resolution was released from committee and appeared on the September 4, 2007 Council legislative agenda for consideration of final passage. At the September 4 Council meeting, Council voted unanimously to table Resolution No. 107 with the understanding that DEP will extend its public comment period with regard to AAR's application and DEP's subsequent public hearing for said application to follow. (Click here to view Council's letter of request to DEP for a public hearing.)

President Texter then read a letter from the Benevolent Association requesting exoneration of municipal taxes and asked Council if they would like to act on this request. Vice President Musso said he would like to hear the circumstances behind this request before he’d be willing to make any recommendations for action. President Texter said he would write a letter to the Association requesting more information.

President Texter also announced that the audit is nearing completion. He said draft information was provided to him, which he would share with the rest of Council via email. He said he would try to narrow down a specific date the audit would be completed.

Next Meeting: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA. (Note: The meeting is being held on Wednesday instead of Tuesday in observance of Tuesday’s General Election.)

Adjournment: There being no further business, the October 16, 2007 meeting of City Council adjourned at 9:51 p.m.