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City Council Meeting Minutes

November 20, 2007

City Council convened in Regular Session at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 20, 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 also present.

Members of the Administration in attendance included: Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator, and Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development (in at 7:30 p.m.) Also present was Assistant Solicitor Shaleeta Washington and Captain Dave Arnold, Police Department. Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner, John Senft, Fire Chief, and Kim Bracey, Director of Community Development, 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 November 7, 2007 and approve them as written. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays - 0.


Presentations:


2008 York City Budget: Mayor Brenner was onboard and presented the 2008 York City Budget. He explained that the 2008 General Fund Budget is $33.9 million with the overall budget totaling $86 million. Mayor Brenner said the budget was out of balance during budget meetings, which could have resulted in a 22% tax increase. However, after making some very tough decisions, the Administration was able to reduce the overall budget and tax increase. He said he didn’t want to increase taxes but when faced with major financial obstacles, like the police pension award, there is basically no other alternative. Therefore, he said this Budget reflects a 1-mil real estate tax increase, as well as small increases in sewer and refuse collection fees. Mayor Brenner stated that the average homeowner will see approximately a $6.77 per month increase with these new rates. He said residents are welcome to visit the city’s website at www.yorkcity.org to use the 2008 tax calculator to determine their 2008 real estate taxes. Mayor Brenner thanked his budget team and applauded their efforts. He then went over some budget highlights, which include five (5) new police officers, funding for a summer park ranger, and a $250,000 city commitment to kick-off the Northwest Triangle Project.


President Texter and members of Council thanked Mayor Brenner for his presentation and said they look forward to discussing the budget in more detail during Council’s budget hearings. (Scheduled for November 27, 28 & 29). Click here to view budget notice.


Memorial Park Master Plan: Frank Dittenhafer, Co-Chair of the Memorial Park Advisory Committee, was present to outline the Memorial Park Master Plan. In 2004, Mayor Brenner established a Memorial Park Task Force to develop a plan to redevelop Memorial Park into a multi-dimensional sports venue for the enjoyment of visitors and to increase tourism. Mr. Dittenhafer provided Council with large color renderings of the Memorial Park Master Plan.


The Memorial Park Complex will regain and, eventually, surpass its former reputation and status as a premier softball complex. Through systematic planning with an eye to self-sustainability, the park will become a vital and revenue-generating city asset that will, over time, offer an expanded scope of recreational activities and events. Through sound governance, the development of partnerships that will promote use of the park, and dedicated marketing efforts, this complex will become a hub of activity in the city, serving neighborhood residents, Penn State-York and York Catholic students and staff, York County residents and visitors who will enjoy its activities and events and bring revenue to the surrounding area. This vision for the complex will unfold in phases: (1) Restoration of the park as a premier athletic complex with facilities and amenities that will promote softball, ice hockey, and volleyball activities; (2) Expansion of athletic venues to include new trends in recreation programming that will make the complex attractive to diverse age groups; and (3) Evolution of the complex into a venue that offers, in addition to sporting activities, other events and activities that appeal to diverse audiences and increased revenue potential.


Source: Memorial Park Task Force Report, November 2004
& Memorial Park Master Plan (October 2007)


Mr. Dittenhafer answered a few questions from Council. President Texter said he would have a Resolution forthcoming to support and endorse the Memorial Park Master Plan.


Public Comment: None

Committee Reports: None

Supplemental Agenda:

A motion was made by Smallwood, seconded by Washington, to waive the provisions of Resolution No. 215 of Session 1969 to permit consideration of a Supplemental Agenda containing 5 items. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Introduction of Bill No. 42, Session 2007, (Click here to view Bill) A Bill amending Article 933 “Sewer Rentals” of the Codified Ordinances to increase fees, was introduced by Smallwood, read by short title, and deferred until a future meeting of Council. (Projected date for consideration of final passage is slated for December 18, 2007.)

Introduction of Bill No. 43, Session 2007, (Click here to view Bill) A Bill amending Article 951.12 “Annual Collection Fee Schedule” of the Codified Ordinances, to increase fees, was introduced by Smallwood, read by short title, and deferred until a future meeting of Council. (Projected date for consideration of final passage is slated for December 18, 2007.)

Introduction of Bill No. 44, Session 2007, (Click here to view Bill) A Bill fixing the 2008 tax rate (14.67 mils), was introduced by Smallwood, read by short title, and deferred until a future meeting of Council. (Projected date for consideration of final passage is slated for December 18, 2007.)

Introduction of Bill No. 45, Session 2007, (Click here to view Bill) A Bill adopting the 2008 York City Budget (General Fund=$33,948,504), was introduced by Smallwood, read by short title, and deferred until a future meeting of Council. (Projected date for consideration of final passage is slated for December 18, 2007.)

Resolution No. 152, Session 2007, approving an agreement with Capital Blue Cross to provide TPA (Third Party Administrator) & PPO health insurance for city employees, was introduced by Smallwood, read at length, and on motion of Smallwood, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 152 came up for discussion.

Business Administrator O’Rourke explained that the city received five proposals to provide TPA health insurance services, and with the assistance of Riverside Consulting Services of Malvern, PA, the City has selected Capital Blue Cross to provide TPA and PPO services to the City of York for the years 2008-2010. He said previously, the city contracted with Erin Group Administrators; however, he said, we were dissatisfied with their services and the payment process was cumbersome. After reviewing all RFP’s, he stated that Capital Blue Cross was the most eager to obtain our services, they were cooperative, and their discounts surpassed those offered by the Erin Group. Administrator O’Rourke said we would be doing a separate contract for prescription services.

Administrator O’Rourke answered several contractual and budgetary questions from Council. There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 152 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Legislative Agenda:

Final Passage of Bill No. 25, (Click here to view Bill) A Bill establishing Article 1729 “Vacant Property Registration” of the Codified Ordinances. Bill No. 25 was introduced by Texter at the June 5, 2007 meeting of Council and referred to the Economic Development Committee. A Committee meeting was held on Tuesday, July 17, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. and Tuesday, October 23, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers at which time additional amendments were proposed. After discussion, the Bill was released from committee and appeared on the November 7th Council agenda for consideration of final passage. During that meeting, additional amendments were proposed by Economic Development Director Matt Jackson. After debate, Council voted to table Bill No. 25 to clarify said amendments and to have the Bill appear on the November 20th Council agenda. With that said, President Texter asked for a motion to remove Bill No. 25 from the table. There was no motion to remove the Bill; therefore, Bill No. 25 remains on the table.

Final Passage of Bill No. 38, Ordinance No. 36, Session 2007, (Click here to view Bill) A Bill amending Title Four “Stormwater Management” of the Codified Ordinances to establish Article 942 “Detection and Elimination of Illicit Discharges” to make it consistent with current laws and regulations, which was introduced by Washington at the November 7th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Washington, seconded by Smallwood, Bill No. 38, Ordinance No. 36, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 40, Ordinance No. 37, Session 2007, (Click here to view Bill) A Bill amending Article 169 “Police Officer’s Pension Fund” of the Codified Ordinances to revise Article 169.01(a) Definitions to add “DROP” which means Deferred Retirement Option Plan, and “Individual DROP Account”; and by adding Section 169.15 “Deferred Retirement Option Pension”, which was introduced by Texter at the November 7th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Texter, seconded by Washington, Bill No. 40 came up for discussion.

Business Administrator O’Rourke explained that the City of York and the FOP participated in an interest arbitration proceeding to establish the terms and conditions of employment for York City Police Officers. The Arbitration Panel awarded a Deferred Retirement Option Pension benefit, which became effective January 1, 2007 for employees who elect to participate in the plan. The Arbitration Award Directs that the Police Pension Plan Ordinance be amended to reflect the Deferred Retirement Option Pension. Therefore, in accordance with Article 169.14 of the Codified Ordinances, the Award of a Deferred Option Retirement Pension benefit was made after review of an actuarial assessment of the costs of the benefit.

Administrator O’Rourke answered several questions from Council regarding health insurance and wages associated with the arbitration award, which Captain David Arnold said those two issues remain outstanding and discussions continue.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 40, Ordinance No. 37, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 41, Ordinance No. 38, Session 2007, A Bill amending the 2007 Budget by appropriating revenue and expenditures for the Police Department in the amount of $6,662.00 for a South George Street Community Partnership grant received for the Youth Police Academy, which was introduced by Texter at the November 7th meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 41, Ordinance No. 38, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Resolution No. 150, Session 2007, A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Susquehanna Stray (SSAS) Animal Shelter in the amount of $16,320.00, to provide rescue, temporary shelter, and veterinary care for stray dogs and cats, and disposal and adoption opportunities for suitable animals, for the period of January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008, with the option to renew from year to year thereafter, which was introduced by Texter at the November 7th meeting of Council, read at length, discussed, and tabled, came up for final passage. A motion was made by Texter, seconded by Musso, to remove Resolution No. 150 from the table. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 4; Nays – Washington – 1.
President Texter said Resolution No. 150 was tabled at the November 7th meeting because some members of Council had questions about the terms of the agreement, with SSAS’s euthanasia policy being of primary concern.

Captain Dave Arnold explained that they received bids from 3 animal agencies (SPCA, SSAS, and Animal Rescue). He said the SPCA was moving in a different direction than what the city was with regard to stray animal services. Captain Arnold stated that the SPCA moved into a new facility with space restrictions that would not accommodate the space we needed. Additionally, the SPCA’s policy was to spay our strays and re-release them into the community. He said re-releasing these animals does not cure our stray animal problem, and euthanasia, though a hard pill to swallow, is a method to help control our stray pet population. He explained that stray animals, even if spayed, create other problems such as spread disease, deposit feces, and dig into trash bins.

Councilwoman Washington said she heard concerns that citizens aren’t being informed on who the city contracts with for animal shelter services. She said when they have a missing pet they aren’t sure which animal shelter to call or the circumstances in which an animal is picked up. Captain Arnold responded that notification is a process in which he’s willing to work on with our contracting agency. Captain Arnold then explained the circumstances strays are picked up, animal bite complaints, etc. Councilwoman Washington still rejected the euthanasia policy.

A debate ensued on the city’s stray animal population, nuisances caused by strays, and dog/cat bites.

Roxanne Smeltzer, Susquehanna Stray Animal Shelter (SSAS), was onboard to explain SSAS’s services. She said SSAS holds adoptable animals as long as possible. State laws mandate that dogs can be held for up to 48 hours then must be adopted – otherwise, euthanasia becomes an option. Un-adoptable animals are euthanized within 3 days. Ms. Smeltzer said SSAS works well with all shelters in the area (Animal Rescue and SPCA). She also said they will refer residents to the proper shelter if they receive walk-ins or calls from residents living in a municipality in which SSAS does not serve. Ms. Smeltzer shared that the York Newspaper Company offers free advertising for up to 7 days for lost animals.

Councilwoman Smith said she would like to visit SSAS to inspect the premises and its operations. Ms. Smeltzer welcomed all members of Council and the public to stop by the shelter for a tour.

President Texter asked Ms. Smeltzer if she would be willing to work with our WRCT producers to do an informational show on SSAS’s services, adoption and euthanasia services, notification, etc. Ms. Smeltzer welcomed the idea. President Texter said he would also speak with Mayor Brenner about putting SSAS’s contact information on the city’s website. Ms. Smeltzer said anyone with questions about SSAS is asked to call (717) 244-9747.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 150 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 4; Nays – Washington – 1.

Resolution No. 153, Session 2007, A Resolution appointing Joseph T. Hand as a member of the York City Sewer Authority Board to fill the unexpired term of Ryan Ural, which term shall expire January 1, 2009, was introduced by Washington, read at length, and on motion of Washington, seconded by Musso, Resolution No. 153 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smallwood, Texter – 4; Nays – 0. (Note: Councilwoman Smith was absent from the table during the vote.)

Resolution No. 154, Session 2007, A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer in the amount of $45,000 for the WWTP for maintenance on co-generation engine #5, was introduced by Washington, read at length, and on motion of Washington, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 154 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 155, Session 2007, A Resolution authorizing a one-year agreement with Buchart-Horn, Inc. in the amount of $45,430.00 to provide professional services for the Westinghouse Computer System located at the WWTP, was introduced by Washington, read at length, and on motion of Washington, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 155 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 156, Session 2007, A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Met-Ed to convert 3 company-owned 175-watt mercury vapor streetlights to 150-watt high-pressure, sodium vapor streetlights at 350 Hudson St., 627 Cleveland Ave., and 617 York St., and to install a new company-owned, 150-watt, high pressure sodium vapor streetlight at the rear or 229 N. Newberry St., was introduced by Washington, read at length, and on motion of Washington, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 156 came up for discussion.

Motion to amend. Vice President Musso made a motion to correct a typographical error in the 3rd WHEREAS clause of the Resolution to reflect the conversion of three (3) streetlights instead of one (1). The motion to amend was seconded by Washington and passed unanimously.

Councilwoman Smith thanked Director Gross for the lighting upgrades and especially the new installation at the rear of 229 N. Newberry St. because she worked very hard with residents to get this lighting installed.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 156, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Consent Agenda. A motion was made by Musso, seconded by Smallwood, to accept a consent agenda for Resolution No.’s 157-158. The motion passed unanimously. Therefore, on motion of Musso, seconded by Smallwood, the following Resolutions were introduced by Musso and read at length:

Resolution No. 157, Session 2007, A Resolution approving the preliminary / final reverse subdivision / consolidation plan submitted by Stewart & Tate, Inc. to support expansion of facilities located at 950 Smile Way.

Resolution No. 158, Session 2007, A Resolution approving the preliminary / final land development plan submitted by Stewart & Tate, Inc. to support expansion of facilities located at 950 Smile Way.

On motion of Musso, seconded Smallwood, Resolution No. 157-158 came up for discussion.

Dan Wise, representing Stewart & Tate, was onboard and briefly outlined the plan, waivers and contingencies, and answered a few development questions from Council.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No.’s 157 and 158 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 159, Session 2007, A Resolution exonerating municipal real estate taxes and penalties for the York Benevolent Association for the year 2005 for the property located at 301 Kings Mill Rd. in the amount of $3,044.60, was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smallwood, Resolution No. 159 came up for discussion.

President Texter reported that he received a request in October from the York Benevolent Association to exonerate 2004 municipal taxes for their property located at 301 Kings Mill Rd. After research, he said he verified that they are a non-profit, 501C3 corporation as defined under Act 55, and therefore qualifies for exemption. President Texter then read a letter from former State Representative Steve Stetler supporting the York Benevolent Association’s request for exoneration.

Councilwoman Washington said she would support exoneration for these types of non-profit corporations but would not do the same for private for-profit agencies.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 159 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 160, Session 2007, A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a permit to J. Daniel Enterprises for work to be done at 29 N. Newberry St., Cynthia Jones for work to be done at 458 W. Philadelphia St., and the York City Redevelopment Authority for work to be done at 150, 200-206 & 208-236 N. Beaver St. and 151 W. Gay Ave., was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Smallwood, Resolution No. 160 came up for discussion.

Motion to amend. Council discussed Resolution No. 160 in that members of the Redevelopment Authority were present this evening to appeal a portion of HARB’s decision associated with the application submitted for work to be done at 150, 200-206 & 208-236 N. Beaver St. and 151 W. Gay Ave. Therefore, Vice President Musso made a motion to consider the vote for the application submitted by the York City Redevelopment Authority as a separate issue (Resolution). Council agreed. Therefore, a motion was made by Musso, seconded by Washington, to consider the RDA’s application as a separate item (Resolution). The motion to separate was seconded by Washington, and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0. (Therefore, the vote on the RDA’s application will be voted on separately as Resolution No. 160-1.)

(Vote on Resolution No. 160.) A motion was made by Texter, seconded by Smallwood to approve applications as recommended by HARB for work to be done at 29 N. Newberry St. and 458 W. Philadelphia St. There being no discussion, Resolution No. 160 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Washington, Musso, Smith, Smallwood, Texter – 5; Nays – 0.

(Resolution No. 160-1) As previously discussed, the RDA’s application is being considered as a separate Resolution (Resolution No. 160-1). With that said, President Texter reported on HARB’s recommendation for the application submitted by the York City Redevelopment Authority (RDA) for work to be done at 150, 200-206 & 208-236 N. Beaver St. and 151 W. Gay Ave. He said HARB approved this application with the following stipulations:

The row of four properties located at 200-206 N. Beaver St. may not be demolished.
As presented, the 3-story section of the Keystone Color Works building will be retained and incorporated into the new neighborhood design.
No demolitions may proceed until the architectural plan for the new neighborhood is submitted and a recommendation of approval obtained.
The Board strongly encourages the inclusion of the above-mentioned row of four as an integral part of the new architectural plan.

York City Redevelopment Authority Director Matt Jackson was onboard to appeal HARB’s recommendations. He explained that on August 15, 2006, Council approved demolition of the 200-206 N. Beaver St. properties with its adoption of the Northwest Triangle (NWT) Redevelopment Proposal II. Director Jackson read the demolition and redevelopment plan for this area, which in part, includes a new and distinctive residential neighborhood that will offer robust economic and increased property value opportunities. He said the RDA (and the intent of the NWT project) is sensitive and supportive of historic preservation and has exercised such support with the preservation of several historic buildings tied to various other redevelopment projects throughout the city. Furthermore, Director Jackson explained that they would be preserving several buildings in the redevelopment area such as the ca. 1860 Smyser-Royer Building located at 235 N. Beaver St. Director Jackson said HARB’s recommendations would frustrate the project and its vision, would hold up the project’s progression, and would drive up costs. The RDA has already received competitive bids for demolition of the 200-206 N. Beaver St. properties and is prepared to move forward. He said we urge Council to support the vision of the NWT and to help keep the project’s costs down.

Rob Kinsley, LSC Design, and Rebecca Warntz, Enterprise Homes, support the project and demolition of 200-206 N. Beaver St. Ms. Warntz said these structures are not feasible for redevelopment nor are they marketable. Additionally, she said there are hundreds of structures similar to 200-206 N. Beaver St. located throughout the city. She stated that our vision is to create something fresh and new for this area.

President Texter and Vice President Musso wholeheartedly support the NWT’s vision and agreed that demolishing these structures would not prove to be a significant historical detriment to the City of York.

Councilman Smallwood asked if HARB was invited to attend tonight’s meeting. President Texter said they were notified by the Administration. Councilwoman Washington said in all fairness we should hear from HARB. Vice President Musso objected and said let’s do what we need to do to move this project along. Councilwoman Washington said HARB’s professional recommendation is important and that she doesn’t want to vote just to move the project along. She said she wants to hear from HARB. Vice President Musso said he’s not going to let HARB’s decision hold up a vision that’s been in place for years. He said he understands HARB’s intent and purpose but disapproves of their recommendations with regard to this application. Mr. Kinsley said he informed HARB that he planned to attend tonight’s meeting to appeal their recommendations. President Texter said Council must decide what’s good for the city overall and if that means disagreeing with HARB, then so be it. Councilman Smallwood said he is supportive of this project but does not approve of the method in which this opposition is being handled and therefore could not support this application.

(Vote on Resolution No. 160-1) After discussion, a motion was made by Musso, seconded by Texter, to reject the recommendations of HARB and approve the application as originally submitted by the RDA to HARB for work to be done at 150, 200-206 & 208-236 N. Beaver St. and 151 W. Gay Ave. There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 160-1 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Musso, Smith, Texter – 3; Nays – Washington, Smallwood – 2. (In other words, Council approved demolition of 200-206 N. Beaver St., and all other work covered in the RDA’s original application to HARB – HARB Application #78-07H.)

Request for Meetings:

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 flyer) 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

Council Comment:

Councilman Smallwood reported on his trip to New Orleans and how he witnessed the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina. He said the good news is that the town is on the mend with new homes and businesses being built. Councilman Smallwood said he and his wife, Janis Rozelle, thoroughly enjoyed their trip and especially enjoyed the great food and entertainment New Orleans had to offer.

Administration Comment: None

Next Meeting: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.

Adjournment: There being no further business, the November 20, 2007 meeting of Council adjourned at 9:57 p.m.