City Council Meeting Minutes
January 15, 2008
Call to Order. City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, to receive general public comment, with the following Council members present: Genevieve Ray, Cameron Texter, Toni Smith, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Joseph R. Musso, President, with President Musso presiding. Mayor John Brenner was not present.
General Public Comment
Mike Rhine, disabled citizen, spoke about his concerns with railway crossings near his home in that they lack crossing gates to stop pedestrians and vehicles from crossing the tracks when a train approaches. President Musso stated that he would share Mr. Rhine’s concerns with Public Works Director Jim Gross for investigation.
There being no further public comment, President Musso adjourned the General Committee meeting and reconvened in Legislative Session at 7:00 p.m., in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, with the following members present: Genevieve Ray, Cameron Texter, Toni Smith, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Joseph R. Musso, President, with President Musso presiding. 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. Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development, Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner, Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, 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.
Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Approval of Minutes. A motion was made by Texter, seconded by Smith, to dispense with the reading of the Minutes of January 7, 2008, and approve them as written. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.
Presentations: President Musso announced applicants for the position of York City Treasurer. The following candidates have applied: Michael Doweary, Karin Krebs, Belita Rosier, and Ernie Manuel, Esq.
Committee Meetings Scheduled: President Musso stated that Council will convene in General Committee on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. to interview applicants for the York City Treasurer vacancy. The deadline for submission of applications was Monday, January 14, 2008 at 4:30 p.m. The appointment of a candidate to fill said vacancy will take place at the Tuesday, February 5, 2008 Council meeting.
Committee Reports: None
SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB
Resolution No. 21, Session 2008, A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a permit to Octavio Rodriguez for work to be done at 29 E. King St., Phillip Lauer for work to be done at 710 S. George St., Dick Bono for work to be done at 22 N. George St., and Eric Menzer, Wagman Construction, for work to be done at 241 N. George St., was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 21 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.
CONSENT AGENDA: None
FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS: None
Resolution No. 22, Session 2008, A Resolution appointing and reappointing the following individuals to various Boards and Authorities:
1. Appointment of Jessica M. Fieldhouse, 452 W. Market St., York, PA 17401, as a member of the York City Zoning Hearing Board, to fill the unexpired term of Deanne Yurek, which term shall expire January 1, 2009.
2. Reappointment of James Gross, Director of Public Works, as a member of the York City Sewer
Authority Board, which term shall expire January 1, 2013.
3. Appointment of Jamie Smith, 874 E. Market St., York, PA, as a member of the York City Planning Commission, to fill the unexpired term of Frank Morgan, which term shall expire January 1, 2010.
4. Appointment of Heather Klinefelter, 426 Lincoln St., York, PA 17404, as a member of the York
City Planning Commission, which term shall expire January 1, 2012.
5. Appointment of Krista Darr, M&T Bank, 109 W. Market St., York, PA 17401, as a member of
Downtown, Inc. (YBIDA), which term shall expire December 31, 2012.
6. Appointment of Kevin Schreiber, York City Redevelopment Authority, as a member of Downtown, Inc. (YBIDA), to fill the unexpired term of Walt Yurek, which term shall expire January 1, 2012. (Note: The appointment of K. Schreiber was removed from this Resolution)
Resolution No. 22 was introduced by Musso and read at length. On motion of Musso, seconded by Texter, the Resolution came up for discussion.
Motion to amend. Councilwoman Ray made a motion to separate the appointment of Kevin Schreiber to Downtown, Inc. from the Resolution and consider it as a separate item. The motion was seconded by Hill-Evans and passed by the following vote: Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Musso – 4; Nays – Smith – 1. Therefore, Resolution No. 22, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0. The appointment of Kevin Schreiber to Downtown, Inc. will be considered as Resolution No. 23.
As Jamie Smith and Heather Klinefelter were present, the City Clerk administered the oath of office to both appointees. Ms. Smith and Ms. Klinefelter both gave a brief bio and thanked the Mayor and Council for appointing them.
Resolution No. 23, Session 2008, A Resolution appointing Kevin Schreiber of the York City Redevelopment Authority as a member of Downtown, Inc. to fill the unexpired term of Walt Yurek, which term shall expire December 31, 2012, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 23 came up for discussion.
Councilwoman Ray said she wanted to discuss Mr. Schreiber’s appointment separately because she feels it may not be good policy to have a city staff member serve on this Board as a conflict of interest might be at issue. Councilman Texter challenged Councilwoman Ray’s interpretation of conflict of interest. Councilwoman Ray said she may be choosing the wrong terminology but feels discussion is worthy. She stated that Mr. Schreiber could be faced with voting on a project initiated by the city, which could pose a conflict of sorts seeing that he’s a city employee. Councilwoman Ray said she doesn’t feel it’s good policy to have city employees serve on boards that the city has close working relationships with.
Councilwoman Smith stated that in any situation where a board member has an interest, it is their responsibility to abstain their vote.
Vice President Hill-Evans said if there is a policy in place that currently addresses this issue, then we should re-visit that policy to get some clarification.
Councilman Texter named several quasi-independent boards such as the General Authority and Sewer Authority that both have city staff serving on them. He reiterated Councilwoman Smith’s comment that it’s a board members responsibility to abstain from voting on any issue where a conflict of interest may exist. He said Mr. Schreiber would not serve on Downtown, Inc. representing any personal for-profit business. He said he would be there serving within the city’s best interest. Councilman Texter said he feels Mr. Schreiber is more than qualified to serve on Downtown, Inc. and stated that we must be cautious about how we use “conflict of interest”. He did say we could amend the YBIDA (York Business Improvement District Authority) ordinance to address these types of concerns in the future.
President Musso questioned why Council has never received a report, plan, or budget from Downtown, Inc. He said with a 1% tax imposed on residents in the BID area, it is realistic that Council should know how that revenue is being spent. He said it may be the Mayor’s intent to have a city representative serve on this board to foster better communications.
Mel Campbell, Chair, Downtown, Inc., clarified that Downtown, Inc. doesn’t tax residents. He said we are a self-assessing body and that the city collects a 1% tax to support services offered by Downtown, Inc. Mr. Campbell then apologized that Council hasn’t been receiving Downtown, Inc.’s budgets. He did say, however, that Downtown, Inc. has been submitting this information to the city.
He also clarified that this issue is not about Mr. Schreiber because Mr. Schreiber already attends board meetings and reports back to the Mayor. He said the issue is how many recommendations for appointment by the board are being ignored by the Mayor. He said board members take time to review resumes because they look for certain qualifications that would best serve the mission and goals of Downtown, Inc. Mr. Campbell said he’s not even sure what the Mayor’s role is in making appointments to the board because the ordinance reads that the governing body shall have that power.
Councilman Texter read portions of the YBIDA ordinance (Bill No. 6, Ordinance No. 4 of 1999 and Bill No. 16, Ordinance No. 13 of 1998) with regard to appointments, which did state that whenever a vacancy occurs, the governing body shall appoint a successor.
Councilwoman Ray said it is obvious there is some uneasiness existing between Downtown, Inc. board members and the city’s Administration. She made a plea to refer this discussion to committee and agreed that clearer language should exist with regard to appointments.
A discussion ensued on the subject of Downtown, Inc. services, purpose, mission, budget, and five-year plan. Councilman Texter questioned the effectiveness of the Board, which was challenged, to the contrary, by Mr. Campbell.
Mr. Campbell said he would be willing to call a special meeting of Downtown, Inc. and invite the Council. President Musso said he would agree to table the vote on this Resolution if members of Downtown, Inc. and the Mayor would attend a Council committee meeting to discuss this issue and to hear more information from Downtown, Inc.’s on its strategic plan and budget. Mr. Campbell agreed.
Motion to refer to committee. A motion was made by Texter, seconded by Ray to refer Resolution No. 23 to the Economic Development Committee for further discussion. The motion passed unanimously. Vice President Musso scheduled an Economic Development Committee meeting for Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.
Mr. Campbell took this time to provide Council with copies of resumes that Downtown, Inc. board members submitted to the Mayor for appointment consideration.
Kevin Schreiber said he has served Downtown, Inc. in one capacity or another for several years as both a city liaison and representative. Mr. Schreiber said he and other city staff members like Don Raymond, Tom Landis and Rosalinda DeJesus already serve on Downtown, Inc. sub-committees. He said he was honored to receive the Mayor’s nomination. However, he said he’s anxious to come to some sort of resolution on appointment procedures so that we may continue the business of the city.
Resolution No. 24, Session 2008, A Resolution authorizing an agreement with the PA Department of Health to provide a dental sealant program to city residents for the period of January 1, 2008 through September 30, 2010 for a total of $75,000.00, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 24 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.
REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS
General Committee: Council will convene in General Committee on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. to interview applicants for the position of York City Treasurer.
Economic Development Committee: Council will convene in General Committee on Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Resolution No. 23, the appointment of Kevin Schreiber to Downtown, Inc., and to hear from board members more information on Downtown, Inc.’s strategic plan and budget.
Council Comment: None
Administration Comment: None
As a member from the public was present and missed the 6:30 p.m. public comment session, President Musso agreed to hear from this individual prior to adjournment. Therefore, Marlese Dick addressed the Council.
Marlese Dick, Axel Plumbing, 335 N. George St., York, PA, discussed ongoing parking problems around the stadium. She said with construction of the Northwest Triangle Project underway, they are once again faced with a parking dilemma. Ms. Dick reported that in the area of Arch and N. George St. there are seven homes and one business sharing four parking spaces. She said she’s concerned about where they will park when construction is in full force. Ms. Dick asked who she could contact to answer her concerns. She said she contacted a representative of the baseball stadium and left a message about possibly being able to use their parking lot but hasn’t received a return call. With parking being a continuing problem, Ms. Dick said she’s feeling no other alternative but to relocate her business outside of the city.
Councilman Texter asked Ms. Dick if the parking permit authorized by Council last year was helpful. Ms. Dick explained that the permit is only effective during stadium events. However, on the greater scale, she said, parking is a problem when seven homes and one business are trying to share only four parking spaces. Additionally, there are parking signs posted that regulate when parking is allowed and/or restricted, which adds to their problems.
Councilman Texter explained that the Traffic Safety Committee establishes the location of parking restrictions and said he would inform the Police Commissioner about Ms. Dick’s concerns.
Ms. Dick shared some ideas that may help resolve the parking problem such as removing certain signs restricting parking and possibly using the stadium’s parking lot during non-event days/nights.
After discussion, President Musso said he would discuss this with members of the General Authority. Councilman Texter said he would contact the Police Commissioner and Councilwoman Ray said she would meet with representatives from the baseball stadium. President Musso said he would contact Ms. Dick on the outcome of these discussions.
Next Meeting: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA.
Adjournment: There being no further business, the January 15, 2008 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:25 p.m.