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City Council Meeting Minutes

March 4, 2008

Call to Order. City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 4, 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

Alasha Claiborne, 905 Edgewood Ct., Red Lion, PA, and 8th grade honor roll student at Dallastown Area Middle School, was onboard and applauded city officials on improvements made to the City of York. She said she is involved in the community through volunteer work and serves as a member of the Y-Achievers sponsored by the YWCA of York. Ms. Claiborne said she would like to pursue global relations in the future because she feels this area of discussion is basically non-existent.

Tom Foust, 436 E. Market St., York, PA, asked the following questions regarding the recent installation of trashcans with advertising located throughout the city:

1. Who owns the trashcans and advertising signs recently installed in the city?
2. Did the installer (owner) of the signs apply for, pay for, and receive the appropriate zoning permits to install such signs?
3. Did the installer (owner) receive HARB and City Council approval prior to the installation of these signs?
4. The sign installed on E. Philadelphia St. at the Sylvia Newcombe Center was installed in the middle of the sidewalk within the public right-of-way. Did City Council approve the necessary encroachment agreement?
5. Is there a contract between the city and the owner of the signs regarding the installation of these signs and are there any financial arrangements associated therewith. If so, why didn’t this come before City Council?

As Council was not involved in the trashcan advertising initiative, President Musso said he would ask that the Administration respond to Mr. Foust’s questions and as such, he will submit a General Request for Information form to the Mayor for action.

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: 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 Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator, were absent. Assistant Solicitor’s Don Hoyt and Shaleeta Washington were also 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 Hill-Evans, to dispense with the reading of the Minutes of February 19, 2008, and approve them as written. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Presentations, Proclamations & Awards:

Todd Eachus, Senior Director of Government & Community Affairs, and Kristen Ritchey, Government & Community Affairs Manager, COMCAST, were onboard and outlined recent changes made to the COMCAST cable channel lineup. On February 14th, the Turner Classic Movies channel and the Game Show Network will be removed to upgrade services and make room for high-definition channels. These two channels will now only be able to be received using a digital cable box. Mr. Eachus explained that customers can pick up cable boxes at the Comcast Office, which will be free for the first year, then $2.00 per month thereafter. However, he did say they are currently out of stock at the W. Philadelphia St. location but more boxes are now on order. He said COMCAST was unable to keep up with the high demand for these boxes but he assured customers that more boxes are being shipped and he apologized for the inconvenience.

Mr. Eachus further outlined that expanded basic customers who own a digital cable box will be able to receive eight new high-definition channels (A&E, Discovery, HGTV, TBS, Food Network, Sci-Fi, TLC, and USA Network), as well as the Turner Classic Movie channel and the Game Show channel. He went on to say about 70% of the viewing audience has already upgraded to digital cable and COMCAST is trying to accommodate the 30% who have not.

President Musso said some COMCAST customers feel that COMCAST reneged on its deal to not change services. Mr. Eachus said this change was a contractual obligation and because of this, boxes are being made available at no cost for the first year.

Councilwoman Ray asked if those who do not want the digital cable box would be charged less as they are receiving less service. Mr. Eachus said COMCAST could not charge less and again reiterated that these boxes will be made available at no cost for the first year and only $2 per month thereafter. He said the world is moving into a digital era and analog is a thing of the past.

Councilman Texter said that as of February 19, 2009, analog service will be completely gone. He asked how that would affect customers still using analog service. Mr. Eachus explained that customers using antennas will not be able to view channels; however, those who receive cable service will continue to receive broadcasts. Councilman Texter asked if advanced notice was given to customers about this change. Mr. Eachus said notice was given using mobile text messaging, letters were sent to customers in mid-January, newspaper ads were placed, and phone calls were made. He said COMCAST would continue to reach out to its customers if any other changes occur in the future.

Tom Foust, 436 E. Market St., York, PA, feels customers have no choice but to switch to digital cable. He said there were certain expectations of service and its legitimate to ask what notifications were given and whether changes were regulated. Mr. Foust then discussed the franchise agreement, which Mr. Eachus replied was a non-exclusive agreement with only a 30-day notification requirement.

Gerry Turner, 1201 S. Pine St., York, PA, said the question is “Are we better off today then yesterday”. He said he still doesn’t see upgrades being made to the public access studio located on E. King St. and that he also doesn’t see other municipalities participating in public access. Mr. Turner then asked several questions related to billing and franchise fees.

After answering a few more questions from Council, President Musso thanked Mr. Eachus and adjourned the presentation.

Committee Meetings Scheduled:

Public Works Committee, Toni Smith, Chair: Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to hear information on the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP). Representatives from the State Department of General Services and Johnson Controls will be invited to attend. (Click here to read more information about GESP)

General Committee Meeting, Joseph R. Musso, Chair: Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. to hear from Matt Leisses, Environmental Specialist, and Jeanne Barret-Ortiz, Director of the PA Environmental Advisory Council, a brief PowerPoint presentation on appointing a volunteer “Environmental Advisory Council” to advise local government on environmental issues and polices. (Click here to read more information about EAC's)

Committee Reports: NONE

LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

To view Agenda, which includes copies of the Resolutions & Bills of this meeting Click Here

SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB

Resolution No. 48, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a certificate of appropriateness for work to be covered in the following applications approved by HARB: Cynthia Jones for work to be done at 458 W. Philadelphia St., Josh Humer, J. Daniel Enterprises, for work to be done at 312-314 W. Market St., and Frank Dittenhafer, Murphy Dittenhafer Architects, for work to be done at 241 N. George St., was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 48 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 49, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in denying an application submitted by Hyun Young Oh for work to be done at 29 S. Duke St., was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 49 came up for discussion.

Woody Witczak, Chairman of HARB, was present and explained that this is a ca. 1910, 3½-story brick Colonial Revival building which stands in a largely intact historic block that includes the Rex & Laurel Fire Station and the Yorktowne Hotel. The building retains integrity as the majority of historical architectural features are in place; however, the aluminum storefront with an angled sign is an inappropriate addition. Mr. Witczak said the applicant wishes to replace 30 wooden windows with vinyl replacement windows and wrap the surrounding woodwork with aluminum. Windows in the upper stories of the building, including the two-story oriel on the façade, have wooden 1/1 sash and plain wooden sills and lintels. Some of the windows are paired and two gable windows have wooden 6/6 sash. The Board recommended that the existing window sash be repaired in-kind and retained. Storm windows could be installed if desired. If the sash is too deteriorated to repair, they should be replaced in-kind. Wrapping wood with impermeable surface such as aluminum is not recommended preservation practice and is detrimental to the building. With that, HARB denied the application for installation of vinyl/aluminum windows in accordance with Windows & Doors of the York Design Guidelines, and the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation Sections 6 & 9.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 49 accepting denial of said application was approved by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

CONSENT AGENDA

Introduction of Bill No. 13, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending Article 737 “Minors Curfew” of the Codified Ordinances to replace with more comprehensive language, was introduced by Smith, read by short title, and came up for discussion.

Motion to amend. Councilwoman Smith made a motion to amend Bill No. 13 to remove Section 737.02(c). She explained that state law appropriately regulates daytime curfew and in order to remove any confusion, she would like to remove this language from the legislation. The motion was seconded by Ray and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Councilman Texter reported that both West York and North York Borough’s have introduced similar legislation. He said he does favor the daytime curfew language presented by Councilwoman Smith but will support its removal as the D.A.’s office came out in opposition because they feel current truancy laws are sufficient. Removing this language from this legislation, he said, would remove any controversy.

Kevin Hevner, North York Borough Manager, thanked City Council for taking the lead on this legislation because we all share concern in this area. Mr. Hevner relayed that the North York Borough Police Chief supports this initiative but we will wait until we receive a green light in all areas before we take any further action.

President Musso said he is pleased to have North York and West York Borough’s onboard and willing to collaborate with the city on this initiative. He then announced that a meeting to discuss this legislation is scheduled for Tuesday, March 11, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at Crispus Attucks, 605 S. Duke St. Representative Eugene DePasquale will host the meeting.

Deputy Sheriff Brian Copenhaver and City Police Lt. Jim Beveridge were present and expressed their support of this legislation and thanked all involved in drafting this Bill.

Councilwoman Ray encouraged business owners to take responsibility and be sure they understand this legislation.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 13 was deferred until a future meeting of Council.

Introduction of Bill No. 14, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending the 2007 CDBG Program budget to reflect changes resulting from actual funding levels and a change made to the 2007 Action Plan, was introduced by Ray, read by short title, and deferred until the March 18th meeting of Council.

Introduction of Bill No. 15, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Human Relations Commission budget to reflect 2007 grant funds rolled over into the 2008 budget, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until the March 18th meeting of Council.

FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

Final Passage of Bill No. 1, Session 2008, A Bill amending Part One “Administrative Code” of the Codified Ordinances to require candidates for the offices of City Treasurer and City Controller to show proof of bonding to qualify for office, which was introduced by Texter at the February 5th meeting of Council, and tabled at the February 19th meeting of Council, came up for final passage. On motion of Texter, seconded by Ray, Bill No. 1 came up for discussion.

Councilman Texter explained that at the February 19th Council meeting, he requested this legislation be tabled because of an opinion received on February 15th from Assistant Solicitor Don Hoyt basically stating that Council cannot adopt a pre-election qualification for the Treasurer and Controller positions that are not already provided for by the 3rd Class City Code. He said he was concerned about Solicitor Hoyt’s opinion in that there were no specific citations of law. Additionally, he stated that the City of York operates under the Optional Charter Law, not the 3rd Class City Code. At that meeting, Councilman Texter provided Council with citations from Sections 304 & 305 of the Optional Charter Law regarding corporate powers, Sections 606-609 of the Optional Charter Law regarding Council’s legislative powers, and 25 P.S. §2780 “Affidavits of Candidates” of the Elections Code regarding candidate’s qualifications to serve in such capacity. Councilman Texter questioned Solicitor Hoyt’s research efforts in that his research was contrary to that provided by Mr. Hoyt. Therefore, Councilman Texter recommended tabling the legislation.

Since that time, Councilman Texter said he received a second opinion from Assistant Solicitor Shaleeta Washington, including citations of law, which basically supports the opinion provided by Assistant Solicitor Hoyt. With that, Councilman Texter prepared an amendment to Bill No. 1 (View Amendment) and asked that Council review. The amendment would require that after being elected, but at least 30 days prior to taking office, the treasurer-elect provide the Clerk of Council with proof of bonding.

President Musso said he would vote against this legislation because he feels the solicitor’s opinion is adequate and that this legislation was drafted based on an anomaly, that being Treasurer-Elect Matthew Mann’s inability to acquire bonding as required by law. President Musso said we cannot draft legislation merely based on anomalies and therefore, he said could not support this Bill.

Vice President Hill-Evans agreed with President Musso and said she too would not support the original legislation or any amendments.

Councilman Texter said he agrees that the Matt Mann situation was an anomaly, however, bonding is becoming more and more difficult to obtain and we should at least set up a process to address this in case it happens again in the future.

Councilwoman Smith said she would vote in favor of this legislation if Councilman Texter’s amendment is considered. She stated that the Treasurer is accountable for millions of dollars, which carries huge responsibilities, and as such she feels this legislation is responsible.

Councilwoman Ray said she would not support the original legislation, but felt there was merit in setting up a process for receiving proof of bonding prior to the treasurer’s swearing-in. She said that the Matt Mann case had been clouded by uncertainty about the proper procedures to follow.

Motion to table. Discussion ensued on Councilman Texter’s amendment, and clarification of law once again came into question. As questions remain, Councilman Texter made a motion to table Bill No. 1 to allow the Solicitor’s Office to review the proposed amendment. There being no further discussion, the motion to table was seconded by Smith and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith – 3; Nays – Hill-Evans, Musso – 2. Therefore, Bill No. 1 was tabled until a future meeting of Council. (Note: The Resolution amending Bill No. 1 was not formally introduced and therefore does not have a number assigned.)

Final Passage of Bill No. 9, Ordinance No. 7, Session 2008, (View) A Bill approving the editing and inclusion of 2007 ordinances as parts of the various component codes of the Codified Ordinances, which was introduced by Musso at the February 19th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Musso, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 9, Ordinance No. 7, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 10, Ordinance No. 8, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Budget to appropriate revenue and expenditures in the amount of $9,900.00 for subsequent funding received from the state for a cancer grant, which was introduced by Ray at the February 19th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 10, Ordinance No. 8, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 11, Ordinance No. 9, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Budget to appropriate additional revenue in the amount of $2,000.00 for the Police Department Summer Bowling Program, which was introduced by Texter at the February 19th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Texter, seconded by Ray, Bill No. 11, Ordinance No. 9, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 12, Ordinance No. 10, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Budget to appropriate revenue and expenditures in the amount of $75,000.71 for a Dental Health Program grant, which was introduced by Ray at the February 19th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Texter, seconded by Ray, Bill No. 12, Ordinance No. 10, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

NEW BUSINESS

Resolution No. 50, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution appointing Abe Amoros as a member of the Fire Civil Service Commission, which term shall expire November 5, 2011, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 50 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 51, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution appointing Sandy Walker as a member of the Vacant Property Review Committee, which term shall expire March 1, 2010, was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 51 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

As Mr. Walker was present, the City Clerk administered the oath of office. Mr. Walker thanked Mayor Brenner and Council for approving his appointment. Council thanked Mr. Walker for his willingness to serve.

Resolution No. 52, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution appointing Reverend Patrick J. Rooney as a member of the York City General Authority to fill the unexpired term of George Wagman, which term shall expire January 1, 2011, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 52 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 53, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution appointing Anthony Cucuzella from an alternate member to a regular member of the Zoning Hearing Board to fill the unexpired term of John Skennonto, which term shall expire January 1, 2012, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 53 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

Public Works Committee, Toni Smith, Chair: Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to hear information on the Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP). Representatives from the State Department of General Services and Johnson Controls will be invited to attend. (Click here to read more information about GESP)

General Committee Meeting, Joseph R. Musso, Chair: Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. to hear from Matt Leisses, Environmental Specialist, and Jeanne Barret-Ortiz, Director of the PA Environmental Advisory Council, a brief PowerPoint presentation on appointing a volunteer “Environmental Advisory Council” to advise local government on environmental issues and polices. (Click here to read more information about EAC's)

COUNCIL COMMENT

Councilman Texter announced that the Neighborhood Alliance will convene in a public meeting on Monday, March 10th from 6-8p.m. at the Buchart Horn building to discuss updates to the comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance.

President Musso read several press releases issued by Mayor Brenner.

ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None

NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3r Floor. (Public comment commences at 6:30 p.m.)

ADJOURNMENT: There being no further discussion, the March 4, 2008 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:50 p.m.