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City Council Meeting Minutes

March 18, 2008

Call to Order. City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 18, 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, and Joseph R. Musso, President, with President Musso presiding. Vice President Carol Hill-Evans and Mayor John Brenner were absent.

GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT

Walter Hagens, 165 Woodthrush Lane, York, PA, asked Council to consider waiving the double penalty fee he received for not renewing his rental license in November. Mr. Hagens explained that he received two registered letters on March 17th for his properties located at 569 Smith St. and 897-899 Prospect St. indicating that he must pay double the amount because he didn’t pay his bill in November. Mr. Hagens stated that he never received his initial letter to renew his license, which was reportedly sent out in November. Mr. Hagens said he would gladly pay his license fees but asked Council to waive the late fees. President Musso said he would forward a request to Mayor Brenner to investigate this situation and report back to Council.

Manuel Gomez, 357 W. Philadelphia St., York, PA, asked that Council consider reinstating the Citizen’s Grievance Committee - commonly referred to as the Police Review Board - which was repealed in April of 2000 (Article 197 of the Codified Ordinances). Mr. Gomez then spoke about local gangs, such as the 222 Corridor Gang, which he feels is a form of targeted oppression.

Orlando Gibson, 1202 E. King St., York, PA, followed up on comments made by Mr. Gomez and said he too supports any initiative to recall the Citizen’s Grievance Committee. He then outlined several initiatives he is currently undertaking to implement positive programs for local youths.

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, and Joseph R. Musso, President, with President Musso presiding. Vice President Carol Hill-Evans and Mayor John Brenner were absent.

Members of the Administration in attendance included: Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Kim Bracey, Director of Community Development, and Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner. Also present was Assistant Solicitor Shaleeta Washington. John Senft, Fire Chief, Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development, 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 Ray, to dispense with the reading of the Minutes of March 4, 2008, and approve them as written. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – 0.

Presentations, Proclamations & Awards:

Lorann Jacobs, local artist, was onboard and gave a brief history on how she got involved with designing a unity memorial. She said the purpose of the memorial, in part, is to remember local victims of racial unrest and to show our progress since that time. She said this memorial is separate from the project memorializing the 1969 race riots. Ms. Jacobs explained that though her project is separate from the 1969 memorial, at the request of both families the images of Lillie Belle Allen and Henry Schaad, victims of the 1969 race riots, were excluded from her memorial. However, she did say Ms. Allen and Mr. Schaad’s birth and death dates are included in her artwork for symbolism. Ms. Jacobs apologized for any misunderstanding as to the concept behind her artwork and was dismayed by the negative feedback. She said she hopes to clear the air as to the purpose and concept of her artwork so that this may be viewed as a positive project for the community to enjoy.

President Musso said Ms. Jacobs does not need to apologize. He said although Council has no say on the artwork itself, he respects Ms. Jacobs as an artist and encouraged her to communicate with the Mayor if she needs any further direction. President Musso explained that the Mayor sees this project as a portion of a multi-phase project and that they both want to see Ms. Jacobs’ project move forward.

Councilwoman Ray asked how this project is being funded. Ms. Jacobs replied that her project is being supported through private funds.

Councilman Texter also said Ms. Jacobs has nothing to apologize for. He said it’s easier to criticize than to present an idea. Taking the first step in making a difference sometimes allows an opening for critics, he said. However, Councilman Texter challenged the community to turn that negative energy into something positive and step back and take a good look at the progress our community has made over the years.

Councilwoman Smith applauded Ms. Jacobs for being a great artist and thanked her for having the courage to come up with a project that in part symbolizes a harmonious future for the citizens of the York community.

Councilwoman Ray, describing the sculpture as “pleasant,” stated that she doesn’t feel we can honestly separate it from the events that took place during the civil unrest of 1969.

There being no further discussion, President Musso adjourned the presentation.

Committee Meetings Scheduled:

General Committee Meeting - Joseph R. Musso, Chair: Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 7:00 – 9:00 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. Council will also hear from Matt Leisses, Environmental Specialist, and Jeanne Barret-Ortiz, Director of the PA Environmental Advisory Council, information and a brief PowerPoint presentation on appointing a volunteer “Environmental Advisory Council” to advise local government on environmental issues and polices.(GESP Information)(EAC Information)

Committee Reports: None

LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB
Agenda Items 1 & 2 relating to the recommendations of HARB in denying a certificate of appropriateness for work to be covered in the application submitted by Josh Humer, J. Daniel Enterprises, for work to be done at 312-314 W. Market St., York, PA (Case#6-08H), was pulled from the agenda at the request of the applicant and will appear on Council’s April 1, 2008 agenda for consideration.

CONSENT AGENDA

Introduction of Bill No. 16, Session 2008, (View) A Bill authorizing a York City Sewer Authority Guaranteed Sewer Revenue Bond, Series of 2008 in an amount not to exceed $10m, was introduced by Musso, read by short title, and deferred until the April 1, 2008 meeting of Council.

FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

Final Passage of Bill No. 13, Ordinance No. 11, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending Article 737 “Minors Curfew” to replace with more comprehensive language, which was introduced by Smith at the March 4th meeting of Council, read by short title, and amended, came up for final passage. On motion of Smith, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 13 came up for discussion.

Motion to amend. Councilwoman Ray made a motion to amend Bill No. 13, Section 737.99(D) as follows:

737.99 PENALTIES

D. Any operator of an establishment knowingly allowing minors to be upon their premises between the hours of eleven (11:00) PM and six (6:00) AM, or failing to post notice/make announcement per 737.02(B) above, shall pay a fine not exceeding may be fined up to one thousand dollars ($1,000), and/or be sentenced to a term of imprisonment not exceeding ninety days, or both for each minor found to be in violation of curfew upon the establishment and/or for each day not in compliance with the posting notice/making verbal announcement stipulation(s).

Councilwoman Ray explained that she feels these amendments would provide more equitable treatment for business owners. Councilwoman Ray’s motion to amend did not receive a second. Therefore, the motion to amend Bill No. 13 DIED.

Councilman Texter then outlined Bill No. 13 and how it compared to the previous curfew ordinance. He particularly outlined the Penalties as found in section 737.99 of the Bill. Councilman Texter stated that although he supports a daytime curfew, which was removed from the original Bill, he said he still supports the overall concept of the Bill and would therefore vote to approve.

Councilwoman Smith thanked the committee established to discuss and create model language for this legislation. She said the committee which was made up of judges, lawyers, sheriff’s, children & youth workers, and others, worked long and hard over the past six months to come up with language for a uniform curfew law and she appreciates their hard work and diligence.

President Musso explained that Council’s role is to make and enact laws, however, it’s up to the judges to interpret them. The penalty structure found in Bill No. 13 grants judges the maximum amount of leeway in administering penalties up to and including $1,000 or 90-days imprisonment.

Councilwoman Ray stated that what could happen under this law is that if a business owner has kids in their facility after curfew, the owner could go to jail for 90-days for each minor found upon the premises. She said this does not necessarily mean that a judge would impose such a sentence, however, the language would allow for that. Councilwoman Ray stated that although she does not approve of the language found in the penalty section, she does support the community effort and overall intent of this Bill. She said she would vote for it, and will monitor how this legislation is enforced.

Councilman Texter explained that this legislation is consistent with state law and will allow judges latitude on a case-by-case basis with regard to penalties. He said this legislation was not drafted based on extreme measures. Councilwoman Smith interjected that this legislation was drafted by a group of educated and experienced individuals and she trusts and supports the language provided.

Jason Richwine, 324 W. Market St., member of a swing dance club, said his club is made up of a group of volunteers that offer swing dance lessons to adults and children 16 years of age and older. He questioned the need to penalize businesses that do not have a history of violating the curfew law and therefore asked Council to consider removing the penalty language related to business owners. Councilman Texter asked Mr. Richwine a series of questions and determined that the swing dance club would fall under the definition of “non-profit” and would therefore be exempt.

Paul Oles, 324 W. Market St., also a member of the swing dance club, asked how this legislation could remain uniform with the surrounding municipalities, as the City of York has removed the daytime curfew language. Councilman Texter said each municipality will have to make its own decision with regard to a daytime curfew, however, he said, the City of York has opted to remove this language from our local ordinance and allow the state’s rule to apply. Councilwoman Smith added that West York has implemented a daytime curfew and she’s anxious to see how it works. She said she suggested removing the daytime curfew to eliminate any confusion or controversy.

A debate ensued on business owner’s responsibility and magistrate’s interpretation and discretion with regard to this law.

Ron Kamionka, business owner, stated that this law would probably affect him and it might cost him a lot of money though he understands the purpose. As a business owner who provides entertainment to youth, he said, York has a lot of good kids and only a few of them make it bad for everyone else.

Shaun Mauck, West York Borough Council President, supported Council’s adoption of the curfew law. He said West York has opted to adopt a daytime curfew because they wanted to show leadership and provide a mechanism to keep our kids safe. He said we have to trust our law enforcement to use discretion appropriately.

Kevin Hevner, North York Borough Manager, stated that North York has not passed a curfew ordinance yet, however, they look to adopt such an ordinance at their first meeting in April. He said North York supports uniformity and is anxious to see the affect this ordinance will have on protecting our children.

Beverly Atwater, 345 S. Penn St., York, PA, and York City School Board member, feels safeguarding our children should always be a topic of discussion. She then discussed expulsions and how this places kids on the street during the day. Ms. Atwater feels expulsion is not the way to go. She supports a program of intervention or a center to house kids as an alternative to expulsion.

Tom Foust, 436 W. Market St., and Vice-President of the York City School Board, explained that unfortunately kids bringing weapons to school is an automatic expulsion and that most expulsions are because of weapons. The school board has no authority over this mandate, he said. Mr. Foust said he has mixed feelings about this law, with one concern being selective enforcement. He said the City of York owns the roller rink, which has been a problem for years. Make sure this law is enforced uniformly, he said, regardless of ownership.

Hiawatha Griggs-Powell, York City School Board member, said curfew violations are a recurring problem in his neighborhood. He feels there is no reason for a child to be on the street past curfew, even if it’s a non-profit or charitable function. He stated that many more steps need to be taken to safeguard our children but feels this is a good start.

Gerry Turner, 1201 S. Pine St., York, PA, supports the curfew law. He asked several questions about enactment, enforceability, and responsibility of business owners, which were answered by President Musso and Councilman Texter. Mr. Turner is concerned about whether we have enough police officers available to enforce this law and whether good judgment would be used at all times.

Commissioner Whitman explained that the police department has been a resource in this initiative but that this is primarily a community based effort. He gave a background on the origination of this law. He stated that we need a fundamental law that reaches beyond the borders of the City of York. Commissioner Whitman then gave real life scenarios of children - such as those who are homeless and left on the streets with nowhere to go. Commissioner Whitman stated that he believes police officers, being trained law enforcement officials, will do the right thing.

Manuel Gomez, 357 W. Philadelphia St., York, PA, asked whether the surrounding municipalities will be asked to help York City enforce its curfew law. Commissioner Whitman said he doesn’t foresee that being an issue. Mr. Gomez feels the curfew law was not a grassroots effort. He said he represents grassroots and that individuals like him should have been involved in this process. Mr. Gomez stated that police discretion is a mechanism used to dehumanize individuals and feels we need a group of individuals to stand up for the commoners and keep an eye on our police.

Orlando Gibson, 1202 E. King St., York, PA, said he is blown away by anyone opposing this ordinance. He stated that he is here to represent people like him. I hate to see our youth incarcerated, he said, and am passionate about their rehabilitation. He said police harassment is an everyday occurrence and that his biggest concern is that this law doesn’t serve as a mechanism to allow police harassment of our youth. Mr. Gibson stated that someone needs to speak up for those who were or are being abused by our local police department. Police brutality and misconduct is alive and living in our community, he said. Mr. Gibson asked that this law be appropriately monitored and a forum be made available to discuss its effectiveness to ensure the safety of our youth.

Frank Quintin, owner of Roll-R-Way, Inc., stated that he was offended by the remarks made earlier about the roller rink being a problem spot. He said he operates the roller rink, a city owned facility, and has never received any special privileges. Mr. Quintin said he is a small business owner paying exorbitant taxes and feels the penalty should fall on the parents, not the business owner. He explained that most parents are lined up outside of the roller rink ready to pick up their children. He stated that it’s only a small group of kids whose parents don’t come to pick them up and they end up walking home and sometimes get into trouble. Mr. Quintin stated that he hates to see a few kids ruin it for the rest.

After hearing discussion, Bill No. 13, Ordinance No. 11, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – 0.

President Musso called for a recess at 9:12 p.m. to allow for a bathroom and water break.
President Musso reconvened the meeting at 9:17 p.m.

Final Passage of Bill No. 14, Ordinance No. 12, 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, which was introduced by Ray at the March 4th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 14, Ordinance No. 12, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – 0.

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, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the March 4th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Smith, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 15, Ordinance No. 13, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – 0.

NEW BUSINESS

Resolution No. 54, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution authorizing a right-of-way agreement with Verizon to install phone service at the Farquhar Park Pool site, 542 N. Newberry St., York, PA, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 54 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 55, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Buchart-Horn to provide engineering services for the NWT Interceptor Replacement Project at a cost of $53,500.00 to be paid from the Sewer Fund, account #60-242-42010-00228, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 55 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 56, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution awarding a contract to Richard D. Poole for the Farquhar & Penn Parks Improvement Project at a cost of $279,208.50 to be paid from the Capital Budget, account #50-420-47120-10123, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 56 came up for discussion.

Director Gross explained that no work will actually be done to either park; however, this project will include street improvements, access ramps, curbing, sidewalks and lighting.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 56 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 57, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution authorizing a Contribution Agreement with PennDot in the amount of $119,000.00 for improvements to Roosevelt Ave., was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Musso, Resolution No. 57 came up for discussion.

Director Gross explained that this agreement would authorize PennDot to work outside of its scope to allow milling, roadway resurfacing, drainage improvements, removal of curbing and replacement of curbs and sidewalks.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 57 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 58, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution authorizing a five (5) year vehicle lease purchase agreement through PA State Contract #46000010860, for a 2008 Ford F-350 utility body truck for use by the Sewer Maintenance Dept., in the amount of $25,741.00, with said vendor being Hoffman Ford Sales Inc., Harrisburg, PA, and to be financed through Real Lease, Inc., was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 58 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 59, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution authorizing sidewalk café agreements with Sam & Tony’s Pasta House, 241-245 W. Market St., Harp & Fiddle Irish Pub, 110 N. George St., Jim & Nena’s Pizza, 35 W. Market St., Market Street Saloon, 25 W. Market St., and the Yorktowne Hotel, 48 E. Market St., was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 59 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 60, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution authorizing a sidewalk café agreement with White Rose Bar & Grill, 48 N. Beaver St., York, PA, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 60 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – 0.

REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

General Committee Meeting - Joseph R. Musso, Chair: Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 7:00 – 9:00 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. Council will also hear from Matt Leisses, Environmental Specialist, and Jeanne Barret-Ortiz, Director of the PA Environmental Advisory Council, information and a brief PowerPoint presentation on appointing a volunteer “Environmental Advisory Council” to advise local government on environmental issues and polices.(GESP Information)(EAC Information)

COUNCIL COMMENT

President Musso read several press releases issued by Mayor Brenner’s office.

Councilman Texter reminded Council of the realty transfer tax legislation introduced at the end of 2007 (View). President Musso asked Councilman Texter to contact the President of the York City School Board to have the Council and the School Board meet to discuss areas of mutual concern. Council members agreed that such a meeting should occur before the city considers a realty transfer tax. That issue, among many others, could come under discussion of a joint meeting. Councilman Texter stated that the Council and School Board should have regular joint discussions on issues of common concern, possibly quarterly or at least once a year. President Musso asked Councilman Texter to prepare a draft agenda and present to Council at a future meeting. Councilman Texter said he would comply.

ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None

NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, April 1, 2008 in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA. Public comment commences at 6:30 p.m. followed by Council’s legislation session at 7:00 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT: There being no further discussion, the March 18, 2008 meeting of Council adjourned at 9:43 p.m.