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City Council Meeting Minutes

February 1, 2011

 

CALL TO ORDER:City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on February 1, 2011 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: Renee S. Nelson, Henry Hay Nixon, Toni Smith, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Genevieve H. Ray, President, with President Ray presiding.

 
GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT

 
Steve Young, citizen, spoke about gun control issues. He said he was surprised he had to defend his right to carry a firearm especially when he has done nothing wrong. He stated he feels he is being singled out for carrying a firearm and questioned the cost of having police officers standing guard during Council meetings.

 
Evan Mentzel, citizen, stated that he is a law abiding, legal and sane gun owner. He discussed various citations of law regarding the right of citizens to bear arms.

 
Andy Edmonds, Hanover Tea Party Patriots, quoted the Constitution and State Constitution as well as two PA state statutes supporting the right of citizens to bear arms.

 
There being no further public comment, President Ray 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: Renee S. Nelson, Henry Hay Nixon, Toni Smith, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Genevieve H. Ray, President, with President Ray presiding.

 
Members of the Administration in attendance included: Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Kevin Schreiber, Director of Economic Development/Interim Director of Community Development, and Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator. Also present was Assistant Solicitor Don Hoyt and Police Captain Russell Tschopp.

 
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: Council dispensed with the reading of the Minutes of January 18 & 24, 2011 and unanimously approved them as written.

 
Correspondence and Announcements: President Ray read correspondence and announcements.

 
PRESENTATIONS: None

 
COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED: See Schedule-E

 
Public Hearing: Council will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 6PM in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA, to formally receive information and testimony on the Zoning Ordinance/Map re-write. (Informational Public Notice)

 
STATUS OF PRIOR COMMITTEE REFERRALS

Community Development Committee, Carol Hill-Evans, Chair: Vice President Hill-Evans reported that a Committee meeting was held on January 25, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers to continue discussions on the Zoning Ordinance/Map re-write and Comp Plan amendment. As required by law, Council will follow-up discussions in a formal public hearing as noted above.

 
President Ray outlined the process and stated that the additional proposed amendments could be considered substantial. If that is the case, the proposed amendments to the zoning ordinance/map re-write will have to go back to the County Planning Commission for review, comment and recommendations. In light of these new events, unfortunately, the zoning re-write will not be considered for final passage on February 15 as previously anticipated. President Ray said she would provide an outline of the proposed amendments. At the conclusion of the County Planning Commission review period, Council will hold another public hearing before consideration of final passage.

SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB

 
Resolution No. 15, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a certificate of appropriateness to Shilvosky Buffaloe, York City Department of Economic Development, for work to be done at 15-17 W. Charles Lane; and Becky Perez, Three Cord Properties LLC, for work to be done at 200 E. Princess St., was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 15 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

 
Final Passage of Bill No. 1, Ordinance No. 1, Session 2011,(View) A Bill authorizing a borrowing by the Sewer Authority through the Commonwealth Finance Authority in the amount of $1,500,000. (Guaranteed Sewer Authority Bond, Series 2011), which was introduced by Smith at the January 18 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Smith, seconded by Nixon, Bill No. 1 came up for discussion.

 
J.T. Hand, Sewer Authority Chair, Stacey MacNeal, Sewer Authority Solicitor, and Steve Hovis, Bond Counsel, were in attendance and outlined the borrowing.

 
Background: Said borrowing is in the amount of $1.5 million which will be used to begin the Micro-turbine Co-generation System Project at the Waste Water Treatment Plant. The project will replace the existing system thereby reducing operating costs with an energy efficient, micro-turbine co-generation system. This project would replace the current functionally obsolete co-generation system with a more efficient micro-turbine co-generation system. With operating expenses for electricity and natural gas costs currently demanding 13% of the waste water treatment plant's total operating expenses, the proposed micro-turbine co-generation system will generate approximately 2,500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity with a cost savings of nearly $300,000.00 annually. Unfortunately, the YCSA's grant application, which was approved by Council on August 17, 2010 (Res. 100), was denied because it did not meet the requirements for the grant. Fortunately, the Sewer Authority was able to find a 1.0% low interest loan through DCED's Alternative and Clean Energy Program.

 
There being no further discussion, Bill No. 1, Ordinance No. 1, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
NEW BUSINESS

 
Introduction of Bill No. 2, Session 2011,(View) A Bill amending the 2011 CDBG/HOME Budgets to reflect changes resulting from actual funding levels rolled over from 2010, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until the February 15 meeting of Council.

 
Introduction of Bill No. 3, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending the 2011 Budget in the amount of $80,805 for a grant received from the Bureau of Justice to be used to enhance law enforcement operations, was introduced by Nelson, read by short title, and deferred until the February 15 meeting of Council.

 
Introduction of Bill No. 4, Session 2011, (View) A Bill amending Articles 121.02 and 123.09 of the Codified Ordinances to combine the Departments of Economic and Community Development, was introduced by Ray, read by short title, and deferred until the February 15 meeting of Council.

 
Resolution No. 16, Session 2011, (View)(NSP3) A Resolution supporting the release of Neighborhood Stabilization Program 3 (NSP3) funding in the amount of $636,000 to support home-ownership efforts in York City, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 16 came up for discussion.

 
Craig Zumbrun, York City Housing Authority, discussed this initiative. He explained that in January 2011 the Board of the York City Housing Authority authorized the submission of an application to the Pennsylvania Housing Agency (PHFA) for HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program 3 (NSP3) funding in the amount of $636,000. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program, authorized by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), serves as an adjunct to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, with the purpose to address the effects of the nation’s housing crisis due to sub-prime mortgage lending which has resulted in significant numbers of homeowners entering foreclosure and entire neighborhoods becoming vacant or abandoned. The Housing Authority and the YWCA of York have formally cooperated since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on February 26, 2008 for the operation of an effort to acquire, rehabilitate and sale to lower income homeowners up to 25 properties within the Olde Towne East neighborhood. Phase 1 of the project is now underway with four units currently undergoing rehabilitation, using public and private funding awarded to the Housing Authority and the YWCA for this purpose. The Housing Authority and its development partner, Creating Opportunities in Neighborhood Environments, have been engaged in community planning efforts to build new homes while working to improve the adjacent neighborhood around its oldest housing development, Codorus Homes. The application to PHFA requires that a local government resolution authorizing and supporting NSP3 funding be approved, which is why this is being presented to Council this evening for consideration.

 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 16 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 17, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing the purchase of several vehicles for use by the Public Works Department in the amount of $136,227 through PA CoStars Contract #025-002 and #025-003, with the vendor for said purchase being Apple Automotive Group, York, PA, and financed through M&T Bank and Real Lease through a five year municipal program, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 17 came up for discussion.

 
Director Gross explained that these purchases were included and approved in the 2011 budget. He said that since we are purchasing through the CoStars state contract program, the state does the bidding, which results in pricing that is hard to beat. The purchases include:

 
Vehicle make and modelBureauPurchase price

 
One (1) 2011 Ford Escape AWD Highway $20,606.00
One (1) 2011 Chevrolet Silverado Pick up Buildings $28,874.00
One (1) 2011 Ford F350 w/ plow and stake body WWTP $32,925.00
One (1) 2011 Ford F350 w/ plow and dump body Parks $53,822.00

 
Evan Mentzel, citizen, asked why the city is purchasing new vehicles when you could get used for a lot less. Director Gross responded that the city tends to use its vehicles for 20+ years. Therefore, these new vehicles, which will likely be used for another 20+ years, will be replacing a currently very old fleet.

 
Steve Young, citizen, asked what the litter vacuum is used for. Director Gross explained that the litter vacuum is used to vacuum debris from the sidewalks. The newer vacuum will be utilized downtown and the older vacuum will be used in various residential neighborhoods.

 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 17 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 18, Session 2011,(View) A Resolution authorizing a 2010 budget transfer for the Police Department in the amount of $7,550 to cover expenses for other contractual services, was introduced by Nelson, read at length, and on motion of Nelson, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 18 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 19, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution authorizing a 2010 budget transfer in the amount of $45.92 for the Solicitor's Office to cover online legal database services used to research legal issues, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 19 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.

 
Resolution No. 20, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution approving a proposal submitted by Public Financial Management to assist with evaluating options and development plans to address financial difficulties facing the city - not to exceed $110,725, was introduced by Nixon, read at length, and on motion of Nixon, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 20 came up for discussion.

 
Resolution No. 20, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution approving a proposal submitted by Public Financial Management to assist with evaluating options and development plans to address financial difficulties facing the city - not to exceed $110,725, was introduced by Nixon, read at length, and on motion of Nixon, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 20 came up for discussion.
 
Business Administrator O'Rourke explained that in 2010, City Council approved an application and acceptance of an Early Intervention Phase II grant in the amount of $124,000. The City received a proposal from Public Financial Management to conduct an in depth analysis and prepare an update to the EIP Plan, to the five year financial history and five year budget, and to update the financial model prepared in 2005 and updated in 2008 and 2009 for a price not to exceed $110,725.00. The money to pay for this service has been budgeted in the City’s 2011 Budget and is funded by $60,025.00 from an EIP II Grant from DCED and $50,925.00 from the City’s Internal Services Fund. The work of PFM will assist the City of York in evaluating options and developing plans to address the many financial difficulties facing the City.
 
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 20 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
Resolution No. 21, Session 2011, (View) A Resolution approving a proposal submitted by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to assist with planning future funding and operations of the Police Dept. - not to exceed $78,000, was introduced by Nixon, read at length, and on motion of Nixon, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 21 came up for discussion.
 
Business Administrator O'Rourke explained that Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) awarded the City of York an Early Intervention Program Phase II grant in the amount of $124,000.00. The City of York and York Counts have partnered to retain the services of the Police Executive Research Forum to conduct a study of the feasibility, costs, and benefits of a regional policing strategy and an analysis of the alternative strategies and operating models for the City of York Police Department. The Police Executive Research Forum has submitted a proposed contract and scope of work for the services. The money to pay for this service has been budgeted in the City’s 2011 Budget and is funded by $39,000 from the EIP II Grant from DCED and a $39,000 cash matching grant from the YorkCounts Public Safety Study Group. The Report to be produced by PERF will assist the City of York in planning for future funding and operations of the York City Police Department.
 
Police Captain Tschopp said they are already taking steps to share information with surrounding municipalities. The underlying issue is labor contracts involved in a metro-York initiative.
 
Tim Paige, citizen, said he doesn't see a lot of police in his neighborhood but there is a strong presence downtown for the business owners who don't live in the city. He said if regionalization would bring in outside management, maybe we can break down these walls.
 
Manuel Gomez, citizen, asked how much of the data from the study will be made available to the public and he urged city officials to involve as many people as necessary in this process. Administrator O'Rourke replied that he is not sure what information PERF will release but he's sure they will not release any confidential information.
 
Councilman Nixon reminded citizens that these are professionals conducting this study and he believes they will gather information and provide a detailed report. He said he suggests we let the process work and allow time to digest the information. Councilman Nixon did say he feels it would not benefit public safety if dissemination of confidential information is allowed; however, he did say he would monitor the process.
 
President Ray added that an internal government committee has been convened to serve as the oversight to this process.
Steve Young, citizen, relayed that West Manchester Township has written into their laws to reject a merger with the City of York. He said we need to ask surrounding municipalities who feel the same way, why they feel that way. Mr. Young offered his services in this process although he's not sure regionalization is the answer.
 
Administrator O'Rourke said it is frustrating that West Manchester Township does not support regionalization when they continually ask for public safety assistance from the City of York at their functions.
 
President Ray stated that one of the purposes of the study is to determine the benefits and detriments of regionalization.
There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 21 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Nelson, Hill-Evans, Nixon, Smith, Ray – 5; Nays – 0.
 
 
REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS: See Schedule-E
 
COUNCIL COMMENT: None
 
ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None

NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for February 15, 2011at 7:00 p.m. (Public Comment commences at 6:30 p.m.) in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA.
 
ADJOURNMENT:There being no further business, the February 1, 2011 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:15 p.m.