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City Council Meeting Minutes

November 5, 2008

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on Wednesday, November 5, 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. (Note: The meeting was held on Wednesday instead of Tuesday in observance of Tuesday’s General Election.)


GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT

Don Hake, 18 S. George St., York, PA, provided Council with information on a sports survey taken by elementary, middle school, and high school students as compiled by the York Youth Movement (view survey). The survey reflects the top five sports programs desired by both boys and girls. The survey also reflects the top five favorites in the categories of music & arts/technology with playing video/board games leading the pack for the boys at all three levels. Mr. Hake said they are looking for sponsors, volunteers, and funding to provide the activities our children are requesting. President Musso thanked Mr. Hake for sharing the survey results and said he would forward this information to Mayor Brenner.

Mary Anne Bacas, 663 Madison Ave., York, PA, and Safer York Weed & seed Strategy Chair, spoke in favor of the budget amendment being presented to Council this evening to amend the 2008 Budget by appropriating $175,000 for the Federal Weed & Seed Communities Strategy for 2008-2009. (Background: The Weed and Seed strategy is a two-pronged approach to crime control and prevention: (1) Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in “weeding out” criminals from the designated area, and (2) “Seeding” brings prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization services to the area. The Weed and Seed approach is unique when compared with traditional crime prevention approaches of the past. The strategy is based on collaboration, coordination, community participation, and leveraging resources. Weed and Seed sites maximize existing programs and resources by coordinating and integrating existing Federal, State, local, and private sector initiatives, criminal justice efforts, and social services. The strategy also puts heavy emphasis on community participation. Residents of Weed and Seed neighborhoods are actively involved in problem solving in their community. Neighborhood watches, citizen marches and rallies, cleanup events, drug-free zones, and graffiti removal are some of the common programs that encourage community participation and help prevent crime.)

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, and Kim Bracey, Director of Community Development. Also present was Shaleeta Washington, Assistant Solicitor. Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development, Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner, 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 Hill-Evans, to dispense with the reading of the Minutes of October 21, 2008, and approve them as written. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Abstained – Ray – 1; Nays – 0. (Note: Councilwoman Ray abstained as she was on medical leave during the October 21st Council meeting.)

Correspondence and Announcements: President Musso read correspondence and announcements.

PRESENTATIONS: NONE

COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED: NONE

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

York City School Board – Vice President Hill-Evans, Council’s liaison to the School Board, reported that she attended the October 31st York City School Board meeting in which discussion took place on the Ferguson Elementary School rehab project, KOZ properties, the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement with the York Revolution (related to the baseball stadium), school resource officers, and various other topics, which she said she would outline in more detail in a written report that she will provide to Council at a later date.

SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB: NONE

CONSENT AGENDA

Introduction of Bill No. 50, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Budget by appropriating revenue and expenditures in the amount of $175,000 for a 2008-09 Weed & Seed Communities Strategy grant, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until the November 18th meeting of Council.

FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

Final Passage of Bill No. 48, Ordinance No. 45, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Budget in the amount of $2,000 for the Police Summer Bowling Program, which was introduced by Texter at the October 21st meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Texter, seconded by Hill-Evans, Bill No. 48, Ordinance No. 45, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 49, Ordinance No. 46, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Budget in the amount of $182,000 for the 2008-2009 PCCD Weed & Seed Program to be separated into three separate grants – Micro Enterprises for $23,000; Quality of Life for $84,000; and Delinquency Prevention for $75,000, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the October 21st meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 49 came up for discussion.

Councilwoman Ray asked if the Crispus Attucks allocation would be used to help fund the CA’s proposed curfew center. Councilwoman Smith responded that the curfew center is still in its infancy so this funding would not be for that purpose.

Director Bracey explained that these funds are earmarked for programs that have been taken over by the CA from the now defunct South George Street Community Partnership.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 49, Ordinance No. 46, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

NEW BUSINESS

Resolution No. 169, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution reappointing E. Hayden Mitchell to the Fire Civil Service Board, which term shall expire November 5, 2011, was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 169 came up for discussion.

Hayden Mitchell, 235 W. Jackson St., York, PA, was present and thanked Council for considering his reappointment. He said he has served on the Board for many years and is currently its Chairman. Mr. Mitchell briefly outlined the role of the Fire Civil Service Board and said he is fortunate to have been able to take part in appointing some of York’s finest to the Department of Fire / Rescue Services.

Council thanked Mr. Mitchell for his dedication and years of service to the York community.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 169 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 170, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution appointing R. Eric Menzer to Downtown, Inc. (York Business Improvement District Authority) to fill the unexpired term of Robert Gratalo, which term shall expire December 31, 2011, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 170 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 171, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Met-Ed to relocate and upgrade 25 company-owned streetlights throughout the city, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 171 came up for discussion.

Director Gross explained that this is a continuation of the contract made earlier this year between the City and Met-Ed to upgrade and/or relocate streetlights throughout the city. This is part of a long-range project that will take a few years to complete.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 171 passed by the following vote: Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 172, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution awarding a contract to Teledyne Isco, Inc. in the amount of $37,852.52 for the purchase of Automatic Samplers for use by the WWTP, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 172 came up for discussion.

Director Gross explained that the Automatic Sampler will be used to maintain wastewater specimens at required temperatures and is being funded through the Intermunicipal account.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 172 passed by the following vote: Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 173, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution approving the 2009 Annual Action Plan, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 173 came up for discussion.

Councilwoman Ray stated that Council received a memo from Economic Development Director Matt Jackson addressed to Director Bracey dated October 31, 2008 regarding the Redevelopment Authority’s allocation. The following is an excerpt from that memo:

“….Regarding the 2009 Action Plan, as currently stated, the RDA would receive only $50,000 for interim assistance/clean and seal. This figure is reasonably in line with interim assistance/clean and seal allocations in 2007 ($50,000) and 2008 ($50,000). However, unlike previous years, the 2009 Action Plan does not earmark funding for Acquisition, Demolition, or Disposition. Without funding for these three key categories, the authority essentially would be relegated to a property maintenance non-profit that would have little purpose to meet except to award contracts for lawn care and debris removal and snow removal. Total allocation per year for the last few years include the following: $205,060 for 2005, $350,846 for 2006, $200,000 for 2007, and $215,000 for 2008.

We respectfully request at least $215,000, the same allocation as in 2008, to continue the valued work of the authority to improve all city neighborhoods. It also should be emphasized that, unlike housing non-profits or community development organizations, the authority has specialized authority under the Urban Redevelopment Law to acquire, via eminent domain, blighted property. Wisely and strategically using this authority to acquire vacant, blighted properties has yielded numerous success stories throughout city neighborhoods….”

President Musso outlined in further detail points discussed in Director Jackson’s memo. At some point, Councilman Texter suggested referring Resolution No. 173 to the Economic Development Committee for further discussion and asked Director Bracey if that would jeopardize the Plan in any way.

Director Bracey said she did receive this memo and that this plan has been on display for 30-days and public comment and public participation has already taken place. She went on to explain that the RDA was not using funding provided during past program years in a timely manner, which was considered during the Action Plan planning process. She said this is a long and arduous process and a lot of time has transpired since our recommended appropriations. Director Bracey stated that the RDA is being allocated $50,000 for 2009 based on prior spending behavior. However, she did say the RDA is now beginning to expend funds from previous years’ allocations. Director Bracey asked Council to consider moving forward with approving the Plan so the city can get an early jump on HUD’s review and approval process.

Discussion ensued on the RDA’s prior years’ spending habits and whether recipients are required to spend their total appropriation within the same program year. (Note: Money may be drawn from prior years’ allocations.)

After hearing much discussion and debate on the RDA’s request, Council took a moment to hear from Penny Myers, York Area Development Corporation (YADC), a 2009 CDBG/HOME award recipient.

Penny Myers, Executive Director, YADC, was onboard and thanked the City of York for recommending HUD funding for their program. She outlined services provided by the YADC and stated that this allocation would allow them to renovate the former Dutch Kitchen into affording housing units.

Council thanked Ms. Myers for outlining YADC services and said they look forward to completion of the Dutch Kitchen renovation project.

Referred to committee. Council recalled discussion on the RDA’s request and decided that Council would hold a joint Community Development and Economic Development Committee meeting to further discussion this issue. Therefore, on motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 173, by unanimous vote, was referred to a joint C.D. & E.D. committees meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor.

Resolution No. 174, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer in the amount of $4,464.57 for the Health Department within a state health grant and the Weyer Trust fund, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 174 passed by the following vote: Yeas - Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 175, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer in the amount of $4,000 for the Human Relations Commission to cover 2008 expenses, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 175 passed by the following vote: Yeas - Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 176, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution approving a grant contract with DCED in the amount of $30,000 to fund 50% pay for the position of Director of Community Partnerships for White Rose Community Television (WRCT), was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 176 came up for discussion.

Gerry Turner, 1201 S. Pine St., York, PA, asked several budgeting questions related to the salary for the Director of Community Partnerships as he felt the salary was excessive. He also asked questions about other positions within WRCT, which were answered by various members of Council.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 176 passed by the following vote: Yeas - Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

(Note: Resolution No. 176 had a typographical error, which was later found in the 3rd “Whereas” clause, referring to the 2009 budget but should have read the 2008 budget. The correction was made to read the “2008 Budget” on the final Resolution.)

REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

Community & Economic Development Committees: Joint meeting scheduled for Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss Resolution No. 173, (View) a Resolution approving the 2009 Annual Action Plan with regard to the Redevelopment Authority’s request for additional funding.

COUNCIL COMMENT

As Vice President Hill-Evans serves as liaison to the Department of Business Administration, Councilman Texter requested that Vice President Hill-Evans ask Business Administration O’Rourke to contact the York Credit Bureau to ask them to update Council on collection efforts being made for delinquent sewer and refuse accounts. Vice President Hill-Evans said she would relay the request.

Councilman Texter and Councilwoman Smith applauded President-Election Barack Obama on winning the Presidential election and also thanked all those who participated in the election, particularly the poll workers who basically gave their time and efforts to make the day happen.

ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: NONE

NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at 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 Wednesday, November 5, 2008 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:28 p.m.