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City Council Meeting Minutes

November 18, 2008

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on November 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, Carol Hill-Evans, Vice President, and Joseph R. Musso, President, with President Musso presiding. Mayor John Brenner was not present.

GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT

Michael Helfrich, 821 E. Market St., York, PA, reported that he found 14 bags of trash thrown in the Codorus Creek last week. He said he filed a report with the Police on November 12th but has not heard anything from them. Mr. Helfrich said he also contacted the Army Corps of Engineers as they have jurisdiction over the creek. Mr. Helfrich said that he opened all of the bags and found the address of 143 Stevens Ave. on several pieces of mail. He said he followed up by physically locating the property and after asking questions, found that the tenants had moved out and the landlord, Randy Graham, was cleaning the property to get it ready for the next tenant(s). Mr. Helfrich asked that the city follow-up with this because he feels violations under the Nuisance Abatement ordinance might be warranted in this case.

President Musso said he would forward Mr. Helfrich’s complaint to Mayor Brenner for a response.

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, and Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner. Also present was Don Hoyt, Assistant Solicitor. Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development, 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 November 5, 2008, and approve them as written. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Correspondence and Announcements: President Musso read correspondence and announcements.

PRESENTATIONS: None

COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED:

York City Council will hold public meetings on the proposed 2009 York City Budget beginning at 6:30 p.m. each evening on November 25, December 4, and December 9, 2008 in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA. (View schedule)

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Community & Economic Development Committees: Joint committee meeting held on 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. As consideration of final passage of Resolution No. 173 appears on Council’s agenda this evening, Councilwoman Ray, Chair of the C.D. Committee, said she would like to reserve comment until consideration of final passage of Resolution No. 173 comes later in the agenda.

SUPPLEMENTAL AGENDA

Motion to waive Rule 215. A motion was made by Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, to waive the provisions of Resolution No. 215 of Session 1969 to permit consideration of a supplemental agenda containing four (4) Bills. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Therefore, Bill No.’s 51 – 54 were introduced as follows:

Introduction of Bill No. 51, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending Article 951.12 “Annual Fee Schedule” to increase refuse rates, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until a future meeting of Council.

Introduction of Bill No. 52, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending Article 933 “Sewer Rentals” to increase sewer rates, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until a future meeting of Council.

Introduction of Bill No. 53, Session 2008, (View) A Bill adopting the 2009 York City Budget, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until a future meeting of Council.

Introduction of Bill No. 54, Session 2008, (View) A Bill adopting the 2009 tax rate, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read by short title, and deferred until a future meeting of Council.

President Musso outlined in further detail the proposed sewer and refuse increases. He also discussed the 2009 proposed Budget, which includes a real estate tax increase of approximately 6.5% or $15.64 on each one thousand dollars of assessed valuation. (Example: A property assessed at $50,000 would see approximately a $120/yr. increase in taxes). President Musso invited the public to attend Council’s Budget meetings (View schedule) to keep abreast and/or to provide testimony on the city’s financial status.

Councilwoman Ray reminded residents that this is a “proposed” budget and stated that these figures are not yet set in stone.

There being no further discussion, Council moved on to its regular agenda.

SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB:

Resolution No. 177, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a permit to Larry Homsher for work to be done at 426 W. Market St. (rear), and Phoenix Property Management for work to be done at 382 W. King St. (Noss House), was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 177 came up for discussion.

Councilman Texter read a brief description of the work to be done on each property and especially noted renovations to be made to the former Noss House. The Noss House was identified by the Endangered Historic Places Task Force as one of six of the most endangered sites in the City. The structure is a Queen Anne-style residence and is architecturally significant for its unique corner turret with highly decorative trim and its bell-shaped roof. The house is vacant and rapidly deteriorating. It is the former home of Herman Noss, who owned a lumber business.

President Musso and Councilman Texter applauded the applicant for taking on such a historically significant renovation project.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 177 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

CONSENT AGENDA:

Introduction of Bill No. 55, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Budget by appropriating revenue and expenditures in the amount of $1,601.40 for subsequent funding received for the Weyer Trust Fund account, was introduced by Ray, read by short title, and deferred until a future meeting of Council.

A motion was made by Ray, seconded by Texter to introduce Bill No.’s 56 and 57 as a consent agenda. The motion passed unanimously. Therefore Bill No.’s 56-57 were introduced.

Introduction of Bill No. 56, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending Article 149 “Fire Department” of the Codified Ordinances to establish the Bureau of Fire Prevention, was introduced by Ray, and read by short title.

Introduction to Bill No. 57, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending Part 15 “Fire Code”, Article 1501 “Standard Adopted” of the Codified Ordinances to update language to make it consistent with current laws and regulations, was introduced by Ray, and read by short title. On motion of Ray, seconded by Smith, Bill No.’s 56 and 57 came up for discussion.

Referred to committee. Councilwoman Ray said she would like to hear from the Fire Department the implications, if any, on how or if Bill No. 56 would affect the city’s budget. As Bill No. 57 is loosely related to Bill No. 56, this Bill will also be discussed. Therefore, a motion was made by Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, to refer Bill No. 56 and 57 to the Fire Committee. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0. A meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.

Introduction of Bill No. 58, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending Article 725 “Firearms & Weapons” to establish criteria for failure to report lost or stolen firearms, was introduced by Smith, read by short title, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 58 came up for discussion.

President Musso stated that Council has requested this legislation be referred to committee; however, Council’s schedule is extremely tight through the end of this year. He asked if this legislation could be discussed in January 2009.

Commissioner Whitman said he has invited individuals from the Commonwealth to take part in discussions on this legislation and believes January 2009 would suffice.

Councilman Texter announced that he has provided Council with background information such as newspaper articles, state regulations, and case law associated with firearm legislation. He asked that Council review this information prior to the committee meeting.

Motion to refer to committee. As Council has agreed to refer this legislation to committee, a motion was made by Texter, seconded by Smith, to refer Bill No. 58 to the Police Committee. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0. A committee meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers.

FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS:

Final Passage of Bill No. 47, Ordinance No. 47, Session 2008, (View) A Bill vacating a portion of Lustig Lane between Maple St. and Lake Ave., which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the October 21, 2008 meeting Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Ray, Bill No. 47 came up for discussion.

President Musso explained that street vacations must be advertised for three (3) consecutive weeks after introduction as required by the 3rd Class City Code, Section 2916. As this legislation has been advertised accordingly, final passage is being considered this evening. The application was submitted by Bethlehem Baptist Church and seeks to vacate a 15’ wide by 100’ long portion of Lustig Lane and will combine two parcels owned by the Church into one lot, which will become part of the parking lot for the church.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 47, Ordinance No. 47, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 50, Ordinance No. 48, 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, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the November 5, 2008 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Ray, Bill No. 50 came up for discussion.

Commissioner Whitman explained that the Weed & Seed Strategy is an innovative, comprehensive multi-agency approach to law enforcement, crime prevention, and community revitalization. The strategy involves a two-pronged approach: law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in "weeding out" violent criminals and drug abusers and public agencies and community-based private organizations collaborate to "seed" much-needed human services, including prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood restoration programs. A community-oriented policing component bridges the weeding and seeding elements. These funds would cover program year October 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009. He said those involved in this process have worked long and hard to obtain this weed & seed communities designation.

Coleman McDonough, Law Enforcement Coordinator, U.S. Attorney’s Office, was onboard and explained that York is only one of 16 municipalities to be awarded this grant. Mr. McDonough outlined the role of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The following is an excerpt from the U.S. Dept. of Justice website regarding the role of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and programs related to the weed & seed strategy:

“ The Role of the U.S. Attorney: The U.S. Attorney plays a central role in organizing the Steering Committee and bringing together communities with other Weed and Seed participants. The U.S. Attorney’s Office provides leadership in joint law enforcement operation planning and implementation, and ongoing involvement in the Steering Committee and other activities. The U.S. Attorney’s role includes, but is not limited to, the following: 1) convening/co-chairing the Steering Committee and overseeing the law enforcement strategy; 2) serving in a voting capacity on the Steering Committee; 3) submitting a letter of recommendation to the CCDO director certifying that a developing Weed and Seed site area suffers from consistently high levels of crime or otherwise is appropriate for such designation; 4) approving requests to use the U.S. Attorneys’ Fund for Weed and Seed activities; and 5) approving a site coordinator/director candidate before he/she is hired.

Maintaining Best Programs and Providing Training: Weed and Seed Continuation Sites are offered funding to maintain their best programs so that they can improve coordination in planning and implementing their own Weed and Seed strategy and serve as examples for other sites, including those developing their strategies. However, sites are expected to develop a sustainability strategy, which involves the use of other existing local, state, tribal, and/or Federal resources to maintain these best programs after the life of the grant. Sites are encouraged to provide training for other sites in a mutually acceptable manner–through regional networking; by hosting visits by members of new and developing sites seeking training; providing personnel who provide training at regional and/or national Weed and Seed training conferences; or by hosting training conferences to which other sites will be invited. Also, each site is encouraged to provide training in the Weed and Seed strategy to other neighborhoods in its local area, upon request, to help those other neighborhoods to replicate the Weed and Seed strategy.”

Source: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ccdo/ws/welcome.html

George Moore, Executive Director, Community Progress Council (CPC), said he and many other community members worked numerous hours with the steering committee to get this grant. He said CPC is going to oversee the program and program dollars and outlined how funds will be expended.

A brief discussion ensued on target areas and programs to be offered.

Councilwoman Smith applauded the efforts of everyone who took part in the weed & seed designation and grant. She especially thanked Joanne Borders, former Chair of the Salem Square Neighborhood Association, for being such an active and effective member of our community.

Joanne Borders, York, PA, thanked Councilwoman Smith for recognizing her but said the citizens of York are the ones who deserve the credit.

Jay Andrzejczyk, York County Council of Churches, said this weed & seed designation will be key in opening many doors to making our community a better place to live, work and play. He said the Council of Churches’ role would take place during the “seeding” of the community, as they will take part in the healing and growth aspect of our community. He said they are looking forward to getting this initiative underway.

Council also thanked Janis Lyman, Grants Coordinator for the City of York, for her hard work in submitting this grant.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 50, Ordinance No. 48, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Resolution No. 173, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution adopting the 2009 Annual Action Plan, which was introduced by Ray at the November 5th meeting of Council and referred to the joint Community & Economic Development Committees (meeting held Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 7p.m. in Council Chambers), came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 173 came up for discussion.

President Musso explained that Resolution No. 173 was referred to committee because the Redevelopment Authority requested additional funding in the amount of $50,000 that was not included in the 2009 Annual Action Plan. He asked Director Bracey to elaborate.

Director Bracey provided Council with an amended funding schedule (View revised schedule) and reported that funding in the amount of $50,000 was removed from the YWCA-Access York facilities improvement, which left them with $0 funding and those dollars were then moved to the RDA under “scattered sites” in the amount of $25,000 to allow the RDA to acquire properties as needed. The remaining $25,000 was moved to “demolition” to allow the RDA to secure properties acquired for rehabilitation. She stated that this would resolve the RDA’s $50,000 funding gap. On a side note, $50,000, which was appropriated for Lincoln Park renovations, was removed as this was in an ineligible census tract but was instead moved to Public Works under “citywide public parks improvements”.

Director Bracey also provided Council with amended program descriptions as follows:

The YWCA Renaissance Project (pg. 60) - project location was changed from five homes to be rehabbed in the 100 block of S. West. St. to five homes to be rehabbed in the Olde Towne East neighborhood.
“Y” Community Development Corporation (pg. 65) – project location was changed from rehabilitation of homes in the 100 block of S. West. St. to acquisition, demolition and construction of new homes in the 100 block of S. West St.
“Creating Opportunities in the Neighborhood Environments (CONE) (pg. 66) – project location was changed from rehabilitation of new homes in the 100 block of S. West St. to the 300 block of W. College Ave.

Councilwoman Ray questioned the CONE project as the number of units to be completed is listed as 54 units. However, she said that was the amount originally established for the 100 block of S. West St. Since the project location has changed, she asked if 54 units would still be completed in the new project area (300 block of W. College Ave.) Director Bracey said she would change that to read, “to be announced” as she is not sure of the number of units to be completed in the 300 block of W. College Ave. Councilwoman Ray asked if the amendment would need a motion. After consulting with Assistant Solicitor Hoyt, he opined that the amendment could be made without a formal motion. Therefore, Director Bracey said she would correct the typo before sending the final Action Plan to HUD.

Next, Joe Stein, Member of the Bring on Play (BOP) Committee, thanked the city for appropriating funding for citywide park renovations. He said BOP is currently renovating Lincoln Park and has been able to raise $50,000 toward the project. Though additional funds are needed to complete the project, he said the project is moving along nicely.

Councilwoman Smith suggested Mr. Stein approach the County of York for funding assistance. She said the city provides funding to the County of York to help maintain county parks and, as such, she feels its only fair that they contribute to the renovation and preservation of our local parks.

A brief discuss ensued on other programs and initiatives listed in the 2009 Action Plan and the affect those programs and initiatives would have on the community.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 173, as amended, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

NEW BUSINESS

Resolution No. 178, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution endorsing the York/Adams Regional Smart Growth Coalition, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 178 came up for discussion.

Councilwoman Ray said that about a year and a half ago, the York City Planning Commission was the first entity to adopt a plan similar to Smart Growth.

Shanna Wiest, York/Adams Smart Growth Coalition, was onboard to explain the Smart Growth initiative. She explained the efforts of the York/Adams Regional Smart Growth Coalition, which include the following:

· Encouraging environmentally sound development practices
· Sustaining healthy farms and abundant farmland
· Revitalizing our older urban areas
· Fostering economic growth that brings high quality jobs to our citizens
· Assuring reasonable housing costs that keep homeownership within reach of most households and providing an array of homeownership opportunities in our communities
· Matching infrastructure development with growth strategies
· Encouraging growth in areas where infrastructure currently exists; and

Ms. Wiest said the Coalition was formed in an effort to create a joint, wide-reaching alliance to raise public awareness on how smart growth can improve the community’s quality of life, promote smart growth best practices, and to develop and share information, tools and ideas to address barriers to advance opportunities for smart growth. By adopting this Resolution, she said, the City of York would be the first municipality to endorse the Coalition and this would automatically include York in the dialogue process. Ms. Wiest said York could possibly set the tone for other municipalities to join their cause.

President Musso said he is uncomfortable with this approach, as he feels the York/Adams Smart Growth Coalition has not provided Council with adequate background on its mission and goals. He said he doesn’t want to support an anti-development agenda.

Councilwoman Ray said the Board of Realtors started this Coalition by brining together a group of individuals and agencies that were not necessarily considered “bed fellows”. She stated that the mission of the Coalition is to create a balanced growth initiative, not to push an anti-growth agenda.

Ms. Wiest outlined other organizations that have already endorsed the York/Adams Smart Coalition and was hoping that York could serve as the first municipality to endorse them.

Councilman Texter stated that he feels comfortable with adopting this Resolution because he’s impressed by the organizations that have already endorsed the Coalition. Additionally, he said he doesn’t feel we would be supporting an anti-growth agenda as the last paragraph of the Resolution clearly reads that “….to raise awareness on the smart growth initiative and (we) encourage community-wide participation in working together to boost the economy, protect the environment, and enhance our community’s vitality.” He said he feels that statement does not endorse an anti-growth agenda.

President Musso said the he would like to go on record that he is not endorsing any anti-development agendas and that he understands that the York/Adams Smart Growth Coalition is not promoting such an agenda. With that being his understanding, he said he would support this Resolution.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 178 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 179, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution appointing John Huncher and Brenda Moul as probationary police officers effective November 24, 2008, was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 179 came up for discussion.

Motion to amend. Commissioner Whitman said the effective date should read November 17, 2008 not November 24th. Therefore, he asked if Council could amend the Resolution. A motion was made by Texter, seconded by Ray, to amend Resolution No. 179 to make the effective date of appointment November 17, 2008. The motion passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Commissioner Whitman provided background information on each candidate. He said the academy is scheduled to begin on January 12, 2009.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 179 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 180, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution appointing Raymundo Barajas, Shannon Mazzante, Daniel Lentz, Andrew Reidy, Benjamin Eaken, Timothy Clymer, Matthew Dewitt, and Jeffrey Gilliland, as probationary police officers effective January 5, 2009, was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 180 came up for discussion.

Commissioner Whitman provided background information on each candidate. He said that all of these candidates have prior military backgrounds. With these appointments, he said this will bring the number of uniformed officers to 110. He explained that 3 officers are being funded through the County for a period of one year, and 3 were already included in the 2008 budget. He did say that four new police officer positions are being requested in the 2009 budget.

President Musso said these positions would be further discussed during Council’s budget meetings. Councilman Texter reminded Council that by approving this Resolution, Council is committed to funding the four additional police officers.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 180 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS:

York City Council will hold public meetings on the proposed 2009 York City Budget beginning at 6:30 p.m. each evening on November 25, December 4, and December 9, 2008 in City Council Chambers, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA. (View schedule)

COUNCIL COMMENT: None

ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None

NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, December 2, 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 November 18, 2008 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:57 p.m.