Follow us on Twitter Friend us on Facebook Receive City Updates
{ Live, work, play in York. }

City Council Meeting Minutes

December 16, 2008

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on December 16, 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 during public comment.

GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT

Guy & Georgette Evelund-Alosa, 341 E. Locust St., and Jennifer Veit, 345 E. Locust St., York, PA, all complained about a natural gas odor creeping into their homes from an unoccupied property located at 343 E. Locust St. They said they have contacted Columbia Gas and the Fire Department to check on the odor with no resolve. They asked that something be done as soon as possible because they have lived with this odor long enough.

President Musso said he would relay these concerns to the Mayor for further 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 also present.

Members of the Administration in attendance included: Michael O’Rourke, Business Administrator and John Senft, Fire Chief. Also present was Shaleeta Washington, Assistant Solicitor. Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Kim Bracey, Director of Community Development, Matt Jackson, Director of Economic Development, and Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner, 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 December 2, 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:

· Business Administration Committee, Carol Hill-Evans, Chair: Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, to hear from Stacey MacNeal, Esq. (General Authority Solicitor), a presentation on financing associated with the Market Street Garage renovation project.

· Police Committee, Cameron Texter, Chair: Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss Bill No. 58 (View) – A Bill amending Article 725 “Firearms & Weapons” to establish regulations for failure to report lost or stolen firearms.

· General Committee Meeting, Joseph R. Musso, Chair: Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to hear from Michael Gibson, Chairman of the York City Human Relations Commission, discussion on the direction, mission and goals of the HRC.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Business Administration Committee, Carol Hill-Evans, Chair: Vice President Hill-Evans announced that Council met this evening, Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers, to hear from Stacey MacNeal, Esq. (General Authority Solicitor), a presentation on financing associated with the Market Street Garage renovation project. She said a Resolution appears on tonight’s agenda to approve financing for this project and that she would defer comments and questions until consideration of said item.

SPECIAL AGENDA

President Musso announced that the order of business has been waived for tonight’s meeting.

Resolution No. 187, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution approving capital improvements to be undertaken by the York City General Authority involving structural renovations and repairs to the authority’s three parking garages and related utility system renovations, replacements and repairs, and other capital improvements, extraordinary maintenance, replacement and repairs to its parking system facilities, approving the appointment of Fulton Financial Advisors as fiscal agent under that certain loan agreement between the City of York and said Authority, and approving the acceptance by the Authority of a proposal from Fulton Bank for financing said capital improvements in the amount of $5,000,000.00, was introduced by Hill-Evans and read by short title. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 187 came up for discussion.

Vice President Hill-Evans read the following summary related to this project:

Request: City of York General Authority (“CYGA”) requests City Council approve its capital improvements project, financing, and certain related waivers of the City’s Loan Agreement.

Project: Necessary renovations and improvements to the City’s parking system, including three parking garages, off-street parking lots, and on-street meter system. The majority of this project is for significant improvements to the Market Street Garage, including façade renovation, access upgrades, and structural repairs.

Cost: Approximately $5,000,000, including approximately $3,400,000 for the Market Street garage improvements.

Financing: CYGA intends to fund the capital improvements project with a 17-year $5,000,000 loan facility with Fulton Bank consisting of a 3-year drawdown facility (during which funds will be drawn down as needed and only interest will be payable to the bank) and a 14-year amortization period thereafter. Interest will be fixed at 4.65% for the first 7 years and floating at 75% of prime thereafter, unless otherwise fixed at the time. The loan can be pre-paid at any time from internally generated funds or a bond issue without penalty. The loan can be pre-paid with a 2% penalty (for 4 years) or a 1% penalty (for 3 years thereafter) with financing from another lending institution.

Conditions/CYGA will need City authorization to move its accounts to Fulton Bank, as Waivers: a condition to the Loan. In addition, certain sections of the Loan and Security Agreement between the City and the Authority must be waived to permit the borrowing and avoid conditions of default under that Agreement, as described in the Resolution attached hereto. Those sections include a Certificate confirming certain coverages of net revenues, a Certificate as to the project cost, the establishment of a construction fund, the limit on the amount of variable rate debt, and a rate covenant provision. These waivers will not impair the position of the City due to the nature of the Loan, including the absence of a guarantee by the City and the three year draw down, which holds payment of principal on the Loan until such time as the City Loan is paid in full.

Closing: The financing transaction must close before year-end 2008 to i) ensure funding availability prior to awarding construction contracts, ii) preserve the City’s ability to issue bank-qualified tax-exempt debt in fiscal year 2009, and iii) close the transaction under the terms of the Fulton Bank offer.

Vice President Hill-Evans stated that this is not a bond issue but is rather a loan - meaning that the city is not required to secure these dollars.

Tim O’Neal, Bond Counsel, Fred Hoefert, General Authority Financial Advisor, and Stacey MacNeal, General Authority Solicitor, were onboard and expounded on the requested waivers, project description & specifications, and financing.

A discussion ensued regarding variable rate versus fixed rate in that the bank would not offer a 20-year fixed rate, however, a rate cap of 12% is tied to this loan.

President Musso asked that the General Authority consider revamping and updating the parking meters because he has received numerous complaints over the years about their inaccuracy.

Stacey MacNeal, General Authority Solicitor, stated that bids for the project will be opened on Thursday, December 18th and the project should take approximately 9-10 months to complete.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 187 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

PRESENTATION: Council heard from Scott Detar and Greg Shank, Maillie, Falconiero & Company, the city’s auditing firm, a presentation on the audit of financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2007 for the City of York. They both discussed, at length, their findings and recommendations. (Note: A complete copy of said audit is located in the City Clerk’s Office for review.)

Mayor Brenner offered final comments related to the audit and thanked the city’s auditing team for their hard work. He said we have worked and continue to work diligently to correct findings and that they continue to consider and address all recommendations.

Council thanked Mr. Detar and Mr. Shenk for their presentation and noted the importance of hearing details about the audit prior to considering adoption of the 2009 Budget.

There being no further discussion, President Musso adjourned the presentation and continued with the Special Agenda.

Final Passage of Bill No. 51, Ordinance No. 50, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending Article 951.12 “Annual Collection Fee Schedule” of the Codified Ordinances to increase refuse fees, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the November 18th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 51, Ordinance No. 50, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 52, Ordinance No. 51, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending Article 933 “Sewer Rentals” of the Codified Ordinances to increase sewer fees, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the November 18th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 52, Ordinance No. 51, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 53, Ordinance No. 52, Session 2008, (View) A Bill adopting the 2009 York City Budget, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the November 18th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 53 came up for discussion.

Councilman Texter said he feels this is a fair and equitable budget. He stated that this budget includes the hiring of new police officers and the purchase of two very needed fire vehicles, all of which will increase public safety. Councilman Texter said he reviewed this budget in great detail and found there were no vast increases in figures to provide and maintain services to the community. He said he would not be offering any amendments as he feels the budget is justified.

Councilwoman Ray stated that this has been a difficult process and she too has reviewed the budget with a fine tooth comb and could find no cuts that would significantly impact the proposed tax increase. She said she would support this budget but stated that she may suggest amendments down the road.

Councilwoman Smith said the 2009 Budget is tight and we are working with a skeleton budget to try to provide needed services to the community. She too feels this is a fiscally responsible budget and said she would also support it.

Vice President Hill-Evans stated that she never promised to decrease taxes when campaigning for office but she did promise to be fiscally responsible. She said she would continue to increase her due diligence in maintaining the city’s finances to help prevent huge tax increases.

A discussion ensued on the possibility of merging and/or closing fire stations as a means to save money though this option is not being considered at this time.

President Musso stated that as long as he is President of Council, he wants Council to keep an open dialogue no matter how difficult or unpopular the topic. Balancing the budget and increasing taxes and fees is a very unpopular and difficult discussion but said he wants all cards on the table so that serious consideration can be given to enact the most effective, responsible, and fiscally appropriate budget for our residents.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 53, Ordinance No. 52, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 54, Ordinance No. 53, Session 2008, (View) A Bill adopting the 2009 real estate tax rate, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the November 18th meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 54 came up for discussion.

Councilman Texter explained that taxes are being raised by less than one mil and that Council understands that no one likes tax increases. However, he said we have services that must be provided to our residents. He stated that we have very small resources to provide services and we don’t get the state assistance like Harrisburg and Lancaster does. He discussed Act 55 and needed tax reform. He said York is in a tight spot financially and we need the same flexibility some other municipalities are being granted. Councilman Texter said its archaic how we have to fund services, especially public safety services. We need regionalization and the state needs to put incentives in place to encourage such a move. Tough decisions need to be made and voting for this increase is one of those decisions, he said.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 54, Ordinance No. 53, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

CONSENT AGENDA

Introduction of Bill No. 60, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending the Codified Ordinances to update and upgrade fines within said code to have the maximum fines imposed to comply with the maximum amounts authorized pursuant to Article III, Section 303 (2.1) et al of the Option Third Class City Code, and to make technical changes within the Codified Ordinances, was introduced by Texter, read by short title, and deferred until a future meeting of Council. (Projected date for consideration of final passage is slated for January 6, 2009.)

In an email from Councilman Texter, he explained the following:

“Attached to Bill No. 60 is a memo dated October 13 to Mayor John Brenner explaining the first draft of the legislation. All those changes mentioned in the memorandum still appear in the Bill.

The second attachment to Bill No. 60 represents a December 10 memo to Mayor John Brenner that explains the additional changes made to the legislation after meetings and other discussions took place among the Mayor, Business Administrator Mike O'Rourke and myself.

The third attachment to Bill No. 60 represents Article III of the Optional Third Class City Charter Law. The General Assembly amended Section 303 of the law in 1998 to change the maximum fines and penalties that an Optional Third Class City can establish in its ordinances. Much of the changes in the Bill occur to have our maximum fines comply with this state law. The City never made the required changes after the legislature passed its amendment in 1998, except for those sections that it further upgraded or established since that time. All maximum fines will become consistent.

We can further discuss the other changes in fines, many of which haven't gotten changed in two or three decades. Most of these changes follow recommendations of the pre-Act 47 report that stated fees and fines would become upgraded according to inflation. Other changes would make city fines consistent with those set for the same or similar offenses within state law.

Please note that an email went out to the Mayor, all department directors and the assistant solicitors that included copies of the original legislation and the Oct .13 memo. Therefore, all those in charge of a department had ample opportunity to review, research and discuss this legislation.

Further changes occurred to the legislation based on specific requests made by the Mayor and Mr. O'Rourke and based on discussions that the Mayor and Mr. O'Rourke had with me.”

(Note: Copies of said attachments are attached to Bill No. 60 located in the City Clerk’s Office.)

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 60 was deferred until a future meeting of Council. (Note: Consideration of passage of Bill No. 60 is slated for the January 6, 2009 meeting of Council.)

FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

Final Passage of Bill No. 56, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending Article 149 “Fire Department” of the Codified Ordinances to establish Section 149.04 “Bureau of Fire Prevention”, which was introduced by Ray at the November 18th meeting of Council, and referred to the Fire Committee (meeting held 12/2/08 @ 6p.m.), came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Bill No. 56 came up for discussion.

Motion to table. Councilwoman Ray made a motion to table Bill No. 56 at the request of Fire Chief Senft who stated additional changes needed to be made to Article 149 to clean up the ordinance. The motion to table was seconded by Hill-Evans and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Chief Senft explained that after further review of Article 149, Fire Bureau staff felt that more changes were needed to bring the ordinance into compliance with current rules, laws, and regulations.

Bill No. 60 will appear on a future agenda of Council for consideration of final passage.

Final Passage of Bill No. 57, Ordinance No. 54, 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, which was introduced by Ray at the November 18th meeting of Council and referred to the Fire Committee (meeting held 12/2/08 @ 6p.m.), came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 57 came up for discussion.

Motion to amend. Councilwoman Ray made a motion to amend Bill No. 57 to clarify authority with regard to the Fire Chief and Building Code Official in administering Article 1501 and related codes and therefore introduced the following Resolution:

Resolution No. 188, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution amending Article 1501.01 “Authority” and establishing Article 1501.05 “Conflicting Provisions” to clarify authority with regard to the Fire Chief and Building Code Official in administering Article 1501 and related codes and to address authority with regard to conflicting regulations, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 188 came up for discussion.

Councilwoman Ray said this amendment seeks to bring Article 1501 up-to-date with the UCC’s and International Fire Code and more clearly outlines the duties of the Fire Chief and Building Code Official when enacting said codes. This amendment would also clarify that we will follow state law if a conflict would ever exist between the Codified Ordinances and the PA UCC’s or other applicable state laws and regulations.

Chief Senft said he supports the proposed amendments.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 188 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

There being no further discussion on Bill No. 57, on motion of Ray, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 57, Ordinance No. 54, as amended by Resolution No. 188, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 59, Ordinance No. 55, Session 2008, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Budget by appropriating revenue and expenditures for the Fire Department in the amount of $15,000 for purchase of a staff vehicle, which was introduced by Ray at the December 2nd meeting of Council, and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 59, Ordinance No. 55, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB

Resolution No. 189, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a certificate of appropriateness for work to be covered in the applications submitted by Arlan Hollinger, E.I. Associates, for work to be done at 329 Lindberg Ave. (Cherry St. School); Nate Brosius, PA Counseling Services, for work to be done at 27 W. Gas Ave. (128 N. George St. rear); and Frank Dittenhafer & Matthew Campbell, Murphy Dittenhafer Architects, and Tom Behrle, for work to be done at 1 (One) S. George St., was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 189 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

NEW BUSINESS

Resolution No. 190, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution establishing January 6, 2009 as the first regular meeting of City Council for the year 2009, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 190 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 191, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution reappointing Timothy Warfield as a member of the York City General Authority, which term shall expire January 1, 2014, was introduced by Musso, read at length, and on motion of Musso, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 191 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 192, Session 2008, (View) A Resolution authorizing the purchase of one 2009 Dodge Sedan for use by the Fire Department, which said purchase shall be made through Costars State Contract #4400001011, at a total cost of $19,969.66 ($15,240 from account #50-60046101-00000 and $4,729.66 from account #50-600-46101-10133) and purchased from New Holland Auto Group, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 192 passed by the following vote: Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

· Police Committee, Cameron Texter, Chair: Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss Bill No. 58 (View) – A Bill amending Article 725 “Firearms & Weapons” to establish regulations for failure to report lost or stolen firearms.

· General Committee Meeting, Joseph R. Musso, Chair: Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to hear from Michael Gibson, Chairman of the York City Human Relations Commission, discussion on the direction, mission and goals of the HRC.

COUNCIL COMMENT: None

ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None

NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, January 6, 2009 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 December 16, 2008 meeting of Council adjourned at 9:23 p.m.