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City Council Meeting Minutes

May 20, 2009

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 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 Primary Election.)

GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT

Wylene Sweeney, 135 E. South St., York, PA, offered to do research and economic cost benefit analyses for the city at no charge.

Milton Leek, representing the PA Council of Churches, said they are in support of Bill No. 58 (View) of Session 2008, which is a Bill establishing penalties for failure to report lost or stolen firearms.
Joanne Borders, 334 W. Princess St., York, PA, said she is also supportive of Bill No. 58 and asked Council to consider finally passing it.

Steve Young, 11 N. Newberry St., York, PA, spoke about downtown revitalization efforts and the importance of maintaining updated Visitor's Guides.

(Note: Additional public comment resumed at the conclusion of Council's legislative session.)

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: Shaleeta Washington, Assistant City Solicitor. Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, Dan Robinson, Director of Community Development, Kevin Schreiber, 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: Led by George Moore, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Approval of Minutes: A motion was made by Texter seconded by Smith, to dispense with the reading of the Minutes of May 5, 2009, 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

Downtown Inc. - Kim Lentz, Chair of Downtown Inc. (York Business Improvement District Authority) introduced their new Executive Director Sonia Huntzinger. She said Downtown Inc. had been searching for months to fill this position and they were impressed by Ms. Huntzinger's understanding of the importance of communications with local government and the community. Ms. Lentz said it was Ms. Huntzinger's idea to come before the Council to introduce herself, which she feels is indicative of a great beginning.

Sonia Huntzinger, Executive Director of Downtown Inc., introduced herself and gave a brief background of her education and work experience, which was in the area of economic development and housing. She said she believes strongly in partnerships and feels its an important element in building healthy communities. She shared her goals and future plans in her new role as Executive Director. Ms. Huntzinger then answered questions from Council.

Council congratulated Ms. Huntzinger on her new position and said they look forward to working with her.

COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED

Community Development Committee - Councilwoman Genevieve Ray, Chair: A CD Committee meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Resolution No. 68 (View), a Resolution authorizing the city to submit substantial amendments to the 2008 Annual Action Plan to HUD for compliance and acceptance of grant funding in the amount of $453,416.00 through the CDBG Program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

COMMITTEE REPORTS: None

SUPPLEMENTAL AGENDA

Resolution No. 65, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution approving a professional services agreement with Maillie, Falconiero & Company, LLP to provide professional auditing services for fiscal years 2008 ($80,000), 2009 ($77,000), and 2010 ($77,000) for a total contract amount of $234,000.00, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 65 came up for discussion.

President Musso said the city just concluded a three year agreement with this firm and they did an outstanding job in helping get the city's finances in check. He explained that MF&Co. was not the lowest bidder, however, their track record earned them extra points with the board that interviewed them.

Councilman Texter stated that the city's former auditing firm had a terrible track record in presenting information to Council, which later led to Council putting into place procedures and presentation schedules relating to the audit. He said once MF&Co. came onboard, they provided Council with information that gave us a thorough understanding of the audit process, findings, and recommendations. He said the city has made great strides under their direction and they have helped us save thousands of taxpayer dollars.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 65 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB

Resolution No. 66, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a certificate of appropriateness to C.S. Davidson, Inc. for work to be done at 42 N. Duke st., and Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects for work to be done at 47 E. Market St., was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 66 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

CONSENT AGENDA

Introduction of Bill No. 19, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending subsection 513.10 “Pedestrians at Controlled Intersections and at Continental Square” of the York City Codified Ordinances to include provisions and penalties for vehicles obstructing crosswalks, was introduced by Texter, read by short title, and came up for discussion.

Councilman Texter questioned why the one penalty under the legislation included a $15 fine. Council previously set similar minimum fines at $25 to establish consistency in the city ordinances and to align the ordinance with state law, which also sets a minimum $25 fine for such offenses.

President Musso explained that he was approached by a downtown foot patrol officer who said pedestrians have been complaining about vehicles blocking crosswalks when stopped at red lights. The officer watched the situation and noted that this is a problem. He said the officer recommended implementing provisions and penalties to address this situation but wanted to keep the fine low so as to give the District Magistrates flexibility in increasing the fines for repeat offenders.

Councilman Texter replied that he would prefer to set the penalty to make it consistent with state law but said he would hold his discussion until the Bill comes up for final passage.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 19 was deferred until the June 2, 2009 meeting of Council.

FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

Final Passage of Bill No. 16, Ordinance No. 16, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2009 CDBG Program Budget to reflect changes resulting from actual funding levels rolled over from 2008 ($113,364.68), which was introduced by Ray at the May 5, 2009 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Smith, Bill No. 16 came up for discussion.

Tammy Harvey-Bethea, Program Funding Analyst, explained that an error was made during the original rollover process in that some line items were missed. This amendment is being submitted to correct that mistake to included those line items - $112,482.19 for CDBG Admin Reimbursement; and $882.49 for CDBG Program Delivery.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 16, Ordinance No. 16, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 17, Ordinance No. 17, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2009 Budget by appropriating revenue/expenditures in the amount of $175,000 for the Federal Weed & Seed Communities Strategy grant, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the May 5, 2009 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 17 came up for discussion.

Councilman Texter outlined that the city applied for and received the WSC award from the Community Capacity Development Office and the U.S. Dept. of Justice for a community-centered collaboration of weed and seed strategies. He said the grant period runs from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009 for the amount of $175,000 plus a 25% match which has been secured as follows —York County Juvenile Probation $17,700; York City Police $7,045 Overtime, $4,449 benefits, $1,500 Citizens Police Academies, Cops & Bobbers $3,500 and $5,000 Summer Bowling Program; York City Department of Fire/Rescue $9,703 Fire Code Overtime and $1,305 Fire Code benefits; Community Progress Council TAP $4,131; and Council of Churches $4,000.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 17, Ordinance No. 17, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 18, Ordinance No. 18, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2009 Budget to appropriate revenue/expenditures in the amount of $182,000 for a PCCD Weed & Seed grant, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the May 5, 2009 meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 18 came up for discussion.

Councilman Texter explained that the $182,000 grant award would be broken down into three separate grants — Micro-Enterprises for $23,000; Quality of Life for $84,000; and Delinquency Prevention for $75,000. These programs were formerly carried out by York County and the South George Street Community Partnership, however, PCCD determined that all Weed and Seed grants must be applied for by the local municipality. He further explained that the City has issued sub-recipient agreements to carry out these programs with the Association for Helping Entrepreneurs Achieve Dreams (AHEAD), Crispus Attucks, York County Juvenile Probation, York County Sheriff’s office, and Shiloh Community Development Corporation.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 18, Ordinance No. 18, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

NEW BUSINESS

Resolution No. 67, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer in the amount of $6,000.00 for the Bureau of Recreation and Parks to cover program expenses, was introduced by Smith, read at length, and on motion of Smith, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 67 came up for discussion.

Tom Landis, Director of Recreation & Parks, said when preparing the 2009 Budget, the cost to fund the company that oversees the 3-on-3 Roundball Ruckus was missed. This transfer would move money from two other accounts to cover this expense – a total of $6,000.00. Mr. Landis explained that no services will be lost or interrupted as a result of this transfer. He said originally $6,000.00 was budgeted to fix a scoreboard and repair electronic sporting equipment; however, these were able to be fixed in-house by the city's electrical bureau. Therefore, these funds are now available to cover this oversight.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 67 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 68, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution authorizing substantial amendments to the 2008 Annual Action Plan for compliance and acceptance of $453,416.00 in CDBG funding under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 68 came up for discussion.

Motion to refer to committee. A motion was made by Ray to refer Resolution No. 68 to the Community Development Committee for further discussion. She then asked about amendments, deadlines, and public review.

Wanda Montalvo, CDBG Program Compliance Specialist, outlined that the amendments must be submitted to HUD no later than June 5, 2009. She said the City received notice about this grant award two weeks ago and we are currently working on the substantial amendments requested by HUD. She said the public review process was amended by HUD to 7 days versus 30. Ms. Montalvo stated that once the substantial amendments are made, the Bureau of Housing Services will make this document available online, as well as provide a hard copy to the City Clerk and City Hall for public review. She said she hopes to have the amendments made within the next two days.

Councilwoman Ray said she wants to meet in committee to give Council an opportunity to review the amendments and make recommendations before the document is submitted to HUD.

James Crosby, Program Compliance Specialist, explained that this Resolution is basically asking for Council's permission to amend the 2008 Annual Action Plan in order to allow HUD to release the $453,416.00 in grant funding to the city. He clarified that we have not yet allocated these funds nor have we amended the Action Plan; however, once allocations are established and the plan is amended, they would then come to Council for approval.

Councilwoman Smith rejected the motion to refer to committee because she said she wants to move forward to allow acceptance of these funds as we will act on the amendments to the Action Plan when they are made.

Councilwoman Ray said she doesn't want to put the cart before the horse and feels we should take the time to review the amendments.

President Musso read a memo from Community Development Director Dan Robinson (who is out of town on business) outlining the timeline associated with this grant. He questioned why the draft amendment to the Action Plan was not made available for public review on May 13th as noted in the timeline.

Mr. Crosby said he was not aware of the timeline submitted by Director Robinson and therefore had no comment.

President Musso said he's concerned that staff is not meeting the timeline requirements and therefore agreed with Councilwoman Ray that we should discuss this further in committee.

There being no further discussion, Councilwoman Ray's motion to refer to committee was seconded by Texter and passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Musso – 4; Nays – Smith – 1.

A Community Development Committee meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to further discussion Resolution No. 68. (Note: Council Chambers was not available, therefore, Council will hold the meeting in the Council Caucus Room, 1 Marketway West, 3rd Floor, York, PA.)

Resolution No. 69, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution approving the City’s participation in an Intermunicipal Public Safety Feasibility Study and authorizing application for a shared municipal services grant through the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development, was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Smith, Resolution No. 69 came up for discussion.

Councilman Texter explained that this Resolution is to authorize the City of York to make joint application with West York Borough to DCED for a Shared Municipal Services Program grant to undertake a "Regional Public Safety Services Feasibility Study”. He said Council agreed last year (Res. 115-08) to have the City participate in this study and establish a committee to review a possible multi-municipal regional approach to police services. (Read excerpt) That Resolution also authorized the Administration to assist the committee and appointed me to serve on it. Councilman Texter further explained that the committee has agreed to request the grant in order to hire a consultant to do a "Regional Public Safety Services Feasibility Study." At least two municipalities must agree to work together to apply and administer the grant. West York Borough has already voted to apply for the grant and this Resolution would authorize the city to join in that application so that the grant can be received and the the study can take place.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 69 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

Community Development Committee - Councilwoman Genevieve Ray, Chair: A CD Committee meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Resolution No. 68 (View), a Resolution authorizing the city to submit substantial amendments to the 2008 Annual Action Plan to HUD for compliance and acceptance of grant funding in the amount of $453,416.00 through the CDBG Program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

COUNCIL COMMENT

Councilwoman Ray took a moment to congratulate candidates who won a spot on the General Election Ballot.

ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None

PUBLIC COMMENT

Chris Buckingham, 564 Atlantic Ave., York, PA, read portions of “Robert's Rules of Order” regarding tabling of legislation. He said according to these rules, which were adopted by Council, Bill No. 58 (View) should have been acted upon by now or the legislation dies. He urged Council to get rid of Bill No. 58 because its a clear violation of state law (Title 18, Section 6120). The intent of this Bill will not address straw purchases because people who break the law will continue to break the law. Mr. Buckingham agrees that crime is on the rise and we may never be able to put violence under control, however, he stated that guns will continue to be a problem with or without this legislation.

Sandra Thompson, Esquire, York, PA, said she recently received information on Bill No. 58 and asked Council to research this legislation further. She stated that unconstitutional laws, such as the city's public assembly ordinance, cost taxpayer dollars because the city was sued. She urged Council to not follow that same path and be careful not to violate state law.

Paul McGuire, 574 W. Princess St., York, PA, asked if residents need to obtain a food license to sell vegetables from their garden. Councilman Texter answered that a license is required to sell prepared foods.

John Stein, 725 Prospect St., York, PA, spoke out against Bill No. 58. He said Council is missing the point because straw purchases are already illegal under state law. Additionally, gun control is thoroughly covered under state law. He said he comes to Council as an informed police officer and believes this is just a “feel good” piece of legislation.

Jason Epperson, 555 Hillcrest Rd., York, PA, is also opposed to Bill No. 58. He feels this legislation will do little to address gun control. He stated that his concern was that when this legislation was tabled back in 2008, it would resurrect in the summer under the citizen's radar, which it almost did. He asked if enforcement of this law would become selective based on appearance. This law gives little means to prove our innocence, he said. Mr. Epperson read criminal sheets of several repeat offenders and said our judges and prosecutors need to do their jobs in keeping these types of offenders off our streets.

Jay Andrzejczyk, 284 Cottage Hill Rd., York, PA, stated that his fear is that with the litany of other cities enforcing illegal laws, he hopes Council doesn't follow suit.

President Musso said these are some of the problems associated with tabling legislation and he feels Council needs to recognize this.

Councilwoman Smith said she had originally proposed to place Bill No. 58 on tonight's agenda for consideration of final passage. However, she said she knows she did not give Council or the public enough notice and, therefore, said she has decided to hold off on placing the legislation on the agenda until Council's June 2, 2009 meeting.

NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for June 2, 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 May 20, 2009 meeting of Council adjourned at 9:15 p.m.