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City Council Meeting Minutes

August 18, 2009

CALL TO ORDER: City Council convened in a General Committee meeting on August 18, 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.

GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT

Judy Cooper, 838 W. College Ave., York, PA, complained of cat infestation at the property located next door. She said the residents at the adjoining property are housing 17 cats. She stated that she operates a daycare and they cannot use their backyard. Ms. Cooper asked that the health department investigate. President Musso said he would relay Ms. Cooper's concerns to the administration.

Franklin Williams, 528 W. Market St., York, PA, spoke about the proposed traffic pattern change from one way to two way on E. Market St. He said he feels this would be a waste of time and money. Next, Mr. Williams questioned why there are groups of 2 and 3 foot patrol officers walking the beat. He asked why not just have one officer and disperse the other officers to other locations – with eight robberies in the past two days, we need to spread out our resources, he stated.

Steve Young, 9-11 N. Newberry St., York, PA, complimented the city's first responders for doing a great job when responding to an incident involving a baby in his neighborhood. He then asked why there was no flag at Colonial Courthouse.

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: Dan Robinson, Director of Community Development, John Senft, Fire Chief, and John White, Director of Information Systems. Also present was Assistant Solicitor Don Hoyt. Kevin Schreiber, Director of Economic Development, Mark Whitman, Police Commissioner, Jim Gross, Director of Public Works, 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 Andrew Stern, 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 July 21, 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

Strategic Comprehensive Plan 2013: Andrew Stern, JMT Consulting, presented each Council member with the draft Comp Plan 2030. He then outlined the process involved in preparing this document and answered a few questions from Council.

Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Pilot Program: Rebecca E. Jackson, President, Opportunity Inc., O.H.C.D., and Joseph Beasley Counselor, were onboard to discuss the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Pilot Program. Ms. Jackson outlined that the program, implemented in Philadelphia, PA, offers stop-gap relief to a large number of residential homeowners who are facing the loss of their homes due to inability to pay mortgages. Ms. Jackson said they receive funding from PHFA and outlined those who would qualify for this program. She further explained that in 2004, 85 foreclosures per month were reported in York and that, unfortunately, that number has since grown to 173 per month.

Background

"In 1983 and 2004, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas was called upon to issue
stop-gap relief to a large number of residential homeowners who were facing the loss
of their homes due to their inability to pay their mortgages. Relief was granted in the
form of a temporary stay and postponements in the Sheriff Sale of foreclosed residential
properties.

Mortgage Foreclosure actions recently filed in the Court of Common Pleas, as well as reliable
data, establish that a mortgage foreclosure crisis, caused in part by “subprime” and “predatory
lending” practices as well as rising interest rates, unemployment and underemployment, have
negatively impacted a substantial number of homeowners causing an increasing number of
residential mortgage foreclosures actions which are being filed and will be filed in the Court of
Common Pleas requiring the expenditure of substantial judicial resources.

Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedures authorize the Court to implement case management
programs designed to assist the Court and the litigants in the simplification of the issues
involved, and to address such other matters which may aid in the timely and efficient disposition
of the action. The within General Court Regulation adopts a Residential Mortgage Foreclosure
Diversion Pilot Program which is designed to provide early Court intervention in residential
owner occupied mortgage foreclosure cases which will assure timely determination of eligibility
under various federal, state and local programs established to facilitate loan work-out and
other solutions to permit residential homeowners, where possible, to retain their properties
and permit lenders to move forward to the Sheriff Sale of the properties upon conclusion
of the process established pursuant to this General Court Regulation."

Mr. Beasley described a situation where a client, who never missed a mortgage payment, ended up in a coma and couldn't pay her mortgage. After explaining this to the mortgage company, they provided no relief and they just could not get the lender to understand the extenuating circumstance surrounding this case. This, he said, is an example of when the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Pilot Program could be useful.

Ms. Jackson said she has contacted Senator Arlan Specter to ask for support in implementing this program in York.

Ms. Jackson and Mr. Beasley answered several program and funding questions from Council. Ms. Jackson said for more information, or free counseling, residents may contact her at (717) 424-3579. Their office is located at 301 E. Market St., York, PA.

Councilwoman Smith suggested holding a Community Development Committee meeting with all players invited to attend to further discuss this program. Councilwoman Ray said she would like hard numbers on foreclosures before a meeting is scheduled. After discussion, Council said they would wait to hear from Ms. Jackson on comments received from Senator Specter prior to scheduling a meeting.

For more information on the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Pilot Program, please visit the following links: (News Release) (Program Info)

COMMITTEE MEETINGS SCHEDULED

Police Committee, Cameron Texter, Chair: Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss Bill No. 58-08 (View), a Bill amending Article 725 "Firearms & Weapons" of the Codified Ordinances to establish criteria for failure to report lost or stolen firearms.

COMMITTEE REPORTS
Councilman Texter provided each member of Council with draft legislation restricting the placement of halfway houses, recovery homes, and similar facilities, in the city. He said he feels the current legislation is inappropriate and hopes this proposed legislation will be self-sustaining. Councilman Texter stated that we need to get a handle on the amount of these types of facilities popping up all over the city.

President Musso asked the Solicitor's Office to provide a written opinion on the legality of this proposed legislation. Assistant Solicitor Hoyt said he would comply.

SUBDIVISION / LAND DEVELOPMENT / HARB

Resolution No. 97, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution approving the final subdivision plan submitted by York Bldg. Products & Capital Self Storage to divide a 16.32-acre tract of land located at 915 Carlisle Ave., was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 97 came up for discussion.

Harvey Yoe, York Building Products Project Manager, explained that Capital Storage is proposing to divide off a 16.32 acre portion of their property and convey it to the York Building Products property. The parcels involved are located in the City of York and West Manchester Township. He said the York City Planning Commission recommended approval of the Final Subdivision Plan at its meeting held on July 13, 2009 with various waivers and contingencies, which a majority have been met.

Councilwoman Ray asked what contingencies were not met.

Alex Hoffman, City Planner, said the statement of purpose and certification were the two items not addressed but are contingencies of approval.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 97 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 98, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution accepting the recommendations of HARB in issuing a certificate of appropriateness for work to be covered in the application submitted by Dr. Kelly Hollis for work to be done at 484-486 W. Market St., was introduced by Texter, read at length, and on motion of Texter, seconded by Hill-Evans, the Resolution came up for discussion.

Councilman Texter asked if a conflict of interest exists because he has had dealings with the applicant. Assistant Solicitor Hoyt said there is no conflict.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 98 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

CONSENT AGENDA

Introduction of Bill No. 30, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2009 Budget in the amount of $10,600 for purchase of security cameras for the Police Dept., was introduced by Texter, read by short title, and deferred until the September 1st meeting of Council.

Introduction of Bill No. 31, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2009 Budget in the amount of $350 for purchase of weapons for the Police Dept., was introduced by Texter, read by short title, and deferred until the September 1st meeting of Council.

Introduction of Bill No. 32, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2009 CDBG Budget in the amount of $453,416 for the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act award, was introduced by Ray, read by short title, and deferred until the September 1st meeting of Council.

FINAL PASSAGE OF BILLS / RESOLUTIONS

Final Passage of Resolution No. 93, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution clarifying the description of dwelling units in the R-3 & R-4 designation areas relating to Article 1761 “Enforcement, Licensing & Appeals” of the Building Code, which was introduced by Ray at the July 21st meeting of Council, and read at length, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 93 came up for discussion.

Chief Senft said this is simply changing the terminology of R-3 & R-4 designations to make it consistent with state laws and that no fees are being changed.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 93 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 21, Ordinance No. 22, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending Article 1763 “General Requirements” of the Property Maintenance Code, relating to snow removal to clarify the responsibility of property owners, which was introduced by Ray at the July 21st meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 21 came up for discussion.

Director Robinson explained that this amendment comes amidst litigation surrounding snow removal. The District Justices wanted clarification on who was responsible to remove snow. Therefore, clarification was made that the “owner” is solely responsible to remove snow and ice.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 21, Ordinance No. 22, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Texter, Smith, Musso – 4; Nays – Hill-Evans – 1.

Final Passage of Bill No. 22, Ordinance No. 23, Session 2009, (View) A Bill establishing Article 1713 “Flood Plain Management”, which was introduced by Ray at the July 21st meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Bill No. 22 came up for discussion.

Andrew Stern, JMT Consulting, and contracted City Planner, explained that the Federal government is requiring digitized maps, which will take place September 25th and we must have our ordinance updated by that date. C.S. Davidson, the city's engineering firm, drafted the legislation and when the zoning ordinance is drafted, we will need to revisit it to make it consistent with the Flood Plain ordinance.

Councilman Texter stated that the penalties imposed in this ordinance is inconsistent with the penalties adopted by Council earlier this year and asked if we could amend these. Assistant Solicitor Hoyt said he would have to research this and is therefore not prepared to provide an answer tonight.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 22, Ordinance No. 23, passed by the following vote: Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 23, Ordinance No. 24, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Annual Action Plan to reflect changes resulting from previous years for Community Housing Development Organization Corporation (CHDO) in the amount of $201,970.34, which was introduced by Ray at the July 21st meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Hill-Evans, Bill No. 23 came up for discussion.

Director Robinson answered specific line item questions from Council.

resident Musso said he would vote against this legislation because he's opposed to granting $35,000.00 to Friends Beauty Salon because he doesn't see how this benefits the community.

Councilwoman Ray stated that she also questioned this allocation and was told that it met the criteria for funding.

Steve Young, 9-11 S. Newberry St., York, PA, said he understood that this allocation was to be used to rebuild after a fire damaged the property.

Councilwoman Ray said the explanation she received was that this allocation was to rebuild the salon, however, the benefit to the community would be the hiring of another staff person at the salon, which would be considered job creation.

A brief discussion ensued on this allocation and how and if it directly benefits the community.

After discussion, Bill No. 23, Ordinance No. 24, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith – 4; Nays – Musso – 1.

Final Passage of Bill No. 24, Ordinance No. 25, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2009 Budget to reflect changes resulting from actual CDBG/HOME programs award, which was introduced by Ray at the July 21st meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 24 came up for discussion.

President Musso stated that for some reason Council no longer receives hard copies of the budget vs. actual. He said the online version is outdated and that he's asked repeatedly that this be updated, to no avail. He said that since the online version is the only access Council has to this report, he feels it imperative that the information be updated.

Director John White apologized for the inconvenience and said the Finance Department has been critically understaffed, which is hindering their ability to provide this information. He did say, however, that they are working to get this information posted.

President Musso said he would vote against this legislation for the same reason he voted against Bill No. 23, Ordinance No. 24 (regarding Friends Beauty Salon).

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 24, Ordinance No. 25, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith – 4; Nays – Musso – 1.

Final Passage of Bill No. 25, Ordinance No. 26, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Budget to reflect changes resulting from previous years CHDO funds and 2008 HOME YCDC funds to increase revenue and expenditures in the amount of $201,970.34, which was introduced by Ray at the July 21st meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 25, Ordinance No. 26, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 26, Ordinance No. 27, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2009 Budget to appropriate revenue/expenditures in the amount of $10,000 for Admin. & Program Delivery and Other Professional Services, which was introduced by Ray at the July 21st meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 26, Ordinance No. 27, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 27, Ordinance No. 28, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Budget to cover 2008 expenses in preparation of the 2008 audit – Part 1, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the July 21st meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 27 came up for discussion.

Director White explained that these are routine changes to the budget to make line item adjustments so that the budget balances. He said this does not change the bottom line budget amount.

There being no further discussion, Bill No. 27, Ordinance No. 28, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill No. 28, Ordinance No. 29, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2008 Budget to cover 2008 expenses in preparation of the 2008 audit – Part 2, which was introduced by Hill-Evans at the July 21st meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 27 came up for discussion.

Director White stated that this amendment will cover items not budgeted for in the 2009 budget. He said this mainly deals with health and dental over-expenditures, which totaled $817,273.64. He explained that the Administration knew there was a potential for risk when it came to these line items. However, the Administration was able to mitigate the shortage through the reserve funds, otherwise, we would have had to increase taxes by 1 mil to cover the overage. Unfortunately, he said, tapping into our reserves may affect next year's budget.

Councilwoman Ray questioned why Viagra is covered under the city's insurance but birth control is not. She said this preposterous. Director White responded that insurance companies view erectile dysfunction as a medical condition, whereas birth control is viewed and a non-medical related option.

Councilman Texter said Council could vote to establish a policy that allows Council to have a say in the insurance policy process.

There being no further discussion, Bill 28, Ordinance No. 29, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Final Passage of Bill no. 29, Ordinance No. 30, Session 2009, (View) A Bill amending the 2009 Budget to appropriate revenue and expenditures for the Childhood Immunization Grant in the amount of $35,000.00 and an Injury Prevention Grant in the amount of $10,000.00, which was introduced by Ray at the July 21st meeting of Council and read by short title, came up for final passage. On motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Bill No. 29, Ordinance No. 30, passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

NEW BUSINESS

Resolution No. 99, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution supporting the filing of funds under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009, Strengthening Communities Fund – State, Local, & Tribal Government Capacity Building Program, was introduced by Musso, read at length and on motion of Musso, seconded by Hill-Evans, Resolution No. 99 came up for discussion.

President Musso said this Resolution will grant authority to the PA Association of Latino Organizations to apply for ARRA funds under this program.

Program Purpose: The purpose of the Strengthening Communities Fund – State, Local, & Tribal Government Capacity Building Grant Program is to build the capacity of government offices (or their authorized designee) that provide outreach to faith-based and community-based organizations and to assist nonprofit organizations in addressing the broad economic recovery issues present in their communities, including helping low-income individuals secure and retain employment, earn higher wages, obtain better-quality jobs, and gain greater access to State and Federal benefits and tax credits.

Councilwoman Ray asked if there was a local match. Director Robinson said he was not sure but would find out and report back to Council.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 99 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 100, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution authorizing an agreement with Kinsley Properties for a 3-yr. lease agreement for the property located at 227 W. Market St. for the York City Bureau of Health, was introduced by Ray, read at length, and on motion of Ray, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 100 came up for discussion.

Director Robinson requested that Council table this Resolution because he has some concerns about the 3-year clause in the agreement.

Motion to table. At the request of Director Robinson, a motion was made by Texter, seconded by Smith, to table Resolution No. 100 until the September 1st meeting of Council. The motion to table passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

Resolution No. 101, Session 2009, (View) A Resolution authorizing a budget transfer in the amount of $66,500.00 for the Information Services Department, was introduced by Hill-Evans, read at length, and on motion of Hill-Evans, seconded by Texter, Resolution No. 100 came up for discussion.

Director White explained that this amendment will cover unplanned expenditures related to telephone and data charges. He said the city was awarded a grant from Verizon; however, they later found out those grant funds could not be used to pay for Verizon services, which is the bulk of the services they needed funding for. Therefore, a budget transfer is being requested to cover those unfunded expenditures.

There being no further discussion, Resolution No. 101 passed by the following vote: Yeas – Ray, Hill-Evans, Texter, Smith, Musso – 5; Nays – 0.

REQUESTS FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

Police Committee, Councilman Cameron Texter, Chair: Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, September 8, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in Council Chambers to discuss Bill No. 58-08 (View), a Bill amending Article 725 "Firearms & Weapons" of the Codified Ordinances to establish criteria for failure to report lost or stolen firearms.

Community Development Committee, Councilwoman Genevieve Ray, Chair: A meeting date pending to discuss the Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Pilot Program. See discussion under the “Presentations” section of the Minutes above for more information.

COUNCIL COMMENT: None

ADMINISTRATION COMMENT: None

NEXT MEETING: The next regular meeting of City Council is scheduled for Tuesday, September 1, 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 August 18, 2009 meeting of Council adjourned at 8:42 p.m.