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January 15, 2008 City Council Minutes

This regular meeting of the Connellsville City Council was held this evening at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, Municipal Building, and 110 North Arch Street, Connellsville, PA. Attending this meeting were Mayor Reed, Council Members McIntire, Geyer, and Bodes. Also attending this meeting were, City Clerk Antoinette Tesauro and City Treasurer Judy Keller. Absent was Councilman Matthews.

A moment of silence was observed following the Pledge of Allegiance.

Public Comment:

Yvonne Rush, 303 East Cedar Avenue, Connellsville, discussed a neighborhood cat and rat problem. She asked Council what they plan to do about it. Councilman McIntire stated he spoke with the Health Officer, Rita Bornstein, and they are moving in the right direction. He said he would rather not say, at this time, what they are going to do about it. All I can say is we are in the process of making changes with code enforcement. Rush questioned the scenario that one of her children get bit. McIntire answered that Rita can go out there and “bait up”. He stated he will have Rita contact her.

Rush then asked Councilman Geyer what he intends to do with the playground on Washington Avenue. Geyer answered that they are going to replace parts and equipment. He noted that the Recreation Department’s budget is minimal and tight. Rush questioned if there are grants that the City could apply for and if volunteers are permitted to help George (Recreation Department employee). Geyer noted that George is doing the work himself which is saving their department money. He further noted volunteers would cause an insurance issue.

Reed then introduced the City’s new Solicitor, Thomas Bowlen.

Melissa Tzan, 1116 Race Street, Connellsville, discussing the school board and elementary school near her home. She read a Field Investigation from an engineering company. She asked council to bear with her until she gets to the point. She then had another report to read concerning the foundation of the school. Tzan requested City Council attend the next school board meeting.

Duane Sutor, P.O. Box 91, Hunker, PA 15639. He noted that he is a landlord in the City of Connellsville. He asked council to let him know what they have planned for 2008 as far as a “Landlord Ordinance”. He further asked what council wishes to accomplish from this ordinance.

McIntire answered he hopes they will be presenting a landlord ordinance this year. He noted this will give “the City” a grasp on people as far as where they live. He noted it’s sometimes hard to get a hold of the landlord when they live out of town, as far as the property maintenance. He noted that 50% of people in the City rent, and it’s hard to keep a handle of the City. He further noted that it benefit’s the landlords. He gave an example of a tenant skipping out on, say, an electric bill. The landlord may have no idea where to find that person, but the City would. McIntire further noted that all that is requested from the landlord is keeping a decent property and that this is to better Connellsville. McIntire noted City Council has had three meetings with the property owners. He requested Sutor attend the next meeting. McIntire answered that he would like something passed this year because council has been working on this for a year. He further stated that they want to step up code enforcement in the City. Sutor questioned if the primary focus is to track to tenant and landlord. McIntire stated yes that and property upkeep.

Regular Agenda:

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 1-05-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “To accept the minutes from the December 13, 2007 City Council Meeting.”

Reed stated the resolution concerning the Multi-Municipal Comp. Plan stated money was to come from “Good Neighbor Program”, but that was omitted in the minutes. She stated minutes must be emended to include this part.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 1-06-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “To accept the minutes from the January 7, 2008 Reorganization Meeting.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Correspondence:

Letter from Philip Valenti on Home Foreclosures/Banking Crisis

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 1-07-08, which was seconded by Geyer: “Whereas, Pennsylvania House Resolution 418 is a bi-partisan resolution introduced October 2, 2007 to the PA House of Representatives, which calls on the US Congress to take emergency action to protect homeowners and banks by enactive a Homeowners and Banks Protection Act; and Whereas, said Act would establish a Federal agency to place Federal and State chartered banks under protection, freezing all existing home mortgages for a period of time, adjusting mortgage values to fair prices, restructuring existing mortgages at appropriate interest rates and writing off speculative debt obligations of mortgage-backed securities, financial derivatives and other forms of financial pyramid schemes that have brought the banking system to the point of bankruptcy; and Whereas, said Act would also declare a moratorium on all home foreclosures for the duration of the transition period, allowing families to retain their homes and authorize governors of several states to assume the administrative responsibilities for implementing the program; and Whereas, said Act would benefit the Citizens of the City of Connellsville and protect their assets during this period of financial unrest that is leading to home foreclosures in record numbers; and NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA, that the City Council of the City of Connellsville and the Administration urges our Federal Officials to support the measures suggested in PA House Resolution 418.”

Geyer stated we need to contact our area representatives to let them know about this resolution and council’s actions on it.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Reed, Geyer and McIntire. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 1-08-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “To advertise that the condition and maintenance of sidewalks in the City of Connellsville is the sole responsibility of the property owner as per Ordinances 1130 and 1088.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, and Reed. Geyer voted nay. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Reed noted that it is advertising that property owners are responsibility for their sidewalks.

McIntire noted that this is nothing new and that’s it’s always been this way.

Geyer – People need to know it’s their responsibility and maybe our media will cover this more than some things. Broken sidewalks and such cause accidents, accidents because lawsuits, lawsuits cost tax payers money.

Reed stated to remember that “Ignorance is no excuse to the law.”

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 1-09-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “to advertise to reschedule to February and March City Council meetings to Thursday, February 21, and Thursday, March 20, 2008. Executive session begins at 6:00 PM.”

McIntire noted that the meeting is rescheduled to make it easier for the public to remember. It’s the third Thursday of the month.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 1-10-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “To reappoint Widmer Engineering as the City’s Engineer, retainer in the amount of $5,000.00.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

DEPARTMENT REPORTS:

Mayor Reed discussed the following issues:

Police Officer’s monthly report Annual Police Report

Bodes:

Bodes added that a lot of City business can be posted on the City’s website, included the sidewalk ordinance. He noted it’s up to date.

Bodes introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 1-11-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “To pay all bills as presented including all bills and expenditures for goods and services that exceed $500.00:

American Rock Salt Co., $3,976.77, PLGIT Liquid Fuels Amerihealth Casualty Services, $17,193.37, Workers Comp/Misc.expenses Case Sabatini, $9,475.00, Audit Expense Edmunds & Associates, $3,250.00, finance computer Higbee Insurance Agency, $500.00, Liability/Bond PA League City & Municipalities, $2,780.38, The HDH Group, $30,114.50, Liability/Bond”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the vote being affirmative, the Resolution was adopted.

Bodes introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 1-12-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “to pay Mockenhaupt Benefits Group $3,049.00 for Firemen’s Pension and $4,471.00 for Police Pension, to be paid from Pension Assets.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Geyer:

Recreation Department Report

Street Department Report for Councilman Matthews

Geyer introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 1-15-08, which was seconded by McIntire, “To combine Redevelopment Authority CDBG Funds and the City’s Liquid Fuels money for a paving project. The Redevelopment Authority will administer the bids and the project using CDBG money for the paving of a section of Arch Street and Grape Alley in 2008. The City will use Liquid Fuels money for the paving of a section of Perry Street and Franklin Avenue in 2008. All bids to be sent to be sent to the Redevelopment Authority , accompanied by a Certified Check or Bid Bond in the amount of not less than ten (10%) percent of the total bid in accordance with provisions of the Contract Documents. Certified Check and Bid Bond to be made payable to “City of Connellsville Redevelopment Authority.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

McIntire:

McIntire noted that there are openings on some of the City’s Boards. If anyone is interested in serving on a board, please stop in at City Hall and let them know.

He discussed a letter that was written to Gary Pennington of the Municipal Authority. He read the letter. AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

Reed suggested Clerk call to see if there will be a meeting about this.

McIntire noted we need to think about the long range effects we have on the area.

Bodes agreed with McIntire.

Geyer noted answers need to be given.

Health Department Report

Treasurer’s Report

City Controller’s Report

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 1-17-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “Motion for an Executive Meeting at 6:00 PM on February 21, 2008, for the purpose of considering pending or new employment, collective bargaining or litigation issues.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Geyer, McIntire, Reed and Bodes. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 1-16-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “That this meeting of City Council does hereby adjourn.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Reed, Geyer and McIntire. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the Resolution were adopted.

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