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November 14, 2012 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, at 110 North Arch Street, Connellsville, PA. Attending this meeting was Mayor Matthews, Council members Karpiak, Weaver, Geyer and Ritch. Also attending this meeting was City Clerk Tesauro and Solicitor Witt.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND MOMENT OF SILENCE:

VISITORS/PUBLIC COMMENTS:

Johanna Harden, 1302 Chestnut Street, City finances and City’s golf cart, Fayette EMS

REGULAR AGENDA:

Resolution No. 11-1-2012: “To approve the minutes from the October 17, 2012 City Council Meeting.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-2-2012: “To waive the 4-day Resolution Rule to allow for items submitted after the 4-day rule to be read at the meeting tonight, such Resolutions will be marked with an asterisk.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

CORRESPONDENCE:

Connellsville Garden Club, requesting faucets installed by Veterans Plaza

Matthews stated he spoke with the Garden Club and they spoke with Vernon Ohler, Street Foreman about putting water on the plaza. He stated that Council will look into it further. He further stated the Water Company is doing something with the water line on Water Street, according to Mr. Ohler. “If they do, we will see about running water on the plaza from Water Street.” Matthews added. Council decided to look into where the water lines are and try to help the Garden Club.

MAYOR MATTHEWS:

Police Department Report

Resolution No. 11-3-2012: “To authorize the Redevelopment Authority to acquire the directional signs for the Amtrack Station at no cost to the City; the signs will be installed by the Street Department.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-4-2012: “To approve an intern from Penn State to work in the Police Department.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-5-2012: “Whereas, the Ten Commandments Monument located in front of the Connellsville Area Junior High School (the “Ten Commandments Monument”) was generously donated by the Connellsville chapter of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles as an expression of citizenship, civic pride, and civic involvement; and

Whereas, the Ten Commandments Monument was donated as part of a nation-wide program by the Fraternal Order of the Eagles to promote citizenship, civic pride, and civic involvement; and

Whereas, the Ten Commandments Monument reflects the historical, legal, cultural, and social history of our country and our community; and
Whereas, the Ten Commandments Monument has been in its present location for over fifty years; and

Whereas, the Ten Commandments Monument has promoted citizenship, civic pride, and civic involvement among the students of the Connellsville Area Junior High School and the residents of the City of Connellsville. Be it resolved by the City Council of the City of Connellsville, to designate the Ten Commandments Monument a historical site with cultural and historical significance to the City of Connellsville and its residents.”

Matthews said that the City will try to do whatever it can do to help save the Ten Commandments at the school.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

REMINDERS:

Christmas in Yough Park, Saturday, November 17th from 12 noon until 4 PM
Light up Night, Saturday, November 17th
Christmas Parade, November 17th at 7 PM sponsored by New Haven Hose

Matthews thanked the following groups for the work that they do: Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Connellsville, New Haven Hose, and Armstrong Cable.

Matthews announced the Community Center is having a Christmas Pageant on December 22nd from 9 AM until 6 PM. This will be held in the Porter Theater in the Community Center.

GEYER:

Resolution No. 11-6-2012: “To introduce proposed Ordinance #1493, Bill No. 4 of 2012, AN ORDINANCE FIXING THE SALARIES PAYABLE BY THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE FOR THE VARIOUS POSITIONS ENUMERATED HEREIN FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 2013, AND REPAEALING ALL ORDINANCES OR PARTS OF ORDINANCES INCONSISTENT HEREWITH.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-7-2012: “To introduce Ordinance #1494, Bill No. 5 of 2012, An Ordinance of the City of Connellsville, County of Fayette, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, fixing the real estate tax rate and residence tax rate for all city purposes for the fiscal year 2013, and repealing all ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent herewith.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Geyer noted Council is not raising the current tax millage of 6.66%. He stated they wish to see if the uncollected taxes can be obtained before they raise taxes.

Weaver stated that she wanted to raise taxes because the City has been going further into debit and she feels that the uncollected taxes will not be enough to get the City caught up.

Resolution No. 11-8-2012: “To introduce proposed Ordinance #1495, Bill No. 6 of 2012, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, SHOWING THE ESTIMATED RECEIPTS, EXPENDITURES, AND LIABILITIES OF EVERY KIND FOR ALL THE FUNDS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2013 WITH THE BALANCE OF UNEXPENDED APPROPRIATIONS AS THE BASIS FOR FIXING THE LEVY AND TAX RATE FOR SAID FISCAL, YEAR APPROPRIATING THE VARIOUS AMOUNTS SHOWN AS PROPOSED EXPENDITURES HEREIN FOR THE EXPENSES OF THE CITY FOR SAID FISCAL YEAR FROM THE REVENUE AVAILABLE FOR SAID FISCAL YEAR FOR THE DEPARTMENTS, BUREAUS, AND SPECIFIC PURPOSES SET FORTH HEREIN, AND THE REPEALING OF ALL ORDINANCES OR PARTS OF ORDINANCES INCONSISTANT HEREWITH.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-9-2012: “TO AUTHORIZE, EMPOWER AND DIRECT THE PROPER OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNING BOARD TO APPOINT A LIAISON BETWEEN IT AND BERKHEIMER, THE DULY APPOINTED COLLECTOR OF LOCAL TAXES FOR THE DISTRICT, FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF SHARING CONFIDENTIAL TAX INFORMATION WITH THE DISTRICT FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES.”

WHEREAS, Act No. 511 of the 1965 General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (53 P.S. §690l et seq.), enacted December 31, 1965, and effective January 1, 1966, authorizes certain political subdivisions, including THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, to provide for the creation of such bureaus or the appointment and compensation of such officers, clerks, collectors and other assistants and employees as may be deemed necessary for the assessment and collection of taxes imposed under the authority of that Act; and

WHEREAS, THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, has entered into contractual agreement with BERKHEIMER of Bangor, Pennsylvania, whereby and whereunder THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE appointed Berkheimer to collect certain local taxes; and

WHEREAS, said Act 511 specifically mandates that any information gained by the appointed tax officer, his agents or by any other official or agent of the taxing district, as a result of any declarations, returns, investigations, hearings or verifications required or authorized by the taxing municipality's ordinance or resolution, be kept confidential, except for official purposes; and

WHEREAS, any person who divulges any information which is confidential under the provisions of any ordinance or resolution, upon conviction may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment, upon conviction, and dismissal from office or discharge from employment; and

WHEREAS, Berkheimer requires passage of a resolution by the governing body of THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, specifying that said confidential information is needed for official purposes and absolving Berkheimer from any liability in connection with the release of said confidential information;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that:

1. THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY hereby appoints the City Clerk and the City Treasurer as its’ authorized representatives to make requests upon and receive any and all tax information and records from Berkheimer, relative to the collection of taxes for THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, as desired and deemed necessary by

2. Berkheimer is hereby directed to provide and/or transmit any and all tax information and records, or any portion thereof, relating to the collection of taxes for the CLIENT, upon request, to the City Clerk and the City Treasurer as the authorized contact representatives for it.

3. THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY hereby saves harmless, indemnifies and/or absolves Berkheimer from and against any and all liability in connection with the release of said confidential information to the City Clerk or the City Treasurer.”

Geyer stated Berkheimer will be collecting delinquent Per Capita Taxes.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-10-2012: "TO AUTHORIZE AND EMPOWER ITS LOCAL TAX COLLECTOR, BERKHEIMER, TO IMPOSE AND RETAIN COSTS OF COLLECTION ON DELINQUENT TAXES.”

WHEREAS, THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, by Resolution and/or Ordinance, has levied, assessed and provided for the collection of certain local taxes under and pursuant to the authority of the Act No. 511 of the 1965 General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, enacted December 31, 1965, and effective January 1, 1966, as amended; and

WHEREAS, THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, has hired Berkheimer to collect said taxes levied by the THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, including taxes that are or may become delinquent; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to Act 192 of the 2003-2004 General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, has the right to impose a cost of collection on taxes that become delinquent and/or that remain due and unpaid;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that

1. THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, APPROVES AND ADOPTS the Cost of Collection Schedule attached hereto and made apart of this Resolution to be imposed by BERKHEIMER upon any taxpayer, and only upon such taxpayer, whose taxes are or become delinquent and/or remain due and unpaid.

2. BERKHEIMER is authorized to retain said costs of collection set forth in the attached schedule incurred in recovering delinquent taxes and assessed to the delinquent taxpayer as allowed by law.

3. Any resolution or part of this resolution conflicting with the provisions of this resolution be and the same are hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-11-2012: "TO AUTHORIZE AND APPOINT BERKHEIMER AS ITS TAX HEARING OFFICER UNDER AND PURSUANT TO THE LOCAL TAXPAYERS BILL OF RIGHTS FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF ADJUDICATING APPEALS THEREUNDER.”

WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Local Tax Enabling Act (“LTEA”) authorizes certain political subdivisions, including THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, to levy, assess and collect certain local taxes on taxpayers, for general revenue producing measures; and

WHEREAS, THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, by Resolution and/or Ordinance, has levied, assessed and provided for the collection of certain local taxes; and

WHEREAS, the LTEA specifies that any such political subdivision may provide for the creation of such bureaus or the appointment and compensation of such officers, clerks, collectors and other assistants and employees as may be deemed necessary for the assessment and collection of taxes imposed under the authority of that Act; and

WHEREAS, THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, has appointed Berkheimer to collect the aforementioned taxes levied by it; and

WHEREAS, Act 50 of the 1998 General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, enacted May 5, 1998, and effective, in part, January 1, 1999, known as the “Local Taxpayers Bill of Rights,” requires political subdivisions levying, collecting and assessing taxes of the nature and kind aforementioned to establish an administrative process to receive and make determinations on petitions from taxpayers relating to the assessment, determination or refund of such tax, including without limitation, the appointment of a Tax Hearing Officer by a political subdivision to hear and decide such an appeal; and

WHEREAS, under Section 8432 of such Act of 1998, a political subdivision shall adopt regulations governing practice and procedure under the Local Taxpayers Bill of Rights;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE, FAYETTE COUNTY, hereby appoints BERKHEIMER as its Tax Hearing Officer for all City taxes collected by Berkheimer and further, adopts and incorporates the Act 50 Regulations as promulgated by Berkheimer in their entirety.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-12-2012: “To pay $120.00 to Appleseed’s Farm for 300 pumpkins used for the Halloween at East Park; monies to come from Recreation Checking Account.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-13-2012: “To reimburse Greg Lincoln $287.26 for movie rental reimbursement; monies to be taken from Recreation Checking Account.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-14-2012: “To pay Mockenhaupt Benefits Group $700 for Consulting, actuarial and administrative services through September 30, 2012 for the Police Pension Plan.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-15-2012: “To pay Mockenhaupt Benefits Group $700 for Consulting, actuarial and administrative services through September 30, 2012 for the Firemen’s Pension Plan.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Resolution No. 11-16-2012: “To direct and authorize the City Solicitor to review the bond of Centax and take appropriate action, including but not limited to litigation, to protect the interests of the City in connection with Centax’s failure to properly collect taxes.”

Geyer noted Southwest should be able to collect some of the delinquent taxes.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Geyer wished his mother a Happy Birthday!

KARPIAK:

Public Works Report

Resolution No. 11-17-2012: “To put John Pastors on the Public Work’s on-call list effective immediately.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Karpiak thanked Mr. Carson from Connellsville Township for helping to save the City money by lending a hand, working together, lending and borrowing from each other.

WEAVER:

Health Department Report
Fire Department Report
New Haven Hose Report

RITCH:

Community Center Christmas Pageant

Ritch announced November 30th at 6 PM is the Christmas in the Community event, doors open at 6 PM. Event activities will be lights, hall trees, refreshments, Bon Fire in front of the building, carolers and a special guest will arrive at 7 PM on a Fire Truck. There will also be a Christmas market in the Community Center.

Ritch announced Saturday, December the 1st from noon until 5:30 will be the following events; Christmas market, hall of trees with sounds and refreshments, a puppet show by Robert Sanner at 1:30 PM followed by a movie called the Polar Express, then once again, our special guest will arrive. At 4:30 PM will be a tree drawing with the event closing at 5:30 PM.

Matthews noted that a lot of things will be going on in Connellsville that weekend.

CITY TREASURER REPORT:

Resolution No. 11-18-2012: “That this meeting of City Council does hereby adjourn.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Karpiak, Geyer, Ritch, Weaver and Mayor Matthews. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

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