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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting
Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday, April 20, 2005 at 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Wayne, Mrs. Fryer, Ms. Coleman, Ms. Hill, Mr. Lee and Mr. Smith. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Engineer Bevilacqua, Borough Manager Forrest, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Treasurer Asciutto and Police Chief Kortan. Mr. Borgman and Fire Chief Young were absent.
President Wayne stated that the meeting was being taped by Comcast and will be shown on April 25th at 7:00 PM on Channel 10.
President Wayne stated that Dr. Dana Bedden will instead be attending the September 21, 2005 general meeting.

Minutes – Mr. Smith moved to approve the minutes of the March 16, 2005 Borough Council General Meeting as submitted by the Secretary. Mrs. Fryer seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Announcements and Presentations

Mayor’s Report – Mayor Young introduced the champions of the Upper Darby/Lansdowne Marbles group who explained the game of marbles and stated they would next be attending the National Marbles Tournament in Wildwood, New Jersey.

Mayor Young read a letter of appreciation from the Clifton Heights Police Department regarding Lansdowne Police Department Sgt. Eisenhart’s assistance in apprehending a burglary suspect.

Mayor Young presented certificates of recognition to the Penn Wood High School hi-Q Team.

Mayor Young presented the No Place For Hate’s gift of books regarding tolerance and acceptance to the Library. Laura Williams gave $100.00 for the purchase of additional books.

Mayor Young read a proclamation declaring April as National Poetry Month.

Mayor Young introduced Jean Hughes who spoke about the upcoming Paws for Kindness event to be held on May 7th, 10-3 PM in the municipal parking lot off Owen Avenue.

Mayor Young announced the following calendar items:

  • April 23 – Girl Scout Troop 400’s flea market in Hoffman Park.
  • April 23 – Friends School presentation of "Annie", 2:00 PM.
  • April 28 – Folk Club concert, "Dave’s True Story".
  • April 30 – 4th annual Town garage Sale.
  • April 30 – Darby Creek cleanup.
  • May 1 – Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra’s "1001 Arabian Nights", 3:00 PM.
  • May 7 – Animal Awareness Event.
  • May 7 – Garden Church Tea, 1:00 and 3:30 PM sittings. $15.00 per person.
  • May 14 – Letter Carrier Food Drive.
  • May 14 – Girl Scout Troop 440 recycling project, Highland Avenue parking lot, 8-11 AM.
  • May 17 – Election Day.

Treasurer’s Report – Mr. Smith gave the Treasurer’s report for March. Mr. Smith reported total General Fund revenues in the amount of $382,888.69, total General Fund expenditures in the amount of $377,707.11 and a balance of all funds in the amount of $8,800,404.74.
Mr. Smith reported an ending balance of $714,053.40 for the Non-Employee Pension Plan and an ending balance of $5,693,130.50 for the Police Pension Fund.
Mr. Smith reported that the Tax Collector had collected a total of $3,926,864.00 in Borough real estate taxes as of today.

Engineer’s Report – Mr. Bevilacqua stated his items would be covered under Committee reports.

Solicitor’s Report – Mr. Scott stated his items would be covered in Executive Session.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

A. President’s Report – President Wayne stated he was still awaiting the County’s Comprehensive Plan status report.

President Wayne reported on Economic Development Committee activities:

  • Redevelopment Plan – to date several discussions have been held with several developers and two projects are being further explored: (a) the area between Wycombe, Highland and Baltimore Avenues and the area south of the railroad tracks being developed as mixed use buildings with available parking. Graynor Price Homes is the developer interested in this project; and (b) the present plan for the Lansdowne Center is to leave the buildings where currently positioned, redesign the facades, redo the parking area and develop the Matlack building as a mixed use building. The Lansdowne Center owners have also signed a contract to buy the Bank Building.

B. Economic Development – Ms. Coleman reported that the Baltimore Avenue Corridor Revitalization strategy is in its first phase that will focus on pedestrian friendly measures and facade developments. Area businesses and the community have already given input regarding this project to facilitate the overall plan.

Ms. Coleman reported that the GLCA and the LEDC will work on a gateway park near Scottdale Road and Baltimore Avenue, renovations to the Lansdowne Theater and renovations to the 20th Century Club.

Ms. Coleman reported that the hiring of a Main Street manager has been approved and this person should be in place by June.

Ms. Coleman stated that the next Economic Development Committee meeting will be held on April 26th.

C. Finance and Administration – Mr. Smith reported that the 2004 Borough audit has been completed and submitted pursuant to the April 1st deadline.

Mr. Smith reported that the Capital program is progressing with the April 11th delivery of the new street sweeper for a cost of $143,543.00.

Mr. Smith stated that the next Finance and Administration Committee meeting will be held on May 2nd, 7:00 PM. Topics for discussion will be obtaining disability insurance, tax collections and cash flow, 1st quarter budget to actual analysis and the possible early repayment of some municipal debts. Act 72 will also be discussed.

Mr. Smith stated that the next Lansdowne Planning Commission meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 12th.

Mr. Smith declared his intention not to run as Borough Council member next year.

D. Municipal Services – Mrs. Fryer gave no recycling report for March.

Mrs. Fryer reported that the School Board’s next meeting will be held on April 25th. A meeting will also be held on April 28th to discuss Act 72 and 511 (earned income tax) related to Act 72.

Mrs. Fryer reported that the Municipal Services Committee will now meet monthly at 6:00 PM. The next meeting is scheduled for May 2nd and the 2005 Road Program will be discussed at this meeting.

Mr. Smith stated that the issue of Borough crew overtime needs to be further investigated.

E. Public Safety – Ms. Hill reported that based on the infrequency of municipal parking requests, it was the consensus of the Public Safety Committee to not endorse any legislative measures at this time. Any future requests will be sent to Borough Council on an as needed basis.

Ms. Hill reported that SEPTA’s proposal regarding the use of the Highland Avenue parking lot for additional commuter parking should be received in about two weeks. Ms. Hill stated that the proposal will be brought to the Economic Development Committee for review.

Ms. Hill gave the Police Report for March: 488 incidents, 243 traffic arrests and 243 motor vehicle violations.

Ms. Hill stated that the Committee had discussed the Lansdowne school traffic study for a new student drop off site.

Ms. Hill stated that several residents have requested a stop sign at Burmont Road and Shadeland Avenue but because this is a State road, PennDot’s approval would be necessary after a traffic study is done.

No Fire Company report was given.

F. Zoning, Planning and Code Enforcement – There was no report given in Mr. Borgman’s absence.

G. Parks and Recreation – Mr. Lee reported that a small amount of water damage was sustained in Hoffman Park after the recent storm.

Mr. Lee reported that the Marlyn Park dog park group is considering withdrawing their proposal for a site outside Lansdowne.

Mr. Lee stated that the vandalism in Reservoir Park has stopped since the arrest of several perpetrators.

Mr. Lee reported that work continues on the water problem in Interboro Park. The $60,000 grant will be used to remove the toy and regrade the site and a handicapped accessible walking trail is being considered. The park is also going to be surveyed.

Mr. Lee reported that the Parks and Recreation Committee is currently looking into a winter lights festival and parade.

Mr. Lee stated that the next Recreation and Park Board meeting will be held on May 16th at 7:30 PM. No Committee meeting has yet been scheduled.

Mr. Lee stated the GLCA is showing the Lansdowne historical film on April 30th at the PennWood high school.

Mr. Lee stated that a jazz brunch will be held on June 12th at Sycamore Park, 1-3 PM. Also being considered is a memorial brick sale as a fund-raiser for Sycamore Park.

Mr. Lee stated that the annual Darby Creek cleanup is scheduled for April 30th, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and volunteers are needed.
Mr. Smith moved to Suspend the Rules of Order. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Visitors

Edith Bassie 70 Sayers Avenue – Mrs. Bassie stated that the Borough is in much better shape and commended the Code Department for its efforts and for removing the garbage can in front of Hayes Park.

Jim Burroughs 194 W. Essex Avenue – Mr. Burroughs expressed his dissatisfaction with the Borough tax collection process, citing a 2003 County error as reported by the Tax Collector. Mr. Burroughs stated that he is circulating a petition for an investigation into how many people were affected by this error, who the County contacted, the nature of the error and what steps are being taken so that it does not reoccur. President Wayne offered his apologies and clarified that Mr. Burrough’s trash and sewer fees were not paid twice. Mr. Smith stated he would look into the matter.

Charlie Jeffers 13 Willowbrook Avenue – Mr. Jeffers stated that the trash cans in the Lansdowne Center are overflowing and asked who was in charge of them. President Wayne stated that the shopping center is responsible.
Mr. Jeffers asked if any progress is being made with PennDot regarding the Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenue traffic light, stating that too many people are running the red light there.

Jack Covert 232 Jackson Avenue – Mr. Covert stated that the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra will hold its final concert of the season on May 1st.

Mr. Covert stated that the lights hanging from the trees across from the Lansdowne Theater have been there for three months and present a dangerous situation.

Mr. Covert asked if a Town Watch was being started. Ms. Hill stated that a Neighborhood Watch can be investigated and any interested point person can contact Chief Kortan for more information.

J. R. Shavitsky 260 N. Wycombe Avenue – Mr. Shavitsky cited an incident wherein his room mate was repeatedly accosted by a robber in October of last year and the police were not as responsive as Mr. Shavitsky felt they should have been in this situation. Mr. Shavitsky felt that gay people in Lansdowne are not being afforded the proper protection from the Borough police. Mr. Shavitsky also cited various domestic violence incidents in his apartment and expressed dissatisfaction with how the police handled it. Chief Kortan stated he would look at the prior police reports and asked why he was not notified of this incident sooner. The matter will be discussed with Chief Kortan and Mr. Shavitsky.

Joe Heath 55 W. Greenwood Avenue – Mr. Heath felt that an emergency equipment sign should be posted at E. Lansdowne and Wycombe Avenues, citing a traffic safety concern. He suggested activating a red light at that site when the siren is started. President Wayne stated that the Public Safety Committee will look into this issue.

Jeff Hayden 185 Marlyn Road – Mr. Hayden questioned the sidewalk and curb planting ordinance, stating that he had to remove his plantings five years ago but that Mr. Lee had recently placed some plants in front of his own property. Mr. Hayden stated that when questioned by a neighbor about this, Mr. Lee stated that the ordinance was under review. Mr. Hayden asked when the ordinance was put under review, how long is the review process and can he now replant in that area. President Wayne stated that Code Section 29415 of the Borough Code allows only grass to be planted between the curb and sidewalk. However, in 1999/2000 one property had their citation rescinded after writing a letter to the Borough asking that the code restrictions be modified. President Wayne then read this letter. President Wayne stated that revisions to the code will be enacted shortly and residents will be notified as to what is reasonable with respect to this issue.

Jim Murphy 266 W. Greenwood Avenue – Mr. Murphy questioned why his tax payment of April 1st to the Borough had not cleared as of today. Mr. Murphy also stated that the Tax Collector’s office does not have a receipt book. Mr. Murphy stated that the tax collector’s home office is in violation of the Borough code. Mr. Murphy asked why Mr. Lee is being allowed to keep his garden if it is in violation of the code regarding plantings. President Wayne stated that this matter is being looked into and that Mr. Smith will look into the allegations regarding the tax collector.

Mr. Murphy stated that some shortfalls exist in the budget, specifically citing the $150,000 in the capital projects for the parks. Mr. Lee stated that the Parks Board has made a commitment to raise this money through fund-raising and other projects. Mr. Murphy asked why the tax anticipation note is not shown on the Treasurer’s Report. Mr. Asciutto stated that this is a loan, not revenue, and that not all receipts are revenues and not all disbursements are expenditures. Mr. Murphy stated that the budget money and the tax collection money are not being accurately reported and implied improprieties.

Tony Campuzano 40 W. Albemarle Avenue – Mr. Campuzano in his capacity as Chairman of the Lansdowne Democrats complimented Borough Council on how well the No Place For Hate signs look.

Mr. Campuzano stated that trash along Baltimore Avenue is an ongoing problem and that the Democrats cleaned up the area on April 9th during their Adopt A Highway cleanup.

Mr. Campuzano stated that May 17th is primary Election Day and that two Democrats are running for Mayor: Jayne Young and Laura Fryer. Also, two write in candidates are running for School Director: Dr. Len Wert (R) and Charlotte Hummel (D).

Borough Council’s Response to Visitors:
Regarding Mr. Hayden’s comments, Mrs. Fryer stated that she was unaware of the plantings ordinance currently being under review and that several years ago the Zoning Committee decided not to change it. Mrs. Fryer felt that the letter read by President Wayne was misleading and that an ordinance needs to be enforced even if under review. Mr. Scott stated that the Property Maintenance Code has been under review in excess of one year and this particular item has also been discussed. President Wayne stated that it has inconsistently been enforced over the years and now the Codes Department is determining what enforcement is appropriate.
Mr. Smith moved to Reinstate the Rules of Order. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Old Business – None.

New Business – Mrs. Fryer moved to award contract to repair the storm manholes and install 24 LF of new storm sewer pipe in the ball field behind the Green Avenue High School Administration Building to APCO Concrete Inc., Morton, PA in the amount of $6,800.00. The motion failed for lack of a second.
Mr. Smith moved to have free meter parking on April 30th for the Town Yard Sale. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Communications – Letter from Steven Glassman, Chair of the PA Human Relations Commission congratulating Lansdowne for being the first municipality to adopt non-discriminatory practices regarding the gay community.

Bills – Mr. Smith moved to authorize payment of bills for the period. Ms. Hill seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session – Mr. Smith moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss a litigation issue, seconded by Ms. Hill. The motion carried unanimously and the meeting adjourned to executive session at 9:40 PM.
There were no motions made upon reconvening to Public Session. Mr. Smith moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Lee. The motion carried unanimously and the meeting adjourned at 10:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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