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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting
Wednesday, May 4, 2005

The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday, May 4, 2005 at 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Wayne, Mrs. Fryer, Mr. Borgman, Ms. Coleman, Ms. Hill, Mr. Lee and Mr. Smith. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Manager Forrest, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Secretary Henry and Police Chief Kortan. Borough Treasurer Asciutto and Fire Chief Young were absent.

Minutes — Mr. Smith moved to approve the minutes of the April 6, 2005 Business Meeting of Borough Council as submitted by the Secretary. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried with one abstention by Mr. Borgman.

Mr. Smith moved to Suspend the Rules of Order. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.


Edith Bassie
70 Sayers Avenue — Mrs. Bassie thanked Mr. Smith for his many years of service as a Borough Council member.

John Callaghan
13 W. Greenwood Avenue — Mr. Callaghan questioned the night time trash pickup and overtime issues with the Borough crew. Mr. Forrest stated the crew stays out until they have finished the routes. Mr. Smith stated the overtime issue will be discussed at the next Municipal Services Committee meeting.

Mr. Callaghan suggested that the Codes Department personnel first ask whether someone is a contractor or just visiting a resident before requesting they get a permit. President Wayne stated this request would be passed along to the Codes Department.

Mr. Callaghan felt that at last month’s meeting one of the visitors had abused his time limit. President Wayne assured him this did not happen. Mr. Callaghan stated that the police department had always timely responded to his calls.

Mr. Callaghan questioned the Marcavage settlement amount. President Wayne stated this was an agenda item for later discussion.

Mr. Smith moved to reinstate the Rules of Order. Mr. Borgman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Reports and Discussions

A. Treasurer’s Report — Mr. Smith stated that in Mr. Asciutto’s absence, he would report on pertinent items under the Finance and Administration Committee report.

B. Borough Engineer’s Report — Clover Avenue Sewer Project: Mr. Bevilacqua reported that some punch list items remain and $11,250.00 is being withheld. Geyer Construction is the contractor and some further damage was reported by Mr. Bevilacqua. A file is being kept because of the unsatisfactory results from this contractor.

96 Nyack Avenue: Mr. Bevilacqua stated that Pennoni’s structural engineer has inspected the structural problems. The owners want their own engineer to assess the problems. The contractor, Schultz Demolition, is requesting a first payment of $27,945.00 to be paid by the County.

2005 Road Program: Mr. Bevilacqua gave the priorities for repairs in the 2005 Road Program:

  1. E. Greenwood Avenue between Highland and Wycombe Avenues.
  2. Intersection of Runnemede Avenue and Baltimore Avenue near Wachovia Bank. The bank has agreed to pay for the needed curbing. Mr. Borgman stated that the rest of Runnemede Avenue has no curbing and asked its status. Mrs. Fryer stated that her Committee will look at options but it would not apply under the 2005 Road Program.
  3. Intersection of Wycombe and Union Avenues.
  4. Drexel Avenue — the area between Ardmore and Windermere Avenues will be looked at first.

Ms. Hill asked why the Linden Avenue area was not considered. Mr. Bevilacqua stated that the gas workers will restore the areas being torn up on that street. Mrs. Fryer stated that the priorities list may be subject to change.

President Wayne questioned if some insurance was available to repair the street after an incident involving PECO and a fallen tree on E. Greenwood Avenue between Highland and Wycombe Avenues. Mrs. Fryer stated that she did not feel that going after PECO would be beneficial. A discussion of this will follow in Executive Session.

HVAC Upgrade for Borough Hall: The HVAC recommendation are as follows:

  1. Increase the 6 VAB boxes to 9 zoned control boxes.
  2. Provide a new Direct Digital Control system with a central operator workstation in the basement for the global HVAC system monitoring. This allows for a constant temperate zone within 3 degrees. Mr. Smith asked if an upgrade or buying a new server would be necessary. Mr. Bevilacqua stated that the new software has a lifetime guarantee.

Several options were discussed with varying degrees of cost. Mr. Smith reported that the Finance Committee is recommending Option C — Probable cost in the first year would be $136,800 — $169,000; second year would be $22,000 — $30,000; third year would be $12,000 — $15,000 for a probable total project of $170,800 — $214,000. Mr. Forrest stated that $150,000 is budgeted for Borough Hall.

President Wayne questioned the use of so many zones and if the existing duct work could be utilized. Mr. Bevilacqua stated that the zones will compensate for the varying temperatures in several different offices and the feed will handle more areas than before. The duct work cannot be used because it only has one rate of flow. The boxes will have a variable control that can reduce the flow of air and be more cost efficient. It was decided that Pennoni Associates will begin designing a plan for Option C with a cap of $169,000, subject to review and future bids. Mr. Bevilacqua stated that costs will be affected by the time of year the work is done and the number of available workers.

President Wayne then asked that the Act 72 presentation be the next agenda item. Mayor Young introduced Thomas Hinkey and Ian Rosenbaum as the presenters. Mr. Rosenbaum stated that Act 72 provides the largest opportunity in decades to reduce taxes for Pennsylvania residents. School Boards have until May 30th to decide on this issue. Mr. Rosenbaum presented the following information:

Tax Relief Impact for Taxpayers:

  1. The average tax savings is estimated at approximately $566 per household in the William Penn School District.
  2. If the William Penn School District opts into the program, the earned income tax will be increased by no more than 0.1%. The average Lansdowne household would pay an additional $47.00 in earned income tax and the property tax bill would decrease by $566 so a total net savings of about $520.00 would be realized.
  3. Lansdowne Residents who work in Philadelphia will receive communal wage tax relief whether or not the school district adopts Act 72. Additionally, if Act 72 is adopted, under the Sterling Act Tax Credit the state will reimburse the school district dollar for dollar to make up for the lost revenue for people who would pay an earned income tax but are able to deduct their wage taxes from it.

State Level Impact on School District:

  1. Every child will be assured a quality education. The William Penn School District has already received a $1,000,000.00 3.3% accountability block grant.

National Level Impact on School Districts:

  1. Pennsylvania is the only state where School Boards have unlimited power to increase taxes. Under Act 72, limits would be set for future tax increases.
  2. The referendum requirement in place under Act 72 addresses the following issues: (1) School Boards could adjust property taxes up to the rate of inflation. Currently, the William Penn School District could raise property taxes by 4.5% without seeking voter approval and without any of the referendum exceptions; (2) the referendum exceptions are in place if a school district needs them to raise taxes above the rate of inflation as needed for new construction, special education costs, health care costs as part of collective bargaining agreements, future increases in payments to teacher retirements and unforeseen disasters or court orders that pose an immediate threat to school districts.

In conclusion, Mr. Rosenbaum stated that this is a straightforward property tax relief law to reduce the tax burden on Pennsylvania homeowners and to increase the State share of school funding more than it has in the past without harming the quality of the schools.

Mr. Lee stated that funding equity issues are not being addressed and that the focus should be on increasing funding for the William Penn School District rather than relying on that funding through gambling money. Mr. Borgman questioned the hard sell approach and how many districts had opted into Act 72. Mr. Rosenbaum stated that at present 12 districts out of over 500 have opted for Act 72.

With the consent of Borough Council, School Board member Charlotte Hummel gave her opinion of Act 72:

  1. Health care increases in current contracts will get exceptions. However, since there is no current contract, taxes will still have to be raised if theoretically health care costs rise by 24% and the cap limitations are much lower.
  2. This whole issue is about gambling. The prediction ranges are huge and need to be looked at.
  3. The $566.00 tax savings is a flat rate, not an average and everyone receives the same amount whether your house is worth $40,000.00 or $300,000.00.
  4. Under Act 511 the Borough can levy an earned income tax of 1% now and should do so to salvage kindergarten classes.
  5. This is an insignificant change that only gives a bone to taxpayers.

Ms. Hummel asked the presenters to take two questions back to Governor Rendell:

  1. During his 2002 campaign Rendell stated he supported local control of schools. How does making Act 72 mandatory give residents that control?
  2. During his 2002 campaign Rendell indicated his highest priority was fair funding for education. At a recent School Board presentation six weeks ago, his message was instead about property tax relief. What do the taxpayers and school districts know, given that over 490 districts have not yet chosen Act 72 and that taxpayers realize the $566.00 refund is insignificant?

C. Solicitor’s Report — Mr. Scott had one Executive Session item.

D. Borough Manager’s Report — Mr. Forrest stated that there was a resolution before Borough Council regarding the Darbv Creek Watershed Conservation Plan that would enable municipalities to seek additional grant funds to implement certain portions of the plan.

E.Police Chief Report — Chief Kortan had no formal report.

F.Fire Chief Report — There was no report given in Chief Young’s absence.

G. Mayor’s Report — Mayor Young asked for Helms Award nominees.

Mayor Young asked if exclusive use of the space could be allotted for the Paws for Kindness event. Chief Kortan stated that if made by invitation only, then the space would be exclusive but if open to the public, anyone can attend. Chief Kortan stated that the police are prepared to deal with any disorderly conduct that may occur.


H. President Report — President Wayne had no formal report.

I.Municipal Services — 2005 Sewer Program. Mrs. Fryer is recommending that the following projects be considered:

  1. Finish the high school area between Clover and Lansdowne Avenues where the projects were done last year; and
  2. Stewart Avenue between Wycombe and Highland Avenues.

Old Sweeper — Mrs. Fryer reported that E. Lansdowne is offering $2,500 and it does not have to be put out to bid. Mr. Forrest stated the transfer could be done by resolution.

J.Finance and Administration — Mr. Smith reported that the Finance and Administration Committee is discussing switching to a provider of ICMA (International City Manager’s Association) for better options in the Non-Uniform Pension Plan.

Mr. Smith stated that the questions raised at the April 20th Borough Council general meeting will be discussed at May’s general meeting.

K. Zoning, Planning and Code Enforcement — Mr. Borgman reported that zoning revision issues regarding a day care center in a residential neighborhood, placement of a cell towes, allowance of apartment conversions and curb plantings will be discussed at the next Committee meeting to be held on May 10th, 7:00 PM

Mr. Borgman reported that the first code enforcement seminar was held on May 14th.

Mr. Borgman reported that discussions are continuing regarding property transfer inspection requirements and property maintenance codes.

Mr. Borgman stated that Arbor Day ceremonies were held on May 2nd.

Mr. Borgman reported that the next Zoning Hearing Board meeting will be held on May 26th to discuss a day care center on Wycombe Avenue and a communications antenna at the Lansdowne Theater.

Mayor Young asked if zero permit fees could be considered without re-evaluating prior fee schedules. Mr. Borgman stated this issue had been discussed before but met with resistance due to safety issues.

L. Public Safety – Ms. Hill had no formal report. Mr. Smith questioned the delivery date for the new fire truck. Mr. Forrest stated that Chief Young indicated in an e-mail that delivery would be in about one month.

M. Parks and Recreation — Mr. Lee reported that the first public multi-municipal park plan meeting will be held on June 7th at Penn Wood High School, 5-7 PM Open House and 7-9 PM for the presentation.

Mr. Lee stated that a jazz brunch will be held in Sycamore Park on June 12th, 1-3 PM.

Mr. Lee stated that the next Recreation and Parks Board meeting will be held on May 16th. The previously scheduled Park and Recreation Committee meeting for May 17th is tentatively changed to May 31st.

N.Economic Development — Ms. Coleman reported that at the last Economic Development Committee meeting, it was decided that supporting the arts in Lansdowne will continue with a budget line item every year.

Ms. Coleman reported that the Economic Development Committee’s mission statement has been discussed and she will present a motion under New Business regarding marketing Lansdowne to new businesses.

Old Business — None.

New Business — Mr. Smith moved to pay the bills. Mr. Borgman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Coleman moved to adopt Resolution 2005-09, declaring May 16 through May 20 , 2005 "National Bike to Work Week". Mr. Borgman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Lee moved to adopt Resolution 2005-10, supporting the Darby Creek Watershed Conservation Plan and listing the Darby Creek Watershed and its tributaries on the Pennsylvania Rivers Conservation registry. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Coleman moved to develop a Lansdowne Borough Marketing Brochure and other materials subject to locating funds within the budget. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

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. Ms. Hill seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Borgman moved to submit the TreeVitalize application. Mr. Smith seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Borgman moved to approve Mutual Release between Michael Marcavage and the Borough of Lansdowne. Mr. Smith seconded and the motion carried unanimously. Mr. Scott stated that Mr. Marcavage would receive no money and the Borough is agreeing not to pursue him to recover any costs incurred in defending his claim against the Borough regarding repairs to his sidewalk.

Executive Session — Mr. Smith moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss a possible litigation issue. Mrs. Fryer seconded 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. Borgman. The meeting adjourned at 9:55 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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