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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting
Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday,
May 18, 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 Solicitor Scott, Borough Engineer Bevilacqua, Borough Manager Forrest, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Treasurer Asciutto and Police Chief Kortan. Fire Chief Young was absent.

President Wayne stated that the meeting was being taped by Comcast and will be shown on May 23rd at 7:00 PM on Channel 10.

Minutes – Mr. Smith moved to approve the minutes of the April 20, 2005 Borough Council General Meeting as submitted by the Secretary. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried with Mr. Borgman abstaining from the vote.

Announcements and Presentations

Mayor’s Report – Mayor Young read an e-mail from Jean Hughes complimenting the Code Department personnel for helping a motorist with a disabled vehicle.

Mayor Young announced the following calendar items:
5/20-5th annual wine testing at 20th Century Club, 6:30 PM sponsored by the GLCA.
5/21-Flea market at Penn Wood High School, 9-3 PM.
5/22-Chester Childrens’ Chorus, 3:00 PM, Friends Meeting House.
5/26-"Fred’s Mobile Homes" Lansdowne Folk Club.
5/30-Memorial Day Parade.
6/2-"Full Frontal Folk" Lansdowne Folk Club.

Treasurer’s Report – Mr. Asciutto gave the Treasurer’s report for April: total General Fund revenues were in the amount of $3,036,475.32, total General Fund expenditures were in the amount of $440,652.69 and the total of all funds was in the amount of $ 11,503,944.24.
Mr. Asciutto reported an ending balance of $715,267.90 for the Non-Employee Pension Plan and an ending balance of $5,471,314.36 for the Police Pension Fund. There was a net asset change of $155,703.96 in the Police Pension Fund.
Mr. Smith moved to accept the Treasurer’s Report. Mr. Borgman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

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

Solicitor’s Report – Mr. Scott had no formal report.


A. President’s Report – President Wayne gave the following responses to many of last month’s visitor comments/allegations:
1.2003 delinquency tax notices County error – Two errors occurred during this time frame: (a) the Tax Collector did not receive a report of school taxes paid from Wachovia Bank and therefore was not aware that these taxes had been paid, resulting in the lien notices. Once the error was discovered, the tax records were updated and the Tax Collector implemented a procedure to insure that all deposits and reports were balanced; (2) the Delaware County Data Operations Center keeps a master list of all taxpayers and tax records and are maintained by a bar code. Some errors occurred in the reading of these bar codes and some tax records were incorrect. These records are now checked before being sent out as bills.
2. 2003 tax collection irregularities as reported in a County report – The County never issued a report and Lansdowne has never received any information about an investigation or inquiry for 2003.
3. Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenue intersection audible signal ending too soon – this signal operates on a continuing loop and stops at the end of its time limit. It repeats several times before it stops.
4. Left turn arrow at Lansdowne and Baltimore Avenues – this is a PennDot intersection, not controlled by the Borough. There had been a left turn arrow request made in 1999 but PennDot concluded that the traffic patterns and volume did not meet their standards for such an arrow. Chief Kortan has requested a new review of the situation. This intersection has less traffic accidents than any other controlled intersection in the Borough.
4. Ad Hoc School Committee – the purpose of this committee was to review and recommend such actions to insure proportional representation on the School Board for all Lansdowne residents including, but not limited to, changing the manner in which school board directors are elected. As this is now an election year, this action cannot be taken until 2007. Future public meetings of this committee will be announced and reports will be made of its progress and recommendations.
5. Lansdowne Avenue parking lot hanging lights – this matter has been resolved.
6. Equal police protection for gay citizens – Chief Kortan spoke with this visitor after the meeting and made two additional attempts at contacting him with no response. The incident had occurred in July of 2004 and records also indicate other multiple contacts between police and this visitor. The police acted in a nondiscriminatory and professional manner.
7. Fire siren signage on Baltimore Avenue – This matter is still being investigated.
8. Regulation of plantings between curb and sidewalk – Legal sanctions occur after the offending homeowner has first been given a notice and then a citation. Mr. Lee received a notice and he had removed the plantings. This ordinance is currently under review by the Codes Committee.
9. Tax payment check paid on April 1st and not cleared until April 20th – the tax collector processes checks in the order they are received. In the several days before the April 1st deadline, the tax collector routinely over 2000 checks and the policy is first in, first processed. Copies of the tax bills often have to be pulled to insure correct posting due to checks being received with no bill attached. Additionally, other municipalities charge for this extra service of pulling tax bills but Lansdowne’s tax collector does not. This particular visitor paid his bill on April 1st and so his check would have been one of the last processed. The tax collector has determined that the cost of speeding up the processing outweighs the benefit. This same tax payer indicated that no receipt book was in the tax collector’s office and no receipt was given to him. This is untrue. The visitor was offered a receipt, twice, and declined it stating that his cancelled check would serve as his receipt. Receipts are always provided if requested and are always available.
10.Home office of Tax Collector – the Borough zoning code permits professional offices in residential districts. Section 33-7 provides this definition of a professional office: "….is the office of a physician, a lawyer, a dentist, an architect, a professional engineer, theologian, certified public accountant or similar member of a recognized profession but not including the offices of accountants, realtors, insurance salespersons and similar offices which are more of a general business nature and are only permitted in the business districts. The Lansdowne Tax Collector provides sophisticated tax services to individuals, law firms and certified public accounting firms and licensed to do so by the U.S. Dept. Of the Treasury and the IRS. He does not provide routine accounting services. The Borough Solictor, after a review of the facts, has determined that the Tax Collector is in full compliance with all Borough zoning ordinances.
11. Tax Anticipation Note proceeds not being reflected in Treasurer’s Report – the receipt of this Note was reflected in the February, 2005 Treasurer’s Report when the proceeds were received by the Borough.
12. Treasurer’s Report expenses on back page do not match front page amounts – Mr. Asciutto has stated that certain credits are netted against those expenses causing the different totals. An additional comment was made by this visitor stating impropriety of money handling. The elected Borough Auditors have reviewed the account and conclude that the money is correct and all handling procedures are proper.

B. Economic Development – Ms. Coleman reported on the following updates:

  1. Main Street Program – the manager hiring process is underway. The function of this individual will be to help bring in new businesses to Lansdowne.
  2. Baltimore Avenue Corridor revitalization project – This 12-15 month study is proceeding as planned with focus groups being set up to gather information about transportation, quality of life and historic preservation issues.
  3. Economic Development Committee – their mission is being re-evaluated and one decision is to use different mediums as a way of marketing Lansdowne to new businesses and potential residents.

Ms. Coleman stated that the next Economic Development Committee meeting will be on May 24th.
Ms. Coleman clarified that the Main Street Manager will also focus on working with existing Borough businesses to clarify their needs as well.

Finance and Administration – Mr. Smith stated that tax collections year to date are slightly over $2.7 million with $2.9 million being budgeted for the year. The trash fees are slightly under $488,000 with $690,000 budgeted for the year.
Mr. Smith stated that the next meeting of the Finance and Administration Committee will be held on June 6th, 7:00 PM. Smith Barney representatives are expected at either the June or August Committee meeting.
Mr. Smith reported that approval has been granted to design and install a new HVAC system in Borough Hall with installation planned for the Fall.
Mr. Smith stated that the Lansdowne Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to meet on June 9th.
Mr. Smith stated that the Tax Anticipation Note will be repaid some time in June after the bulk of tax collections has been made.

D. Municipal Services – Mrs. Fryer reported on the following projects:

  1. Clover Avenue Sewer project – other contractors are now being pursued to complete punch list items after the original contractor failed to do so.
  2. 2005 Road program – the four priorities are as follows:
    a) East Greenwood Avenue, Highland to Wycombe Avenues.
    b) Runnemede Avenue along the curb line to Wachovia Bank.
    c) Union and Wycombe Avenues intersection.
    d) Drexel Avenue, Windermere to Ardmore Avenues.

Mrs. Fryer stated that her previously rejected motion last month regarding the contract award for sewer work behind the Administration Building has now been passed unanimously.
Mrs. Fryer gave the recycling report for April:

337.69 tons
2.22 tons
2.59 tons
$ 942.25
$ 111.00
Accurate Recycling does not pay for glass

Mayor Young asked if colored glass could be recycled. Mrs. Fryer stated there is not enough revenue for this and this type of glass can be dropped off at the kiosks.

E. Public Safety – Ms. Hill stated that the Public Safety Committee recently discussed the emergency management plan and this issue will be revisited after discussions with Chief Kortan and Fire Chief Young.
Ms. Hill stated that the delivery of the new ladder truck will be some time in June and that additional advertising will be done for the disposal of the old truck.
Ms. Hill stated that lines will be painted to help control traffic congestion on Shadeland Avenue in front of the day care center.
Ms. Hill gave the Police Report figures for January through April, 2005: 1,955 reports, 907 motor vehicle violations, 97 motor vehicle accidents, 18 injuries, 3,140 parking tickets, 689 speeding tickets. For April, 7,300 miles were traveled.
Ms. Hill gave the Fire Report for April: 41 alarms, no injuries to firemen, 14 hours, 4 minutes in service; 410 fire fighters responding, $3,000 fire loss damages.
Mr. Lee asked if the Public Safety Committee could check into the large number of school juvenile arrests and asked if anything could be done to correct this situation. Ms. Hill indicated that some of the arrests were for individuals outside of the William Penn School District. Chief Kortan will break down the juvenile data for Ms. Hill.

F. Zoning, Planning and Code Enforcement – Mr. Borgman reported that at the last Committee meeting, several items were discussed: (1) latest draft of the property maintenance code, (2) preparation of a community outreach program, the first of which was held last week led by Mr. Bonenberger, (3) the Zoning Hearing Board applications for placement of a telecommunications antennae on the theater building and a day care center on N. Wycombe Avenue. The Zoning Hearing Board will meet on May 26th to discuss these items and also apartment conversions and curb plantings.
Mr. Borgman reported that the first meeting of the new task force for code enforcement under the joint Comprehensive Plan will be held on June 16th, 9:00 AM.
Mr. Borgman stated that the Committee is also discussing revising the current fee schedule so that fees charged would be more in line with administrative costs to the Borough rather than solely on the estimated cost of the project.

Mr. Borgman stated that the next Committee meeting will be on June 14th, 7:00 PM.

G. Parks and Recreation – Mr. Lee reported the work on Interboro Park continues with plans for a multi phase site plan and having the park surveyed.
Mr. Lee stated that cleanup day for Reservoir Park will be on June 5th, 9:00 AM.
Mr. Lee reported that a jazz brunch will be held in Sycamore Park, June 12th. This event will kick off the memorial brick sale fundraiser.
Mr. Lee stated that the next Parks and Recreation Committee meeting will be held on May 31st, 7:00 PM. The next Recreation and Park Board meeting will be held on June 20th, 7:30 PM at Borough Hall.
Mr. Lee reported that the first meeting of the multi municipal recreation park open space plan will be held at PennWood high school on June 7th. Open house is 5-7 PM, formal presentation is 7-9 PM.

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


James Jackson 88 W. Wycombe Avenue – Mr. Jackson asked if PECO would mill the portion of Wycombe Avenue they will be laying lines in because water is backing up into his driveway. Mr. Bevilacqua stated the worked on area will be milled but only (half) of Wycombe Avenue would be repaved. Mr. Smith asked if this would compromise the Borough in any way by doing this. Mr. Bevilacqua stated there would be no problem.
Mr. Jackson asked if a mechanism was in place to prevent unsatisfactory contractors from obtaining permits in the Borough. President Wayne stated that the Codes Department looks into complaints and asked Mr. Jackson to submit his complaint to the Borough office.
Mr. Jackson asked if the Borough outsources work to foreign countries or hires illegal immigrants. President Wayne stated that the Borough would not hire illegal immigrants and that no Borough work had ever been outsourced to a foreign country.

Dr. Len Wert 221 N. Lansdowne Avenue – Dr. Wert read his April 29th letter of complaint to Chief Kortan involving an April 28th motor vehicle incident in front of his office wherein the office on duty was rude to him and abusive to the stopped motorist.

Dr. Wert stated that he was recently stopped by a police officer for a moving violation as he was driving to a local hospital emergency room for treatment of a patient.Dr. Wert wanted a meeting with Chief Kortan and an apology from the officer in question. Chief Kortan stated that he was completing his written response to these incidents and felt it would be inappropriate to further publicly comment on them.

Edith Bassie 70 Sayers Avenue – Mrs. Bassie commented on her falling accident last month and how the treating physicians thought she was in good health for her age.

Marie DeYoung 4 Owen Avenue – Ms. DeYoung thanked the Lansdowne police for twice assisting her while at her home.
Ms. DeYoung asked if the Borough could partner with the William Penn School District to do a violence prevention study in the schools and also implement a program that would raise awareness of domestic violence.

Jim Burroughs 194 W. Essex Avenue – Mr. Burroughs had a few questions about President Wayne’s responses to visitor comments. Mr. Burrough asked how many residents were affected by the Wachovia Bank omission. President Wayne stated he did not know the number. Mr. Burroughs questioned the bar code issue. President Wayne stated that they were either put on incorrectly or read incorrectly by the County. Mr. Smith stated the Wachovia Bank matter involved only one day’s worth of deposits. Mr. Burroughs stated he would obtain clarification about whether or not a County report was issued.
Mr. Burroughs questioned how a lost check and having his bill sent to the wrong address was the fault of the County. President Wayne stated that while he did not comment on these two issues at the beginning of the meeting, he considered this to be a minor error that has since been resolved.

Mr. Burroughs asked how many people had not paid their 2003 taxes and had the Sheriff show up. President Wayne stated he did not know the number. Mr. Smith reiterated that the tax collector had addressed and resolved this issue and that Mr. Burrough’s specific issue had been resolved.

Jack Covert 232 Jackson Avenue – Mr. Covert stated that the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra had successfully completed its 59th year.
Mr. Covert asked if there was any possibility that RCN would be airing the general meetings.
Mr. Covert asked if there had been a change in policy regarding businesses being ticketed for parking violations after 5:00 PM. Chief Kortan stated that the policy has not changed but there is now more personnel on hand to focus on parking issues and the business district parking lots are enforced 24 hours.
Mr. Covert asked where the Main Street manager will operate. President Wayne stated that Hoff Communications had offered office space.
Mr. Covert asked when the Tax Anticipation Note is due. Mr. Smith stated June 30th.
Mr. Covert expressed his concern with having other communities use Borough facilities as suggested in the Comprehensive Plan and asked for some clarification. President Wayne that there is currently in place a Comprehensive Plan, a Redevelopment Plan and an ongoing process for a multi municipality recreation and parks plan. President Wayne stated that these programs are combined to facilitate getting grant money. President Wayne stated that any future public meetings for all these plans will be announced and the public is invited to attend.

Charlie Jeffers13 Willowbrook Avenue – Mr. Jeffers stated that the trash is still an ongoing problem in the Lansdowne Center.
Mr. Jeffers questioned the building at 300 W. Baltimore Avenue that has been vacant for almost 15 years. President Wayne stated that this will be looked at for possible inclusion on the vacant property list.
Mr. Jeffers stated that in spite of the statistics, the Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenues intersection is still very dangerous.

John Callaghan 13 W. Greenwood Avenue – Mr. Callaghan asked if any discussions had been held regarding the $20,000.00 overtime issue for the Borough crew. Mr. Smith stated that this will be discussed at the June 6th Municipal Services Committee meeting.
Mr. Callaghan also asked how many employees were out on worker’s compensation leave. President Wayne stated Borough Council would get back to him on this matter.

Celia Chapel 30 Linden Avenue – Ms. Chapel stated she was thankful for the encouragement and support by Borough Council and other Borough residents who had encouraged her to become more involved in the community.

Carol Ha 175 N. Lansdowne Avenue – Ms. Ha stated that as a result of the water company installing underground pipes near her property, the grassland is now higher and she is experiencing rainwater problems on her property. Ms. Ha is concerned about the stench from decomposing leaves and the threat of West Nile virus from mosquito infestation. Ms. Ha stated she had also written a letter in March of 2005 to the Codes Department concerning this problem as well as an abandoned car in a pond near her property. Ms. Ha stated that the Borough Engineer’s response to her was that poor grading was causing this problem and was the responsibility of the homeowner. Ms. Ha felt that it is financially unfair to the homeonwer to solve the grading problems caused by a public utility. President Wayne asked that Mr. Forrest review this matter with Mr. Borgman and the Zoning, Planning and Code Enforcement Committee.

Dixon Werner 46 Pennock Terrace – Mr. Werner asked if the Borough could look into the vacant property next to 46 Linden Avenue and also a vacant property on the corner of Linden and Wycombe Avenues.

Jim Murphy 266 W. Greenwood Avenue – Mr. Murphy opined that thanks were not in for the tax collector collecting the taxes but rather for the taxpayers who are doing their civic duty. Mr. Murphy questioned the tax collector’s salary. Mr. Smith stated it was $20,000 and had not been raised in 10 years.
Mr. Murphy questioned where the money coming out of the $1.2 million borrowed early in the year is shown in the Treasurer’s Report. Mr. Smith stated it was under the Capital Projects Fund.
Mr. Murphy asked if it would take 18 years to pay back the accumulated Borough debt. President Wayne stated the he did not know the answer.
Mr. Murphy questioned the feasibility of a memorial brick area Interboro Park given the water problems there.
Mr. Murphy stated that Borough Council was arrogant in electing a male President last year when the female vice president should have been elected by virtue of her position of seniority and tenure. Mr. Murphy also cited a former female president being asked to step down. President Wayne asked if Mr. Murphy had been involved with the earlier deliberations to which Mr. Murphy replied he had not.
Mr. Murphy stated that Borough Council has been conducting business in violation of the Sunshine Laws. President Wayne asked Mr. Murphy for specifics so that an investigation can be done for any perceived wrongdoing.

Borough Council’s Response to Visitors: None.

Mr. Smith moved to Reinstate the Rules of Order. Ms. Hill seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Old Business – None.

New Business – The motion to adopt Resolution 2005-11, a resolution regarding Act 72 was tabled.

Communications – None.

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

Executive Session – Mr. Smith moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss a personnel issue, seconded by Mr. Lee. The motion carried unanimously and the meeting adjourned to executive session at 9:25 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 9:45 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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