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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting — Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Wayne, Ms. Coleman, Ms. Hill, Mr. Lee, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Urban and Mr. Wagner. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Engineer Bevilacqua, Borough Manager Forrest, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Treasurer Smith, Borough Secretary Henry and Police Chief Kortan. Fire Chief Young was absent.

President Wayne stated that the meeting was being taped by Comcast and would beshown on March 20 at 7:00 PM on Channel 10.

Minutes

Ms. Coleman moved to approve the minutes of the February 15, 2006 BoroughCouncil General Meeting.Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Announcements and Presentations

Mayor Young presented Martha Peachey with a plaquerecognizing her years of volunteer service in Lansdowne.

Mayor Young presented a plaque of recognition to Girl Scout Troops 539 and 440 andBoy Scout Troops 333 and 63 for their work as storm water volunteers.

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Smith gave the monthly report for February, 2006. The balance of all funds in February was $8,724,764.58. The ending balance in the General Fund was $298,708.03. Receipts for the General Fund included $60,000 collected from the Tax Collector, $26,000 collected from the Codes Department and $18,000 collected from the Police Department. Mr. Smith mentioned that over $14,000 had been spent in February for trash truck maintenance and that figure is almost the entire budgeted amount for 2006. Ms. Coleman questioned the allocation of the $14,000 for vehicle maintenance. Mr. Smith stated it was allocated to one 1992 vehicle.

Engineer’s Report

Mr. Bevilacqua reported that construction has started on the StewartAvenue Sewer project and will take approximately two months for completion.

Solicitor’s Report

Mr. Scott stated he had one Executive Session item.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Young mentioned that the Borough newsletter would be out in about one week and will include information on neighborhoods still wanting trees for planting, availability of smoke detectors and Neighborhood Watch programs. Mayor Young stated that Arbor Day celebrations will be held on May 28, 1:00 p.m. and the Town Wide Yard Sale and Flea Market will be held on May 6. Mayor Young mentioned that the Food Cupboard is now full.

Council President’s Report

President Wayne reviewed various items from last month’s Business Meeting:

  1. President Wayne read Resolution 2006-11 regarding the National Guard issue.
  2. A traffic congestion improvement program to be performed by PennDot will include Lansdowne Avenue from North Baltimore Avenue to Bond Avenue in Upper Darby.
  3. Aqua PA will be working on Baltimore Avenue in April. Construction will run from Martin Drive to Oak Avenue in Clifton Heights. Businesses near Martin Drive will be open during construction.
  4. The Lansdowne Planning Commission is currently establishing bylaws. They voted recently to subdivide the Harkins property.
  5. A new Ad Hoc committee has been formed to study the Borough sale of liquor question coming up for review in 2007. Members include Mr. Wagner (Chair), Mayor Young, Mr. Urban and Ms. Coleman.
  6. Borough Christmas lights in the business district will be kept on all year (dusk to midnight) at a cost of $200.
  7. Mr. Urban has been appointed liaison to the Allied Youth Council.

Review of last month’s visitor comments:

  1. Snow removal issues will be revisited in the future.
  2. Neighborhood Watch signs will be replaced.
  3. Cracked sidewalk at Lansdowne and Baltimore Avenue was replaced last year. The upcoming traffic study hopefully will address changing the traffic pattern to prevent further deterioration.
  4. Traffic light street signs have been placed at Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenues.
  5. Fire Chief Young is now working with the Public Safety Committee on revising the Borough’s emergency response plan.
  6. Mr. Wagner mentioned that a new pet grooming business called "Polished Pets" is now open along the business strip near Martin Drive.

Committee Reports

I. Finance and Administration

Ms. Lustgarten stated the Finance and Administration Committee met on March 6 and the HVAC project for Borough Hall was rebid. The Committee also reviewed the Police Pension and Non-Uniform Pension Plan audits and all issues have been addressed. The Committee is currently reviewing the revised Borough employee manual. The next Committee will be held on April 3 in Borough Hall. Mr. Urban asked how the reallocations were determined in the HVAC project. Ms. Lustgarten stated that the reallocations came from five other areas.

II. Public Safety

Ms. Hill stated the Public Safety Committee met on February 8 to discuss the traffic congestion and Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenues. They will be contacting the PennDot Director for the Baltimore Avenue corridor study to see what the Committee can do to expedite the relief of congestion at this particular site. Additionally, a resource person will be at next month’s Committee meeting to provide information on in service training for selected police personnel.

Ms. Hill gave the Police Department report for February: 475 incidents, 729 parking tickets, 71 motor vehicle violations, 10 towed motor vehicle violations, 9 speeding tickets, 15 operator license violations and 5,861 miles traveled.

III. Ad Hoc Committees

  • A. Sanitation Ms. Coleman stated that in house trash service will continue and will not privatize. Alternative fuel vehicles will also be studied. The next meeting will be held on March 30, 7:00 p.m.; the Borough’s trash service model and recycling program will be discussed.
  • B. Liquor Mr. Wagner stated that the first meeting of this Committee will be held on March 27 at Borough Hall.
  • C. Code Enforcement Mr. Lee stated that this Committee met with Yeadon Borough to discuss whether to continue the present shared arrangement. A recommendation to Borough Council will be made at a future date.

IV. Members of Council

  • A. Mr. Urban stated that the next Park and Recreation Board meeting will be held on March 20, 7:00 p.m.
  • B. Ms. Coleman thanked Marwyn shopping, My Old Place Bakery and Wawa for providing free refreshments at the No Place For Hate event held on February 17. A meeting was held on March 8 to further define development alternatives in the Baltimore Avenue Revitalization strategy.
  • C. Mr. Wagner reminded residents that Board of Health meetings are held every 2 Tuesday with the exception of April, August and December; the Chair will be invited to the June general meeting. Recent cafeteria issues at PennWood High School have been resolved.

Communications

President Wayne read a letter from the Tax Collector regarding Wachovia Bank’s failure to notify the tax collector’s office that checks had been returned to residents for non-payment of 2005 Borough taxes even after the bank issued paid receipts.

The letter stipulates that residents producing their paid 2005 Borough tax receipt will be credited for payment of taxes through the Tax Collector’s office and any subsequent liens resulting from the bank error will be removed.

Mr. Lee moved to Suspend the Rules of Order. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motioncarried unanimously.

Visitors:

Len Wert 221 N. Lansdowne Avenue
Dr. Wert asked what Borough liability was in the Marcavage lawsuit. Mr. Scott stated that a $5,000 deductible was paid and he did not handle the defense.
Dr. Wert congratulated Mr. Urban for voting against the National Guard troop resolution.
Dr. Wert felt that Neighborhood Watch signs mean nothing and that a Town Watch effort would be more constructive.
Dr. Wert questioned the status of 231 N. Lansdowne Avenue. Mr. Scott stated that an agreement of sale has been offered on the property. If financing does not work out for this agreement, the Borough is applying for a demolition grant. President Wayne commented that the Borough has many measures in place for reporting any crimes.

Barbara Sisely 24 Eldon Road
Ms. Sisely stated she is proud of the Borough for standing up for the Iraq War/National Guard issue.

Jack Covert 232 Jackson Avenue
Mr. Covert criticized the National Guard resolution citing that it is illegal and inappropriate, the Borough did not advertise it before voting on it and therefore is not representative of all residents in Lansdowne and that it actually encourages insurgents to continue their attacks. Mr. Covert felt that this matter is not within the authority of local government. President Wayne addressed the procedure issue, stating that the advertising of resolutions/ordinances applies to legislative matters only and this particular resolution was not a legislative matter. Additionally, this resolution was discussed at three public meetings and no residents came forward to oppose the resolution. Additionally, a Borough Council member’s length of time in office is not a touchstone for voting on a particular issue.

Anthony Campuzano 40 W. Albemarle Avenue
In his capacity as Chair of the Lansdowne Democratic Committee, Mr. Campuzano stated that the County has purchased new electronic voting machines and it is important for residents to become familiar with their operation. County classes will be held at various dates and Mr. Campuzano asked that these dates be published on the Borough website. Mr. Campuzano thanked the Mayor and Borough Council for supporting the No Place For Hate event and felt that the National Guard resolution that was passed was not a political issue as Dr. Wert previously suggested. Mr. Campuzano also mentioned that new signs are now available for Sycamore, Reservoir and Hayes Parks.

Bertha Phillips 80 W. Baltimore Avenue
Ms. Phillips stated she was proud that the National Guard resolution was passed.
Ms. Phillips suggested that a list of prohibited sewer chemicals be put on the web site.

Joan Reivich 188 Marlyn Road
Ms. Reivich stated she was proud that the National Guard resolution had been passed.
Ms. Reivich expressed her concern with a State Government Committee that recently voted out a bill that will continue to erode our civil rights.
Ms. Reivich felt that it was important for the Borough to protect these rights and to support the domestic partner issue.

Dee Herr 169 Berkley Avenue
Ms. Herr stated she felt very safe living in Lansdowne but asked if additional lighting could be placed in various areas throughout the Borough. President Wayne stated he would follow up on this request.

Charlie Jeffers 13 Willowbrook Avenue
Mr. Jeffers mentioned that the trash had not been properly picked up near the Martin Drive accident site last week. Mr. Jeffers mentioned that more Americans die from drugs than war and people should be more outspoken about the drug epidemic.

Joe Heath 55 W. Greenwood Avenue
Mr. Heath stated that street light signs need to be placed on various locations on Lansdowne, Plumstead, Baltimore and Essex Avenues. Mr. Heath asked the current count for the National Guard. President Wayne stated there are 20,000 troops in total, 2200 in Iraq and 200 in Kosovo. Mr. Heath felt that more uniform illumination is needed throughout the Borough.

Michael Marcavage 62 E. Stewart Avenue
Mr. Marcavage stated his opposition to the domestic partnership ordinance.

Wendy Schmolefsky 34 Pennock Terrace
Ms. Schmolefsky voiced her support of the National Guard resolution and the non-discrimination ordinance.

Borough Council comments to visitors:
Mr. Lee mentioned that the traffic light issue was mentioned to the appropriate officials during his visit to Harrisburg yesterday.

Ms. Lustgarten moved to Reinstate the Rules of Order. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried.

Old Business

  1. Trash trucks Mr. Lee moved to table the motion to procure two new trash trucks until the next Borough Council meeting. Ms. Hill seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried 6-1 with Mr. Urban voting "nay". The motion was then amended by Ms. Coleman to stipulate that no trash truck purchases will be made until recommendations are forthcoming from the Sanitation Ad Hoc Committee. Mr. Urban asked why it was being tabled. A brief discussion followed regarding due diligence and the impact of delaying the decision. Mr. Forrest stated the impact would be minimal. Ms. Coleman stated the Committee wanted to investigate alternative fuel vehicles and voiced concern over locking in for a ten year agreement. Ms. Hill seconded the amended motion and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried 6-1 with Mr. Urban voting "nay".
  2. Cell Tower Zoning Ordinance pending
  3. Engineering Services to be discussed at the April 5 meeting
  4. Non-Discrimination Ordinance Stephen A.Glassman, AIA Chairperson of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and Katie Eyer, Esq., employment attorney for The Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights spoke at length on Ordinance 1215 regarding the creation of a Human Relations Commission in Lansdowne. Mr. Glassman stated that this is a civil action, not criminal, and Pennsylvania has the largest number of municipalities that have adopted this type of ordinance. If passed in Lansdowne, 27% of Pennsylvania’s population will be protected. There is also a large regional office in Philadelphia with expertise in fact finding and processes. The State Human Relations Commission covers everything except gender identity and sexual orientation. Mr. Urban expressed concern about duplicating State law and if funding was required. Mr. Glassman stated there would be no duplication and local cases are settled more easily and rapidly; work is done pro bono. Ms. Hill brought up the subpoena issue. Mr. Scott stated the Commission as a whole has subpoena power. Ms. Eyer then read a letter of support regarding the leadership role Lansdowne is taking in enacting this ordinance.

New Business

Union Avenue Feasibility Study
Item removed by consensus of Borough Council. Under provisions of grant funding, information has to be advertised for dissemination to public. Spokesperson Fernando Valdivieso may present an overview of the study at a later date.

Action Items

  1. Ms. Lustgarten moved to pay the Borough bills for the period. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  2. Ms. Hill moved to appoint Ed Williams to the Library Board, filling the position left vacant with Sheila Kavanagh’s resignation. Term to run until 3/31/07. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  3. Ms. Lustgarten moved to award Contract no. 116 Rebid, Borough Hall HVAC Renovation to Allstates Mechanical, LTD, Broomall, PA for Alternate #2, for a total cost of $246,000.00. Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
  4. Ms. Lustgarten moved to accept the Police and non Uniformed Pension Plan Audit Reports for years ended 2002 through 2004. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  5. Mr. Lee moved to approve Ordinance 1215, an ordinance regarding non-discrimination and the establishment of a Human Relations Commission. Ms. Lustgarten seconded.

Mr. Urban expressed concern about whether local protection on race, color and gender issues was adequate as compared to the level of State protection. Mr. Glassman stated that the ordinance is about making everyone equal and not granting special protections to any one group. Also, anyone dissatisfied with local government’s handling of a complaint in this area has recourse to other remedies but a complaint has to be filed within 180 days of the discriminatory act. Mr. Scott added that a local Commission has the same powers and authority as the State Commission.

A roll call vote was taken and the motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session
Ms. Hill moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss a personnel issue. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned to Executive Session at 10:12 p.m.

No motions were made upon reconvening to Public Session.

Ms. Coleman moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Lee. The motion carried unanimously and the meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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