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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting Wednesday — March 21, 2007

The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Wayne, Ms. Coleman, Ms. Hill, Mr. Lee, Ms. Lustgarten and Mr. Wagner. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Manager Forrest, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Treasurer Smith and Borough Secretary Henry. Councilman Urban, Borough Engineer Bevilacqua and Police Chief Kortan were absent.. President Wayne stated that the meeting was being taped by Comcast and would be aired on March 26th at 7:00 PM on Channel 10.

Minutes – Ms. Coleman moved to approve the minutes of the February 21, 2007 Council General Meeting. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Announcements and Presentations – Mayor Young awarded the Betty R. Marlino Library Service to Michael Sheehan.
Mayor Young introduced Steve Travers, John Gould and Mike Jozwiak of the Borough Codes Department. Mr. Travers gave a brief overview of the State mandated international building code and many of the services provided by the Codes department, including rental and resale inspections.

Treasurer’s Report – Mr. Smith gave highlights from the February report: ending balance of all funds was $ 8,362,229.21.The General Fund opening balance reflects an additional County adjustment. Some of the larger expenditures included $19,000 for trash truck repairs. Mr. Smith reported that permit renewal fees continue to be received and $27,000 was received for cable franchise fees. In the Capital Reserves Fund, the $58,671 bill reflects reimbursement and bill payment for Twentieth Century Club renovations. Mr. Smith reported about $310,000 in tax payments received for March. The Borough audit is expected to conclude on March 26th.Mr. Smith stated that the first half of the bond interest payment will be wired on March 29th in the amount of $6,600.

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

Mayor’s Report – Mayor Young read various calendar items. Mayor Young reported a 20% recycling increase in February. Mayor Young mentioned that she recently attended a FAA redesign briefing regarding the creation of more air space. More information is available on Congressman Joe Sestak’s web site.

Council President’s Report – President Wayne mentioned that a recent Philadelphia Magazine article cited Lansdowne as being one of three desirable communities with a 31% increase in property values. President Wayne mentioned several accomplishments of Borough Council:

  • Legislative Agenda: developed 2007 budget, set 2007 tax rates; developed written expenditure authority for Borough funds, enacted non-discrimination ordinance, set up a Human Relations Commission, improved property values (up 31% in the past three years), established a local historic district and a historic architectural review board, established zoning prohibition for conversion of single family homes into multi-family dwellings, currently working on new zoning code, working to establish a demolition delay ordinance, investigating a tax increment financing district, exploring tax abatement possibilities for new investment, explored the possibility of liquor sales that raised the issue of home rule.
  • Policy Agenda: dealt with solid waste program, reviewed trash collection alternatives, bid out Borough’s engineering services, finalized the FOP bargaining agreement and completed the police contract negotiations, established policies regarding community police work and officer contact with individual businesses in the central business district, defined storm water management activities, renewed lines of insurance, increased return on invested funds in the pension program, explored possibility of extinguishing Borough debt on an earlier time scale and developed viable system for Code enforcement and accountability, initiated the delinquent tax collection process, implemented a Redevelopment Plan and developed policies for dealing with problem and/or vacant properties.
  • President Wayne reported two instances of high profile crime incidents: Wabash Avenue and at the Eagle Bank. All Borough Council members attended the Public Safety Committee meeting held after the Wabash Avenue incident.

Committee Reports

I. Finance and Administration – Ms. Lustgarten reported on the following items discussed at the Committee’s March 5th meeting: (1) looking at copier lease alternatives, (2) will meet with the Delaware County Utility Advisors to investigate utility savings for the Borough at no cost to the Borough for this service, (3) will meet with Portnoff Law Associates to ascertain what changes, if any, are needed for the delinquent fee collection process, and (4) reviewed equipment repairs. The next F&A Committee meeting will be held on April 2nd at 7:00 p.m.

II. Public Safety – Ms. Hill reported that the Committee met on March 14th and discussed Shadeland Avenue traffic issues. Chief Kortan will be investigating the possibility of erecting a stop sign at Shadeland and Drexel Avenues. Chief Kortan and Chief Young will also review the access issues for emergency vehicles. Additionally, single serve metering will be done in the Lansdowne Avenue municipal parking lot. Ms. Hill reported that based on discussions held at the meeting regarding the Wabash Avenue incident, the hiring of part time police officers will be reviewed and it has been further recommended that a police Sargent position be created. Additionally, a daytime loitering ordinance will be considered. The Public Safety Committee will also be looking into the man hours and court time to be expended by police in connection with the school district problems and also the duties and functions of the school resource officers.

Ms. Hill gave the Police Report for February: 637 incidents, 25 motor vehicle accidents with 7 injuries, 20 adult arrests, 27 juvenile arrests, 37 traffic light violations; 12 registration violations, 2 speeding violations and miles traveled: 5,472. No Fire Company report was given.

III. Nominations – Ms. Coleman reported that at the March 8th Nominations Committee meeting, the process was finalized for making appointments to various Borough Committees and Boards. The Committee also discussed ways to attract a variety of residents for these openings. The committee also reviewed the 15 term expirations that will occur in 2007.

Ad Hoc Committees

  • A. Lighting – Mr. Wagner reported that the Lighting Committee met on March 20th and the Ad Hoc Lighting Committee will shortly be terminating. Part of the Committee’s charge was to evaluate the effectiveness of lighting in the Borough for traffic and pedestrian safety and to development a bid process for the ongoing maintenance of the lighting. Mr. Wagner stated that as part of the bid process, the Committee is asking for ongoing maintenance, lighting upgrades, preserving historic or aesthetically pleasing lighting and upgrading the equipment currently on the poles. Mr. Wagner mentioned that a grant application for ornamental lighting was not approved.
  • B. School District Taxation – President Wayne presented a brief report in Mr. Urban’s absence. Regarding the May 2007 ballot question regarding the imposition of a 1% personal income tax, President Wayne stated that the school board has not relayed much information to the public and gave a simplified overview of the issue: The School Board opted into Act 72 and is now required by law to put the question on the May ballot regarding this tax shifting measure. The property tax relief is limited to $500. The average relief will be about $290. for Delaware County residents. If a 1% earned income tax is imposed, a family earning over $29,000 per year will pay more in taxes. The recommendation of the Ad Hoc School District Taxation is to say "no" to this proposal.

IV. Members of Council: Mayor Young mentioned that the whole design of the personal income tax proposition is poor.
Ms. Coleman moved to Suspend the Rules of Order. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Visitors

Tony Campuzano 40 W. Albemarle Avenue – As Chair of the Lansdowne Democrats Mr. Campuzano announced that they are sponsoring the annual pancake breakfast and Easter egg hunt on March 31st, 8-11 a.m. at the Lansdowne Presbyterian Church. As Vice President of the Union AA, Mr. Campuzano announced that school superintendent Dana Bedden will address the members at their April 5th meeting to be held at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Congress and Plumstead Avenues.

Len Wert 40 resident of Lansdowne – Dr. Wert stated he was happy to see that the Smith property has been torn down and expressed concern with an adjacent property to his house. Dr. Wert also expressed his delight with the ordinance prohibiting the conversion of a single family dwelling to a multi family dwelling. Dr. Wert mentioned that the problems with crime in the school district are the result of outsiders and there should be some coordination with the other communities for dealing with this problem.

Jack Covert Resident of Lansdowne – Mr. Covert announced that the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra will be holding a concert on March 25th, 3:00 p.m. at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center.Mr. Covert felt that a Town Watch would still be a good idea for the Borough. Mayor Young stated that they are still looking into a Neighborhood Watch program, as Chief Kortan felt that a Town Watch would not be as effective for Lansdowne. Mr. Covert stated that the community bulletin board looks attractive but the parking lot still has a lot of debris left from where a tree was taken down. Mr. Covert also mentioned the bad appearance of the barber shop sign. Mr. Covert said he had heard many positive comments about the free parking for business traffic at night during March. Mr. Covert asked if there was a possibility of making Doyle’s parking lot one way.

Charlie Jeffers 13 Willowbrook Avenue – Mr. Jeffers asked whose responsibility it is to keep sidewalks clean. President Wayne stated that it is the homeowner’s responsibility. Mr. Jeffers stated that trash in the Borough does not promote property values. Mr. Jeffers again mentioned the bad traffic conditions at Lansdowne and Baltimore Avenues.

Hazel Pelletro Marlyn Road – Ms. Pelletro asked for an update on the bank building.
President Wayne stated that it has been purchased by the Lansdowne Center for a possible business school presence. This item will be on the agenda for discussion at the next Council business meeting.

Paul Erly Karen Court – Mr. Erly asked if the Borough had a snow removal ordinance, citing that the apartment owners took two days to remove snow from the last storm. President Wayne stated that the ordinance states snow should be removed within 24 hours of the end of
the snowfall. Mayor Young stated that the Codes department is citing violators.

Fred Mirarchi 167 Owen Avenue – Mr. Mirarchi expressed his concerns about the recent crime incidents in the Borough and felt that more police presence is necessary. Mr. Mirarchi also hoped that the economic development plan is a success. President Wayne stated that some of the incidents have been random events and has asked Chief Kortan to develop some pro active measures.

Borough Council comments to visitors:

  1. Ms. Coleman mentioned that an advisory committee is reviewing signage issues in the Borough and measures will soon be enacted to create more aesthetically pleasing and traffic friendly signs.
  2. Ms. Hill expressed that Borough Council was extremely concerned about recent crime incidents and all Borough Council have been very proactive in trying to address the situation with Chief Kortan.
  3. Ms. Hill moved to Reinstate the Rules of Order. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Old Business – No items.

New Business – No items.

Action Items

1. Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorize payment of bills for the period. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

2. Mr. Lee moved to approve Resolution 2007-5, a resolution regarding rejecting the ballot question, in the May, 2007 primary asking whether a personal or earned income tax should be levied on the residents of the William Penn School District. Ms. Lustgarten seconded the motion. The Resolution was then read in its entirety by the Secretary. A roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.

3. Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve Resolution 2007-6, a resolution of the Borough of Lansdowne, Delaware County, declaring its intent to destroy records. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

4. Ms. Coleman moved to issue a Certificate of Appropriateness for two signs at St. Philomena’s church, 41 East Baltimore Avenue. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.

5. Ms. Coleman moved to issue a Certificate of Appropriateness for Dunkin Donuts 23 E. Baltimore Avenue. Ms. Hill seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.

6. Ms. Coleman moved to execute a contract with the PA Department of Community and Economic Development for $90,000 in grant funds for the acquisition of an easement over the Dunkin Donuts property, 23 East Baltimore Avenue to provide access to the Borough parking lot. Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.

7. Ms. Coleman moved to appoint Paul Manns to the Lansdowne Human Relations Commission for a three year term ending 9/30/09. Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.

8. Ms. Hill moved to advertise Ordinance No. 1225, an ordinance authorizing the erection of stops signs at the intersection of Shadeland and Greenwood Avenues. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session – Mr. Lee moved to adjourn to executive session to discuss a real estate issue. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned to executive session at 9:10 p.m.

Public Session – Upon reconvening to public session, the following motion was made:

Mr. Lee moved to reject the proposal of the Lansdowne Center owner for leasing 90 parking spaces for 15 years in connection with the proposed Harris School project. Ms. Coleman seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Hill moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Ms. Coleman. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 9:33 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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