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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting
April 16, 2008

The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday, April 16, 2008, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Wayne, Ms. Coleman, Mr. Lee, Ms. Lustgarten, Ms. Silzle and Mr. Wagner. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Manager Totaro, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Finance Director/Treasurer Bartley and Police Chief Kortan. Councilman Urban, Borough Engineer Bevilacqua and Fire Chief Young were absent.

President Wayne stated that the meeting would air on April 21st at 7:00 p.m. on Comcast channel 10.

Approval of Agenda — The agenda was approved with the following additions: Mr. Lee asked that the Resolution regarding Senate Bill 1250 be added under New Business. President Wayne indicated that the heading for Visitor comments was omitted from the agenda and stated it would be inserted before New Business.

Minutes —Mr. Lee moved to approve the minutes of the March 19, 2008 Council General Meeting as submitted by the Secretary. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Announcements and Presentations

Mayor Young swore in Code Enforcement Officer Mike Jozwiak. Mayor Young swore in Code Enforcement Officer John Gould. Mayor Young swore in Code Enforcement Officer Tracy Gaddy. Mr. Jozwiak explained that the Codes Department is in place to offer assistance to residents with housing life safety issues, to review plans for renovation and/or construction projects and to direct residents to licensed and insured contractors.

Mayor Young introduced Mary Lou Jennings of the Tree Advisory Board, who gave a brief overview of Arbor Day festivities that will be held on April 25th at 1:00 p.m. in Sycamore Park. Mrs. Jennings mentioned that Lansdowne will be receiving its 14th year Tree City Award as well as its 4th year Tree Growth Award.

Treasurer’s Report – Mr. Bartley reported the beginning balance of all funds as of December 31, 2007 was $8,700,898.00. Total revenues as of March 30, 2008 for all funds amounted to $1,694,154.61 and total disbursements amounted to $2,101,121.17. Ending balance of all funds as of March 31, 2008 was $8,293,931.44. This represents a deficit of $400,000 for the first three months of the fiscal year but Mr. Bartley explained this period is typically light in terms of revenue collections. Additionally, substantial amounts of tax revenues will shortly be forthcoming from the Tax Collector and there is actually a net surplus of $2,000 for the first quarter. Mr. Bartley reported total receipts in the General Fund as of March 31, 2008 in the amount of $1,403,643.77and total expenditures of $1,246,195.21, representing a surplus of approximately $157,000. The Sewer Fund total receipts for this same period amounted to $165,452.83 and total disbursements of $296,158.83 representing a $130,000 deficit. Mr. Bartley explained this deficit will diminish as the year progresses. Mr. Bartley indicated the ending balance in the Sewer Fund of $3,427.66 does not include the $166,000 transfer that had not yet been made from the PNC account. Ms. Silzle questioned the higher amount of the commercial liability for workers’ compensation than was in the budget. Mr. Bartley indicated this variance would smooth out by the end of the year.

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

Mayor’s Report — Mayor Young announced various calendar items. Mayor Young mentioned that May is No Place for Hate Month and several related activities will be held during that month in the Borough.

Council President’s Report – President Wayne had no formal report.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Public Safety — Ms. Coleman reported that the Public Safety Committee met on April 9th and discussed a variety of items:

  1. Ongoing situation/discussion of emergency vehicle access. Several solutions have been offered and a pilot approach for one street is being looked into with more information to follow.
  2. Police Officer opening — the written examination and physical agility test have been administered. The oral exam will be conducted on April 21st. Two residents have been added to the five person panel for the oral examination.
  3. Comprehensive crime prevention plan is being discussed with proactive strategies and different measures. Chief Kortan is assisting in this endeavor to insure that any recommendations will meet the needs of the community. The next Public Safety Committee meeting will be held on May 14th.

Finance – Ms. Lustgarten reported the Finance Committee met on April 7th. The annual audit is now complete. Ms. Lustgarten indicated that Portnoff Law Associates will still enforce collection of outstanding trash and sewer fees but will not enforce for debts of under $200. The Finance Committee recommended sponsoring the Lansdowne Folk Club 15th anniversary for $1,000. Ms. Lustgarten indicated that Mr. Scott and Mr. Totaro will be working on a variety of policy procedures for the Borough regarding revisions to the State Right To Know Act that is to be completed by the end of this year. The next meeting of the Finance Committee will be held on May 5th.

Economic Development — Mr. Wagner reported the next meeting will be held on April 23rd. At the March 18th meeting a variety of topics were discussed:

  1. Additional candidates for the Zoning Hearing Board.
  2. Reviewing the problem property report.
  3. 3.Restructuring of codes fees.
  4. A proposed ordinance to establish a Redevelopment Authority within Lansdowne.
  5. Establishing an Arts Council.
  6. Marketing the multi conversion plan in the South Lansdowne area from Nyack to Fairview Avenues on the East side of Lansdowne Avenue.

Mr. Wagner introduced the owners of the newly opened Life More Abundant health food store. The owners also plan to offer a variety of future events at their store, including cooking classes, a health fair, free Bible study on Mondays and Tuesdays and a Children’s Story Hour.

Environmental — Ms. Silzle reported the Environmental Committee met on April 9th and the Committee will be exploring a proposed shade tree ordinance with input from Tree Advisory Board chair Mary Lou Jennings. Ms. Silzle reported that Borough recycling is up 24% in February 2008 from 2007 but down 7% in March 2008 from 2007. In February 2008, 48 tons were collected; in March 2008, 50 tons were collected. This reflects a diversion rate of 15.5% and 14% respectively. The goal is to reach a minimum 20%. Toward this end, the Committee will be looking at other opportunities for recycling, especially among commercial and apartment dwelling properties. The Committee is also looking into getting recycling bins at the Gladstone and Lansdowne train stations on both sides of the tracks. Ms. Silzle reported on the dangers of plastic bags and cited a recent Wall Street Journal statistic: the U.S. uses 100 billion plastic bags annually at an estimated cost to retailers of $4 billion. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of marine mammals die from eating the discarded plastic bags. These bags do not biodegrade, but photo degrade, breaking down into smaller toxic particles, poisoning the soil and waterways and entering the food chain that is in turn ingested by animals. Ms. Silzle encouraged residents to use reusable cloth bags when shopping for food and dry goods and to recycle any plastic bags at the supermarkets. The next Environmental Committee meeting will be held on May 14th at 9:30 a.m.

Education — No report was given in Mr. Urban’s absence.

Infrastructure — Mr. Lee reported that the Infrastructure Committee discussed the Scottdale Road sewer project at last month’s meeting. Also discussed: (1) replacing some Borough sidewalks to make them ADA accessible, and (2) doing an inventory of street signs and Borough lighting. Discussions are being held with contractors to use different bulbs for cost savings.

Liaison Reports

  1. Ms. Coleman reported that Joe Stevenson, Chair of the Civil Service Commission, will be joining them at next month’s meeting to work on the hiring list for police officers.
  2. Library liaison Ms. Silzle mentioned that next month is Poetry Month and an event will be held at the Lansdowne Library on April 30th in this regard. President Wayne indicated that the library sign on Nyack Avenue side is deteriorating and should be replaced.

Communications — There were no communications.

Mr. Wagner moved to suspend the Rules of Order. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Visitors:

Dolores Dixon 57 Eldon Avenue — Mrs. Dixon asked when a fallen large tree branch will be removed from Borough property that is directly behind her house. Ms. Dixon indicated she had called numerous times and spoken with various individuals about this problem but it is still unresolved. President Wayne indicated that the fallen tree is in Marlyn Park and Borough equipment cannot get into the area until the ground hardens. Mr. Totaro will keep Mrs. Dixon updated on this matter.

Robert Leonard 162 West Baltimore Avenue — Mr. Leonard mentioned that a cement block encasing a cable vault and pole is deteriorating in from of his building and that heavy equipment being used in the area is sending shock waves through his house. Mr. Leonard also mentioned that water is still standing in front of his driveway even though the outlying area is dry. Mr. Leonard indicated that residents do not own the street in front of their residences and vehicles with parking permits are allowed on-street parking. His vehicle was recently vandalized while parked overnight.

Jack Covert Resident of Lansdowne — Mr. Covert stated that the final Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra performance for the season will be held on April 27th. Mr. Covert indicated it would be appreciated if Borough Council could occasionally support the LSO with financial contributions. Mr. Covert indicated that only $1000 per year would be lost in Borough revenues if parking was free on Saturdays in the business district. Mr. Covert asked that a warning be given to residents whose cars extend past their driveways, blocking the sidewalks. Mr. Covert mentioned that the Codes Department is not revenue neutral and residents pay their costs through the fees. President Wayne indicated this was not true.

Charlie Jeffers 13 Willowbrook Avenue — Mr. Jeffers mentioned that the pedestrian crosswalk signs are missing once again in front of Wildman Arms Apartments. Mr. Jeffers mentioned that there are still no recycling cans at the Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenue intersection. Mr. Jeffers also indicated that there is a dangerous manhole cover situation at the same intersection. Mr. Jeffers mentioned that a cancer survivor meeting will be held the first Thursday in June at 6:30 p.m. at Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

Janice Small 77 Nyack Avenue — Ms. Small indicated that she works for PennDot’s Engineering and Permit Department and indicated that the manhole problem mentioned by Mr. Jeffers will be resolved.

Comments from Borough Council Members:

  1. Ms. Coleman indicated that the Public Safety Committee felt it was not prudent at this time to have free parking on Saturdays in the Borough, as choices have to be balanced between the budget and economic development. Ms. Coleman mentioned that some shopper friendly measures are already in place, such as free parking on Sunday and during the month of December.
  2. Ms. Lustgarten mentioned that the LSO can submit a written request any time they want Borough Council to sponsor a special event for them.

Mr. Wagner moved to reinstate the Rules of Order. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Old Business

Baltimore Avenue Revitalization Strategy — Ms. Coleman gave an update on this 6 municipality venture to beautify and develop the corridor along Baltimore Avenue from the Philadelphia border to Oak Avenue in Clifton Heights. On April 9th a Developers Fair was held and over 50 realtors and developers attended. Ms. Coleman reported that Lansdowne is ahead of the curve in terms of zoning, redevelopment, etc.

New Business

Senate Bill 1250 – Mr. Lee reported that Borough Council will be voting on a resolution to oppose this S.B. 1250, a bill that would eliminate Borough domestic partner benefits and uses the Constitution to discriminate against a segment of society. Mr. Lee indicated that Lansdowne’s draft version had been sent to the Philadelphia City Council and they have already passed it.
Mr. Lee moved to approve the Resolution as written. Ms. Coleman seconded. Mr. Wagner asked that the Resolution be read aloud by the Secretary. The resolution was then read. A brief discussion followed. Mr. Lee indicated that it will cost taxpayers millions of dollars for this Bill to go through the General Assembly debating process and is a right wing political ploy to affect the Pennsylvania elections in November. President Wayne stated this Bill is flawed in so many ways and proposes to put a Section 29 into Article I of the PA Constitution that reads: “no union other than a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage or the functional equivalent of marriage by the Commonwealth”. This definition of law already exists in PA law so an amendment to the PA Constitution is redundant. President Wayne indicated that Article I is a declaration of rights that includes 28 all inclusive rights for all Pennsylvania citizens. Section 29 will restrict rights to certain groups of people.
A roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.

Action Items:

1. Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorized payment of bills for period. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
2. Ms. Silzle moved to reappoint Marie Campuzano to the Library Board for a three yea term, expiring on 3/31/11. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
3. Ms. Silzle moved to reappoint Andrea Lee Kenyon to the Library Board for a three year term, expiring on 3/31/11. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
4. Ms. Silzle moved to reappoint Donald Fry to the Library Board for a three year term, expiring on 3/31/11. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
5. Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve a $1,000 contribution to the Lansdowne Folk Club, in recognition of their 15th year. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
6. Ms. Lustgarten moved to modify the Borough’s current agreement with Portnoff Associates to allow Portnoff to undertake the representation of the Borough of Lansdowne in the collection of its delinquent municipal claims, including sewer and trash fees and abatement of nuisance charges and for the Borough to retain MCTL Services to assemble and mail Municipal Claims and Tax Liens Act Notices. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
7. Ms. Silzle moved to reappoint Mary Lou Jennings to the Tree Advisory Board for a three year term, expiring 4/30/11. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
8. Ms. Silzle moved to adopt Resolution 2008-8, a Resolution of the Borough of Lansdowne of Delaware County, to apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, for Gateway Park Improvements. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
9. Ms. Silzle moved to hire one full-time Circulation Assistant, replacing two part-time circulation assistants, at the Library. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session

Mr. Wagner moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss a litigation issue. Ms. Silzle seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
The meeting adjourned to Executive Session at 9:25 p.m.

Public Session

No motions were made upon reconvening to Public Session.

Adjourn

Mr. Lee moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Ms. Coleman. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 9:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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