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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting
September 3, 2008

The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday, September 3, 2008, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Wayne, Ms. Coleman, Mr. Lee, Ms. Silzle, Mr. Urban and Mr. Wagner. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Manager Totaro, Borough Finance Director/Treasurer Bartley and Police Chief Kortan. Councilwoman Lustgarten and Fire Chief Young were absent.

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved with the following changes/additions: (1) Ms. Silzle will present action item #2; (2) Ms. Coleman will present the Finance Committee report; (3) approval of the August 20, 2008 General Meeting minutes will be put on the agenda for the next Council meeting.

Minutes

Ms. Coleman moved to approve the minutes of the August 6, 2008 Business Meeting as submitted by the Secretary. Ms. Silzle seconded and the motion carried unanimously with one correction noted by President Wayne.

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

Public Comment

Several residents were present to comment on the proposed ordinance regarding emergency vehicle access on West and East Windermere Terrace as follows:

  1. Miriam McCafferty40 Windermere Terrace – Ms. McCafferty felt that the parking restriction on East Windermere Terrace should be changed to cover the outside proposed area, not just the inside area and the restriction should be changed to 8:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. instead of 6:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m. Ms. McCafferty expressed concerns over where visitors would park with the restrictions in place.
  2. Tom Hiscott 7 East Windermere Terrace – Mr. Hiscott indicated that the second resident meeting was not publicized as well as the first and the Borough should mail out subsequent notices in this regard, not volunteers.
  3. Linda Bruegel8 East Windermere Terrace – Ms. Bruegel felt that there should be no parking on the east side of West Windermere Terrace and that parking on the west side for East Windermere Terrace is appropriate. Ms. Bruegel indicated that a lot of people don’t use their driveways and some extra parking could be available if these were utilized.
  4. Richard Nance30 West Windermere Terrace – Mr. Nance indicated that commercial vehicles are parked in this area and the ordinance is not being enforced in this regard.
  5. Mary Didzearkis 30 West Windermere Terrace -Ms. Didzearkis felt that the 6:00 p.m. starting time restriction is too early and would rather it start at 8:00 p.m.She indicated that the neighborhood children have no place to play but in the cul-de-sac and felt it should be cleared of parked cars as long as possible for their safety.
  6. Hannah Weedan West Windermere Terrace – Ms. Weedan felt it would be better to not have parking on the west side of East Windermere Terrace because the emergency trucks will have a problem entering unless there is careful enforcement of how much space is actually available for access. Ms. Weedan mentioned that commercial trucks take up parking space in the apartment building areas and felt that parking in that area should be more clearly delineated. Ms. Weedan hoped this restriction would not create tensions among neighbors as this is too big an issue for the block captains to handle. Ms. Weedan indicated that speeding issues need to be addressed regarding traffic from the Gladstone train station and that more lighting is necessary in Gladstone Manor.

Borough Council comments:

  1. Ms. Coleman stated she appreciated the feedback and indicated that there had been much discussion about all the emergency vehicle program issues and the bulk of residents who attended the second meeting were from West Windermere Terrace. The proposed ordinance can be revised at a future date but nothing can be done if no ordinance exists at all. Ms. Coleman mentioned that the Gladstone Manor lighting issue had been referred to the Infrastructure Committee.
  2. Mr. Wagner indicated that the Infrastructure Committee is looking into a lighting scheme for Gladstone Manor and this Committee meets the 4th Tuesday of every month, 7:30 p.m., if residents are interested in attending.

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

REPORTS AND DISCUSSION

A.Finance Director/Treasurer Joe Bartley – Mr. Bartley had no formal report but mentioned that meetings had taken place with department heads regarding the 2009 budget. Formal budget meetings have been tentatively set for September 22, 24, 25, 30 and October 2. Ms. Silzle mentioned that a library Board member should be present at these meetings.

B.Solicitor Bob Scott – Mr. Scott reported that he has been working on the franchise agreement with Verizon, who will be offering FIOS service in the Borough. The $20,000 franchise fee will be payable over 3 years; additional information on the agreement terms will be available at the next Borough Council meeting. Mr. Scott indicated that he is compiling an ordinance regarding pods and Councilman Wagner will work with him in this regard. Mr. Scott commented on the new zoning ordinance that was adopted in August: there will be more work required by the Codes officers in determining front yard distances as the numbers will no longer be based on an average. Also, there is no minimum lot size required under the new ordinance and an ordinance should be added to address this situation. Mr. Scott will prepare a draft ordinance in this regard.

C.Borough Manager Craig Totaro – Mr. Totaro had no formal report.

D.Police Chief Dan Kortan – Chief Kortan reported that Officer Selimas will be sworn in at the September General meeting. Chief Kortan indicated that one part time officer is set to be sworn in after Borough Council’s approval. Chief Kortan questioned whether the 40 hours of required training before reaching paid Borough employee status should occur before or after the swearing in. Mr. Scott suggested that the swearing in take place before the 40 hour requirement. President Wayne questioned the wage and hour issues i.e., whether they become an employee upon swearing in and if so, is the Borough required by law to pay those 40 hours or are they volunteered hours. Mr. Scott indicated the swearing in does not make them an employee. Chief Kortan will investigate the procedures used by other Boroughs regarding part time employees.

E.Fire Chief Tom Young – No report was given in Chief Young’s absence.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Young reported that another First Suburbs meeting will be held on September 28th. Mayor Young mentioned that the Infrastructure Action Group is trying to create a County Department to handle road and sewer repairs and this could possibly be a concern. Mayor Young indicated that some parents had suggested putting white directional paint lines in the Highland Avenue parking lot to direct traffic. Mayor Young had received a request to put “Curb your dog” signs around the Borough.

President’s Report

President Wayne mentioned that the Elm Street Program discussions are ongoing.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

  1. Public Safety – Ms. Coleman indicated that the Committee did not meet in August. The emergency vehicle access program will be discussed under action items.
  2. Finance – Ms. Coleman reported in Ms. Lustgarten’s absence. The Finance Committee met on August 27th. The first half of the meeting was devoted to the Pension Committee and meeting with Independence Advisors to give an update on the first half of the year – the Fund is down 7.9% but the entire market is down 11.9%. Ms. Coleman mentioned that Independence Advisor’s fees are much lower than had been incurred under Smith Barney and Independence is also very responsive and clear on fund issues. Ms. Coleman reported that actuarial services will be switched from Mockenhaupt to Thomas J. Anderson and Associates for lower costs and better service. The regular Finance Committee meeting was then held to discuss year end projections. Current tax collections are down about $175,000 in revenues but will turn around by year’s end. Mr. Bartley reported that this is only 2.8% of the budgeted revenues and matches historically with previous figures. Mr. Bartley reported that the interest income is less due to the interest rates being half of what they were in 2007 and the real estate transfer taxes are less than in 2007. However, there is enough of a surplus to cover the shortfall. Ms. Coleman mentioned that discussions continue regarding performance appraisals and moving Borough staff to merit increases as opposed to guaranteed increases.
  3. Economic Development – Mr. Wagner had no formal report.
  4. Environmental – Ms. Silzle reported that the Environmental Committee met with the Public Works crew to discuss the trash pickup and recycling issues and will meet again on September 16th at 9:30 a.m. to continue the dialogue and set up recommendations for Borough Council. The Committee will also be looking into creating an environmental advisory council in Lansdowne, based upon the recommendation of Lansdowne resident David Bennett. Ms. Coleman questioned how the Committee could increase the ratio of recycling per household. Ms. Silzle indicated that policies will be developed and that enforcement of apartment building recycling will be investigated as well. Chief Kortan mentioned that two individuals had been arrested for pilfering recycling for cash.
  5. Education – Mr. Urban reported that the Education Committee will meet on September 16th at 7:30 p.m. Regarding the park plans and overlap issues with this Committee and the Environmental Committee, Mr. Urban indicated that any park plans regarding usage will come before the Education and Park Committee first, then be passed to the Environmental Committee for their perspective. Mr. Urban mentioned that Movie Night/Park Day will be on September 20th with more details to follow.
  6. Infrastructure – Mr. Lee had no formal report.

OLD BUSINESS

  1. Tipping Fees – Mayor Young reported that the County has backed off on creating a Capital Reserve Fund and will be holding a meeting on September 26th.Mayor Young stated that the County no longer wants to fund the $4 million program to handle the solid waste disposal due to running short in their budget from the various State charges imposed on them for trash to steam disposal. President Wayne reiterated that the County should be paying the $4 million in costs and not passing them onto residents. Mayor Young indicated that the upcoming newsletter will contain more detailed information on this subject. Mr. Scott indicated that the County ordinance mandates that Lansdowne has to take trash where the County indicates.
  2. Sewer Repair Program – Scottdale Road – Mr. Totaro reported that the advertised bids would include digging, ala carte items, bypass and preliminary permission issues for a total project cost of $250,000. Currently there is $180,000 in the Sewer Fund for this project but the total repayment cost could be spread over two years. The process to be used is a cured in place one that is not temperature sensitive. President Wayne questioned Upper Darby’s usage of Lansdowne’s sewer lines. Mr. Totaro indicated that the Delcora money is a wash between Upper Darby and Lansdowne and will check to see how much of Upper Darby’s and Lansdowne’s sewage is going through which lines. Falls Run may also be included as an add alternate to the bid package. Mr. Lee commended Mr. Totaro on his efforts in this regard.
  3. 20 Lansdowne Court – discussion deferred until next Council meeting.
  4. Archives and Records Management Grant – discussion deferred until next Council meeting.
  5. Part-time Police Officers – Mr. Scott indicated that the existing list is exhausted for part timers; the existing rules permit part timers to be hired only from the full time list and asked if a separate process for just part time hires was necessary. Chief Kortan indicated the current language requires part timers to take the same civil service exam as full time officers and suggested changing the language to reflect candidates will undergo the same testing and procedures as full time officers to allow the option of using the list for full timers or holding a separate testing and procedures process for part time hires. Mayor Young indicated the rules need to be determined in the matter of part time hires and whether a new list would be necessary. President Wayne recalled past discussions about part time hires and asked the Public Safety Committee to look into whether it would be necessary to hire part time officers and if this is the correct strategy to pursue. Chief Kortan and Mr. Scott will have draft language in place for the Public Safety Committee’s meeting next week.

NEW BUSINESS

  1. Request from Wildman Arms to use Parking Lot #1 Owen Avenue side, 9/8/08 through 9/12/08. An oil tank is being removed and residents will need another parking area for about 25 cars. Mr. Lee moved to suspend the parking enforcement in parking lot #1, Owen Avenue side for Wildman Arms residents from 9/8/08 through 9/12/08. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion
    carried unanimously.
  2. Request from Girl Scouts to set up a table on September 13, 2008 from Noon – 5 p.m. in Borough Green to solicit members.
    Mr. Lee moved to allow the Girl Scouts to set up a table on 9/13/08 in the Borough Green from Noon to 5:00 p.m. to solicit members. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  3. American Rivers’ Coastal Zone Management/DEP grant application – Ms. Silzle opened the discussion. American Rivers is working on two storm water management projects in Lansdowne
    and one project requires a Borough match. The one project not requiring the Borough grant is a two year Claneil grant for 2009 and 2010 whereby rain barrels would be installed in various
    sites throughout the Borough. It is anticipated that the labor will be done by the work camp crew at a cost of $15,000 for two years. Ms. Silzle indicated that the second grant is a Federal program with DEP and American Rivers to assess and prioritize storm water management needs. This is a $50,000 grant that will require a Borough match of $7,500 over two years. Both Claneil and the work camp would contribute to the match. The grant is due October 20, 2008. Ms. Silzle indicated the grant would identify areas of
    problematic rain water i.e., flooding and runoff, in one area only. After further discussion a motion was made to support the grant application:Ms. Silzle moved to support American Rivers’ Coastal Zone
    Management/DEP grant application and matching Borough funds up to $15,000 in 2009 and 2010. Mr. Lee seconded.
    President Wayne suggested amending the motion to make it an in kind grant. Mr. Lee moved to amend the original motion to have the grant limited to an in kind contribution. Ms.
    Silzle seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried 5-1 with Mr. Urban voting no.

ACTION ITEMS:

  1. Ms. Coleman moved to authorize payment of bills for period. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  2. Ms. Silzle moved to adopt Ordinance 1229, an Ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne amending Chapter 305 of the Lansdowne Code entitled “Trees” to exempt Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenues from the prohibition against planting trees between the sidewalk and the cart way of any street within the Borough. Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously. Mr. Bartmann will be suggesting species and where to plant the trees. President Wayne asked that attention be paid to the dumpster in Lansdowne Plaza.
  3. Ms. Coleman moved to enact Ordinance 1235, an Ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne prohibiting parking on the west side of the street on East and West Windermere Terraces. Mr. Lee seconded. Discussion: Chief Kortan indicates signs were already ordered with the time restraint. Ms. Coleman indicated she did not want to arbitrarily change the time limits. Ms. Silzle mentioned that the original motion to advertise this Ordinance was tabled at last month’s General meeting. After further discussions regarding increased traffic flow and speed, cul-de-sac parking and children’s safety, Mr. Lee moved to table the original motion. Mr. Wagner seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried 4-2 with Ms. Coleman and Ms. Silzle voting nay.
  4. Ms. Coleman moved to change the Police Pension Fund and non-uniformed actuarial services provider from Mockenhaupt to Thomas J. Anderson and Associates. Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
  5. Mr. Wagner moved to accept the letter of resignation from Suzanne McElroy as a member of the Planning Commission. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  6. Mr. Wagner moved to accept the letter of resignation from William Chapman as chair of the HARB. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  7. Mr. Lee moved to advertise for bids for contractor services to repair Scottdale Road sewers and Falls Run sewers. Mr. Wagner seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
  8. Mr. Wagner moved to approve settlement of tax assessment appeal for 117 East Baltimore Avenue (CVS) on the terms negotiated by the WPSD, being as follows:
    Present Assessment Revised Assessment Implied FMV
    2007 – 1,824,210 1,585,150 2,450,000
    2008 – 1,824,210 1,496,950 2,450,000

    Mr. Lee seconded. Discussion: President Wayne questioned how the 2008 assessment can decrease, given that the same 2007/2008 fair market value percentage is applied. Mr. Scott explained that the School District comprises about 80% of the taxes so they defend all tax assessment appeals, negotiate settlements and the Borough pays the pro rata percentage of the appraisal. Mr. Scott indicated that the only viable solution at the local level would be to take over the School District and have them hire a more aggressive appraiser.A roll call vote was taken. There was a tie vote of 3-3 (Ayes: Wayne, Coleman, Silzle. Nays: Lee, Urban, Wagner). Mayor Young broke the tie with a vote of “aye”. The motion carried 4-3.

  9. Ms. Coleman moved to promote Officer Christopher Craig to Class “B” Patrolman effective 9/1/08, per the Lansdowne Civil Service Rules and Regulations. Mr. Urban seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  10. Mr. Wagner moved to accept recommendation of the Historical Architectural Review Board, that a Certificate of Appropriateness, 2008-11, be issued to Life More Abundant, 5 N. Lansdowne Avenue. Discussion: President Wayne indicated that no information was available to vote on this. Mr. Wagner will invite the HARB to the next Codes Department and Economic Development Committee meetings to clarify the Borough’s code guidelines.Ms. Coleman seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried 5-1 with President Wayne voting “nay”.

Executive Session

There were no items for Executive Session.

Adjourn

Mr. Lee moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Urban. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 11:03 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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