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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting Wednesday
February 18, 2009

The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday, February 18, 2009, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Coleman, Mr. Lee, Ms. Lustgarten, Ms. Silzle, Mr. Urban and Mr. Wagner. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Manager Totaro, Borough Secretary Henry, Police Chief Kortan and Borough Finance Director/Treasurer Bartley. Fire Chief Young was absent.

President Coleman stated that the meeting would air on February 23rd at 7:00 p.m. on Comcast channel 10 and RCN channel 52.

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved with the following additions/changes: (1) Mayor Young indicated that officer McDermott would not be sworn in tonight and that the American Legion would be making some presentations.

Minutes

Ms. Silzle moved to approve the minutes of the January 21, 2009 Council General Meeting as submitted by the Secretary. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Announcements and Presentations

Mayor Young introduced members of the American Legion Post 65 who were on hand to award certificates of appreciation. Tom Speers presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the owners of Mission Burrito, thanking them for supplying Christmas packages of Mexican hot chocolate to the First Marine Logistics Troop in Iraq. Larry Smalley presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Sgt. Brian Eidell, who was named the 2009 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Bartley presented the December 31, 2008 report. The year to date deficit of $171,701 is primarily attributable to real estate taxes not realized and came in under budget by $237,000. The General Fund reflected a beginning balance of $243,675, revenues of $5,872,820, expenditures of $6,044,521 and an ending balance of $71,974. The Sewer Fund reflected a beginning balance of $134,133, revenues of $1,391,564, expenditures of $1,259,272 and an ending balance of $266,422. There was a surplus of $132,288.68. The Liquid Fuels Fund reflected a beginning balance of $175,301, revenues of $236,206, expenditures of $304,012 and an ending balance of $107,495. Expenses in excess of revenues were $67,806. The Capital Reserves Fund reflected a beginning balance of $275,410, revenues of 45,696, expenditures of $162,252, ending balance of $118,854 and expenses in excess of revenues of $156,556. The Non-Uniform Pension Plan decreased in value in the amount of $182,565. Net investment income decreased by $252,000. The fund reflected a beginning balance of $1,233,215, revenues of $181,597, expenditures of $364,163 and an ending balance of $1,030,649. The net decrease in asset values was 20% as opposed to the overall market decrease of 40%. The Police Pension Fund reflected a decreased in value of $1,921,803. The fund reflected a beginning balance of $6,639,162, revenues of $704,641, expenditures of $2,626,444 and an ending balance of $4,717,358. The net decrease in asset values was 27% as opposed to the overall market decrease of 40%. Ms. Lustgarten reiterated that the Borough was not presently running at a deficit but there were more expenses than revenues in 2008. In addition, two properties had not paid taxes in the amount of $110,000 and there were bounced checks for real estate tax payments amounting to $30,000. President Coleman indicated that everything is being done to lower expenses, given the current economic climate.

Solicitor’s Report

Mr. Scott had no formal report and 2 items for Executive Session.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Young read various calendar items. Mayor Young announced the police officers and department staff who have taken no sick time in 2008 and also their cumulative years with no time off:

  • Officer Tina Selimas (6 months)
    Officer Crescent Brown (5 years)
    Sgt. John Eisenhart (7 years)
    Officer David Schiazza (7 years)
    Officer C. J. Schiazza (9 years)
    Sgt. Daniel Donaghan (9 years)
    Bobbi Harris (11 years)
    Jocanda Pannell (13 years)

Mayor Young read various calendar items. Mayor Young mentioned that residents should consider contacting the Community Action Agency of Delaware County (610-522-9611) before calling Betsy Riffert for bulk trash pickup. This agency is always in need of good, usable items such as dressers, beds, living room and bedroom furniture, TV’s and other household items.Mayor Young is a charter member of the 1st Suburbs of Southeastern Pennsylvania Committee and mentioned she had recently met with Mayor Rendell’s policy director, Donna Cooper, to investigate additional stimulus funding for inner ring issues.Councilman Wagner mentioned that Sofa Cinema is resuming their new season and will be moving to the Lansdowne Theater. Mr. Wagner also mentioned that residents can put an ad on Craig’s List under “free stuff” if they wish to dispose of household items.

Council President’s Report

President Coleman mentioned that a meeting of the Delaware County Council will be held on February 24th, 7:00 p.m. at Collingdale Borough Hall and invited residents to attend and voice any concerns.President Coleman stated that former Council member Gene Wayne had submitted his resignation as a Borough Council member effective February 9, 2009. Ms. Silzle moved to accept the resignation of Councilman Gene Wayne. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. The motion carried unanimously. President Coleman then read Resolution 2009-6, outlining Mr. Wayne’s many accomplishments during his tenure as Borough Council President and thanking him for his service. Ms. Silzle moved to adopt Resolution 2009-6, a Resolution recognizing outgoing Councilman Gene Wayne. Mr. Wagner seconded. The motion carried unanimously. President Coleman indicated that the process for filling the vacancy is 30 days from acceptance of the resignation (February 18) and resumes are being taken.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Public Safety

Ms. Coleman reported the Public Safety Committee met on February 11th and a major topic of discussion was the metered parking in the municipal lot on Lansdowne Avenue. There has been some confusion among patrons whether this lot is metered or not as the signage is not easily visible. Ms. Coleman indicated there is one meter and the signs have been lowered to eye level. There is also a cost savings realized with one meter, as multiple meters no longer have to be calibrated.

Finance

Ms. Lustgarten had no formal report. The next Finance Committee meeting will be held on March 2nd at 7:00 p.m.

Economic Development

Mr. Wagner had no formal report. The next Economic Development Committee meeting will be held on February 26th at 7:00 p.m.

Environmental

Ms. Silzle had no formal report. Ms. Silzle gave the recycling numbers for January: 19.6% diversion rate and $638 received from Blue Mountain for recyclables. Regarding an alternative wind energy inquiry raised at a prior Council meeting, Ms. Silzle indicated that Mr. Totaro is gathering information and will refer the findings to the Environmental Committee. The next Environmental Committee meeting will be held on March 12th at 7:00 p.m. Ms. Silzle gave a brief overview of CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) and their mercury levels. These bulbs are significantly more energy efficient, can save about $30 in electricity over their lifetime and reduce the release of mercury and green house gases from coal burning power plants. According to the EPA’s energy program, if every home in America just replaced one incandescent bulb with a CFL, it would prevent more than $600,000 million in annual energy costs, save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes and prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 800,000 cars annually. The amount of mercury is small as opposed to what is released when coal is burned. Ms. Silzle mentioned that Home Depot stores has a national free recycling program for CFL bulbs.

Education

Mr. Urban reported that the Education Committee met last night to discuss nominations for the vacant position on the Park and Recreation Board and hopes to bring a recommendation to the next Council meeting. The next Education Committee meeting will be held on March 17th at 7:30 p.m.

Infrastructure

Mr. Lee had no formal report. The next Infrastructure Committee meeting will be held on February 24th at 7:30 p.m.

Liaison Reports

1. Park and Recreation Board – Mr. Urban had no report but the Park and Recreation Board will be meeting on February 23rd at 7:00 p.m. and the meeting is open to the public.

2. Library Board – Ms. Silzle reported that the library is updating their web site and is inviting Borough Council members to its launch some time in March. Ms. Silzle mentioned that the library is partnering with Celebration Theater and the Theater is hoping to perform some plays at the library based on various children’s books. There will also be senior citizen Mardi Gras mask workshop on February 26th. In addition, February is super heroes club month and children ages 7-11 can create their own superhero and comic strips. Local comic book artist Bob McCloud will visit on February 23rd to help with the comics. Ms. Silzle reported that a grant has been received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for 7 new computers. Internet circulation is also up 6.5% from last month.

Communications

(1) letter to Chief Kortan from the Clifton Heights Fire Company Chief thanking the Lansdowne police department for their help with the final farewell of Chief John Gorman; and (2) letter from the Gladstone Manor Civic Association regarding a status update on various beautification projects in the Borough. President Coleman mentioned that several had already been accomplished: sidewalk repairs, tree stump removal, traffic sign moved to Walsh Road, better street lighting, Septa conversations regarding repair of the fence, placement of trash cans and mulch delivery to the garden island. Other green space issues will be referred to the related committees.

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

Visitors:

1. Hanne Weedam 8 West Windermere Terrace – Mrs. Weedam, as a representative of the Greater Gladstone Civic Association, asked for an update on those issues not addressed in the foregoing letter under Communications, i.e., water access to the island at Gladstone and Walsh Roads and whether a stop sign would be painted at the intersection of Walsh and Gladstone Roads. Mrs. Weedam stated she appreciated all the feedback and support that had been received from Borough Council.

2. Jack Covert – Resident of Lansdowne – Mr. Covert mentioned that the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra will be holding a concert on March 22nd. Mr. Covert mentioned the proposed school merger wherein 501 school districts would be compressed into 100 districts and felt that Lansdowne will lose their input if this merger occurs. Mr. Covert also mentioned that another proposal to merge 6 boroughs into one governing entity might benefit Lansdowne monetarily. Mr. Covert suggested putting a “pay here” sign at the meter box to help patrons. Mr. Covert indicated that these meters only give an hour regardless of whether you put in extra money and suggested that Borough Council look into this. Mr. Covert questioned whether a newly elected tax collector would have an office at Borough Hall. Ms. Lustgarten indicated that a tax collector could choose to work at Borough Hall and it would not cost the Borough any additional money. Mr. Covert mentioned that Girl Scout cookies can be bought and sent to overseas troops.

3. Melissa England – 124 Gladstone Road – Ms. England stated that residents in the Gladstone Manor area have raised some concerns about code enforcement violations, abandoned properties and upkeep of public land on 3 specific properties: 1 Eldon Avenue – $115,000 back taxes are owed and it was not purchased at tax sale. Would the Borough consider moving it toward Judicial Sale; (2) Ardmore Avenue property recently destroyed by fire. No action was taken with reported suspected violations prior to the fire; and (3) condition of the stone wall along Baltimore Avenue from Eldon Avenue toward Scottdale Road. Property 23.06.417 and 418 are owned by the Borough and what are the plans to repair that section of the wall. Mr. Scott stated that the judicial sale should happen automatically through the County and the Borough does not have to list the property. Ms. Silzle mentioned that the Eldon property mentioned is actually 1 Eldon Road, not 1 Eldon Avenue. Mr. Wagner mentioned that the Economic Development Committee looks very carefully at problem properties and exhausts all options to remedy code violations but it is an arduous legal process with long time lines. President Coleman indicated that the Ardmore Avenue property code violations and stone wall repair situation will be investigated. Ms. Silzle indicated that a PennDot grant application had been submitted that would address improvements of the stone wall.

4. Charles Jeffers – 13 Willowbrook Avenue – Mr. Jeffers asked if aerosol cans could be recycled and urged residents to pick up trash and recycle. Mr. Jeffers asked if the Youth Camp would again be working in the Borough and offered his volunteer service. Mr. Jeffers indicated that the pedestrian walkway sign is again down in front of Wildman Arms.

5. Anthony Campuzano – 40 West Albemarle Avenue – In his capacity as President of the UAA, Mr. Campuzano indicated that the Borough does not fund the July 4th festivities. The 2008 budget was $32,000 and $19,800 was spent on the fireworks and almost $12,000 for the parade. Donations of $16,000 were received in 2008 but additional money is needed for this year. In that regard a fundraiser will be held on April 25th at the Twentieth Century Club at 7:00 p.m. and tickets are $25. Joe Stevenson’s jazz trio will be performing. Additional information can be obtained by calling the UAA at 610-284-1433. Mr. Campuzano stated that the UAA meets the first Thursday of every month at St. Paul’s church on Plumstead Avenue and new members are welcome. Mr. Campuzano congratulated Sgt. Eidell on his award and thanked him for his help with firearms training during Mr. Campuzano’s initial tenure as Borough Constable.

Borough Council Member Responses:

1. Mayor Young mentioned that the Greater Gladstone Civic Association comprises the following areas: Ardmore to Bryn Mawr Avenues, Baltimore Avenue from Burmont Road to Windermere Avenue, Bryn Mawr to Windermere Avenue, Deforest, Eldon, Gladstone, Madison and Mansfield Roads, Marlyn Avenue, Martin Drive, West Stratford Avenue to Windermere Avenue, Walsh Road, Willowbrook Avenue to Ardmore and East and West Windermere Terrace. Mayor Young indicated that regionalism is not the same as consolidation and has to do with a different approach to solving problems.

2. Ms. Silzle thanked Mr. Campuzano for his UAA efforts and asked residents to consider donating to the July 4th event.

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

Old Business:

1. Firehouse Excavation/closure update – Mr. Totaro reported that in the next month the area between Highland Avenue and the fire house will be closing and plans are in place to make that area more visually appealing. Mr. Totaro indicated that during the past year there has been some resolution to the issues surrounding the excavation i.e. the high water table issue and the runoff water from the Lansdowne Theater.

President Coleman indicated that a response will be submitted in writing to the Gladstone Manor group about the remaining issues.

New Business

There were no items for New Business.

Action Items:

1. Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve bills for the period. Mr. Lee seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
2. Ms. Lustgarten moved to adopt Resolution 2009-4, a Resolution of the Borough ofLansdowne declaring its intent to follow the schedules and procedures for disposition ofrecords as set forth in the Municipal Records Manual approved on December 16, 2008. Mr.Lee seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
3. Ms. Lustgarten moved to adopt Resolution 2009-5, a Resolution of the Borough of Lansdowne regarding destruction of records. Mr. Lee seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
4. Mr. Wagner moved to advertise Ordinance No. 1240, an ordinance of Lansdowne Borough amending provisions of the Lansdowne Borough Code for the purpose of regulating the use of dumpsters and portable storage containers for a period of five business days. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Discussion: Chief Kortan questioned the time limits, indicating that previously only 5 business days were allowed to have a dumpster on a public roadway and the ordinance now allows 30 days. Mr. Scott indicated that it could be advertised for 5 business days. Mr. Wagner agreed to amend the ordinance and stated that another Committee meeting will be held to further discuss the matter. Mr. Wagner moved to amend the ordinance to reflect the 5 day limit. Ms. Silzle seconded. The motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session

Mr. Lee moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss litigation matters. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned to Executive Session at 9:26 p.m.

Public Session

There were no motions made upon reconvening to Public Session.

Adjourn

Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Lee. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 10:02 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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