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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting Wednesday
May 20, 2009

The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday,May 20, 2009, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Coleman, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Schleigh, Ms. Silzle and Mr. Wagner. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Manager Totaro, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Finance Director/Treasurer Bartley and Police Chief Kortan. Councilmen Lee and Urban and Fire Chief Young were absent. Carl Ewald, Esquire sat in for Borough Solicitor Scott.

President Coleman asked for a moment of silence in memory of Lansdowne resident Cleveland Goodman Perkins, age 98. Mayor Young then read a list of Mr. Perkins’ many accomplishments during his lifetime.

President Coleman stated that the meeting would air on May 26th at 7:00 p.m. on Comcast channel 10 and RCN channel 52.

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved with the following changes/additions: (1) Mr. Wagner requested that action item #5 be made by Ms. Lustgarten, (2) Mr. Schleigh requested that a motion be added under the Public Safety Commission report regarding a stop sign ordinance, (3) President Coleman indicated that the communications item regarding New Communities Programs will be moved to Old Business.

Minutes

Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve the minutes of the April 15, 2009 Council General Meeting as submitted by the Secretary. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Announcements and Presentations

Mayor Young introduced Mary Lou Jennings, Chair of the Tree Advisory Board. Ms. Jennings mentioned that Lansdowne had received its 15th year Tree City Award. Ms. Jennings presented awards to several St. Philomena students who had written creative stories about trees.

Treasurer’s Report – Mr. Bartley presented the April, 2009 report. The General Fund reflected a beginning balance of. $71,973 and an ending balance of $1,612,116. There was a surplus of $1,540,142. The Sewer Fund reflected a beginning balance of $347,836 and an ending balance of $734,297. The Liquid Fuels Fund reflected a beginning balance of $107,495 and an ending balance of $102,477. The Capital Reserves Fund reflected a beginning balance of $118,854 and an ending balance of $117,408. The Non-Uniform Pension Plan had a beginning balance of $1,050,649 and an ending balance of $1,057,637. The Police Pension Fund reflected a beginning balance of $4,717,359 and an ending balance of $4,466,216, reflecting a deficit of $251,142 ($203,000 of which was retiree withdrawals). Beginning balance for all funds was $6,414,167 and the ending balance was $8,090,153.

Regarding the Sewer Fund, Ms. Lustgarten added that $40,000 had been received from the County this time last year but only $4,000 was received this year. Also, last year’s real estate transfer taxes were $48,000 versus $23,000 this year. Ms. Lustgarten mentioned that the Darby Creek Joint Authority payment year to date budget amount is inflated at $302,000.

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

Mayor’s Report – In her capacity as a member of the Governor’s Local Government Advisory Board, Mayor Young reported she attended a meeting on May 13th regarding the energy stimulus money. The $400 million infrastructure referendum was passed but the formula used in determining need and distribution had left Lansdowne out of the qualification for funds. Mayor Young also mentioned some residents’ concerns as follows: (1) potholes at Drexel and Windermere Avenues and at the bottom of Ardmore Avenue; (2) reinstate the speed trolley and police presence along South Lansdowne Avenue; and (3) a trash issue at 93 South Lansdowne Avenue.

Council President’s Report -President Coleman had no formal report but mentioned that smaller Boroughs are at a disadvantage to receive the stimulus money. More information will follow regarding other methods being investigated to obtain funding. President Coleman mentioned that Election Day had a disappointing turnout and hopes that more residents will make their voices heard for the November elections.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Public Safety – Mr. Schleigh reported that three complaints had been received about traffic control devices. One application has been received regarding the Health Board Chair position. Mr. Schleigh indicated that a four way stop sign at the intersection of East LaCrosse and North Maple Avenues has been recommended by the Committee and felt that the ordinance needs to be amended. Chief Kortan confirmed that the Borough has the authority to erect stop signs on non-state roads and would need to change the existing ordinance.Mr. Schleigh moved to authorize the Borough Solicitor to create an appropriate ordinance to erect a four way stop sign at East LaCrosse and North Maple Avenues and to advertise said Ordinance. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. The motion carried unanimously. Chief Kortan indicated the ordinance would have to contain the direction northbound and southbound on Maple Avenue.

Mr. Schleigh mentioned that a second traffic issue exists at the intersection of East Essex and North Maple and asked for additional police monitoring. The third complaint concerns the length of Marshall Road down to Owen Avenue and there was a request to erect a stop sign at Owen and Marshall Road. Chief Kortan indicated Marshall Road is a state road and the Borough has no authority in this regard. Mr. Schleigh indicated he would notify Penn Dot in writing about the problems along this stretch of Marshall Road.

The Public Safety Committee also discussed the emergency vehicle access issue. Mr. Schleigh questioned whether or not the current parking ordinance exposes the Borough to any potential liability for lawsuits if fire trucks cannot gain access to homes. Mr. Schleigh indicated there had been some disagreement regarding interpretation with Mr. Ewald’s response memo in this regard and asked if the current policy needs changing. Mr. Ewald indicated that this was a policy issue and from a legal standpoint there is no case law in this regard. The Borough is immune from being sued if an emergency vehicle cannot gain access to a home. However, Mr. Ewald indicated that the possibility of liability could exist if a parking sign used as a traffic device was found to have hindered emergency operations.President Coleman asked if there would be a liability issue for those streets not yet subject to parking restrictions. Mr. Ewald stated that if a law has not yet been created for that situation, the Borough is not held liable. Mr. Schleigh questioned whether a potential exposure to liability would exist if registered overnight vehicles taking up both sides of a street hindered fire truck access. Mr. Ewald did not feel it would but warned there could be a possibility for an argument to be made and exceptions to immunity by law are required to be construed very narrowly.

Finance – Ms. Lustgarten reported the Finance Committee is looking into paying off the Tax Anticipation Note early to save interest. The Committee is also getting rates for the commercial liability and workers compensation policies that renew on August 1st. The Liquid Fuels Fund money came in this month in the amount of $191,000. The next Finance Committee meeting will be held on June 1st at 7:00 p.m.

Economic Development – Mr. Wagner had no formal report but mentioned that he and Mr. Totaro had attended a subcommittee meeting of the Planning Commission regarding developing a comprehensive bike plan for Lansdowne. Mr. Wagner mentioned the existence of a subcommittee that is focusing on specialty foods to encourage food purveyors, restaurant owners, etc. to look at Lansdowne as a possible base of operations for their food service business.

Environmental – Ms. Silzle reported the Committee met on May 14th. Various recycling issues were discussed by the Committee as follows:
1.Hoffman Park – a large permanent recycling bin will be placed near the concession stand. If demand warrants, another container will be obtained for the basketball/tennis/2nd field area.
2.Ardmore Avenue ball field – The Committee will pursue a cooperative agreement with the school district to provide recycling cans with the Borough picking up the recycling.
3.Businesses – Once final information is obtained, the Committee will pursue enforcing compliance, focusing on large businesses that generate large quantities of recyclables.
4.Apartments – A list of 7+ unit apartment buildings (who do not pay Borough trash fees and have their trash and recycling handled by haulers) is being compiled and will be checked against the 2008 recycling report. Enforcement will begin once all data has been received.
5.Glass – the single stream recycling program will be maintained with no separation of glass as the Borough ordinance requires glass recycling, residents are used to the current program and adjusting the program to the commodities market is not practical.

ICLEI – The Committee reviewed a draft resolution to join ICLEI and participate in the Cities for Climate Protection Campaign. Lansdowne would be part of a national group working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency. A full discussion of this issue and a resolution will be introduced at the June business meeting. Ms. Silzle thanked Elliot Borgman for introducing this initiative.

The Committee will review with Mayor Young the resolution endorsing the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

Ms. Silzle announced that June 6th is Earth Saturday at the Farmers Market and information will be available on the Borough’s recycling and environmental programs and polices. Additionally, the numerous large plastic free advertising kiosks along Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenues have been removed at the request of the Borough. Ms. Silzle mentioned that a group of Penn Wood High School Honors Physics students are planning the first ever Penn Wood Global Warming Conference on May 30th at the High School. This conference is to help the community learn more about the science and policy of climate change.

The next Environmental Committee meeting will be held on June 11th at 7:p.m.

Ms. Silzle mentioned that yard waste pickup begins next week and residents should use brown paper bags (larger sizes are available at local hardware stores). Yard waste is separate from regular trash and this year the pickup will be extended through December. For 2010, yard waste pickup will start March through December. Mayor Young added that yard waste can be bundled or put into the plastic recycling cans.

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

Infrastructure – No report was given in Mr. Lee’s absence.

Liaison Reports

1.Library Board – Ms. Silzle reported that to honor National Library Month, the library recently participated in a county-wide initiative called Food for Fines, where patrons could donate food items to a local food bank in order to lower their library fines. Lansdowne collected nearly 100 items.
The Big Read was a huge success in Lansdowne. Lansdowne was one of only four participating communities in Pennsylvania.
2.Lansdowne Economic Development Committee – Ms. Lustgarten reported that the LEDC was approved for a $60,000 extension exit grant for their Main Street Program. They were also approved to carry over $50,000 for their facade improvement grants. The Farmers Market now has five or more new vendors with a total of about 15 vendors now in place. Ms. Lustgarten mentioned that the Senate recently removed from the state budget the DCED money for the Elm Street and Main Street programs. A group of main street managers will be meeting to strategize about the state budgetary issues.
3.Board of Health – Mr. Schleigh reported that the Health Inspector is now back on the job after a brief illness and some sites with very minors issues have been brought into compliance.

Communications –

1.President Coleman read a letter from Rachel Washington commending Borough Council’s efforts to keep Lansdowne beautiful.
2.Thank you letter from the Senior Community Services thanking Borough Council for their $2000 contribution.
3.Letter from Accurate Recycling formally removing their petition for a single stream recycling plant on Union Avenue. Mr. Totaro will respond in writing to thank them on behalf of Mayor Young and Borough Council for listening to the concerns of residents and Borough Council in this matter.

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

Visitors

1. Melissa England – 124 Gladstone Road – As a representative of the Greater Gladstone Civic Association, Ms. England mentioned that there has been some difficulty in getting permits for certain types of projects. There is also some difficulty in understanding the Codes Department process. Also, many telephone calls and e-mails to the Codes Department are not receiving responses.

2. Carol Custer – 250 West Plumstead Avenue – Ms. Custer thanked Borough Council for implementing the single stream recycling program. Ms. Custer felt that yard waste pickup should be twice a month or twice a week. Ms. Custer felt that rolling compost bins for residents would facilitate this process. Regarding trash pickup, Ms. Custer felt that a twice weekly trash pickup is unnecessary and could be replaced with a once per week trash pickup and once per week recycling pickup. Ms. Custer felt that the present system of house to house trash collection should be dismantled and is an invasion of privacy. Ms. Custer also indicated that some yard waste is being inadvertently removed in the regular trash collection. Ms. Silzle mentioned that Ms. Custer could call the Public Works Department requesting that they not pick up the yard waste bins during regular trash pickup days.

3. Jack Covert – Resident of Lansdowne – Mr. Covert asked if there was a policy for removing a Council member for not attending a certain number of meetings. Mr. Ewald indicated this could only be done without cause but would further investigate the issue. Mr. Covert mentioned the Borough roads are in terrible shape and that the utility companies should pay for some of the repairs. Mr. Covert asked that the pedestrian crossing lines be repainted in front of the Lansdowne Theater. Chief Kortan stated that all crosswalks and markings are painted annually. Mr. Schleigh mentioned that volunteers will be holding hand held stop signs at the theater crosswalk to allow pedestrians safe crossing into the Farmers Market. Mr. Covert felt that night and day parking for emergency vehicle access is irrelevant in the discussions. Mr. Covert felt money would be lost if the TAN was paid early. President Coleman indicated it would only be paid early if money was saved. Mr. Covert suggested having the Borough pick up apartment building recycling for a fee. Ms. Silzle indicated she would bring this up to the Environmental Committee. Mr. Covert felt was unfair to charge Saturday parking fees for businesses but allow free parking for the Farmers Market patrons.

4. Charlie Jeffers – 13 Willowbrook Avenue – Mr. Jeffers wished Noel Schmidt good luck on his retirement. Mr. Jeffers mentioned that Delaware County Community Hospital will be holding a Cancer Survivor Night on June 4th. Mr. Jeffers mentioned that motorists are running the traffic light at Gladstone Manor. Mr. Jeffers asked if stucco work can be done reasonably on his house. Mayor Young mentioned that the Codes Office can be used as a resource for licensed contractors and there is a list of resource agencies at Borough Hall.

Borough Council Member Responses: Regarding Ms. England’s permit issue, Mr. Totaro indicated he was unsure of the specific time limits for responding to permit requests but would more closely oversee the Borough staff to ensure a timely response. President Coleman added that residents could also contact a Borough Council member or the Mayor.

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

Old Business

1. Marlyn Park Master Site Plan Update – Mr. Totaro gave a status update indicating that proposals are starting to come in and the deadline is May 22nd. The project will carry on with the Steering Committee.

2. New Communities Programs (DCED) – Mr. Totaro indicated that Mayor Young had outlined budget matters and the letter has been given to all Borough Council members. After some deliberations over the distribution list and letter content, Borough Council members indicated they were in favor of the letter being sent as written.

New Business

1. Next G Zoning Application – Mr. Ewald reported that Next G is a wireless communications company that requested the Solicitor to interpret the ordinance. Next G felt that since wireless communication devices are allowed on Borough property, they would be allowed within the right of way on any street as a matter of right. The Solicitor responded that this was an incorrect interpretation and that if right of way is Borough owned property, a lease or permission would have to be obtained from the Borough. The applicant has now filed a request for a special exception and a request for a variance with the Zoning Hearing Board. The application is for four 4′ poles on top of the utility poles in various locations in the Borough. Mr. Ewald asked for Borough Council’s position. Mr. Ewald indicated that the poles are allowed by special exception in mixed use and the business districts.Mr. Schleigh questioned the environmental impact. Mr. Ewald stated that under Federal regulations the Borough is precluded from regulating the environmental impact but can direct the placement of said poles. Mr. Schleigh pointed out they do not match the ordinance requirements and should be opposed. After further discussion there arrived a consensus to oppose the application.

Mr. Wagner moved to direct the Borough Solicitor to appear at the Zoning Hearing Board in opposition to the application of Next G. Mr. Schleigh seconded. The motion carried unanimously.

Action Items

1. Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve bills for the period. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
2.Ms. Silzle moved to advertise for a part-time library Circulation Assistant to fill a current vacancy. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
3.Mr. Wagner moved to adopt Resolution 2009-13 related to a time extension for the Main Street Program. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
4.Ms. Lustgarten moved to appoint Borough Manager Craig Totaro as Assistant Borough Secretary. Ms. Silzle seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
5.Ms. Lustgarten moved to sell the recycling truck. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session

Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn to Executive Session. Ms. Silzle seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned to Executive Session at 9:39 p.m.

Public Session

No motions were made upon reconvening to Public Session.

Adjourn

Mr. Wagner moved to adjourn the meeting. Ms. Silzle seconded and the motion carried
unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 10:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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