Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting
February 16, 2011
The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall. Present were President Coleman, Mrs. English, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Schleigh, Ms. Silzle, Mr. Wagner and Mr. Smith. Fire Chief Young was absent. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Manager Totaro, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Treasurer Bartley, Borough Solicitor Scott and Police Chief Kortan.
Approval of Agenda: The agenda was approved with no changes.
Approval of Minutes: Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve the minutes of the January 19, 2011 General Meeting of Council. Mr. Wagner seconded. The motion carried unanimously. President Coleman noted that she had one minor change to the minutes that had been corrected by the Secretary.
Announcements and Presentations: Mayor Young had no announcements or presentations.
Treasurer’s Report: Mr. Bartley presented the January 2011 report as follows: General Fund beginning balance $153,685, ending balance $280,821. Sewer Fund beginning balance: $465,493, ending balance $604,313. There was a surplus of $138,880 due to completion of sewer program. Liquid Fuels Fund beginning balance $217,741, ending balance $326,726. There was a $93,000 road program payment not reflected as of December 31, 2010. Capital Reserves Fund beginning balance $139,415, ending balance $61,079. Non Uniform Pension Fund beginning balance $1,473,304; surplus for year of $363,970; 12% increase in fund; ending balance $1,837,274. Police Pension fund beginning balance $5,537,650, ending balance of $6,323,468; 14% increase in portfolio value. Ms. Lustgarten added that $225,000 was budgeted for delinquent taxes and $445,000 has been received. Additionally, there was $140,000 received in additional revenues for building permits as well as $60,000 from Aqua for the streets.
Solicitor’s Report: Mr. Scott reported that regarding changes to the Civil Service police officer promotions and testing procedures, notice was received that the PA Dept. of Community and Economic Development is having a seminar that will be attended by Mr. Scott’s associate. This information will be forwarded to the Public Safety Committee when made available.
Mayor’s Report: Mayor Young mentioned that the Senior Circle’s spring program of classes is now available on the web site. The UAA fundraiser will be held on April 30th, 7-11 p.m. at the 20th Century Club. The Ardmore Avenue School will be closed to voters while undergoing renovations. The County is currently seeking a new location for the 5th and 6th precincts for the next three elections. Mayor Young reminded residents to be mindful of telephone scams targeting senior citizens. Mayor Young also reminded residents to pick up litter left from the melting snow storm.
Council President’s Report: President Coleman reported that plans are underway to start a more formalized internship program. There will be a meeting held next week with high school officials. State law that originated in 2003 mandates that in order to graduate, senior students have to do a project relevant to community needs. President Coleman will be reaching out to local colleges in this regard and Mr. Totaro will provide a preliminary list of projects.
Public Health and Safety – Mr. Schleigh reported that the Human Relations Commission continues their outreach program for immigrants. In this regard there will be a meet and greet on April 30, 2011 at Borough Hall for other state wide Human Relations Commissions. Also on this date from 10-2 there will be a collection for unwanted pharmaceutical drugs. This is a partnering effort with the DEA and East Lansdowne. The Health Board is looking into recent changes to the state food inspection laws and how they will impact local ordinances. A conditional offer has been made for a part time officer. On June 25, 2011 a neighborhood watch meeting will be held. August 2, 2011 will be National Night Out. July 30, 2011 will be the Kids Centric Day. The Fire Company will hold an Open House in October. There will be two library events that will communicate neighborhood watch programs regarding children safety. The next Public Safety Committee meeting will be held on the 2nd Wednesday in March. Topics to be discussed will include speeding complaints on East Greenwood Avenue, County emergency training and parking ordinances.
Finance and Administration – Ms. Lustgarten reported that the Committee met on February 7th. The Police Pension fund meeting was held prior to the committee meeting with Independence Advisors representatives in attendance. The portfolio increased by 15.8% in 2010. There has been a 2.5% increase during January 2011. The Committee will retain the current portfolio of 71% in equities and 29% in cash and bonds.
The Finance Committee met with the codes director to discuss roof and home repairs from the recent storms. A temporary part time inspector was included in the 2011 budget to be hired to help in this regard. The committee is also discussing the permit fee schedule and for now the current fee schedule will be retained. Regarding rental fee collections, in a typical year, after two letters and a phone call there remains 50 properties that remain unpaid and uninspected. The Committee will be looking into Tristate Collections Agency to collect the fees. The rental application will now be due on March 1st instead of May 1st.
The audit is in progress with findings due on March 31, 2011. The Committee is also recommending that changes be made to the Park and Recreation Board’s program class enrollments and payments in that the instructors would be responsible for logistics and enrollments. A DCED grant has been received for 2 police cars and a climate control system for the 20th Century Club. Information on the RCAP grant is pending. The next F&A Committee meeting will be held on March 7th at 7:00 p.m.
Economic Development and Code Enforcement – Mr. Wagner reported the Committee met on February 15th. On February 23rd there will be a Sycamore Village neighborhood meeting in Borough Hall at 7:00 pm. The Committee is looking at a satellite dish ordinance. Also discussed were the issues of 24 hour metering and the issuance of parking tickets in the business district. Chief Kortan indicated that street meter parking is effective until 6:00 pm Sunday through Wednesday and until 8 pm on Thursday through Saturday. Chief Kortan indicated that tickets are being issued regarding violations to the parking ordinance that restricts parking from 2 to 6 a.m. Mr. Wagner indicated that clarity in the regulations is needed for the overnight parking officer in this regard and asked that the Public Safety Committee look into the proper parking hours. Chief Kortan indicated that there is a data plate on the back of each meter indicating the hours of operation for parking. The Committee will also be investigating the speed limits along Baltimore Avenue. Ms. Silzle indicated that there is a 35 mph limit along a five block stretch between Owen and Martin Drive and a 25 mph limit on Baltimore Avenue from the city through Clifton Heights. Chief Kortan indicated that there was a recent petition to drop the limit to 25 mph from the Yeadon border to Stewart Avenue. After further discussion there was a motion to change the limit to 25 mph.
Mr. Schleigh moved to petition PennDot to change the speed limit to 25 mph on Baltimore Avenue between Owen Avenue and Martin Drive. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Chief Kortan amended the motion to also include Lansdowne Avenue from Stewart Avenue to Marshall Road. The motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Wagner mentioned that a meeting was held with Mike Tran of the Buddhist Temple on Nyack Avenue and discussions are underway regarding the implementation of a community garden in that area. Ms. Silzle indicated that the Temple wants to connect with a larger part of the community in this regard. Mr. Schleigh asked if a special project could be considered with storm water management. Mr. Wagner indicated that he would look into this possibility.
Environment – Ms. Silzle reported the Committee met on February 10th and continues to monitor the once a week trash and recycling pickup. The diversion rate for 2011 is 25%. The diversion rate for January 2011 was 30.3% as compared to 25% in January 2010. The Committee is also looking at the 2008 and 2009 solid waste report to see whether there are gaps in recycling. Five matching sets of trash/recycling bins are being considered for the downtown business area, pending HARB approval.
Keep Lansdowne Beautiful Day will be held on April 16, 2011 from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Ms. Silzle indicated that the Committee wants to educate the public about the danger of unchecked vines growing in trees. The Parks Director will provide an information piece on this topic for the newsletter. The Shade Tree Board wants to establish a Shade Tree Commission to replace the Shade Tree Board. An ordinance will be drafted in this regard and brought to Council in the coming months.
Ms. Silzle indicated that biodegradable plastic bags cannot be used for yard waste pickup. These types of bags can only be used for regular trash pickup.
There are currently two openings on the Park and Recreation Board for a three year term. The next Environment Committee meeting will be held on March 10th at 7:00 p.m.
Community Relations – Mrs. English reported that a new Library Director has been hired. The Committee is currently working on the map project and asked for any feedback or recommendations from Council members. The library will be holding a class regarding usage of e-readers on March 15th at 7:00 p.m. Community information maps are also being developed and the first set is now available for new residents.
Infrastructure and Public Works – Mr. Smith reported that the last Infrastructure Committee meeting was held on January 25th. Topics discussed included the Gladstone Manor lighting replacements and how to implement the plan. Mr. Smith mentioned that there are a number of issues important to residents and the Borough is doing its best to address those issues with the available resources. Mr. Smith suggested that residents could become more proactive in working to resolve problems rather than waiting until the final hour to just complain about them.
Communications: No communications.
Mr. Schleigh moved to suspend Roberts Rules of Order to hear visitor comments. Mrs. English seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Rosemary Stewart – 10 Gladstone Road. Ms. Stewart indicated she recently attended a meeting last week about the lamp post changes and the pending grant. Ms. Stewart asked if a copy of the grant was available for inspection. Ms. Stewart mentioned that other communities had received stimulus money to change street signs in historic neighborhoods to fix what was already in place rather than replace with new signs that would detract from the historical value to the district. Ms. Stewart questioned whether any proposals had been received regarding a cheaper electrical solution to the lighting issue.
- Mary Ann Surla – Resident of Lansdowne. Ms. Surla suggested that a resident feedback survey be put into the newsletter regarding borough services. Ms. Surla felt that the No Place For Hate signs should be eliminated due to the borough wide damage to them. Ms. Surla felt that PennDot should address the one way Nyack Street petition near the Buddhist Temple. Ms. Surla also felt that efforts should be retained to maintain the historic elements of the town.
Borough Council Response to Visitor Comments
Regarding the Gladstone Manor lighting situation, President Coleman mentioned that it had been a joint grant opportunity with other municipalities as well. The grant had to be used for lighting and a variety of issues needed to be addressed i.e., the cost ramifications of replacing the lights versus matching them as closely as possible. Mr. Totaro clarified that the criteria for the grant was all about energy efficiency. Ms. Silzle indicated a few issues in this regard: the Manor has completely different wiring than in the rest of the borough and is somewhat problematic regarding safety issues. The grant is about replacing the lights already there and a safety issue exists regarding the illumination and structures because of the age of the lights. Mr. Totaro indicated that the replacement needs to be done now and the original gas fired lights cannot be fitted with the new cobra lighting. Every effort has been made to retain as much of the historical character as possible.
President Coleman mentioned that the library roofing has been done correctly and is completely up to code.
Mr. Schleigh moved to reinstate Roberts Rules of Order. Mrs. English seconded. Vote: unanimous.
No items for old business.
- LEDC crossing guard grant – Mr. Schleigh indicated that the LEDC this year is asking for a $1,000 grant for guards at the Farmers Market and also at the 20th Century Club.
Mr. Schleigh moved to provide a grant of $1,000 to the LEDC for crossing guard services at the Farmers Market and associated programs related to the Arts Festival. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
- HLTC Grant Application – Mr. Totaro indicated that the HLTC has applied for a $200,000 grant for design services and the Grantor is the National Endowment for the Arts. A letter of intent is needed from the Mayor to be submitted by March 1st. Ms. Lustgarten indicated that the Arts Board intern had brought this grant to their attention. Ms. Silzle indicated the Borough could not represent itself as the owner of the building. Mr. Scott mentioned that if the grant is approved, the borough would need to be indemnified by the HLTC through an agreement and any payback obligations would belong to the HLTC. Ms. Silzle indicated that the HLTC staff would need to be reporting to the NEA, not the borough staff. Mr. Schleigh asked if a crosswalk with access to the front of the theater could be conceived. Mr. Totaro indicated the design work is complete in that regard but there would be an ownership issue in that the theater is the property of the HLTC. Mr. Wagner felt it would be hard to justify this and a back lot access in light of the grant’s specific intent.
Mr. Wagner moved to submit a letter of interest to the NEA on behalf of the HLTC. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve bills for the period. Mrs. English seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Schleigh moved to appoint Mr. Frank Daly as Heart and Lung Hearing Officer. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to advertise Ordinance 1260, an ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne amending chapter 265 of the Code of the Borough of Lansdowne, entitled, “Rental Properties”, to require that all owners of all classifications of rental properties apply for the annual renewal of their rental properties license on or before the first day of March in each calendar year. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Silzle moved to approve the use of the Recreation Program Vendor Agreement and to authorize the Director of Parks and Recreation to execute the agreement as needed. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to adopt Resolution 2011-06, a Resolution regarding the Borough’s intent to dispose of records. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mrs. English moved to hire Sandra Giannella as Library Director contingent upon clearance of background check and child abuse history. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Silzle moved to retain Transportation Planning and Design Inc. for construction inspection services for the construction of Gateway Park, subject to PennDot approval. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to adopt Resolution 2011-05, a Resolution regarding bank accounts and authorized signatures. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Executive Session – No items for executive session.
Adjourn – Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn the meeting. Mrs. English seconded. Vote: unanimous. The meeting adjourned at 9:31 p.m.
Barbara Ann Henry