Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting
July 20, 2011
The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall. Present were President Coleman, Mrs. English, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Schleigh, Ms. Silzle and Mr. Wagner. Councilman Wagner and Fire Chief Young were absent. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Manager Totaro, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Treasurer Bartley and Borough Solicitor Scott.
President Coleman asked for a moment of silence in memory of Lansdowne resident Thomas McDonald. Mr. McDonald had been a lifetime member of the fire department, chaired their fund drive and was active with the Lansdowne Boys and Girls Club.
Approval of Agenda: The agenda was approved with the following change: (1) Ms. Silzle will be adding a discussion of the Gladstone Manor lights issue under Old Business.
Approval of Minutes: Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve the minutes of the June 15, 2011 General Meeting of Council as submitted by the Secretary. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Announcements and Presentations: Mayor Young had no announcements or presentations.
Treasurer’s Report: Mr. Bartley presented the June 30, 2011 report as follows: General Fund beginning balance $ 280,823, ending balance $ 2,451,185. Sewer Fund beginning balance: $ 604,313, ending balance $ 1,133,017. Liquid Fuels Fund beginning balance $326,727, ending balance $ 407,811. Capital Reserves Fund beginning balance $61,080, ending balance $102,024. Non Uniform Pension Fund beginning balance $1,837,274, ending balance $1,777,477. Police Pension fund beginning balance $6,323,468, ending balance of $ 6,364,533. Mr. Bartley indicated that there sufficient funds on hand to meet the current obligations.
President Coleman asked if the fund balances were aligned as they should be for this time of year. Mr. Bartley indicated that all is in good standing as of June 30, 2011.
Solicitor’s Report: Mr. Scott had no formal report.
Mayor’s Report: Mayor Young read a short list of calendar items. Mayor Young warned residents to be careful of unsolicited offers to do work on houses. Mayor Young reminded residents to be mindful of the hot weather and to properly wrap garbage so that the sanitation department has an easier collection time. Movie Night will be held on August 12th at 8:00 p.m. in Hoffman Park. In case of rain, the event will be moved to the 20th Century Club.
Council President’s Report: President Coleman reported that a financial workshop to be hosted by Senator Anthony Williams regarding ways to improve credit scores will be held on July 22nd at 10:00 a.m. at Drexel University.
President Coleman reported that the 1st Suburbs group will hold a meeting in Coatesville on August 4th regarding future issues that need to be addressed for inner ring municipalities.
President Coleman indicated that the Elm Street Program is up and running. In early August the teen work camp will arrive to help with home repairs based on need. Community volunteers will then step in the second week to help with the workload.
Public Health and Safety – Mr. Schleigh reiterated that there is an ordinance in place mandating that solicitors have to register with the Borough and residents can call Borough Hall with any concerns or questions. Mr. Schleigh reported that he had received some correspondence regarding traffic problems in the area of Nyack and Wycombe Avenues, specifically why a portion of Nyack Avenue that is south of Baltimore Avenue becomes one way instead of two way. Chief Kortan indicated that the street is too narrow to support two lanes in that section. When it was created as a one way street the offset was the natural place to put it. Bringing it two way to Baltimore Avenue would create bigger traffic problems in that it would be more difficult to get people not to continue straight across going north on Baltimore than it is to stop them by the natural barrier. Mr. Wagner indicated that the signage is “one way – do not enter” but motorists continue to go through the wrong way. Mr. Schleigh indicated that the Public Safety Committee would look into the matter. Chief Kortan suggested getting some input from the residents in that area before installing more signs. Mr. Schleigh reported there was no quorum at last month’s Public Safety Committee meeting but a discussion was held regarding neighbor dispute issues along West Greenwood Avenue.
National Night Out will be held on August 2nd from 6-8 p.m. at the Lansdowne train station. There will be free food and parking in both lots, games for children and crime prevention themed events to encourage neighbors to connect with each other.
President Coleman questioned the status of the left hand turn arrow at the Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenues intersection. Mr. Totaro indicated that it is in the final engineering phase but easements still have to be set. The corner of the Lansdowne Plaza will be softened to limit the amount of trucks and cars on it. Mr. Totaro mentioned that it would probably take about 12 months for this particular project.
Finance and Administration – Ms. Lustgarten reported that no F&A Committee meeting was held in July. The next meeting will be held on August 1st. Representatives of Independent Financial Advisors will be present at the 6:00 p.m. at the Police Pension meeting (before the regularly scheduled Committee meeting) to report on the results of the first six months of the Police Pension Fund. Ms. Lustgarten reported that the 2012 budget process will soon be underway.
Economic Development and Code Enforcement – Mr. Wagner reported that James Freese had been interviewed by the ED&CE Committee and is being recommended as a neighborhood steering committee member.
Mr. Wagner gave an update on the downtown Streetscape project: benches and bike racks have been ordered and have HARB approval. The items should arrive by the end of September.
Mr. Wagner mentioned that the current zoning laws do not allow for corner property, street facing side yards. The code laws treated these properties as having two yards. The Committee is currently revising the definition to present to the County. Mr. Wagner read the proposed changes. The Codes Officer will now have to determine what is considered the front and side of a house. Fences can now be 4′ high with some restrictions as to distance and the Post and Rail style will be allowed. Mr. Scott suggested making this language into an ordinance before presenting it to the County. It would also have to go before the Borough Planning Commission for their recommendations. Chief Kortan questioned why we were not using the County Recorder of Deeds to determine the front or side of a property, as the mailing address should be the same as the legal address. After further discussion there arrived a consensus to allow the proposed language.
Mr. Wagner moved to include the draft language into the appropriate document and forward to the Lansdowne Planning Commission and County Planning Commission for their comments. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Mr. Wagner gave an update on the 20th Century Club. Regarding the interior improvements, interior design firms will be required to timely provide a qualifications document, submit their bid on the improvements and show samples of their previous work. Architects will also be solicited for doing work on the lower floor regarding the placement of restroom and storage facilities.
Mr. Wagner reported that the Committee will also be looking into the noise ordinance language, how to safely permit outside fire pits and establishing a public right of way ordinance regarding where utility work is to be performed so that the public will know when they will be shutting off the utilities. Mr. Wagner mentioned that the LEDC facade funding has ended.
Environment – Ms. Silzle reported that the May, 2011 recycling diversion rate was 23%. The June, 2011 rate was 23.5%. Year to date average is 28% and last year it was only 17%. In May the Borough received $3,700 from recyclables and in June received $4,000. Year to date amount collected was a bit less than $20,000 with only $12,500 having been budgeted. Recycling bins and matching trash cans have been placed throughout the business area. Cans that had been there have been moved to the park.
Ms. Silzle mentioned that the Tree Advisory Board will once again be giving free bare root trees to interested residents during the fall. Contact the Board Chair, Mary Lou Jennings by August 1st, at 610-622-0162 for more information.
Ms. Silzle reported that Mr. Luong, program coordinator for the PA Environmental Council, was a guest at the July 14th Environmental Committee meeting. They primarily have three projects: (1) Environmental advisory council network that they oversee, (2) the Darby Cobbs watershed partnership, and (3) trails and sustainable communities to help municipalities improve their pedestrian walk ability. Ms. Silzle indicated that there are 160 Environmental Advisory Councils (“EACs”) in PA. Lansdowne has none. The EACs advise local planning commissions, park and recreation boards and borough councils on protection conservation management, promotion and use of natural resources in the municipality. The PA Environmental Council helps municipalities find grant sources. The Environment Committee will be exploring possible membership with PEC.
Ms. Silzle reported that the shade tree ordinance is currently being reviewed by Tree Advisory Board. The Committee also discussed ‘green’ roofs/walls that help absorb rainwater. More information on this topic will follow. Another issue discussed was the storm water collaborative intergovernmental agreement. The borough staff is efficiently handling the MS4 permit requirements but this agreement would incur additional expense for the borough without additional benefits. Therefore, the Committee is recommending that Lansdowne not sign up for it.
Ms. Silzle stated there will be no August Committee meeting. The next Environment Committee meeting will be held on September 8th at 7:00 p.m.
Ms. Silzle reminded residents to be mindful of wasting water. Fresh water supplies are diminishing and less than 1% of this water is available throughout the world for human consumption. Ocean water comprises 97% of the planet. Several major rivers worldwide are running dry for part of the year and freshwater wetlands have shrunk by about half world wide. Some helpful tips to conserve water include replacing older toilets with newer, high efficiency types, replacing shower heads with low flow heads and watering plants with unused water.
Mayor Young asked if another recycling bin could be placed at the Lansdowne Boys/Girls Club site, as litter is becoming an increasing problem in that area. Ms. Silzle mentioned that the Committee will monitor the problem. Chief Kortan asked why the can had been moved 8′ away from the Baltimore and Lansdowne intersection. Ms. Silzle indicated that the cans were being damaged and it was decided to move them.
Community Relations – Mrs. English reported that the Community Relations Committee met on July 11th to discuss issues with the borough web site, the ongoing map project and TV station.
Library Liaison Report: The Library Board has a nominee for the vacancy and is recommending that Borough Council appoint this candidate to the Library Board. There is currently a motion under action items later in the meeting. In June, 2011 there were 12,072 visitors to the Lansdowne Library; 3,450 Internet users and 8,000 books were checked out. Mayor Young questioned that status of the TV station. President Coleman asked if web site additions and content had been discussed within this committee.
Infrastructure and Public Works – No report was given in Mr. Smith’s absence.
Communications: There were no items of communication.
Mr. Schleigh moved to suspend Roberts Rules of Order to hear visitor comments. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mary Ann Surla – resident of Lansdowne – Ms. Surla mentioned several items of public safety concern: (a) the crosswalk at Windermere Avenue and Marshall Road is not safe for elderly residents as motorists continue to speed through the area; (b) updated replacement signs are needed at Owen and Marshall indicating “No Left Turn” and a new sign mounted at the same site indicating “Do Not Enter”; (c) warning signs for DUIs. Ms. Surla mentioned that the “No Place for Hate” sign at Marshall and Lansdowne has been knocked down and is now an exposed metal post that is dangerous for pedestrians. Ms. Surla felt it was unnecessary to have smoking urns in the business district and stated that smokers in the borough building should go to the back of the building to smoke so that visitors are not offended by the odor when coming into the front door. Ms. Silzle indicated that the smoking urns were necessary to contain the cigarettes butts and that smoking was not being encouraged. Mayor Young asked if damaged signs can be removed if dangerous. Mr. Totaro indicated they could and residents should report any such damage.
Mr. Schleigh moved to resume Roberts Rules of Order. Ms. Lustgarten seconded.
- Bike Loop – currently being studied by the Planning Commission, the Public Safety and Economic Development Committees to see if it would be appropriate and the roads could be made bike friendly. If approved, ‘sharrows’ and signs would be painted to indicate a bike friendly area and to share the road. Chief Kortan felt that the concept was a good one but educating the public about sharing the roads would be necessary. President Coleman expressed concern that the safety rules might become too restrictive if enforced. Mr. Schleigh expressed his concern as well about various possible safety issues. After further discussion, Mr. Totaro indicated that this is just a plan to increase safety by providing signage regarding bikers and does not include enforcement issues. Mayor Young reiterated that the point of the plan is to encourage residents to ride their bikes in a biker friendly area and promote bike riding. Educational articles could also be put into the newsletter and Mr. Bennett could attend future council meetings to give recommended tips for riders. Mr. Schleigh mentioned that the Bike Coalition of PA will be at the August 2nd National Night Out event.
- HLTC – RACP Agreement – the original has been signed and ratified with the State and this version is considered a pass through one. Mr. Scott indicated that it was the same agreement but because a sub grant is needed, the grantee is being changed to the HLTC.
- Delaware County Animal Control 2012 – Mr. Scott indicated that the County had sent a letter regarding whether or not Lansdowne would be contracting with the newly formed Delaware County Animal Control Board as of 2012. The SPCA will charge $250 per animal for providing stray animal control. Mr. Scott will send a letter indicating that Lansdowne intends to use their facility if a less expensive option is not available and stated that the borough should not agree to contract with them in writing at this point.
- Gladstone Manor Lights – Mr. Totaro sent a checklist to Council members indicating that only a few more lights need to be replaced. PECO will rewire them. President Coleman asked if there were any extra poles, to which Mr. Totaro replied “two”. President Coleman asked if the right of way near Martin Drive and the shopping center was a road. Chief Kortan indicated it was considered more as an alley way. Mr. Wagner mentioned that there is a demolished utility pole in the rear of this area. Chief Kortan will look at the borough street/road maps to determine the entrance location of the feeder line.
- Gladstone Manor Island – Mr. Totaro mentioned that the $35,000 grant for the Gladstone Manor Island improvements will not cover the total cost of lots 1, 2 and 3. Ms. Lustgarten questioned whether the lots could be separated with the electric bid being awarded to the lowest bidder. Mr. Scott stated that the lot bids cannot be broken out but a bid could be awarded to the same person for lot 1 and 2 but they cannot be separated out. Mr. Scott indicated that the bid could either be awarded to one contractor for lots 1 and 2 or re-advertised. Bids cannot be withdrawn for 45 days. Mr. Scott indicated he would like to meet with the engineer before any formal decisions are made.
- Free Parking – request has been made to allow free parking in Highland Avenue for the National Night Out event to be held on August 2, 2011.
Mr. Schleigh moved to allow free parking at lot 5 on North Highland Avenue for the August 2nd National Night Out event, with the discretion of the police department. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: Unanimous.
- Elm Street NAC Appointment – Mr. Wagner moved to appoint James Freese to the Elm Street NAC. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Discussion: President Coleman stated that the motion should be amended to include the term. Mr. Wagner moved to appoint James Freese to the Elm Street NAC for a 3 year term that will commence at the beginning of the commencement of the total Committee. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: Unanimous.
- TCDI Grant Application – Mr. Totaro provided some background information on this application. In 2009 the borough decided to implement plans for downtown walkways in order to receive more funding to carry out the next step of increasing the pedestrian space on Highland Avenue to the train station. The Transportation & Community Development Initiative (“TCDI”) grant range is $25,000-$50,000 and a financial match of around 10% of the award would be required. Mr. Totaro asked if Borough Council had any interest in pursuing this grant and consultants would be hired to scope out the borough’s opportunities for a pedestrian network in the downtown business area. Mayor Young thought that this issue had been discussed and a plan implemented several years ago. Mr. Scott mentioned that in the Redevelopment Plan there were similar items as in the current application but no plan was ever developed to the point where bid specs were included. It was more of a concept plan rather than a bid plan bid. After further discussion, there arrived a consensus that Mr. Totaro be directed to take the next steps in this regard.
- First Suburbs Membership renewal – The annual fee is $750. President Coleman felt that it would be worthwhile to stay in the organization. There currently is no budget line item for this expense.
Mrs. English moved to renew the First Suburbs membership fee in the amount of $750. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: Unanimous.
- Lansdowne Market opening, August 19th – Mr. Totaro indicated that the Market would like to have some Borough Council leaders in place for the early morning events. Mr. Wagner and Mayor Young agreed to attend except if they were away on vacation.
- August 2011 Business Meeting – Ms. Lustgarten moved to cancel the August 2011 Borough Council Business meeting. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- PECO Antenna – Mr. Totaro reported that he will be getting information on PECO’s plan to remotely read meters by using wireless radio. Mr. Scott indicated that the borough cannot regulate PECO. The pole antenna would be on Union Avenue.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve bills for the period. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Silzle moved to cancel the August 3, 2011 Business Meeting of Council. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Silzle moved to award Lot 1 of the Gladstone Manor Island Improvements to Lenni Electric in the amount of $9,825.00. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Silzle moved to re-advertise Lot 2 of Gladstone Manor Island Improvements. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Schleigh moved to ratify execution of agreement with SPCA extending contract to December 31, 2101. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to submit a letter to the County regarding non binding intent to use animal services of the Delaware County Animal Control Board beginning in 2012. Mr. Schleigh seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to implement Lansdowne Bike Loop (sharrows and signage). Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mrs. English moved to appoint Kymberly Hernandez to the Library Board to fill the unexpired term of Christina DuBois Buxbaum, term to expire March 31, 2012. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to adopt Ordinance 1263, an Ordinance of Lansdowne Borough setting forth its authority to establish an “airport district overlay” to include: Purposes of the district, definitions, airport zones, airport zone height limitations; permits required; Use restrictions; non-conforming uses; variances; conflicting regulations; and amending the official zoning map by the adoption of any official supplementary airport overlay zoning map. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Executive Session – Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn to executive session to discuss a personnel issue. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous. The meeting adjourned to executive session at 9:55 p.m.
Public Session – No motions were made upon reconvening to public session.
Adjourn – Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous. The meeting adjourned 10:05 p.m.
Barbara Ann Henry