Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting
May 18, 2011
The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall. Present were President Coleman, Mrs. English, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Schleigh, Ms. Silzle and Mr. Wagner. Councilman Smith, Police Chief Kortan 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.
Approval of Agenda: The agenda was approved with the following change: (1) Mayor Young indicated that item #1 under Announcements and Presentations was actually two items.
Approval of Minutes: Ms. Silzle moved to approve the minutes of the April 20, 2011 General Meeting of Council as submitted by the Secretary. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Announcements and Presentations:
- Mayor Young presented Certificates of Appreciation to the Penn Wood High School students who helped in the April 16th Keep Lansdowne Beautiful Day event. Ms. Silzle expressed her admiration and thanks to these students who gave their time to participate in the public service project.
- American Legion Post 65 commanders presented the three winners of Post 65’s recent essay contest regarding the responsibilities of being an American citizen.
- Sgt. Dan Doneghan was presented with the 2011 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award for his outstanding public service since joining the police force in 1997.
- Mayor Young swore in the new volunteer fire policeman Fred Armentrout.
- The American Legion Post 65 group spoke about their plans for a flag deposit box for old and damaged flags that would stand in the Veterans Memorial Park space in the downtown business district. Mr. Totaro will be working with the group in this regard.
Treasurer’s Report: Mr. Bartley presented the April 2011 report as follows: General Fund beginning balance $280,823, ending balance $3,306,896. Sewer Fund beginning balance: $604,313, ending balance $1,333,916. Liquid Fuels Fund beginning balance $ 326,727, ending balance $ 238,342. Capital Reserves Fund beginning balance $ 61,080, ending balance $53,473. Non Uniform Pension Fund beginning balance $1,837,274, ending balance $1,779,708. Police Pension fund beginning balance $6,323,468, ending balance of $ 6,575,474. Mr. Bartley indicated that there sufficient funds on hand to meet the current obligations.
Solicitor’s Report: Mr. Scott had no formal report and one Executive Session item.
Mayor’s Report: Mayor Young read a short list of calendar items.
Council President’s Report: President Coleman reported that she and Mr. Totaro had recently met with a 1st Suburbs representative. 1st Suburbs is a grassroots, non-partisan organization that seeks to effect policy change at the legislative level for municipalities. President Coleman mentioned that someone from the group would be attending a Council meeting in the future so that members and residents can better understand their mission statement. President Coleman reported that the PA Association of Boroughs was compiling a legislative contact network so that local municipalities can more quickly become aware of and act on any relevant legislative policies affecting local communities.
Public Health and Safety – Mr. Schleigh reported that the Committee did not meet last month due to there being no quorum. There will be a June meeting. Ms. Schleigh reported that the County had recently appointed a Veterans Affairs liaison, Ralph Gilotti, who can be reached at 610-891-4645 for anyone requiring assistance with veteran related issues. Mr. Schleigh mentioned that Sgt. Albertoli will be helping with the upcoming Night Out event in Chief Kortan’s absence. The 20th Century Club will be hosting an event regarding housing on June 1st at 6:00 pm.
Finance and Administration – Ms. Lustgarten reported that the Committee met on May 2nd to discuss the pros and cons of establishing an emergency services fee of $52 per year for Lansdowne residents. Berkheimer & Associates will be compiling date to determine what revenues would be generated in this regard. Ms. Lustgarten indicated that Chief Young would be sending further information on the fire house roof repairs issue. The Tax Anticipation Note will be paid off earlier than required. Approval has been given to hire summer help in connection with the Lansdowne Court renovations. Elevator repairs are needed at Borough Hall and will need to be put into the budget for 2012 and 2013. The next Finance and Administration Committee meeting will be held on June 6th at 7:00 p.m.
Economic Development and Code Enforcement – Mr. Wagner reported that a zoning update would be necessary for better defining what constitutes a front and side yard for corner properties. Regarding the Streetscape Program, Mr. Wagner asked for Council’s guidance on the proposed objectives. One objective is to place 7 trash cans throughout the borough. Four cans will be at the Lansdowne and Baltimore Avenue bus stops, 2 cans will be at the LaCrosse and Lansdowne Avenues intersection and one can will be placed at the kiosk. Mayor Young asked if the cans would impede access to the veteran’s memorial park in the downtown business district. Mrs. English questioned whether there would be enough room for the proposed bike racks, bench, and trees and whether disabled residents in wheelchairs would have easy access. Mr. Wagner indicated that the cans would not impede the memorial park and all spaces would be adequate in regards to Mrs. English’s query. After a short discussion, the consensus was for Mr. Wagner to move forward with the proposed project.
Environment – Ms. Silzle reports as follows:
- Park and Recreation Board Liaison Report: The Board is looking into replacing the swing sets at Hays and Belmont Parks. In addition, Hays Park may be reconfigured regarding placement of basketball apparatus, the play equipment, etc. There is currently one opening on the Park and Rec Board. Ms. Silzle mentioned that Movie Night would be held some time in August.
- Environment Committee Report: The recycling diversion rate for April, 2011 was 31%, with a year to date average of 30%. In April, 2011 approximately $4200 as paid to the borough for recyclables. Ms. Silzle mentioned that there is a federally funded Energy Works Program that will perform in-home energy audits and provide a less than 1% interest rate for those needing energy related repairs to their homes. A $150 discount is also provided for first time audit users. Regarding additional plastics recycling, #1 hard plastic i.e., store bought containers of food such as egg/tuna salads, mixed salads, fruit, etc. are acceptable for recycling. However, #6 plastics are not recyclable. The next Environment Committee meeting will be held on June 9th at 7:00 p.m. Earth Day exhibits and information will be available at the Farmers Market on June 4th.
Community Relations – Mrs. English reported that the Community Relations Committee has been discussing the purpose and processes of the website. The Committee will have more information available on this topic at the next business meeting.
Library Liaison Report: The library is now starting their summer programs. In April, there were 8,754 visitors, 3,211 network users and over 5,200 patrons checked out books.
Infrastructure and Public Works – No report was given in Mr. Smith’s absence.
Communications: There were no communications.
Mr. Schleigh moved to suspend Roberts Rules of Order to hear visitor comments. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Chuck Jeffers – 4419 Rosemont Avenue, Drexel Hill. Formerly a Lansdowne resident, Mr. Jeffers stated that he needs legal and financial help to make improvements on his Lansdowne property, stating that his calls to other agencies have provided no help. Also, his cat needs a home. President Coleman stated that most of the alternatives that had previously been suggested have been exhausted and that Mr. Jeffers should contact COSA. Mr. Schleigh stated that he would give Mr. Jeffers information on the new Veterans Affairs advocate regarding legal aid. President Coleman asked Mr. Jeffers to contact Animal Friends of Lansdowne for help in finding his cat a good home.
Ms. Lustgarten moved to resume Roberts Rules of Order. Ms. Silzle seconded.
- School funding – President Coleman reported that a current issue of the 1st Suburbs organization is the impact of the proposed educational budget cuts. President Coleman met with legislators on May 10th in this regard and told them that the cuts will adversely affect the more disadvantaged school districts and asked that the disproportionate results of this action be taken into consideration.
- Housing Vouchers – President Coleman reported that 1st Suburbs is looking for borough support in procuring candidates in five metropolitan areas to advocate state legislation regarding the use of housing vouchers to help deconcentrate Section 8 housing. President Coleman indicated that the current processes are discriminatory in nature and prevents individuals from traveling to available work in more upscale neighborhoods. Different programs to counteract this discrimination are now being investigated. The 1st Suburbs proposed Resolution 2011-19 would have Lansdowne sign on for that type of action. Ms. Lustgarten asked if the financial amounts would be sufficient enough to realize the proposed goals. Mr. Wagner stated that no projections were given on its effects and he did not want the borough to participate in a pilot program that does not have an intended result. Mr. Totaro indicated that the proposed method of deconcentrating Section 8 housing is to use zip codes instead of the current method of using property values. Mayor Young felt that this resolution does not encourage landlords to rent in better areas, improve their properties or look for better tenants because this resolution would provide them with a guaranteed monthly stipend from the government regardless of what they did or did not do to assist in the deconcentration issue. Ms. Lustgarten asked what the threshold percentage is for Section 8 housing in other municipalities, indicating that the current rules for Section 8 housing are not being met. Ms. Silzle stated that she could not endorse the resolution because no background material has been provided. President Coleman indicated that the borough is not prepared to take part in this action until it is confident of the solutions. After further discussion President Coleman indicated that the only action to take at present is to tell 1st Suburbs that Lansdowne will not be signing on.
- Borough Sponsorship of Memorial Day Parade. Mr. Scott indicated that the William Penn School District requires insurance protection since the parade will be taking place on part of their grounds. In this regard the LBPA has asked the borough to sponsor the parade for insurance purposes. Ms. Lustgarten moved to have the Borough of Lansdowne sponsor the Memorial Day Parade. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve bills for the period. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to grant permission to GLFL for use of parking spaces 104, 105, 106 and 107 for the plant exchange Saturday May 21st from 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Silzle moved to Adopt Resolution 2011-10, a resolution in support of renewing the Growing Greener Program. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Schleigh moved to advertise Ordinance 1262, an ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne amending Chapter 312 of the Code of the Borough of Lansdowne entitled “vehicles and traffic” and chapter 231 of the Code of the Borough of Lansdowne entitled “parking lots” to remove certain duplicative or inconsistent provisions of said chapters. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to purchase 2008 Ford Explorer Code Vehicle from Fred Beans Automotive Group for $17,971. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Executive Session – Mr. Schleigh moved to adjourn to executive session. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous. The meeting adjourned to executive session at 9:28 p.m.
Public Session – No motions were made upon reconvening to public session.
Adjourn – Mr. Wagner moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Schleigh seconded. Vote: unanimous. The meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.
Barbara Ann Henry