Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting
May 4, 2011
The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday, May 4, 2011, 7:30 pm in Borough Hall. Present were President Coleman, Mrs. English, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Schleigh, Ms. Silzle and Mr. Wagner. Councilman Smith and Police Chief Kortan were absent. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Manager Totaro, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Treasurer Bartley, Borough Solicitor Scott and Fire Chief Young.
Call to Order: President Coleman called the meeting to order. President Coleman asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the recent southern multi-state hurricane and flooding disaster.
Pledge of Allegiance: Mayor Young opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Agenda: The agenda was approved with the following changes: (1) Mr. Wagner is adding the Bike Plan discussion under New Business; (2) Ms. Silzle will do action item #4 in Mr. Smith’s absence.
Approval of Minutes: Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve the minutes of the April 6, 2011 Business Meeting as submitted by the Borough Secretary. Mr. Wagner seconded. The motion carried unanimously with changes noted by Secretary.
Ms. Lustgarten moved to Suspend Roberts Rules of Order. Mr. Schleigh seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Public Comment: There was no public comment.
Mr. Wagner moved to Resume Roberts Rules of Order. Mr. Schleigh seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Treasurer’s Report – Mr. Bartley had no formal report and indicated there were sufficient funds on hand to meet the current obligations.
Solicitor’s Report – Mr. Scott had no formal report and one Executive Session item.
Manager’s Report – Mr. Totaro gave updates on the following:
- Web Site – the site is now off contract. Mr. Totaro indicated he could now make any corrections and additions and fill in the routine information. Committee Chairs should continue to send minutes to Mr. Totaro. Ms. Silzle questioned if Chief Kortan’s site is maintained by borough personnel. Ms. Lustgarten indicated that Hoff now puts routine police information on the site at a minimal cost. Mr. Totaro should not be responsible for making the decision to put non-routine information on the web site. President Coleman questioned the current policy about non-routine information and any gaps in the process. Mrs. English indicated that she currently receives the consistent news. Non-routine items have been handled by Hoff Communications. Mrs. English felt that the borough should not be billed by Hoff Communications if no request has been received from borough council to post items. Mayor Young indicated that the original mission of the Borough’s web site had been designed as a community center activity to promote the town and its activities to the residents and to be a marketing tool for those wanting to move to Lansdowne. Ms. Lustgarten mentioned that the fee to Hoff Communications has been much smaller, now that the site is off contract. For now, all information will be sent to Mr. Totaro for processing. Ms. Silzle and Mrs. English indicated that the Community Relations Committee’s mission statement will be discussed at their next Committee meeting and recommendations will be brought back to Council. Ms. Silzle asked that clarification be given regarding who pays for the police and library sites. Ms. Lustgarten found the payment for the police site in the last Treasurer’s report and it comes out of the police budget.
Police Chief Kortan – Mayor Young gave a brief report in Chief Kortan’s absence. Office McGowan has been hired as a part time officer and will be sworn in at the next televised Council meeting. Mayor Young indicated that there had been a very low crime rate last week. Chief Kortan is in agreement with the parking ordinance changes.
Fire Chief Young – Fire Chief Young reported that for April 2011, 52 emergency runs were made with 221 runs to date. The Ardmore Avenue elementary school project demolition has started and is expected to be completed in 2-3 weeks. Chief Young reported that the Lansdowne Theater has been inspected for safety issues and is now ready for tours during the Farmer’s Market hours of operation. The new Fire Chief Officer is scheduled to be sworn in at the next General meeting.
Mayor’s Report – Mayor Young mentioned that the owner of the East Plumstead Avenue beauty salon does not like the tree in front of the property. Mr. Totaro indicated that two letters were sent to property owners who would be having trees planted at their business sites and no response had been forthcoming from this particular owner. Mayor Young mentioned that the owner of Nova Care is complaining that patients do not know what entrance to use, now that the Bottom Dollar store construction has begun. Mr. Totaro reported that Codes Officer Mike Jozwiak was looking into the situation. Mayor Young recently attended a County Council meeting regarding the Delaware County Health Department. Currently there is only a Health Board that has no authority, cannot mandate anything and can only make recommendations regarding public health. Regarding the SPCA issue, Mayor Young recently attended a COG meeting and indicated that Rep. Mario Civera is almost certain he can begin the process necessary to establish Dinah’s Way, a non-profit no kill animal shelter to be located in Darby, PA. The County is not taking an active role in the development of this shelter and since the shelter is not qualified as a Delaware County entity, it receives no funding from the state. The current cost to bring in animals is $200-$300 per animal.
President’s Report – President Coleman provided additional printed information to Council members on various borough related issues that were recently discussed at the PA Association of Boroughs Conference. The information included recycling, risk management, crisis intervention and various sites that provide cheaper rates for the purchase of borough equipment, etc. Also included was information on current state level bills. One resolution concerns expanding the definition for human relations and rights. President Coleman indicated that the resolution was approved but the voting results made it clear that most of the male members voted it down. Ms. Lustgarten questioned the pending Senate Bill regarding prevailing wage increases. Prevailing wages will not be paid if the project is over $150,000.
President Coleman mentioned that former Lansdowne codes officer Steve Travers is now the 1st Vice-President of the Delaware County Association of Boroughs.
- Go Rail – Mayor Young reported that this is an organization trying to promote rail to carry freight in response to a proposed House Bill that would increase the size and weight of trucks. The group is opposed to the bill because the increased weight and size would create serious safety issues for all municipalities. The organization is looking for a letter of support from the borough to oppose this bill. The County Police Chiefs are also opposed to the bill, citing safety hazards if it is passed. After some discussion there was consensus to send a letter of support and mention the action at the next COG meeting.
- SPCA – Mr. Totaro clarified that the proposed non-profit site is in Darby Township and is owned by the Darby Creek Joint Authority. The borough owns a portion of the DCJA. Mr. Totaro did not think that the ownership is proportional to our use of or payment to the Authority when the DCJA owns the sewer trunk line or a piece of land. President Coleman indicated there was some confidence that the SPCA’s June 30th deadline would be extended until the other building is completed
- Belmont Avenue – Mr. Totaro reported that street paving is necessary as the current all gravel surface constantly washes away in heavy rains. The current gravel area is about 20 feet wide. The minimum area for one lane is 16 feet and parking may become limited if one lane is installed. The $134,974 estimated proposal includes storm water management. A pervious surface could be put in, but it would have to be maintained at more cost. Mr. Wagner felt the borough should ascertain the costs of putting down more gravel and how much of a public safety issue exists. Chief Young indicated that the gravel seriously harms the underside of emergency vehicles when responding to calls in that area. Mr. Wagner recalled that in prior conversations with the Borough Engineer, she had felt that there would be no issues with water runoff. Mr. Scott thought that the street being paved was not a criteria for receiving Liquid Fuels money and that the relevant factors were public safety and costs. President Coleman asked if there were other options available other than keeping it graveled or paving it. Mr. Wagner thought that a third alternative would be to look at the cost of grooming the street as it now exists. After further discussion it was decided that the Infrastructure Committee should recommend whether or not parking is necessary and if it would be worthwhile to do the paving when Liquid Fuels money is received.
- Sidewalk Program – this discussion was tabled.
- Martin Drive traffic signal – Mr. Schleigh reported that Penn Dot has decided that the signal is no longer necessary and disagrees with their decision. The site has a lot of pedestrian traffic along the quarter mile area and residents in that area have a very hard time trying to get onto Baltimore Avenue during heavy traffic. After some discussion it was decided that the Public Safety Committee should continue their opposition efforts regarding Penn Dot’s decision.
- Firehouse roof – Ms. Lustgarten reported that the Finance Committee had discussed various options for financing the costs. Using a quote of $150,000, the capital budget had $40,000 earmarked for the roof with another possible $10,000 available. In the General Fund a loan would have to be taken out for the remaining balance (about $20,000 per year for five years if interest rates remain low). The fire company was asked if they could contribute to the cost. Mr. Wagner wanted more time to study the use of the building for the long term, what improvements are necessary to properly outfit a fire house, whether it is the best site for a fire house and what the future trends might be for serving the community and preparing for maintenance costs in the long term. Chief Young indicated that the building is structurally sound and fits the needs of the community. A new fire house building would cost $5 million. The emergency generator is as old as the building (about 27 years) and is starting to incur a lot of maintenance costs. Mayor Young felt that the location and future services are favorable. Chief Young mentioned that some fire companies are consolidating but this involves much legal work and battling with the other nearby fire companies regarding financial responsibilities. President Coleman indicated that based on prior discussions involving the Borough Engineer, Mike Taylor and Chief Young, it is clear that the roof needs to be replaced. Ms. Lustgarten questioned if Lansdowne’s fire company responds to East Lansdowne calls. Chief Young said there is a mutual aid agreement with Clifton Heights, Lansdowne and East Lansdowne. Regarding the options for paying for the roof, they are – loan option of paying $20,000-25,000 per year for five years, the funds could be taken out of the General Fund balance and the Fire Company could help financially. Chief Young mentioned that the fire company, not the borough, pays for the fire company’s breathing apparatus and the air packs will soon need to be replaced at a cost of $200,000. Mr. Bartley will look into the loan information. Chief Young will get pricing for the generator and ask Senator Anthony Williams for financial assistance in this regard. Mr. Scott mentioned that the borough should look at all immediate capital needs if taking out a loan. Chief Young will prepare a complete list for Council’s review.
- 20 Lansdowne Court – President Coleman asked Mr. Wagner for a status update. Mr. Totaro reported that the Arts Board needs to determine the areas of use and will be meeting next week with Mike Taylor for a walk through of the building. In addition, summer help will be available to assist Mr. Taylor. Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorize Mike Taylor to hire two part time helpers for summer work at 20 Lansdowne Court. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Satellite Dish Ordinance – Mr. Wagner reported that this ordinance limits the placement of dishes in historical districts, limits the size to one meter and will be placed in back of the buildings. Mrs. English asked what constitutes a historic district. Mr. Scott indicated that the historic district that the HARB oversees consists of the downtown business district. There are two other national historic registered districts in the borough that were designated without the HARB. Mr. Scott felt that the ordinance language should be more defined in relation to these two districts.
- Post 65 Veterans Memorial Park – American Legion member Larry Smalley has requested that a mail box for old or discarded flags be placed in the veteran’s memorial park. Mr. Scott indicated that the request has to go through the HARB for approval as this is a historic district. Mr. Totaro indicated that Mr. Smalley understands HARB’s involvement but asked if the borough could instead be considered as the applicant. Mr. Totaro will follow through on the process.
- Contribution to Senior Community Services – Ms. Lustgarten reported that in prior years $3,000 has been budgeted for this and the borough routinely gives $2,000 each year. Ms. Lustgarten moved to contribute $2,000 to the Senior Community Services. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Sewer ordinance – Mr. Scott reported that Philadelphia is requiring that certain regulations be adopted by the municipalities that transport the sewage to them. A portion of Lansdowne’s sewage goes through Upper Darby to Philadelphia. Upper Darby has sent Lansdowne the notice of required regulations. Mr. Scott indicated that the regulations comprise a 110 page book and appear to be appropriate for inclusion. There is a one page ordinance under action items that adopts the book of regulations.
- Fair Housing Fair/TRF – Mr. Totaro indicated that The Reinvestment Fund is conducting information sessions regarding the prevention of ongoing predatory lending and the marketing of products by entities claiming to repair credit. The TRF has requested that the borough be a sponsor at their May 25th information event at the 20th Century Club, 6-10 pm. The event will be posted on the web site.
- Bike Plan – Mr. Wagner wants the Public Safety Committee to look at the final plans for this plan. The group is also looking into establishing exercise and bike routes. President Coleman asked that Council members give some thought to the plan and to suggest a short list of future projects. Mr. Wagner indicated that for the short term, “share the road” signage and directional arrows would be appropriate.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorize payment of bills for the period. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Silzle moved to reappoint Mary Lou Jennings to the Tree Advisory Board for a three year term expiring 4/30/14. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Silzle moved to approve a certificate of Appropriateness for seven sets of trash cans for various locations in the central business district. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Schleigh moved to advertise Ordinance 1261, an Ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne adopting sewer regulations. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Ms. Silzle moved to adopt Resolution 2011-8, a Resolution of the Borough of Lansdowne regarding an Energy Smart Communities Municipal Energy Efficient Grant Program Application. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to allow free meter parking in the municipal parking lots on May 14th for a yard sale from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Executive Session – Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn to executive session. Mrs. English seconded. Vote: unanimous. The meeting adjourned to executive session at 10:00 p.m.
Public Session – No motions were made upon reconvening to public session.
Adjourn – Mr. Wagner moved to adjourn the meeting. Mrs. English seconded. Vote: unanimous. The meeting adjourned at 10:20 p.m.
Barbara Ann Henry