Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting
May 5, 2010
The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday, May 5, 2010, 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall. Present were President Coleman, Mrs. English, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Schleigh, Ms. Silzle and Mr. Smith. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Manager Totaro, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Treasurer Bartley, Borough Solicitor Scott, Police Chief Kortan and Fire Chief Young. Councilman Wagner was absent.
Call to Order: President Coleman called the meeting to order.
Pledge of Allegiance: Mayor Young opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Agenda: The agenda was approved with the following change: (1) Ms. Lustgarten will make the Planning Commission appointment in Mr. Wagner’s absence.
Minutes: Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve the minutes of the April 7, 2010 Business Meeting. Ms. Silzle seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Ms. Lustgarten moved to suspend Roberts Rules of Order to hear public comment. Ms. Silzle seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Public Comment: There was no public comment.
Ms. Silzle moved to resume Roberts Rules of Order. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
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.
Manager’s Report – Mr. Totaro reported that Lansdowne’s historic Sycamore tree is in good health despite having some dying leaves.
Police Chief Kortan – Chief Kortan reported that today he attended the Police Minority Community Relations seminar. Police department preparations are on track for the upcoming Memorial Day events. Ms. Silzle questioned whether the bike police unit was operating. Chief Kortan indicated they are fully staffed and would be on duty in a few weeks. President Coleman brought up the issue of the SPCA proposed letter and asked if Chief Kortan had any changes. Chief Kortan indicated there were no changes but it would need action by Borough Council. The letter indicates that cats should be restrained if on another property and dogs must be leashed at all times. Chief Kortan will apprise Fran Wayne of incorporating this content in the letter.
Fire Chief Young – Chief Young reported that four Lansdowne firefighters were recently trapped on an upper floor of a burning building in Yeadon. They were rescued with only minor injuries. The fire company will be conducting studies regarding this situation. Chief Young reported that the fire house roof is badly leaking in various areas and needs immediate attention, as there is a possibility of potential damage to electronic equipment. Ms. Lustgarten questioned the status of the pending FEMA grant. Mr. Totaro indicated a separate grant exists for fire companies and Lansdowne is applying for the section on new equipment. Chief Young mentioned that notification was just received in this regard and that the requested air packs would not be granted if certain SEDA standards had been met. Mike Taylor will provide quotes for the Finance Committee. Mr. Schleigh questioned whether there had been progress on the siren issue. Chief Young indicated that the parts are coming in and the ground wire has been run to both boxes. Mr. Schleigh questioned the progress of the life safety code issues. Chief Young indicated that chapters will be taken from the international and borough fire code and he will check to see how Yeadon and Millbourne implemented their codes.
Mayor’s Report – Mayor Young had no formal report.
President’s Report – President Coleman reported on the following:
- Elm Street Program – Mr. Totaro assisted with the on line applications. Mr. Scott is working on an agreement between the LEDC and Yeadon. Mr. Scott indicated that an agreement, resolution and ordinance are required. The resolution required from the LEDC will incorporate a commitment for the local share of $10,000 (can be a combination of cash and in-kind). Discussions will be necessary to address in-kind alternatives.
- School Board meeting on April 24th – This meeting involved the William Penn School Board of Directors and other entities in the William Penn School District. The discussion was dominated by violence control issues and detracted from the educational issues. Collective work is necessary to eradicate items that are detracting from the District’s mission statement. Chief Kortan mentioned that the relationship between his officers and the school officials is excellent and the process has been streamlined regarding problem students. President Coleman will follow up with Public Relations Specialist Pam Bittle regarding early intervention strategies and other items of concern.
- President Coleman will be meeting tomorrow with the Chair of the County Council to have a dialogue regarding more collaborative measures, understanding agendas and the SPCA issue. More information will follow.
- Public Health and Safety – Mr. Schleigh reported that the next Public Safety Committee will be held on May 12th. Agenda items will address landlord-tenant issues. Mr. Schleigh reported that the neighborhood watch web site and discussion is up and running. Officer Crescent Brown will be discussing this program at a meeting to be held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on May 13th at 7:00 p.m.
- Finance and Administration – Ms. Lustgarten reported that the Finance Committee is determining actual costs for each department and in that context they are looking at the different revenue streams. Ms. Lustgarten questioned the rental inspection fee/inspection service costs. Mr. Scott indicated that the fee has to bear a rational relationship to the cost of the service or the processing. Overhead and utility costs can be attributed to out-of-pocket costs.
Ms. Lustgarten reported that the Committee is looking at the 20th Century Club rental fee structure that has not changed since 2007. Mr. Totaro indicated that he will be working with Mrs. Staiber to bring recommendations to the Finance Committee.
Ms. Lustgarten reported that she met with Laura Martin, the new library director, regarding staffing patterns, salary inequities and wage recommendations. Ms. Lustgarten expects to have finalized recommendations on these issues by the June Finance Committee meeting.
There has been a request for a new sanitation truck. Mr. Bartley is looking into past repairs and maintenance costs while Mr. Totaro is looking into usage.
The budget status after the 1st quarter reflects tax revenues of $2.8 million, $700,000 in trash fees and $900,000 in sewer fees. The TAN may be paid off earlier in light of these figures. Ms. Lustgarten mentioned that Portnoff Law Associates will be attending the June Finance Committee meeting to discuss the collection of delinquent real estate taxes. A discussion then followed regarding the refund process for overpaid properties. Currently there are 32 overpaid properties; 12 are over $25.00 and 20 are under $25.00. The Finance Committee has proposed that if the overpayment is under $25.00 there should be a policy to forego the refund. Mr. Scott felt this would be a bad precedent unless the refund amount was very negligible. Several ideas were discussed regarding methods of refund overpayments. After further discussion it was decided to institute a $10 refund processing fee starting with 2011 for overpayments of $10 or more.
Ms. Lustgarten reported that the Senior Center has requested their annual $2,000 contribution.
Ms. Lustgarten moved to continue the Borough’s support of the Senior Center by awarding a $2,000 contribution. Ms. Silzle seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
- Economic Development and Code Enforcement – No report was given in Mr. Wagner’s absence.
- Environment – Ms. Silzle had no formal report. The next Environment Committee meeting will be held on May 13th.
- Community Relations – Ms. English had no formal report. The next Community Relations Committee meeting will be held on May 10th at 7:00 p.m.
- Infrastructure and Public Works – Mr. Smith had no formal report but mentioned that a Plumstead family had attended the April 27th meeting regarding a sidewalk issue. The issue involves who is responsible for payment of the work that was performed. More information will be forthcoming when insurance issues and allegations are resolved.
- Home Based Food Businesses – Mr. Schleigh indicated that the Health Board had distributed a draft ordinance in this regard. Mr. Scott indicated he did not have a definitive answer regarding home based businesses. More stringent restrictions can be imposed on restaurants but rules for home based processing sites are more difficult to research. Ms. Schleigh tabled the discussion until this information is available. Mr. Scott indicated that there is no clear definition of a commercial kitchen in the zoning code and the proposed ordinance might inadvertently authorize something under the ordinance that is not permitted in the zoning ordinance.
- 2010 Liquid Fuels Allocation – Mr. Totaro reported that liquid fuels money can be used for storm water issues. Mr. Totaro provided a priority list for patching and paving. Mr. Totaro felt that paving could be done this year as opposed to waiting for the grant, or not do the paving and accrue two years of liquid fuel money and any forthcoming grant funding. Ms. Lustgarten felt that this would be a good opportunity to have AQUA pay for ½ of the road paving. Ms. Lustgarten suggested adding Ardmore Avenue between Stratford and Baltimore Avenues. Mr. Scott recommended authorizing the advertising for bids now and at a later date reallocate the Union Avenue budget money to include paving of designated streets rather than using the money only for the storm sewers.
- SWANA Report – Ms. Silzle presented a draft of the Swana Recycling Technical Assistance Study and asked Council members to submit any comments by May 13th. Ms. Silzle indicated that the implications of this study will affect everyone regarding waste management. Council members’ questions will then be directed to Gannett Fleming, Inc. for a final report. Mayor Young questioned whether Gannett really had knowledge of the region, pointing out that certain language in the study referring to twice weekly trash collection costs stated “it is not an issue in these wealthy neighborhoods”. Mr. Totaro was confident that the report is acceptable on the state level.
Ms. Silzle mentioned that the Borough paid $184.06 to the County in January. There was a question as to whether the Borough made or paid money regarding recycling in February and March, citing an amount of $971.82 that was in question. Mr. Bartley will investigate this matter.
- Belmont Avenue – Mr. Totaro reported that each year the stones are replenished in the street. It has been recommended that this area be paved and slope it down into the park area. Belmont Avenue is a ‘paper’ street i.e., it is laid out on a map but never opened. Annual cost for gravel is $900. The Borough Engineer’s estimate for paving is $25,000. A discussion followed regarding several issues if the road was paved: neighborhood parking, Borough liability for dangerous conditions, emergency vehicle access, converting Belmont Avenue to one 18′ wide lane and making it a non-dedicated road, and vacating the road by petition thereby making it private property. Mr. Schleigh and Chief Young felt it should be paved. Mr. Schleigh questioned whether there was ‘no parking’ at the corners for emergency vehicle access. Chief Kortan indicated an ordinance would be necessary in order to have this restriction after having a neighborhood meeting. After further discussion, there arrived a consensus to keep Belmont a gravel road. Chief Kortan will price out ‘crush and run’ gravel.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorize payment of bills for period. Ms. Silzle seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
- Ms. Silzle moved to reappoint Joe Parsio to the Tree Advisory Board for a three year term expiring 4/30/2013. Mr. Schleigh seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
- Ms. Silzle moved to reappoint Helen Marcarelli to the Tree Advisory Board for a three year term expiring 4/30/2013. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
- Mr. Smith moved to advertise 2010 paving bids. Ms. Silzle seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
- Ms. Silzle moved to adopt Ordinance 1252, an Ordinance amending Chapter 280 of the Code of the Borough of Lansdowne, entitled “recycling”. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
- Ms. Silzle moved to enact Resolution 2010-6, a resolution establishing regulations specifying recyclable materials that must be recycled and regulations requiring residents to source-separate recyclable materials or place recyclable materials for collection through single stream recycling pursuant to Chapter 280, ARTICLE III Recycling (§280-22 – §280-33) of the Code of the Borough of Lansdowne. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to appoint Marie-Luise Faber to the Planning Commission filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Marcy Allen, for a term expiring 10/31/2012. Ms. Silzle seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
- Mr. Smith moved to Award PA Conservation Works Grant as follows:
Lot 1: $94,410 to Its Republic of Billerica, MA
Lot 2: $287,940 to ITS Republic of Billerica, MA
Lot 3: as needed to ITS Republic of Billerica, MA
Lot 4: $12,840 to ITS Republic of Billerica, MA
Lot 5: $100,100 to Armour & Sons of Langhorne, PA
Ms. Lustgarten seconded.
Discussion: The entire grant was for $498,000 for the 5 COG boroughs. Lot 1 has the largest electricity reduction. Lot 2 is for electronically driven fixtures and street lighting throughout the Borough. Lot 3 will probably not be done but it was added as an alternative. This is for mechanically driven fixtures. Lot 4 is to do a survey for all COG boroughs. This leaves $104,000, not including engineering fees of $12,000-$15,000. Lot 5 is for 22 incandescent lights, unique to Gladstone Manor, with special items to be done, i.e., replacing pendants and heads and doing foundation work. Putting in sidewalk and curb cuts would be on an as needed basis only. Ms. Lustgarten questioned whether the $104,000 could be used to pay the engineering, legal and administrative costs. Mr. Totaro indicated the General Fund would pay for the lights. Ms. Lustgarten preferred paying the fees first out the remaining money before using the General Fund. Mrs. English and Ms. Lustgarten felt the entire Borough should not have to bear the cost of the fees for special lighting in Gladstone Manor. The total fees for legal, engineering and administrative costs would be $15,000. Ms. Lustgarten suggested paying the fees out of the $104,000 and using the remainder to install the lighting.
The motion carried unanimously, with the provision that the fees not exceed the grant allocation.
Executive Session – Mr. Schleigh moved to adjourn to Executive Session early to discuss real estate, personnel and litigation issues. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned to executive session at 10:10 p.m.
Public Session – No public motions were made upon reconvening to Public Session.
Adjourn – Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn the meeting. Ms. Silzle seconded. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 10:55 p.m.
Barbara Ann Henry