Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting
October 21, 2009
The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Coleman, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Schleigh, Ms. Silzle and Mr. Smith. Mr. Wagner arrived later in the meeting. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Manager Totaro, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Finance Director/Treasurer Bartley and Police Chief Kortan. Councilman Urban and Fire Chief Young were absent.
President Coleman stated that the meeting would air on October 26th at 7:00 p.m. on Comcast channel 10 and RCN channel 52.
Approval of Agenda – The agenda was approved with the following changes: (1) Mayor Young mentioned that the Lansdowne Presbyterian church was present to discuss their arts festival, and (2) the Preserve America Designation letter will be added under Communications instead of under Announcements.
Minutes – Ms. Silzle moved to approve the minutes of the September 16, 2009 General Meeting of Council as submitted by the Secretary. Mr. Schleigh seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Announcements and Presentations – Mayor Young welcomed Mary Lou Jennings, Chair of the Tree Advisory Board. Mayor Young presented departing Tree Advisory Board member Terry Ponton with a certificate of appreciation, thanking her for her many years of service on the Tree Board. Mrs. Ponton was also active in a wide number of Borough events, including the Centennial celebration and the GLCA House Tour. Mrs. Jennings mentioned that additional trees will be planted along Baltimore Avenue on November 21st, 9:00 a.m. East Lansdowne and Upper Darby will also be included in this endeavor.
Mayor Young introduced Carmela Cade, an Elder with the Lansdowne Presbyterian Church, who mentioned that their art auction will be held on November 7th, with a preview at 7:00 p.m. and a live auction at 7:30 p.m.
Jennifer Hoff, LEDC Vice President, along with LEDC President Virginia Gavin and Main Street Manager Mike Grant, thanked Borough Council and the Mayor for all their support of LEDC’s events. Ms. Hoff indicated that 309 residents had run in the 5K event, 3,500 people attended the Arts Festival, there 24,000 estimated visitors to the Farmers Market in 2009.
Treasurer’s Report – Mr. Bartley presented the September, 2009 report. The General Fund reflected a beginning balance of. $71,974 and an ending balance of $1,392,826. The Sewer Fund reflected a beginning balance of $347,836 and an ending balance of $469,957. The Liquid Fuels Fund reflected a beginning balance of $107,495 and an ending balance of $286,809. The Capital Reserve Fund reflected a beginning balance of $118,854 and an ending balance of $170,973. The Non-Uniform Pension Plan had a beginning balance of $1,050,650 and an ending balance of $1,322,631. Beginning balance in the Police Pension was $4,717,359 and the ending balance was $5,188,602. Mr. Bartley indicated there were sufficient funds on hand to meet current obligations.
Solicitor’s Report – Mr. Scott had no formal report and one Executive Session item.
Mayor’s Report – Mayor Young stated that she had received a complaint letter from an anonymous resident and reiterated that if no contact information is provided, no help can be given in issues of concern. Mayor Young mentioned that a company posing as an agent of the Fire Company regarding heater cleaning services was a scam and residents should contact the Police Department if solicited by this group. Mayor Young mentioned that 2010 parking permits are now on sale.
Ms. Silzle thanked Mayor Young for signing the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Mayor Young has now joined this group in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Council President’s Report – President Coleman stated that a Borough ordinance exists to protect residents from solicitations unless the entity is registered by the Borough. President Coleman mentioned that she and Mr. Totaro had attended the County’s briefing on the H1N1 virus. More information is still to come regarding the vaccination process. Some common sense preventive measures were discussed and any flu like symptoms should be checked. President Coleman also mentioned that the Borough’s emergency response team is aware of any new events or developments in this regard.
Public Safety – Mr. Schleigh reported that some complaints have been received regarding animal control. Animal Control is managed by the County, who will come out to the residence and provide traps. Residents should contact the Police Department if any animal is deemed an immediate threat. Mr. Schleigh mentioned that he will be promoting a Town Watch program at the Farmers market on October 24th. On December 5th at 1:00 p.m. in Borough Hall, a block captain training meeting will be held and any interested residents are encouraged to sign up. Mr. Schleigh reminded the public that a house check program is in place whereby the Police Department will check temporarily vacant residences. Mr. Schleigh indicated that about 15 people signed up for the “Slow Down” signs.
The next Public Safety Committee meeting will be held on November 2nd.
Finance – Ms. Lustgarten reported that work continues on the 2010 budget. Currently the budget consolidation requests show an excess expense of $280,000 and further discussions were held regarding additional revenue streams and further cuts in the budget. Ms. Lustgarten and Mr. Totaro met with Senator Williams last week regarding potential state funding programs. She will also be meeting with Congressman Sestak regarding earmarks. The next Finance Committee meeting will be held on November 2nd.
Economic Development – Mr. Wagner reported that a variety of items were discussed at the last Economic Development Committee meeting: (1) an active Codes case report is maintained on residential and commercial properties in need of rehabilitation, (2) progress is being made on identifying potential members for the Arts Board, (3) there have been additional arts programs to be included with the recreational offerings by the Borough. Geared for adults, the programs start in January and will be “Introduction to Improvisation” and “Introduction to Playwriting”. The next Economic Development Committee meeting will be held on October 22nd.
Environmental – Ms. Silzle thanked Mayor Young for signing the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. The Environmental Committee met on October 8th and reviewed the State recycling report. The 2008 tonnage increased by 139 tons from 2007, 32 tons of which were residential. Tonnage has also increased an additional 11 tons from 2008. Ms. Silzle indicated that the Blue Mountain contract expires by year end and there is a proposal to hopefully increase plastic recycling to include higher numbers in the future. The Education/Recreation Committee is also being asked to add an agenda item to the meeting with the William Penn School District, to request they provide 2 recycling containers at the Ardmore School that the Borough will pick up. Plans are underway to hold a Make Lansdowne Beautiful Day in April 2010 in conjunction with Earth Day.
Ms. Silzle provided the following updates:
- The Solid Waste Association of North America, in partnership with the PA DEP and other agencies, are providing technical assistance grants to Pennsylvania governments interested in increasing recycling rates. In that regard, Lansdowne was awarded $7,500 to provide technical assistance to evaluate several aspects of the Borough’s current recycling plan.
- Yard Waste collection continues until December. Ms. Silzle reminded residents that yard waste and recycling are not included in the tipping fees that the County charges the borough. Diverting yard waste and recycling helps to reduce the trash fees that the County is now imposing on all boroughs starting in 2009. Fees in 2010 will increase from $15.90 per ton to $23.45 per ton. This results in an annual increase from $91,000 to over $135,000 that will have to be paid by residents. Mayor Young mentioned that leaf pickup dates alternate every other week with recycling dates.
The next Environmental Committee meeting will be held on November 12th at 7:00 p.m.
Ms. Silzle also reminded residents to be mindful and check various plastic containers, such as shampoo bottles that may be #1 and #2 so they, too, can be recycled.
Education – No report was given in Mr. Urban’s absence.
Infrastructure – Mr. Smith reported that some road paving will begin on October 23rd and the work will take about one week. The streets involved include Essex, Congress to Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne Avenue to the Essex Avenue intersection, Braddock, Marshall to Plumstead, Wycombe, Midway and Blackburn to Essex. Some patching will also be done on 8 streets. The next Infrastructure Committee meeting will be held on October 27th.
- Library – Ms. Silzle reported that Lansdowne Library Director Traci Rauck is leaving and her last day will be October 30th. Ms. Silzle thanked Mrs. Rauck for her positive impact and the outstanding work she accomplished for the library and community. Ms. Silzle then mentioned a variety of programs that will take place at the library: (1) flu shots will be given on October 22nd, (2) weekly Parent/Child workshops will be offered in October and professionals will be on hand to discuss issues such as behavior, nutrition, etc., (3) the free six week memoir writing workshop has been filled and the library is looking into offering another one next year, (4) the Purses to Portfolios course will again be held on the topic of Debt Boot Camp for three weeks, free of charge.
- Health Board – Mr. Schleigh reported that the Health Board has made some recommendations to the Codes Committee regarding descriptions of home based businesses for health inspection reports.
- Invitation from the Darby Creek Valley Association to attend their 25th anniversary luncheon on November 15th.
- President Coleman read a letter from First Lady Michelle Obama regarding the Preserve America Designation for Lansdowne, wherein she thanked the Borough for enhancing and continuing the nation’s heritage and honoring its past.
Mr. Schleigh moved to suspend Roberts Rules of Order. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
- Charlie Jeffers – 13 Willowbrook Avenue. Mr. Jeffers asked when the reconstruction work would be finished on top of the Lansdowne Diner building, indicating that it was blight on the Borough. Mr. Totaro indicated that additional code issues had been found and more modifications were necessary. Mr. Jeffers again questioned whether a left hand turn signal would be installed at the Baltimore/Lansdowne Avenue intersection.
Ms. Silzle moved to reinstate Roberts Rules of Order. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
- Baltimore Avenue Trees – Phase 2. Mr. Totaro indicated this is a continuation of work done last fall. This year’s portion will include Rigby to Union Avenue. There is also a portion to be done along Penn Boulevard in East Lansdowne.
- Elm Street Program – President Coleman indicated that this program deals with neighborhood enhancement measures and the program has been kept in the State’s 2010 budget ($11 million to be disbursed throughout the state). Research is being conducted regarding the completion of the actual process and report that is planned for year’s end.
- Floodplain Ordinance – Mr. Scott reported that FEMA changes new floodplain maps every 10 years and requires updates to the Borough’s floodplain ordinance for insurance purposes. Federal level suggested amendments have been provided and must be enacted by next month.
- Highland Avenue Meter Box – Mr. Wagner discussed the placement of the box based upon two separate Committee recommendations. One suggestion was to have it placed in the center of the lot and the other suggested placing it to the right of the lot entrance. Mr. Wagner indicated that his Committee recommended placing it in the middle. Mayor Young and Chief Kortan felt that this placement would not be beneficial sight-wise for motorists. Chief Kortan mentioned that the manufacturer suggests placing it as close as possible to the primary entrance (Highland Avenue).
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve bills for the period. Ms. Silzle seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
- Mr. Wagner moved to advertise Ordinance 1247, an Ordinance Amending Ordinance 1019 for Compliance with NFIP and PA Act 166 Requirements. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Executive Session – Ms. Silzle moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discussion a litigation matter. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Public Session – No motions were made upon reconvening to Public Session.
Adjourn – Mr. Schleigh moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Smith seconded. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 9:28 p.m.
Barbara Ann Henry