Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting
September 21, 2011
The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall. Present were President Coleman, Mrs. English, Mr. Schleigh, Ms. Silzle, Mr. Wagner and Mr. Smith. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Manager Totaro, Borough Secretary Henry, Police Chief Kortan, Borough Treasurer Bartley and Borough Solicitor Scott. Councilwoman Lustgarten and Fire Chief Young were absent.
Approval of Agenda: The agenda was approved with the following changes: (1) Mr. Wagner will report on the RACP update during his Committee report; (2) Mr. Wagner will make Ms. Lustgarten’s motion under Action Items in her absence.
Approval of Minutes: Mr. Wagner moved to approve the minutes of the August 17, 2011 General Meeting of Council as submitted by the Secretary. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Announcements and Presentations:
(1) Mayor Young and Ms. Silzle recognized Pat Arone and the Lansdowne Business and Professionals Association (“LBPA”) for their $2,000 contribution toward the purchase of seven sets of trash and recycling cans in the business district. Other items procured included bike racks and benches.
(2) Mayor Young recognized and presented gift cards to Michael Gordon for his 20 years of service in the Sanitation Department. Mr. Gordon retired in June of 2006.
(3) Mayor Young and President Coleman displayed two flags that had been donated in remembrance of September 11, 2001. One was donated by Nancy Von Kriecken and the other donor wished to remain anonymous.
Treasurer’s Report: Mr. Bartley presented the August 31, 2011 report as follows: General Fund beginning balance $280,823, ending balance $1,419,197. Sewer Fund beginning balance: $604,313, ending balance $1,134,163. Liquid Fuels Fund beginning balance $326,727, ending balance $407,497. Capital Reserves Fund beginning balance $61,080, ending balance $102,006. Non Uniform Pension Fund beginning balance $1,837,274, ending balance $ 1,598,929. Police Pension fund beginning balance $6,323,468, ending balance of $6,239,673. Mr. Bartley indicated that there sufficient funds on hand to meet the current obligations.
Solicitor’s Report: Mr. Scott had no formal report and various items for Executive Session.
Mayor’s Report: Mayor Young read a list of calendar items. Mayor Young mentioned that an electronics recycling event will be held on October 1st in the Highland Avenue parking lot. A fee of $8.00 applies to large console televisions. On October 15th the Animal Friends of Lansdowne will be holding a garage sale at 129 N. Wycombe Avenue; rain date is October 16th. The Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra will hold its first concert of the season on October 30th at the Upper Darby Performing Arts Center. A discussion regarding the newly refurbished “2020 House” will be given on October 11th at the 20th Century Club. The 2020 House is Lansdowne’s Art Center and is expected to open in September of 2012.
Council President’s Report: President Coleman had no formal report but provided informational details on the following: The Delaware County Association of Boroughs will be meeting on September 29th, 6:30 p.m. to discuss its change in focus, vision, etc. President Coleman received a letter indicating that the postal service is conducting a study regarding what branches might be closed or consolidated and whether or not Saturday delivery of mail will continue.
Public Health and Safety – Mr. Schleigh reported the he had received the annual report from the Civil Service Committee and it contains changes that will be included to comply with government regulations. One member of the Committee will shortly be resigning and a letter of interest has been submitted by Helen Marcarelli. Mr. Schleigh also mentioned that one mosquito tested positive for the West Nile Virus in Chester Heights. No birds to date have been found carrying the disease. Residents should remove any standing water on their property as this is a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Mr. Schleigh reported that the northeast side of the borough is interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch Program.
Finance and Administration – No report was given in Ms. Lustgarten’s absence.
Economic Development and Code Enforcement – Mr. Wagner thanked Park and Recreation Board member Erica Sollberger for her input regarding the placement of the new trash cans and benches in the borough. She is currently looking at ideas for tree beds. Mr. Wagner’s Committee also discussed the Code Department’s 2012 budget that will remain revenue neutral. There was no discussion held regarding the Arts Board budget but it will be discussed during the first week in October at the business meeting.
Mr. Wagner gave an update on the RACP grant: the $1 million grant required that proposals be sent to architectural design firms and was awarded to Boise Holland. This group will be present at the October business meeting to discuss their plans. It is anticipated that the first deadline of January 15, 2012 will be met.
Environment – Ms. Silzle reported that the 2011 diversion rate was over 27%. Former diversion rates were as follows: 2007 – 13%; 2008 – 14%; 2009 – 16%; 2010 – 17%. Blue Mountain has also expanded their plastics collection program to allow for more recycling of hard plastics. Ms. Silzle reported that approximately $27,000 had been received by the borough so far this year for the recycling. The August 2011 diversion was 21.3%, the lowest rate for the year.
Ms. Silzle reported that her committee will meet on October 8th to discuss the Park and Recreation Board 2012 budget. The Committee will also discuss the establishment of a Shade Tree Commission that would eliminate the Tree Advisory Board. The proposed ordinance in this regard will be reviewed at the October business meeting. Leaf collection begins on October 17th. The next Environment Committee meeting will be held on October 13th. Ms. Silzle mentioned that not too many trees had been damaged during Hurricane Irene.
Community Relations: Mrs. English reported her Committee met on September 19th regarding the 2012 budget. The August library statistics are as follows: 12,616 users, 4,098 Internet users; 4,677 attended the various children’s programs. Mrs. English noted that while a lot of local libraries have experience a decline in use, the Lansdowne library use has risen from 5,000 to 7,000 users.
Infrastructure and Public Works – Mr. Smith reported that his Committee will meet on September 27th to discuss the 2012 budget concerns. Mr. Smith had no new business items on which to report.
Communications: There were no items for communication.
Mr. Schleigh moved to suspend Roberts Rules of Order to hear visitor comments. Mrs. English seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Steven Cohen – 59 E. Essex Avenue. Mr. Cohen apologized for his abruptness with Chief Kortan regarding his frustration over traffic control problems in his neighborhood. Mr. Cohen felt that too many motorists were disregarding stop signs and felt that the problem might be controlled if more signs were put from Wayne to Green Avenues. Mr. Cohen also mentioned that the school buses stack up at the loading zone near the William Penn High School and motorists cannot see the stop sign at that site. He suggested moving the signs closer to the school. Mr. Cohen felt that a stop sign is also needed at Essex and Wayne Avenues. Mr. Cohen felt that more police consistency in enforcing parking regulations near the school was necessary, indicating that violations are committed on a daily basis in the No Parking and Fire Zone areas. Also, school buses continue to idle in the zones. Mr. Cohen asked for better communication from the police so that the borough could benefit from the regulations.
- Gary Gerson – 187 West Essex Avenue. Mr. Gerson expressed his concern over ordinance language regarding the regulation of truck weights. He felt the language was hostile regarding vehicles over 5000 lbs. and is a threat to his job. Mr. Gerson’s job requires that he keep the truck and tools on his property. President Coleman stated that Solicitor Scott and the Economic and Code Enforcement Committee will look into the current interpretation and will also check with the Codes Department.
- Pat Arone – resident of Lansdowne. Mrs. Arone thanked the Borough Council for all the hard work they perform over the years.
Council Member Response to Visitors:
Mr. Schleigh mentioned that the number of stop signs is rotated as needed in certain areas but if a written statement is provided by 5 or more residents, an investigation will be made regarding problem areas. Chief Kortan mentioned that at a ‘T’ intersection motorists are already required to stop but a stop sign is not necessary. Mr. Gerson said he would get the appropriate number of signatures for the Chief. President Coleman indicated that a stop sign had been recently installed at Maple and LaCrosse Avenues and that motorists get used to one precedent; what is needed is more consistent signage.
Mr. Schleigh moved to resume Roberts Rules of Order. Mr. Wagner seconded.
- Belmont Avenue – President Coleman reopened the discussion previously discussed at the June business meeting as to paving, graveling or making a paper road of Belmont Avenue. After Hurricane Irene there was a lot of damage along with large amounts of washed away gravel. President Coleman asked if other options should be considered, specifically paving. Mrs. English said that the storm was a once-in-a-lifetime event with 50″ of rain and doubted that paving would be necessary. Mr. Wagner felt that continuing the current option of grooming a few times a year at $10,000 per year was acceptable. Mr. Wagner also felt that a flexible maintenance schedule log should be instituted. Ms. Silzle wanted to first see if it would be an ongoing problem or only due to severe conditions. It should also be regularly monitored. Mr. Schleigh asked if any remediation could be done to the underneath surface. Mr. Totaro said that an impervious block could be put down or that compacting the gravel could be an option. After further discussion it was decided to set up a more monitored maintenance schedule and look at better packing options. The Infrastructure Committee will also have input in this regard.
- Schappet Terrace Sewer Project – President Coleman indicated that a $19,000 grant had been awarded to the borough for this project. Mr. Totaro mentioned that an agreement to proceed from the County was received on September 6th. The work will start April 1, 2012. Aqua Water will concurrently do their work; PECO had already completed their portion. Mr. Totaro mentioned that the project would partner with the Elm Street Program.
- Marshall House – 260 North Wycombe Avenue; upward assessment. Mr. Scott reported that the William Penn School District had initiated an appeal of the downward assessment of the property. The value appealed was $1.335 million. The original assessment was $1.8 million and the current assessment is $2.8 million. Mr. Wagner felt the owner might stop improving the property due to the increased tax burden. After a brief discussion a motion was made to approve the assessment appeal. Mr. Wagner moved to approve the tax assessment appeal settlement of $2.6 million for 260 N. Wycombe Avenue. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Owen Avenue sanitary sewer repairs – Mr. Totaro reported there are recurring problems because the flow line is not high. Mr. Smith moved to authorize a work order under the new JMC sanitary sewer maintenance contract for excavation for discovery and repairs not to exceed $15,000. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to approve bills for the period. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to ratify agreement for design services with Boise Holland. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Smith moved to approve resolution 2011-14, a resolution authorizing transfer of ownership of S-3, 1992 International Trash truck to GL Sayers. Mrs. English seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Schleigh moved to appoint Helen Marcarelli to the Civil Service Commission for a six-year term expiring on 6/30/2017, filling term of vacancy of expired member’s term. Mrs. English seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Smith moved to adopt Ordinance 1264, an Ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, adopting the most stringent combination of Delaware Count Regional Water Quality Control Authority’s (DELCORA’s) standards, rules and regulations and the City of Philadelphia’s Wastewater control regulations as the Borough of Lansdowne’s wastewater Control regulations, adopting DELCORA’s eastern service area local Limitations as the local limitations of the Borough of Lansdowne and Repealing all Ordinances, Resolution and parts of Ordinances and Resolutions inconsistent herewith. Mr. Schleigh seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Schleigh moved to approve revised Civil Service Regulations. Mrs. English seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Schleigh med to accept the bids for the sale of the two police vehicles and one code vehicle. Mrs. English seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Executive Session – Mr. Schleigh moved to adjourn to executive session to discuss personnel and litigation issues. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous. The meeting adjourned to executive session at 9:32 pm.
Public Session – There were no motions made upon reconvening to public session.
Adjourn – Mr. Schleigh moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous. The meeting adjourned 10:30 p.m.
Barbara Ann Henry