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June 12, 2008 City Council Minutes

This regular meeting of the Connellsville City Council was held this evening at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, Municipal Building, and 110 North Arch Street, Connellsville, PA. Attending this meeting were Mayor Reed, Council Members McIntire, Geyer, and Matthews. Bodes attended via phone. Also attending this meeting were, City Clerk Antoinette Tesauro and Solicitor Bowlen.

A moment of silence was observed following the Pledge of Allegiance.

Public Comment:

Mike Edwards, 507 South Pittsburgh Street, discussed the Redevelopment Authority. Mary Grace Butela, 1601 West Crawford Avenue, requested to speak about the Connellsville Senior Center. Her request was denied being she is not a resident of the City of Connellsville. Yvonne Rush, 303 East Cedar Avenue, discussed the availability of the Council agenda and the Senior Citizens Center. Jean Wrote, City Controller, discussed saving money through taking out the water coolers and caller id. She also discussed the Connellsville Senior Center. Judy Keller, City Treasurer, discussed the “Four Day Rule” and why the Redevelopment Authority was handling the Grace B. Turner Fund. Melissa Tzan, 1116 Race Street, discussed the South Side School. Geno Gallo, 232 North Seventh Street, concerning the property on Sixth Street.

Correspondence:

IC Church announcing their summer festival American Legion Post 301 invitation to Flag Retirement Ceremony Letter from Anna Ruth Green, Senior Citizens Board of Directors Regular Agenda:

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-01-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “To accept the minutes from the May 15, 2008 City Council Meeting.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Matthews, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution were adopted.

DEPARTMENT REPORTS:

Mayor Reed:

Police Report Community Calendar June 13th through July 10, 2008 Proclamation for Eric A. Long, Eagle Scout The condition of City trees

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-22-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “To close certain streets for the annual Immaculate Conception Summer Festival on June 19, 20, and 21, 2008, between the hours of 6:00 pm to 11 pm.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Matthews, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution were adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-3-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “To authorize the Mayor to make application to the Department of Environmental Protection Agency for a possible grant for the purchasing of equipment for the Street Department and Recreation Department.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Matthews, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution were adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-2-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “To permit the closing of certain streets along 11th Street and Banning Street for 2007 8th Annual Italian Bash on the West Side Hill on Sunday July 20, starting at 1:00 pm till Midnight.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Matthews, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution were adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-4-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “To authorize the release and expenditure of the Grace B. Turner, Connellsville City Endowment in the amount of $37,028.57. Session of the United Presbyterian Church under the leadership of Interim Pastor. Rev. Marnie Abraham Russell approved that $20,000 be used toward the purchase price of a police vehicle, $10,000 toward the City owned Austin Avenue Park playground/ball field and the remainder to be used for the parks and recreation facilities in the City of Connellsville.”

Council discussed the use of the money. See tape for details as recorder did not pick up entire conversation.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Matthews, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution were adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-5-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “To authorize the Redevelopment Authority to handle the release and draw down of the Grace B. Turner endowment of $10,000 for the Austin Ave. Park.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Geyer, and Reed. Matthews voted nay. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution were adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-7-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “To authorize the purchase of police vehicle from Tri Star Motor in the amount of $22,076.00 purchased through the South Hills Area Council of Governments State Purchasing Program and $5,168.75 to Team Force for police car accessories. $20,000 to be taken from the Grace B. Turner endowment and $7,244.75 from tobacco grant.”

There was a discussion on matching funds and other issues that could not be picked up on tape.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Reed, McIntire, Bodes, and Matthews. Geyer voted nay. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution were adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-8-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “To authorize the advertisement and sale of two City owned police vehicles, a 2004 Chevy Impala and 1998 Jeep Cherokee to be sold as is.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Matthews, Geyer, and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution were adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-10-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “To make the following Police Department Employee promotions: Daniel Sherbinsky to Sergeant, William Hammerle to Corporal. Effective June 15, 2008.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, McIntire, Geyer, and Reed. Matthews voted nay. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution were adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-15-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “To repeal the existing "four day rule" for final preparation of council meeting agendas and to adopt a resolution as follows: All agenda matters including proposed resolutions shall be delivered to the City Clerk not less than forty-eight (48) hours prior to scheduled council meetings. Printed paper agendas shall be available prior to scheduled council meetings. Proposed agenda items shall continue to be made available and communicated to Council members as received prior to the forty-eight hour deadline by telephonic, written or electronic means as received. It is the intent of this resolution to comply with the Pennsylvania Open Records Act. All existing City resolutions which are inconsistent with this Resolution are hereby repealed.”

Geyer stated there are still questions with this resolution, such as when Council will receive their agendas. He further questioned if Council will receive their agenda 48 hours before the meeting and why can’t the public receive it then also.

Matthews noted that his email does not work and to call him rather than email. Another comment he added was there are no rules that you can’t bring a new resolution up at the night of a council meeting. All you need to do is waive the four day rule. Why don’t we do away with this resolution?

The discussion continued. Geyer again questioned when he will receive his packet of information before Council Meeting. Reed questioned when he wants to receive it. Geyer answered he wants to receive it four days before the meeting and also wants the public to receive it then, also. Reed stated she is sorry but there is more going on now than there was way back when. Geyer replied that is irrelevant and four days is four day regardless of it being four days before Monday or four days before Sunday. Reed stated she is not going to argue. Geyer answered this is a discussion and that is part of the meeting, voicing his concern. He also stated his question was not answered. Reed made it clear that all information must be in 48 hours prior to the meeting. The majority of our meetings are now on Thursdays, so that means Tuesday evening, so there is no reason in the world why Council shouldn’t have their packets on Wednesday. This will give the secretary an hour to get them ready. Geyer asked when the public can receive their agenda. Reed answered she wants to address that. She stated that is a real serious problem. When someone is appointed to boards and authorities, then we put their name on the agenda, their name gets out and people call them or it’s in the paper, it can be difficult on them. The discussion continued concerning when the public will be permitted to receive an agenda. Reed stated council must all have time to review the agenda first. Mayor Reed noted there is no four day rule enforce with resolutions, there is a four day rule for information for things we are voting on. Reed further noted that information for meetings will be here to pick up and if it’s not picked up, then it’s no ones fault. Geyer noted that it is someone’s fault, because he works 9-5 and his keys were taken from him. He questioned how he is to come in and get his packet when he doesn’t have the time to do it. Reed answered call and tell someone that you will be in. Matthews stated he was in the office three times before the insurance meeting and all three times his packet was not given to him or in his mailbox. Reed stated for the record, email is not good for you Matthews? He answered yes. The discussion continued with Solicitor Bowlen stating that the Open Records Act does not apply to this. McIntire added there is nothing wrong with the public looking at the agenda before the meeting.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes and Reed. Voting nay were Matthews, McIntire and Geyer. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution did not pass.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-14-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “To add the following names to the substitute employee list for summer employment for the Cream of the Trail refreshment stand or other city employment positions: Alex A. Fogle, Jessica Ohler, MariAnne Holden, Justin Leonard, Elise Michaux, and Jerome Stafford.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-16-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “To exonerate the city treasurer from collecting the city’s 2008 Real Estate Tax for the Connellsville Senior Citizens Center in the amount of $1,614.18. And to encourage the Connellsville Senior Citizens Center to petition the Area Agency on Aging to fully fund the costs associated with the renting of the Connellsville Senior Citizens Center.”

Geyer stated for the records that he instructed the secretary to put that resolution under his department report if no-one else was going to place it under theirs.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-17-08, which was seconded by Bodes: “To appoint Lois Hileman to fill the unexpired term of Gene Hileman on the Connellsville Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors, term to expire the first Monday of 2011.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-18-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “To support and endorse the Main Street Program as initiated by the City Council of the City of Connellsville and to pledge $10,000 annually for the next four years for city revitalization. The total pledge of $40,000 shall come from the Good Neighbor Program.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Reed noted that this resolution was just added.

BODES:

Bodes addressed a few issues such as we are looking for a new phone system. He added we want to be sure that we are getting the same service. He also stated he agrees with the water cooler situation, and that if they want the water cooler they need to pay for it themselves not the City.

Bodes introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-6-08, which is seconded by McIntire: “To pay all bills as presented including all bills and expenditures for goods and services that exceed $500.00: Golden Eagle Construction, road materials, $1,285.90”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Bodes explained the plans. Bodes stated he recommends VCS.

Matthews questioned the plans and why Mr. Scarry was not kept as the carrier because he owns a home and business in the City. McIntire asked if Scarry was contacted. Tesauro answered she contacted him and all he gave was a list of Highmark Plans and the costs for next year. There was no presentation. McIntire requested council table the resolution to allow time for Mr. Scarry to try and beat the plan. Bodes suggested council vote tonight rather than delay the vote another three months. Reed asked Bodes if this will cost the City employees any money out of pocket. Bodes answered that there will be an account set aside for this. If all the employees use 100% of their deductible, it would cost the City $41, 990 to cover that. That money will go into a special account and drawn down for deductibles. There is probably little chance that those deductibles will ever be met. There will be no money out of pocket. Matthews stated that they will still need money upfront, and then get reimbursed. Bodes noted that, yes, they will, but they will still be reimbursed. McIntire wanted to know if the insurance company has an account where the employees will not have to pay out of pocket. Tesauro answered that they could set up an account that when an employee would go to get a prescription filled, the information could be faxed over to the insurance company; they would cut a check and issue it. The process would take about two day. McIntire questioned if the employees could carry what is like a bank card and draw from that. Bodes said he does not know if that was discussed or even available to the employees.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Reed and McIntire. Geyer and Matthews voted nay. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Bodes then thanked everyone for allowing him to be included in the meeting over the phone and noted that it helped a lot.

GEYER:

Recreation Board Meeting update

Geyer announced that the Board will meet the first Wednesday of every month at 7 PM in Council Chambers. Recreation Report Wal-Mart Softball League requesting use of Woodruff Park on June 20th for their tournament Geyer noted that he will contact them and request they provide the City with insurance before they use the field.

Geyer introduced and moved adoption of Resolution 6-9-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “To place Robert Ruggieri and Peter Jandura, Connellsville, to the on-call list for the Recreation Department. Pay will be equal to the present on-call workers.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Geyer introduced and moved adoption of Resolution 6-20-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “to support and encourage the public to support the summer swim program at the Connellsville Community Center, under the direction of Nancy Kohler.”

Geyer explained the program.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Geyer introduced and moved adoption of Resolution 6-21-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “to support and encourage the public to support the summer sports programs at the Connellsville Community Center, under the direction of Terry Nicholson.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

MATTHEWS:

Street Department Report

Matthews - I received a letter from Anna Ruth Green from the Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors. Ms. Green explained that they cashed a CD and received a grant from Kasunic for the room of the center. I believe what I said at the last council meeting is that I wasn’t real sure where the money was coming from. I’m sorry if I offended anyone at the Sr. Citizen’s center. The only reason I spoke of the center at the last meeting was to get them exonerated from the City taxes. I’m not getting into a battle between the Sr. Citizens Board of Directors and the Tigers. I apologize to the Sr. Citizens Board of Directors if they think I was trying to make something out of that. All I was trying to say was I wanted them to try and save their money for other programs for the elderly. I also want to see the Tigers to save their money when they would have had to pay taxes. Again, that is all I was trying to say. I apologize to Anna Ruth Green if I offended her or the Board of Directors. I just wanted to say this publicly and see Mr. Geyer put the exoneration on the agenda next month.

Reed stated for the record that the Senior Center sends in their quarterly reports and have open books. They have nothing to hide and they are audited. They just wanted everyone to know that.

McINTIRE:

Health/Code Officers Report

McIntire noted that if the City has to cut your high grass, it will cost you a good bit of money. Fire Department Report New Haven Hose Report

McIntire introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-11-08, which was seconded by Geyer: “To advertise for the intent to adopt an ordinance of the City of Connellsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, providing for the licensing, vaccination and impoundment of cats and providing the penalties for violation of the provisions hereof.”

McIntire stated that they are just advertising for the intent to adopt and if anyone wants to review it, it’s here. This is subject to change.

Matthews stated that he knows a lot of people with animals and does not want to put an undo burden on them. McIntire noted that this is to protect people whose lives are being infringed upon and make the animal owners take responsibility. Bodes questioned if the City could take a poll on this ordinance to see who is and is not in favor of this. McIntire answered that this is what we are doing in a way. We are not reading it as an ordinance; it’s a resolution to advertise it.

Bodes stated the he would like to see people call City Hall, either for or against this ordinance to get an idea on how people feel. He further stated he is a cat owner and doesn’t mind getting licenses for them. I don’t want to name names, but Yvonne, you are sitting in the audience and you are the only one to come to Council and complain about cats. I hate to put a resolution out there just to satisfy one resident. I’d like to hear more from the residents.

McIntire answered that he feels residents will call in because it’s an intent to adopt, not adopting right now. I think that people that have been bothered by this problem before will be in favor of this ordinance and those whose cats stay inside will not be in favor. If your cats stay inside, they will not need a license.

Bodes questioned that what McIntire is saying is that indoor cats do not need licensed.

McIntire answered that this is for cats that are outside and causing problems in their neighborhood. This way we can hold the owners responsible for that cat. Owner’s are responsible for their dogs and have licenses, so I don’t see a problem with this. I have a dog and it’s licensed every year and love all animals. If you have a cat that is inside using the litter box, not your neighbor’s yard, then you are fine. If you have a cat that is out side running around, has not been neutered, and having kittens, then who is responsible for the kittens? There needs to be responsibility somewhere.

Bodes questioned if we are just talking about nuisance cats. McIntire answered that this is what the ordinance is geared toward. Reed asked who will collect the fee.

McIntire answered he is not sure if that will fall upon the City Treasurer or not. He noted that if there are not a lot of cats loose in the City, then there will not be “a rush” of citizens coming in to pay the fee, if there are a lot of cats loose in the City like some people say there are then they need licensed. I don’t think there will be a burden in the City collecting this money.

Reed noted that we will have to purchase tags and there will be money associated with administering this ordinance. McIntire answered that this is why he made the cost of the license $10 and $15, to cover that cost.

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

CITY TREASURER KELLER’S REPORT:

CONTROLLER WROTE’S REPORT:

Wrote suggested having a box built for mail and place it on the wall in Council Chambers. The mailboxes could have locks on them. This way each person on Council can come in to get their mail.

Glenn Wolfe spoke. He requested council take a change order “tonight” at this meeting. Wolfe stated he would like City Council’s final approval for final payment to the contractor pending completion.

Mayor Reed noted this is a perfect example how things are not always given to Council on time and a resolution would be needed to do this. She instructed Councilman Matthew’s to make a resolution being this is his department. A conversation took place between Mayor Reed and Councilman Geyer.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-12-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “Motion for an Executive Meeting at 6:00 PM on Thursday, July 10, 2008, for the purpose of considering pending or new employment, collective bargaining or litigation issues.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Matthews introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-23-08, which was seconded by Geyer: “to authorize the attached change order to reduce the cost from $82,113.13 to $82,000.09 and authorize payment as proposed from Liquid Fuels and Redevelopment Authority Funds.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

Reed introduced and moved adoption of Resolution No. 6-13-08, which was seconded by McIntire: “That this meeting of City Council does hereby adjourn.”

A vote upon the adoption of the resolution resulted as follows: Affirmative were Bodes, Matthews, McIntire, Geyer and Reed. The majority of the votes being affirmative, the resolution was adopted.

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