LATROBE CITY COUNCIL
MONDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2013
Mayor Griffin called the Regular Monthly Meeting of Latrobe City Council to order at 6:30 P.M.
Mayor Griffin asked all to rise for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The City Secretary read Roll Call:
Fabian Giovannagelo - present
Richard Jim - present
Rosemarie Wolford – present
Michael Skapura - present
Deputy Mayor Kenneth Baldonieri - present
Robert Forish - present
Mayor Barbara Griffin - present
Also present were the following: Alexander J. Graziani, City Manager; James E. Kelley, Solicitor; Joseph Bush, Public Works Director; James Bumar, Police Chief; John Brasile, Fire Chief.
Mr. Jim made a motion to note an amendment to the September minutes that at the June 10, 2013 meeting there was not a motion to authorize to advertise for garbage contract, second by Mr. Giovannagelo. Vote 7-0.
Mr. Forish moved to adopt the September 9, 2013 minutes, second by Mr. Skapura. Vote 7-0. (as amended, in motion made in September minutes that approved nunc pro tunc originally moved by Mr. Jim and seconded by Mr. Forish, to include that there was not a motion to authorize to advertise for garbage contract at the June 10, 2013 meeting).
Total Expenses $222,048.86
Total Payroll 90,410.41
GRAND TOTAL $312,459.27
See attachment “A”
See attachment “B”
See attachment “C”
See attachment’s “D”
See attachment’s “E”
See attachment “F”
Mrs. Wolford moved to approve the reports and bills presented for payment, second by Mr. Baldonieri. Vote 7-0.
Jim Gebicki of 821 Chestnut Street stated in April he requested Council consider a drug-testing program and it was referred to the City Manager for investigation, and asked for an update.
City Manager Graziani stated that he provided a memo to Council related to their option for elected officials and staff. He said currently it is part of the bargaining agreement for AFSCME through Commercial Drivers License provision of the state statutes. Mr. Graziani stated it is not currently in the FOP and would have to be negotiated. He stated for non-bargaining it is at the leisure of Council and on themselves as well.
Mrs. Wolford said a policy should be adopted first.
Mr. Gebicki questioned a policy for parking violation forgiveness program in the City and is it a councilmatic type of action taken in producing this policy.
City Manager Graziani stated that past practice was up to the Police Chief to determine if hardships are created for parking violations to be dismissed, and a year and a half ago the authority was transferred to the City Manager, and he drew up policies. He stated for forgiveness of tickets you fill out a form, he is working with business owners to create a pro business atmosphere, and they can appeal for their customers for forgiveness of they can pay for their customers. Mr. Graziani stated there were five tickets forgiven that way. He said we need to minimize negativity and create good customer relations. Mr. Graziani stated that most tickets are paid, some go to magistrate and some are dismissed. He said the policy is not ratified, he developed it and if Council would like to they can.
Mr. Jim asked why the Police Chief is not involved with dismissals.
City Manager stated that when the Meter Attendant moved to Administration side and budgeting responsibilities fell there, the change was made.
Chief Bumar was not involved in the changes to parking enforcement and he refers all violations to the magistrate.
Mr. Gebicki said one of the conclusions of the Parking Study done for the City said not to cater to businesses.
City Manager said he is often reminded that outside consultants do not always know the town as well as us. He said if council would like the policy to be as Chief said it is fine with him. Mr. Graziani stated that enforcement is up and the rate change is established.
Susan Leonard of Chestnut Street questioned if the Oxford House is a boarding or rooming house.
Solicitor Kelley stated it is owner occupied and listed as Single Family.
Ms. Leonard asked if a permit was issued or inspection done.
City Manager Graziani said the Code Officer was allowed access and had the ability to look for smoke detectors etc. He stated city officials are working on a rental unit policy.
Susan Leonard stated that the City Manager facilitated an event at Adams Memorial Library regarding a diversity group and he called people that spoke up against the Oxford House racist. She said how can he say that about people he knows nothing about and asked for an apology.
City Manager Graziani stated he facilitated and event about race and diversity and a question came up asking is there a current issue in your community that race is an issue, and a participant said “yes” and another wondered what or why that was, to which he replied I’m taking off my facilitator cap and said what he knows, the house at 713 Weldon the Oxford House and race does have something to do with it. He said he did not call anyone a racist.
Kathy Molina stated she lives on the hill and loves her community and is concerned about what she sees on T.V. regarding drugs.
Rae Ann Tronetti of 717 Weldon Street stated the website call for tenant registration and asked what that policy is and why are Oxford residents not required to register.
Solicitor Kelley explained that Oxford House residents are not tenants.
Mr. Forish stated the tenant registration referred to on the website is for the garbage sanitation program.
Ms. Tronetti asked why they are not using stickers on their garbage and questioned if the Code Officer has the credentials for fire safety inspections.
Mr. Giovannagelo said the Fire Chief should be inspecting for fire safety issues.
Ms. Tronetti said her understanding is the Fire Chief should be inspecting. She then asked if being in an R-2 residential neighborhood can she rent to college students.
Mr. Graziani replied that you would be able to do that. He stated if we do a rental registration program we can address these concerns, but we cannot be exclusionary for ADA purposes.
Mr. Jim asked the Solicitor if seven nuns wanted to move in this house could they.
Solicitor Kelley stated the definition of family since the 1980’s, by the state appellant and federal courts, is one or more persons living together as a single housekeeping unit with provisions of square feet per individual.
Ms. Tronetti said she called them out because they urinated in public, have unregistered vehicle and she is in fear because they are convicted felons with drug problems.
Tom Serra of 724 Weldon Street asked who monitors them as being disabled.
Solicitor Kelley stated he does not know, but we cannot ask for information on registrants to allow occupancy. Mr. Kelley stated we cannot discriminate and that litigation since 1985 has ruled against municipalities repeatedly.
Mr. Serra asked about registration for paying taxes.
Solicitor Kelley stated if you receive notice to register then they would receive.
Mr. Jim asked if the rules for Oxford House are if they go back on drugs or alcohol and are to be immediately expelled, how do we know of this happening.
City Manager Graziani said their role model is accountability.
Linda Box of 737 Weldon Street stated we all want what’s best for the City and need to take actions that we are protecting the town and don’t want to lose anyone. Ms. Box gave three action steps: Look at Zoning Ordinances to keep neighborhoods character and for City Manager to have action steps and timetable, adopt rental registration program and for City Manager to have action steps with timetable, and city needs to reinstitute the neighborhood watch program and City Manager to have action steps and timetable. Ms. Box said she will do anything she can to help the City stay a great place to live.
Mr. Richard Jim reported for the Municipal Authority. They had a meeting with DEP to increase size of wastewater treatment plant and will approve one million gallon per day increase in size of plant. Mr. Jim said the cost will be less than surrounding communities.
Police Chief Bumar reported that the department had a roundup last month with 18 warrants.
Fire Chief Brasile stated the Code Officer does not have authority on fire inspections. He said he is here for public safety, treats everyone fairly, and will not bend on rules.
Public Works Director Bush reported that the 2013 paving is wrapped up and CDBG was week prior to ours. He has not inspected yet but is satisfied overall.
Mr. Skapura reported that he was told by a few residents, and noticed himself, that under bridge on Ligonier Street after you cross Depot at the railroad bridge there is some water pooling and not making it to the drains. Mr. Skapura asked if the city engineers could look at and alleviate the problem.
Mr. Giovannagelo made a motion to amend the agenda to add a motion for a drug policy, second by Mr. Forish. Vote 6-Yes, 1-No (Baldonieri).
Mr. Giovannagelo made a motion for the City Manager to have a drug testing policy for review at the agenda prep meeting, second by Mr. Forish. Vote 6-Yes, 1-No (Baldonieri).
ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE DEPARTMENT
Mr. Baldonieri made a motion to authorize the Solicitor to prepare and advertise an Ordinance amending and changing rates for administrative fees, second by Mrs. Wolford. Vote 7-0.
Approving and adopting a policy for utilization of services of nixle.com for a community notification system. Mrs. Wolford moved to adopt this resolution, second by Mr. Giovannagelo. Vote 7-0.
Approving application for Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. Mr. Baldonieri moved to adopt this resolution, second by Mrs. Wolford. Vote 7-0.
Approving agreement with Westmoreland County Transit Authority. Mr. Skapura moved to adopt this resolution, second by Mr. Jim. Vote 6-Yes, 1-Abstain (Wolford as WCTA Board Member).
PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT
Mr. Giovannagelo made a motion to authorize the Solicitor to prepare and advertise an Ordinance to vacate a portion of an alley bordered by property of Carpenter Latrobe Specialty Metals. Vote 6-Yes, 1-Abstain (Wolford as employee of Carpenter)
Approving and ratifying change order to 2013 paving contract with Derry Construction Co., Inc. Mr. Forish moved to adopt this resolution, second by Mr. Skapura. Vote 7-0.
Mr. Skapura made a motion to authorize the Solicitor to prepare and advertise an Ordinance amending and establishing a fee schedule for residential and commercial solid waste removal and residential recycling services, second by Mr. Baldonieri. Vote 7-0.
Solicitor Kelley read a proposed resolution to approve a consent assessment of civil penalty from the Department of Environmental Protection.
City Manager Graziani stated that Representative Petrarca is engaged in discussion with DEP Secretary to reduce penalty as he feels it is still excessive and recommends council not support the offer of $7,000.00.
Mr. Jim made a motion to table the motion.
No second to the motion.
Mr. Baldonieri made a motion to adopt the resolution to approve a consent assessment of civil penalty from the Department of Environmental Protection, second by Mrs. Wolford. Vote 1-Yes, 6-No. Motion fails.
Establishing a handicap/disabled veteran van accessible parking space on 1505 Jefferson Street. Mr. Giovannagelo moved to adopt this resolution, second by Mr. Forish. Vote 7-0.
Approving Hoffman’s Boarding Kennels contract. Mrs. Wolford moved to adopt this resolution, second by Mr. Skapura. Vote 7-0.
CITY MANAGER’S REPORT
Alexander Graziani stated his report stands as submitted (see attachment “G”). The report is also available on-line.
Mr. Graziani reported that the 2014 budget looks at service cuts or staff decreases, tax revenue increases, and will be a challenge to balance. He is projecting a deficit.
He reported that Phase II of tree plantings is underway, new businesses are in town, volunteers are painting and sprucing things up.
Mr. Graziani thanked the public for attending tonight’s meeting.
Mayor Griffin thanked everybody for coming to tonight’s meeting.
Mrs. Wolford made a motion to adjourn the Regular Meeting of Council, second by Mr. Forish. Vote 7-0.
Meeting adjourned at 8:05 P.M.
Barbara J. Buck, Secretary