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September 18, 2007 Meeting Minutes
BETHLEHEM CITY COUNCIL MEETING
10 East Church Street – Town Hall
Tuesday, September 18, 2007 – 7:30 PM
2. PLEDGE TO THE FLAG
3. ROLL CALL
President Schweder called the meeting to order. Pastor Cole McClenithan, of Central Assembly of God, offered the invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag. Present were Jean Belinski, Karen Dolan, Robert J. Donchez, Gordon B. Mowrer, and J. Michael Schweder 5. Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., and Magdalena F. Szabo were absent, 2.
Revising LERTA Boundaries
Prior to consideration of the regular Agenda items, President Schweder called to order a Public Hearing to review a proposed Resolution to redefine the deteriorated area to be covered under the LERTA (Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance) Ordinance to reflect a reduction in the previously approved deteriorated area.
Howard Lieberman, Economic Development Coordinator, reading from the State law governing LERTA, confirmed that the Pennsylvania Act for deteriorated areas requires that each local taxing authority may by ordinance or resolution exempt from real property tax the assessed valuation of improvements to deteriorated properties and the assessed valuation of designated deteriorated areas of economically depressed communities in the amounts and in accordance with provisions and limitations. Prior to the adoption of the ordinance or resolution authorizing the granting of tax exemptions, the municipal governing body shall affix the boundaries of the deteriorated area or areas, wholly or partially located within its jurisdiction, if any. At least one public hearing shall be held by the municipal governing boundary for the purpose of determining the boundaries. At the public hearing the local taxing authorities, planning commission, redevelopment authority, and other public and private agencies and individuals, knowledgeable and interested in the improvement of deteriorated areas, shall present their recommendations concerning the location of boundaries of the deteriorated area. Mr. Lieberman affirmed that the purpose of the Public Hearing is to review the proposed boundaries and to then have City Council proceed in approving them. Mr. Lieberman explained that, since its inception, LERTA included 85 different projects. Projects located in the Saucon tract of LVIP VII (Lehigh Valley Industrial Park) that include office, industry, warehouse, and distribution centers and specifically RMS, U. S. Cold Storage, Eastern Engineered Wood Products, and Foulk Warehousing have made a combined investment of over $70 million and more than 12 new jobs. Mr. Lieberman informed the assembly that the proposed new LERTA boundaries represent the area known as LVIP VII and the Majestic Real Estate site only, and added the areas are zoned HI – Heavy Industrial, IR – Industrial Redevelopment, and IR-F – Industrial Redevelopment – Flexible. Mr. Lieberman noted that copies of the map were supplied to City Council. Mr. Lieberman notified the Members that the Bethlehem Area School District and the Saucon Valley Area School District have provided letters verifying that they approved the new LERTA areas. Mr. Lieberman confirmed that letters of support from a number of companies in LVIP VII have been supplied for City Council since company representatives could not attend this evening’s meeting.
President Schweder asked the amount of acreage that would still be available in LVIP VII for the LERTA Program.
Kerry Wrobel, President of Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, with offices at 1805 E. Fourth Street, responded that LVIP owns approximately 960 acres in LVIP VII and sold 156 acres so there are over 700 acres to be developed in LVIP VII. The remaining parcel still owned by Mittal Steel and to be entered into a sales agreement with Majestic Real Estate represents another 500 acres.
Mr. Wrobel advised that LVIP is redeveloping 1,000 acres of the former Bethlehem Steel property and LVIP has been retained within the proposed new boundaries of the LERTA Program. Mr. Wrobel, highlighting the fact that the LERTA designation is greatly appreciated by LVIP, stressed that the LERTA Program is absolutely required to continue LVIP’s efforts to redevelop this critical piece of land, and to attract new jobs and new businesses. Mr. Wrobel, noting that LVIP has only developed 150 acres of land to date, explained that the LVIP site is still in its infancy and in the first three years of a 15-20 year build out of the site. LERTA in combination with State incentives has allowed LVIP to attract 6 new businesses into LVIP VII. Mr. Wrobel pointed out that the next six, and the following six, and so on will require the same incentives. In view of the 700 acres still to be redeveloped, Mr. Wrobel advised that incentive packages have brought some outstanding new prospects and are required to move forward. Mr. Wrobel, communicating there is tremendous pressure today to save greenfields and focus on brownfields projects, highlighted the fact that the former Bethlehem Steel plant represents one of the largest brownfields in the United States. Mr. Wrobel denoted there are premium costs that have to be offset in order to save greenfields and focus on brownfields. The premium costs to make land competitively priced must be borne and assisted through government and has been seen in LVIP VII. Mr. Wrobel exemplified that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has contributed over $25 million, Northampton County contributed $13 million, and the U. S. Department of Commerce contributed $2 million. Mr. Wrobel stated one way the City of Bethlehem and the Bethlehem Area School District can participate is with LERTA tax abatements. Mr. Wrobel informed the Members that businesses will ultimately make their determinations on where to locate based on a financial analysis. Mr. Wrobel explained that some businesses considering LVIP VII are also looking at suburban greenfield sites, and other sites in the Midwest and South. When a company is making a large investment in a community, any assistance that can be provided offers additional incentive for the business to locate in Bethlehem. Mr. Wrobel, affirming that from first-hand experience he knows the LERTA program works, emphasized it is a strong incentive and allows LVIP VII to compete aggressively with sites throughout the country. Mr. Wrobel pointed out there are companies that offer high-quality jobs with family-sustaining wages looking at LVIP VII, and LERTA weighs heavily in their initial interest.
Tom Shaughnessy, with J. G. Petrucci Company, advised the company owns property at 240 Emory Street in LVIP VII. Mr. Shaughnessy pointed out that 800 jobs were kept in the City when the company moved operations from Martin Tower to LVIP VII last December. Mr. Shaughnessy informed the Members one of the key reasons the company chose to stay was the incentive package presented by the State and particularly the LERTA program. Mr. Shaughnessy explained that a CEO he contacted yesterday stated that the LERTA program was a tie-breaker for locating here. Mr. Shaughnessy communicated the importance of the continuation of the LERTA program based on his experience and including LVIP VII in the boundaries.
Ms. Dolan asked how the new boundaries were chosen.
Mr. Lieberman, pointing to the map on the board, advised it shows the area proposed to be included. The previously approved boundaries included primarily all of the South Side, and the Stefko Boulevard and Pembroke Road corridor. Mr. Lieberman noted those areas had a lot of retail areas, and reuse of buildings, and it was felt the LERTA incentives were no longer needed. Mr. Lieberman affirmed the retail corridor on Third and Fourth Streets in the South Side is doing well now, and the use of LERTA was limited because most of the projects did not involve things that would affect tax assessments. Mr. Lieberman continued on to explain that if there is not an improvement to a building then there is limited value to use LERTA since it only applies to real estate tax assessments. Mr. Lieberman noted that the 1,200-1,500 acres of LVIP VII and Majestic relate all to areas that have no incentive if compared to a greenfield in Bethlehem Township or in Missouri or Ohio, for example. The cost of the land in LVIP VII is higher than in a lot of other areas, and the cost of remediation is extremely high. Mr. Lieberman explained that, in assessing areas to be included in LERTA, the Department looked at what was needed to get high-paying jobs, and quasi-manufacturing, and technology based companies. Mr. Lieberman pointed out that excluded from the proposed new LERTA boundaries are the retail/commercial sites anticipated along Route 412. He reaffirmed the LERTA area is strictly limited to the industrial development sites including the HI, IR and IR-F zones where incentives are needed in order to get investments. Mr. Lieberman further affirmed to Ms. Dolan that the jobs would be for well-trained, technical type jobs including engineering, financial, etc. Mr. Lieberman reiterated that LVIP VII and the Majestic property of about 500 acres are included in the proposed LERTA boundaries, with the exception of the Route 412 corridor.
Mr. Mowrer inquired what would occur in the absence of LERTA.
Mr. Lieberman responded over the past several months there have been at least three occasions where the City competed for businesses to locate here and LERTA was an unquestionable factor in the negotiations, and without LERTA the City would not have even been on the final list. Mr. Lieberman exemplified that remediation costs in two recent projects were over $1.5 million just to make the ground usable. He added the only offset to those costs is the LERTA program.
Robert Pfenning, 2830 Linden Street, asked if the Resolution will be replacing any areas included in the Ordinance that was adopted in December 2006. Mr. Lieberman replied the proposal does not replace any areas but it reduces the area. The size of the LERTA area is being reduced by 62%. Mr. Pfenning asked if any companies have located in the deleted areas. Mr. Lieberman responded that LERTA has not been offered to anyone other than in the defined area.
Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, communicated that the
LERTA program has been successful for 16 years in the City.
Mr. Grubb, noting the incentives are definitely necessary,
urged City Council to approve the proposed boundaries in the
area that needs the most assistance with redevelopment, and
to make it retroactive to January 2007. Mr. Grubb expressed
the hope that City officials consider implementation of green
building standards throughout the area in question, and added
it makes sense today and for the future.
President Schweder stated that the appropriate Resolution and Ordinance on First Reading will be placed on the October 2, 2007 City Council Agenda.
The Public Hearing was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.
4. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The Minutes of September 4, 2007 were approved.
5. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR (for public comment on ordinances and resolutions to be voted on by Council this evening)
6. OLD BUSINESS
A. Parks and Public Property Department Director – Northeast Little League – Field Lights
The Clerk read a memorandum dated September 4, 2007 from Ralph E. Carp, Director of Parks and Public Property, advising that Northeast Little League has requested permission to install field lights on the Softball and Major baseball fields at Sell Field. It was advised that 26 out of 27 neighbors surveyed support this lighting project. All lighting materials and labor to install the lights are being donated, and the only service to be provided by the City will be to dig the postholes. In accordance with the Use Permit, any placement of permanent structures must be approved by City Council, and Council’s approval of the field lighting project was requested.
President Schweder referred the matter to the Parks and Public Property Committee.
B. Business Administrator – 2008 Preliminary Budget Estimate – Pensions
The Clerk read a memorandum dated September 11, 2007 from Dennis W. Reichard, Business Administrator, listing estimates of the financial requirements of the Police, Fire, Officers and Employees, and PMRS pension plans, and minimum municipal contribution to the plans for 2008 budget purposes, as required under Act 205.
President Schweder advised that the item is for information only at this time.
C. City Solicitor - PennDot – Highway Safety Project Grant
The Clerk read a memorandum dated September 14, 2007 from John F. Spirk, Jr., Esq., City Solicitor, attached to which was a copy of the Highway Safety Project Grant Contract No. IDP-2007-Bethlehem City-00032 to provide funds through September 30, 2008 for DUI program sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols, mobile awareness patrols and cops in shops, along with a Resolution for Council’s consideration.
President Schweder stated the appropriate Resolution will be placed on the October 2 Agenda.
8 . REPORTS
A. President of Council
1. Administrative Order - Sister City Commission - Madeline J. Brown
Mayor Callahan reappointed Madeline J. Brown to membership on the Sister City Commission effective until September 2010. Ms. Dolan and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 15,153 to confirm the appointment.
2. Administrative Order - Sister City Commission - Robert W. Brown
Mayor Callahan reappointed Robert W. Brown to membership on the Sister City Commission effective until September 2010. Ms. Dolan and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 15,154 to confirm the appointment.
Voting AYE on the Resolutions: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Mowrer, and Mr. Schweder, 5. The Resolutions passed.
C. Parks and Public Property Committee
Mrs. Belinski, Chairwoman of the Parks and Public Property Committee, presented an oral report of the Committee’s meeting held September 5, 2007 on the following subject: Monocacy Creek Watershed Association - Monocacy Creek Improvement Plans.
9. ORDINANCES FOR FINAL PASSAGE
10. NEW ORDINANCES
A. Approving List for On-Line City Auction
Mr. Donchez and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 15,155 to authorize the proper officials to conduct an on-line public auction per the 2007 Vehicles and Property List.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Mowrer, and Mr. Schweder, 5. The Resolution passed.
E. Certificate of Appropriateness – Streetscape Master Plan – Downtown Historic District
President Schweder took Resolution 11 E out of order and
recognized Mr. Donchez.
Tabling Resolution 11 E
Mr. Donchez moved that Resolution 11 E be Tabled, and Mrs. Belinski seconded the motion. Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Mowrer, and Mr. Schweder, 5. The motion passed.
Considering Resolutions as a Group
Mr. Donchez and Ms. Dolan moved to consider Resolutions 11 B, 11 C, 11 D, 11 F, and 11 G as a group. Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Mowrer, and Mr. Schweder, 5. The motion passed.
B. Certificate of Appropriateness – 425 Center Street
Ms. Dolan and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 15,156 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to modify the previously approved pergola at 425 Center Street.
C. Certificate of Appropriateness –Sun Inn Courtyard
Ms. Dolan and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 15,157
that granted a Certificate of
Appropriateness for the trash recycling corral in the Sun Inn Courtyard.
D. Certificate of Appropriateness – 232 East Wall Street
Ms. Dolan and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 15,158 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to enclose the rear porch at 232 E. Wall Street.
F. Certificate of Appropriateness – Lehigh Street – Moravian College
Ms. Dolan and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 15,159 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to construct a new learning/living dormitory north of Lehigh Street for Moravian College.
G. Certificate of Appropriateness – 456 North New Street
Ms. Dolan and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 15,160 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to modify the previously approved rear addition and garage at 456 N. New Street.
Voting AYE on Resolutions 11 B, 11 C, 11 D, 11 F, and 11 G: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Mowrer, and Mr. Schweder, 5. The Resolutions passed.
12. NEW BUSINESS
Committee Meeting Announcements
Mr. Donchez, in Chairman Leeson’s absence, announced a Finance Committee meeting on October 4, 2007 at 4:30 PM on the 2006 Audit.
Mr. Mowrer, in Chairwoman Szabo’s absence, announced a Community Development Committee meeting on October 9, 2007 at 6:00 PM on the proposed 2008 CDBG and HOME Programs.
Chairman Donchez announced a Public Safety Committee meeting on October 23, 2007 at 7:00 PM to receive updates from the Police, Fire, and EMS Departments.
Mr. Donchez advised that he met with Randall Miller, Police Commissioner, and Stuart Bedics, Deputy Police Commissioner, regarding the matter of security cameras. Affirming that he distributed a memorandum to the Members of Council this evening concerning the matter, Mr. Donchez expressed the hope that the Law Bureau, along with Christopher Spadoni, City Council Solicitor, Randall Miller, Police Commissioner, Stuart Bedics, Deputy Police Commissioner, and the Crime Prevention Officer can research the issue, and possibly an Ordinance can be drafted to require owners of new businesses with 24 hour operations to use outside digital video recording cameras. Security cameras could be installed on a phased-in basis for current 24 hour business operations. The proposal would be applicable to such businesses as convenience stores, banks, gas stations, and so on.
Tour of LVIP VII
Mr. Mowrer questioned the time of the tour of LVIP VII on Friday, September 21, 2007. President Schweder indicated that arrangements could be made for a van to pick up the Members of Council at a specified time.
13. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR
Northwest Little League – Installation of Lights and Related Matters
Thomas Price, advising he lives on Kaywin Avenue immediately adjacent to Buchanan Park where Northwest Little League plays, informed the Members that Northwest Little League is speculating about installing lights on the field to extend the season from the early Spring until late Fall. Mr. Price notified the Members that for years he has tried to request that the public address system be toned down but has not received any assistance. As a result, he politely asked the president of Northwest Little League if something could be done about the loud speakers that drown out the neighborhood, and can sometimes be heard six blocks away. Mr. Price stated the president’s reply was that he does care to talk about the matter, the League has permission from the City to use the loud speakers and will use them, and the neighbors will just have to live with them. Mr. Price notified the Members he is one of 45 people who signed a petition unanimously protesting the installation of lights. Mr. Price explained the field is located extremely close to the neighbors’ backyards, there is a large wooded area, and the lights will create problems for the neighbors. He recalled that in the recent past a young boy was shot and killed, and a Police Officer was wounded in the area.
John Ladics, 1527 Kaywin Avenue, advising he has lived there almost 70 years, stated he is addressing the Members because of the request of Northwest Little League to install lights on the fields at Buchanan Park. Mr. Ladics affirmed that the 45 people who signed a petition unanimously protesting the installation of lights live in close proximity to Northwest Little League. Mr. Ladics stated the idea of artificial field lights is not welcome on the residential neighborhood. Mr. Ladics pointed out that most of the residents have lived here for many, many years and have been good neighbors to the City that owns the park complex. Mr. Ladics stressed that once the permission is given to install lights it cannot be taken back. Mr. Ladics made reference to a similar situation at Kings Mansion Park bordered by a residential neighborhood in the vicinity of Catasauqua Road. It was initially a practice field for the Bethlehem Steelers, but then lights and a sound system were added that introduced noise and illegal parking in the neighborhood. The team was later moved to the Monocacy Complex where there are no residences. Mr. Ladics informed the Members that the residents living near the Northwest Little League complex do not want field lights into the evening hours that could last until 10:30 p.m. Mr. Ladics explained that the residents are asking the Members of Council for protection to stop the intrusion into the residents’ lives. Mr. Ladics notified the Members that, in the future, if any residents have a complaint or question about the City’s Buchanan Park property they will contact the City about it. Mr. Ladics, affirming it is the understanding that a $5,000 grant was given to correct a situation in the park, advised the backstops are inadequate and are not sufficient to keep the balls out of some of the neighbors’ yards. Fowl balls cause a nuisance and a danger to residents, and strangers enter the neighbors’ yards to retrieve the balls in spite of the posted no trespassing signs. Mr. Ladics requested that City Council please have Ralph Carp, Director of Parks and Public Property, look into the fowl ball situation. Mr. Ladics further confirmed that petitions with additional signatures were given to the Members this evening, and reiterated that the residents are asking for help from the Members of Council.
Don Dolan, 1557 Kaywin Avenue, advised he has lived there since 1961. Mr. Dolan notified the Members that the people who go to the fields will probably have to park at the Buchanan School parking lot and have to walk on uneven paths that might lead to additional requests for lights. Mr. Dolan, stating he does not see any reason for having lights at the fields, highlighted the fact that a former professional football player used to play at the Northwest Little League fields, as well as other athletes, from April to July and never had a problem without having lights. Mr. Dolan continued on to say that the Northwest Little League management at that time were very congenial to the neighbors. Mr. Dolan asked Council to consider denying the request for lights.
Monocacy Street – Birdhouses
Deborah Kutz, 1420 Monocacy Street, proposed a health ordinance to address a situation regarding the number of birds in her neighbor’s yard, and to prevent other people from getting sick as she did. Ms. Kutz informed the Members she was recently hospitalized for 9 days in serious condition after pulmonary arrest on August 2, 2007, and the cause was an extreme allergic reaction to the environment of bird dirt that forms a dust and leads to fungus forming on the inside of the lungs. Ms. Kutz explained she continues to have to use oxygen, her children were sick, her pets were sick, and the people who took care of her pets were sick. Advising that her next door neighbor has 44 birdhouses and 12 birdfeeders in the backyard that is 30 ft. by 105 ft., Ms. Kutz pointed out that as a result she cannot be in her own backyard. Ms. Kutz noted she has contacted the Zoning office, the Health Bureau, and the Mayor’s office, in addition to secretaries in various City offices. Ms. Kutz asked for an ordinance that would impose a limitation on the number of birdhouses and birdfeeders.
President Schweder, advising that an Ordinance was passed that limited the number of animals, noted that the legal department will be requested to look into the matter.
Eddie Rodriquez, 1845 Linden Street, emphasized that people are coming into the City and are doing whatever they want, including gang members and drug-related incidents, and are destroying the City. Mr. Rodriquez advised that residents are afraid of retaliation and what might happen to their families. Mr. Rodriquez asserted that something must be done about the situations, and citizens must stand up for what they worked so hard for. Mr. Rodriquez expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the Police Department, the Parks Department, Streets Bureau, and the Health Bureau, in addition to the Mayor’s Office. Mr. Rodriquez stressed that the issue of absentee landlords must be dealt with. Mr. Rodriquez further asked that there be enforcement of residential garbage containers. Mr. Rodriquez advised that trash continues to be placed at Daly Avenue, including cinder blocks. Mr. Rodriquez exclaimed that constant loitering should not be allowed in the community.
Dean Bruch, 555 Spring Street, asked whether there will be parking for the new Moravian College dormitory project on Lehigh Street. He also asked whether Lehigh University will have parking facilities for its dormitories. Mr. Bruch mentioned that Philadelphia instituted a program of men walking on the streets, and added that people need to have an interest in their own communities. Mr. Bruch noted that young people need somewhere to go.
Pulaski Street – Restricting Ball Playing
Rita Dougherty, 324 East Union Boulevard, advised her house is alongside Pulaski Street, and asked for assistance to restrict young people from playing football there. Mrs. Dougherty informed the Members her garage door had to be replaced, windows had to be replaced, and she was hit with a ball last Saturday. Mrs. Dougherty explained that two young girls destroyed things, and will not allow her and her husband to come out of the garage into the alley, they spit at them, and insult them. In addition, garbage is thrown on their property. Mrs. Dougherty explained if she calls the Police, the young people retaliate.
Atlantic Street – Problems
Mary Galvin, 636 Atlantic Street, explained an incident
that occurred last Sunday, September 16, 2007 at 9:50 p.m.
Ms. Galvin advised that the neighbors at 632 Atlantic Street
called the Police to complain about installation of a spotlight
on the second floor of her house saying that her mother put
the spotlight on them. Ms. Galvin pointed out when she calls
the Police about her neighbors’ disorderly house, selling
of drugs into the early morning hours, making noise, and loitering
the Police arrive 20 minutes later versus about 2 minutes
when her neighbors called to complain about the spotlights,
and added she was treated like a criminal. Ms. Galvin stressed
the reason why the neighbors who are renters do not want her
to install a light is because late at night they are selling
drugs. Ms. Galvin informed the Members that two weeks ago
they tried to vandalize her car.
LERTA and Building Standards
Robert Pfenning, 2830 Linden Street, notified the Members that the Bethlehem Citizens Association unanimously indicated they would like to see green-compliant buildings in the new LERTA district. Noting an Environmental Advisory Council has been created, Mr. Pfenning thought it would be a good idea to consider a Resolution specifying building standards in the new LERTA District. Mr. Pfenning, stating that the LERTA process started last year, wondered why amendments are being made a year later. Mr. Pfenning observed that in the motion made by the Bethlehem Area School District last evening to adopt the City’s new LERTA boundaries it was stated that a copy of the agreed-upon boundaries is available in the business office, and yet it is not yet agreed upon. Mr. Pfenning thought LVIP has a slight conflict of interest in pushing the new LERTA boundaries.
Hillside Avenue - Student and Related Issues
Mary Pongracz, 321 West Fourth Street, thanked President Schweder for his determination in having the situation at Hillside Avenue taken care of that was explained at the last City Council Meeting, and the Members of Council and the Administration for their concern. Ms. Pongracz highlighted the fact that the situation finally brought to the public what the residents have been living with. Ms. Pongracz pointed out many of the students have asked that the Lehigh University students not be judged by these few. Ms. Pongracz, acknowledging that City officials are aware that more Police are needed, stressed that a budget is not set in stone, no one can ever say there is always money available at the right time, and no one can say what will happen tomorrow. Ms. Pongracz stressed there will be overtime necessary for the Police Department.
Providing Information to Citizens
William Scheirer, 1890 Eaton Avenue, querying why more people
do not come to City Council Meetings, thought one of the reasons
is that citizens are told in many little ways that their presence
is neither desired nor valued. He exemplified that tonight
people were wondering what are the revised LERTA boundaries,
and the position of the board with the map allowed Members
of Council to see it but not the citizens in the audience.
He noted there was a hand-out with a map for Members of Council,
the Administration, and the press, but no copies for citizens.
President Schweder noted that over the next two weeks information is available to citizens before it is voted on by City Council, and the public hearing is to get input and not prejudge the matter and already have written the Resolution. President Schweder agreed with Mr. Scheirer it is a fair criticism that if the information would have been available tonight then a citizen might have reacted to the maps and offered useful comment at the public hearing.
Mayor Callahan explained that during this evening’s Public Hearing when the public was unable to see the board he turned to Tony Hanna, Director of Community and Economic Development, in acknowledging that the technology available in Town Hall should be utilized.
Livability of Cities; Vehicle Usage Policy
Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, communicated that there was an article in the September AARP magazine about the livability of cities, and noted the city of Kirkland, Washington has undertaken an initiative called complete streets to make a community walkable, bikeable, and driveable. Mr. Grubb suggested the information in the article would be useful to the City of Bethlehem for future planning initiatives. Referring to a recent Express-Times article about vehicle usage in Northampton County, Mr. Grubb expressed his belief that the City needs to have a comprehensive fleet policy, and regulate the assigning of City vehicles and whether they can be used for personal transportation to and from the job which he asserted is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Mr. Grubb stressed there are cost savings in having such a policy.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.