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BETHLEHEM CITY COUNCIL MEETING
10 East Church Street – Town Hall
Tuesday, April 3, 2012 – 7:00 PM
PLEDGE TO THE FLAG
The Reverend Laura Howell, of Trinity Episcopal Church, offered
the invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag.
President Evans called for a moment of silence in memory of Paul Calvo, former Member of Council and President of Council, who passed away on March 31, 2012.
1. ROLL CALL
President Eric R. Evans called the meeting to order. Present were Jean Belinski, David T. DiGiacinto, Robert J. Donchez, Michael D. Recchiuti, J. William Reynolds, and Eric R. Evans, 6. Karen Dolan was absent, 1.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The Minutes of March 20, 2012 were approved.
3. PUBLIC COMMENT
4. OLD BUSINESS.
A. Old Business – Members of Council
Dedicated Tax – 2012 – EMS/Firehouse Renovations, Fire Pumper, 911 Console Upgrade
Mr. DiGiacinto, noting that preliminary work has been done on renovations to various Firehouses and also to the EMS building on Stefko Boulevard, stated that contracts will soon be awarded to do more extensive work. Mr. DiGiacinto continued on to say that City Council has authorized expenditures from the separate bank account for the work. Mr. DiGiacinto inquired when the special account will be replenished with the dedicated tax money of .75 mills from 2012 for the EMS/Firehouse Renovations, Fire Pumper, and 911 Console Upgrade projects as specified.
Dennis Reichard, Business Administrator, affirmed that $360,000 was placed into the account on April 2, 2012. Mr. Reichard, while stating there is quite a bit of cash, cautioned that last year the $16 million loan made the cash situation much easier than in the past few years. Mr. Reichard pointed out that this month and next month there will be at least $9,000,000 of expenditures for payroll, medical, debt service, reimbursement to TIF, and does not include utilities and other expenses that must be paid from the General Fund. Mr. Reichard, pointing out that the $360,000 deposited into the account equates to about $90,000 a month, expressed the hope that in the next six months the full amount could be placed into the account. Mr. Reichard reiterated his concern about cash flow.
B. Tabled Items
C. Unfinished Business
A. Director of Planning and Zoning – DCNR Grant – South Bethlehem Greenway Extension - Saucon Park Ballfields
The Clerk read a memorandum dated March 28, 2012 from Darlene Heller, Director of Planning and Zoning, to which was attached a proposed Resolution to apply for a DCNR grant in the amount of $500,000 for improvements to the South Bethlehem Greenway to include a pedestrian connection from the Greenway to the northern portion of Saucon Park that consists of active ball fields, and that will also address the current washout in this area.
President Evans stated that Resolution 9 A is listed on the Agenda.
B. Purchasing Director – 2012 On-Line Auction
The Clerk read a memorandum dated March 29, 2012 from Mary Jo Reed, Director of Purchasing, to which was attached a list of items that will be sold at the next on-line auction that will be held within the next 60 days.
President Evans stated if any Member of Council would like to review a specific item, it will be removed from the list, and discussed at the next City Council Meeting.
Members of Council did not wish to remove any items from the list for discussion.
A. President of Council
President Evans stated that City Council will meet as a Committee of the Whole at 7:00 PM in Town Hall on Monday, April 9, 2012 and Wednesday, April 11, 2012. The purpose of the Meetings is to continue review the Proposed New Zoning Ordinance.
Mr. Reichard advised he has no reports to present for Mayor Callahan.
C. Public Safety Committee
Chairman Donchez presented an oral report of the Public Safety Committee of April 3, 2012 at 6:00 PM in Town Hall on the following subjects: Lease Agreement – Police Substation – 60 W. Broad Street; and, Chief Versus Commissioner Designation – Police and Fire.
7. ORDINANCES FOR FINAL READING
A. Bill No. 11 – 2012 – Cooperative Purchasing Agreement – 911 Goods and Services
The Clerk read Bill No. 11 – 2012 – Cooperative Purchasing Agreement – 911 Goods and Services, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 6. Bill No. 11 – 2012, hereafter to be known as Ordinance 2012-13 was declared adopted.
8. NEW ORDINANCES
A. Approving DCNR Grant Resolution – South Bethlehem Greenway Extension – Saucon Park Ballfields
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Recchiuti sponsored Resolution No. 2012-58 that authorized the application for a DCNR grant in the amount of $500,000 for the South Bethlehem Greenway Extension – Saucon Park Ball Fields.
Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 6. The Resolution passed.
Motion – Considering Resolutions 9 B through 9 G as a Group
Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Donchez moved to consider Resolutions 9 B through 9 G as a group. Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 6. The motion passed.
B. Certificate of Appropriateness – 217 Broadway
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Recchiuti sponsored Resolution No. 2012-59 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install a fence at 217 Broadway.
C. Certificate of Appropriateness – 333 Wyandotte Street
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Recchiuti sponsored Resolution No. 2012-60 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to reconstruct the west gable without the historic bellcote at 333 Wyandotte Street.
D. Certificate of Appropriateness – 128 West Fourth Street
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Recchiuti sponsored Resolution No. 2012-61 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install signs at 128 West Fourth Street.
E. Certificate of Appropriateness – 322 East Third Street
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Recchiuti sponsored Resolution No. 2012-62 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to layout and furnish outside dining area at 322 East Third Street.
F. Certificate of Appropriateness – 11 East Fourth Street
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Recchiuti sponsored Resolution No. 2012-63 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install signs at 11 East Fourth Street.
G. Certificate of Appropriateness – 25 East Third Street
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Recchiuti sponsored Resolution No. 2012-64 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to renovate the front façade that was damaged by an auto crash at 25 East Third Street.
Voting AYE on Resolutions 9 B through 9 G: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 6. The Resolutions passed.
10. NEW BUSINESS.
Committee Meeting Announcement
Chairman Reynolds announced a Finance Committee Meeting to be held on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 6:00 PM in Town Hall.
11. PUBLIC COMMENT
Bradley Street – Return to Two Way; Auction Items
Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, noted that he was asked by Dixie White to read an email she had forwarded to City Council on behalf of the neighbors and adjacent property owners on Wyandotte, Bradley and Ontario Streets. The phone calls, notes, meetings, etc. played a critical role in returning the 500 block of Bradley Street to its former two-way status. A number of the residents met with Michael Alkhal, Director of Public Works, on Thursday, March 22. Mr. Alkhal came to the meeting with informative flip charts and was prepared to listen to the concerns. Mr. Alkhal agreed to the citizens’ unanimous request that the controversial signs, the left turn only and the do not enter signs be removed. It was also agreed that the downhill stop signs placed just before the TD Bank entrance address safety concerns and should remain in place. The citizens were open to a no left turn sign being placed at the bank’s exit onto Bradley Street. The controversial signs had been removed by the following morning. The arrows painted on the street have not yet been corrected but they know that will take more time. However, conditions have returned to normal. The residents and property owners are again able to access their homes, garages, and parking lots from either direction, a real savings in time, gas and pollution. Tow trucks are again able to easily access the entrance to Alex’s Foreign Motors so this small business is again thriving. Commercial vehicles are again easily able to provide services to the entire block. Ms. White thanked City Council for being a part of this successful move toward making City government work in the interest of those who live and work here. The email was signed Dixie Dugan White, owner/resident at 529 Ontario Street, and Julio Lopez, proprietor Alex Foreign Motors at 523 Ontario Street.
Mr. Grubb, turning to items proposed for the auction, noted there are several pieces of equipment from the Health Bureau. He cautioned that if any of those items were purchased using State or Federal Grant money it may or may not be possible to put that money into the General Fund based on the terms and conditions of the Grant agreements.
Ramp Work – Third Street Vicinity
Stephen Antalics, 737 Ridge Street, remarked that the work at the Greenway at the intersection of Third Street, Daly Avenue and Hayes Street has not been completed for a number of months. At the same time, the PNC Bank had a similar curb problem and a number of months ago he noticed a crew working on that problem and it was solved so that the right turn to Daly Avenue is unobstructed because the Greenway access is there. However, across the street it is not there because that construction is being held up. Mr. Antalics, inquiring why, said the best he can understand unofficially is that the contractor stated that the weather did not permit it. Mr. Antalics noted that if they were paid and it was not done he is at a loss as to why it has not been completed. He highlighted the fact that making a right turn onto Hayes Street from Third Street can be tricky because of the impediments by the unfinished project. Pointing out that the weather recently has allowed this to be finished, Mr. Antalics wondered, if the PNC Bank could get the people to do their work, why could not the contractor under contract with the City of Bethlehem perform the same work. Mr. Antalics remarked something is lacking and he would like to know if they were paid or not paid. Mr. Antalics said he would appreciate a comment from someone regarding the matter.
Michael Alkhal, Public Works Director, advised that the weather was not the main factor in the delay. Mr. Alkhal explained that the contractor had started the work among other tasks as part of the Greenway project. When the contractor laid out the grades for the ramp it was discovered that it did not meet the Federal requirements. There was a problem in the design, and the contractor had to redesign the ramp. When they did, it was discovered they could not complete the project because of the grades in that area, and it was not feasible to make the redesign comply. The contractor had to go through a process with PennDOT and fill out the technically infeasible forms because the ramp is now being proposed to be constructed and does not meet all of the Federal requirements. The approval from PennDOT has taken that long, along with the redesign. The contractor should be working there shortly. Mr. Alkhal advised that, in fact, the contractor promised this week to restart the work. Mr. Alkhal affirmed this is what happened and what caused the delay.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 p.m.