City Council

Council MInutes


Tuesday, January 3, 2012 – 7:00 PM
10 East Church Street - Town Hall
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania


President Donchez called the meeting to order. Father Anthony Mongiello, of St. Anne’s Church, offered the invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag. Present were Jean Belinski, David T. DiGiacinto, Karen Dolan, Eric R. Evans, Gordon B. Mowrer, J. William Reynolds, and Robert J. Donchez, 7.


Citation - Honoring Gordon B. Mowrer

President Donchez presented a Citation honoring Gordon B. Mowrer as a Member of Council from 2004 through 2011, and previously from 1972 to 1974, in addition to serving as Mayor from 1974 to 1978 and 1987 to 1988. The Members of Council and the assembly applauded Mr. Mowrer and expressed their sincere appreciation for his years of service on City Council and to the community, and wished him well for the future.


The Minutes of December 21, 2011 were approved.

5. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR (for public comment on ordinances and resolutions to be voted on by Council this evening)

Council Member Gordon Mowrer

Stephen Antalics, 737 Ridge Street, stated that Gordon Mowrer, Member of Council, is truly a gentleman. Mr. Antalics observed that on issues that have come up with very diverse opposing opinions Council Member Mowrer had the ability to objectify everything he said politically or otherwise, and never made it subjective. Mr. Antalics remarked that Mr. Mowrer would look at the person he was speaking to in an objective way, and respect that person as an individual. Mr. Antalics added that he and Mr. Mowrer had discussions on issues, especially the five minute time limit rule for the public to address Council. Mr. Antalics communicated that Mr. Mowrer was always very polite and pleased to see him which he finds a very rare talent. Mr. Antalics expressed that he has the deepest respect for Mr. Mowrer, and added that he will be missed by the City.






A. President of Council

1. Councilmanic Appointment – Irene Follweiler – Recreation Commission

President Donchez appointed Irene Follweiler to membership on the Recreation Commission to fill the unexpired term of Loretta Leeson, effective until January 2014. Mrs. Belinski and Mr. DiGiacinto sponsored Resolution 2012-1 to confirm the appointment.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 7. The Resolution passed.

2. Annual Report

President Donchez summarized his Annual Report for 2011. The 2011 Annual Report of the President of Council follows:

City Council conducted more than 23 Committee meetings, adopted 41 Ordinances, and passed 218 Resolutions in 2011.

Ordinances adopted in 2011 included:

  • Guaranteed Lease Revenue Bonds in the amount of $17,805,000
  • Requiring candidates to file a copy of Campaign Finance Reports to be put on the City’s website
  • Replacing the Emergency Alarm Systems Ordinance along with Fees
  • Establishing a separate account under Council’s control for tax proceeds for public safety related projects
  • Approval of the establishment of the Bethlehem Human Relations Commission

City Council re-enacted and amended the Earned Income Tax Ordinance and adopted a Resolution required to establish conformity with the Local Tax Enabling Act, to appoint and designate a liaison between the City, Northampton Tax Collection Committee and Keystone Collections Group to collect EIT taxes for the City of Bethlehem. Similar ordinances and resolutions were passed by all municipalities and school districts located within Northampton County.

The Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund Ordinances were revised to comply with various pension fund and IRS regulations.

Various fees were approved in 2011 for Police and Fire exams, funeral processions, and fire safety and code enforcement inspection fees.

Council authorized the application and Cooperation Agreement for ArtsQuest to obtain funds from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Grant Program (RACP) of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be passed through the City in the amount of $2,000,000 for the purpose of assisting ArtsQuest in the construction of the Festival Center at SteelStacks.

Authorization was also given for a Lease Agreement between ArtsQuest and the Redevelopment Authority for lease by ArtsQuest of property at the Bethlehem Works Redevelopment Area in the TIF District for the Visitors Center, Levitt Pavilion, and SteelStacks public plazas.

The Resolution approved by Council between the City and ArtsQuest for Musikfest in 2011 included a new site at the SteelStacks area on the South Side for the first time.

Approval was given for an application for an Economic Development Liquor License for at 1223 West Broad Street for the new Mint Restaurant, and Council approved Resolutions to file required forms to obtain financial assistance for Tropical Storm Lee and Hurricane Irene.
Resolutions were adopted that approved a grant application to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for the Monocacy Creek Dam Removal project, and an application to PennVest for financing sewer system projects.

City Council adopted the Historic Preservation Plan in 2011, and authorized the Agreement for the purchase of the East Allen Township water system.

Authorization was given for a Use Permit Agreement for the first VegFest that took place along the Greenway in the Fall.

A Resolution was adopted that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness for a two story addition at the rear of the Kemerer Museum for a collection storage facility to house thousands of artifacts.

Council authorized its Solicitor, Attorney Christopher Spadoni, to enter his appearance for City Council and to intervene in the Zoning Appeal to object to a residential treatment facility application for 111 Dewberry Avenue.

City Council authorized the execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the City for the State Route 378 project to implement revised pavement markings and signing to re-establish parking on the east side of Route 378 from Broadway and Dakotah Streets to Third Street and Delaware Avenue, and to remove the left turn lane.

City Council conducted several meetings to review the proposed new Zoning Ordinance, and final review will take place during 2012.

In Council’s approval of the 2012 CDBG and HOME Programs last November, funding was provided towards the development of affordable apartments units at the site of St. Stanislaus Church in South Bethlehem.

In adopting the 2012 Budget, City Council approved Renovation of the former Dewberry Avenue Fire Station for an EMS Facility and of the EMS Center on Stefko Boulevard. Personnel changes were approved for several Departments, and an Energy Savings Project was presented by the Administration in conjunction with the 2012 Budget.

Following review of the Rules of Council by the Special Council Committee, the Members approved amendments to the Rules of Council and procedures for nomination and election of the President and Vice President of Council.

B. Mayor







A. Certificate of Appropriateness – 10 West Fourth Street

Mr. DiGiacinto and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution 2012-2 that approved a Certificate of Appropriateness to construct an addition at 10 West Fourth Street.

Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Evans, Mr. Mowrer, Mr. Reynolds, and Mr. Donchez, 7. The Resolution passed.




Various Issues

Nancy Matuczinski, 716 Sixth Avenue, Apartment 12, noted she found out through her neighbors that Mayor Callahan is ordering a fee for Police escorts for funeral processions. Stressing that citizens pay taxes and service fees to the City for all of the services for all of their lives, Ms. Matuczinski remarked now there will be a fee of $150 for deceased people on their way to the burial site. Ms. Matuczinski, emphasizing that she has great respect for Police Officers because they have a dangerous job, pointed out that a Police Officer is paid a wage whether they escort a funeral procession or arrest someone. Ms. Matuczinski said she does not see why there should be a $150 fee for a Police escort. Ms. Matuczinski thought that all appointed and elected politicians and government employees should be forced to take a gross permanent 10% pay cut, should pay half or all of their medical insurance premiums, and cut out all perks. Ms. Matuczinski added she thinks this should be for all levels of Government, Federal, State and Local, and all branches of Government, Executive, Legislative, and Judicial. Ms. Matuczinski, turning to parking matters, said she does not understand why there is angled parking on Main Street by the Moravian Book Shop. She thought this was dangerous and said she expects to see a horrendous accident one day with people coming off the bridge and from Church Street. Ms. Matuczinski, turning to leaf collection and snow removal this year, asserted the leaf collection was horrible and remarked she can just imagine what the snow removal will be like. Expressing the hope that people will not be fined for putting buckets and chairs in places that they shoveled, Ms. Matuczinski stressed if the City did their job correctly people would not have to do this. She asserted that the streets should be cleaned curb to curb down to the macadam for the leaves and snow. Ms. Matuczinski, congratulating all of the people coming into the new City Council, asked them to remember that they are public servants to the citizens of the City of Bethlehem, not slaves or royalty.

Council Member Gordon Mowrer

Robert Pfenning, 2830 Linden Street, stated that he wishes Council Member Gordon Mowrer well and added that he enjoyed watching him serve on Council. Noting they have not always agreed on issues, Mr. Pfenning said Council Member Mowrer was very respectful and is his own man. Mr. Pfenning related that Mr. Mowrer is a principled man which is a quality that people could use more of.

Mary Pongracz, 321 W. Fourth Street, noted that she has known Council Member Mowrer a long time, and added and that his father was the owner of the Dairy. Ms. Pongracz expressed it is very encouraging to see that a family like the Mowrers have given so much back to the community from the grandparents to Council Member Mowrer’s father, to his brother, and also his children. Ms. Pongracz remarked that too often in the world today people forget that we only survive as a community when we act and live as a community with respect for each other. Ms. Pongracz, pointing out she has been voting since 1951 and as seen a lot, stated that Mr. Mowrer is the epitome of what a politician should be. He is well educated, well informed and well intentioned.

John Morganelli, 835 Barnsdale Road, thanked Council Member Mowrer for all of his years of service to the community. He added that Mr. Mowrer’s first campaign for Mayor of Bethlehem in 1969 was when Mr. Morganelli was 13 years old, and was the first political campaign he got involved with as a young Democrat. Mr. Morganelli recalled working for Mr. Mowrer in the race against Gordon Payrow, the incumbent Mayor. Mr. Morganelli remarked that he was heartbroken the night that Mr. Mowrer lost that close race. Four years later in 1973, Mr. Mowrer came back and won a Council seat in 1971. Mr. Morganelli recounted that in 1977 his best friend’s father, Paul Marcincin, decided to run so he then worked against Mr. Mowrer’s election because Mr. Marcincin was like a father to him. Mr. Morganelli, expressing that he learned from Mr. Mowrer, related that the night of the election when Mr. Mowrer lost he came personally to Paul Marcincin’s campaign headquarters to congratulate him. Mr. Morganelli remembered watching Mr. Mowrer be gracious in defeat and it was a lesson to him. After Mayor Marcincin was taken out of office after a legal decision on term limits of the Mayor, Mr. Morganelli noted he was the Council Solicitor and was part of the plan to bring back Mr. Mowrer as interim Mayor. Mr. Morganelli added that when he ran his campaign for District Attorney, Mr. Mowrer was there to help him. He added that he respects Mr. Mowrer, and learned that in politics there are winners and losers. Mr. Morganelli communicated that he has won and lost elections and has tried to follow the model of Mr. Mowrer which is to be gracious in defeat as in victory. Mr. Morganelli wished Mr. Mowrer well and many years of pleasure watching from the sidelines, and coming back occasionally to give wisdom and advice.


The meeting was adjourned sine die at 7:45 p.m.