City Council

Bethlehem Council MInutes

Monday, January 6, 2014 – 7:00 PM
10 East Church Street - Town Hall
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania




President Evans called the meeting to order. Rev. Dr. Lloyd Steffen, Lehigh University Chaplain, offered the Invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag. Present were Jean Belinski, Karen Dolan, Michael Recchiuti, J. William Reynolds, and Eric R. Evans, 5.


Citation - Honoring Jean Belinski - Member of Council – 1998-2013

President Evans presented a Citation honoring Jean Belinski as a Member of Council from 1998 through 2013.

Citation – Honoring David T. DiGiacinto - Member of Council – 2010-2013

President Evans presented a Citation in honor of David T. DiGiacinto as a Member of Council from 2010 through 2013.

Citation – Honoring Robert J. Donchez – Member of Council – 1996-2013

President Evans presented a Citation honoring Robert J. Donchez as a Member of Council from 1996 through 2013.


The Minutes of December 17, 2013 were approved.

3. PUBLIC COMMENT (for public comment on ordinances and resolutions to be voted on by Council this evening – 5 Minute Time Limit)



A. Old Business – Members of Council


B. Tabled Items


C. Unfinished Business

1. Request for Public Hearing – Proposed Southside Bethlehem Community Benefit
District – Thursday, February 6, 2014 – 7:00 PM – Town Hall
2. Article 112 – Campaign Finance Reports


A. City Solicitor – Termination of Officer Richard Hoffman

The Clerk read a memorandum dated December 20, 2013 from John F. Spirk, Jr., Esq., City Solicitor, to which was attached the specification of charges pursuant to Police Chief Craig Finnerty’s recommended discipline of Officer Richard Hoffman. The Police Chief is recommending termination. Pursuant to 53 P.S. Section 39408, any discipline involving the recommendation of termination must be brought before City Council for notice and a hearing. At a hearing before City Council, the employee may be represented by counsel. Officer Hoffman did have counsel for his criminal charges and has appeared with counsel in this matter. It is requested that the necessary steps be taken to schedule a hearing. A formal and more detailed specification of charges was enclosed with the memorandum.

President Evans stated a public hearing will be scheduled.

Ms. Dolan asked what will the process be, and whether there is the assurance under the new Administration that this matter will be coming to City Council.

Mayor Donchez responded that once City Solicitor designate Attorney Leeson is approved he will meet with him, Attorney Spirk, and the Administration to review the specifics. Mayor Donchez affirmed that he will report back to City Council.


A. President of Council

1. Annual Report

President Evans presented his Annual Report for 2013, as follows:

City Council conducted 15 Committee meetings, adopted 40 Ordinances and 234 Resolutions in 2013.

Ordinances adopted by City Council in 2013 included:

? A new Amusement Tax Ordinance known as the First Responders Fee

? A new Landmarks and Historic Resources Ordinance to recognize buildings outside the Historic Districts

? Miscellaneous Zoning Ordinance Amendments

? Ordinances Continuing Cable TV Franchises

? Establishment of an Ordinance to Regulate Abandoned Properties

? Ordinances to Update the Fire and Police Pension Funds

City Council rezoned 2344 Center Street from I-Institutional to R-RC Residential Retirement Complex. A Resolution for the Zoning Ordinance Fee Schedules was adopted.

In the areas of Water and Sewer, City Council approved a General Obligation Note for the Water Fund and Reduction in the Line of Credit of $1,765,000. Council approved a Resolution to apply for $9,988,000 in PennVest funds for a new dewatering facility for the collection and treatment of sewage.

Among the Resolutions approved by City Council in 2013 were:

? A Resolution for a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Grant for the Lehigh Valley Charter Arts High School

? A Resolution for an Agreement with LANTA for Bus Shelters

? Adoption of the 911 Plan for 2014 through 2016.

? Resolutions to submit applications for Local Share Municipal Gaming Grants for a hazardous material vehicle and a mass-arrest transport vehicle.

City Council approved a Resolution to support the creation by Ordinance of a Rail Transit Authority to be known as “Suburban-Metro Area Rail Transit, Lehigh Valley” known as SMART-LV Regional Rail to provide rail service to the City of Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley area.

Council by Resolution authorized the sale of 0.176 of an acre at 6-12 West Third Street to Greenway Park, LP that was acquired by gift from Northampton County for the specific purpose of economic development. Greenway Park, LP plans to develop the parcel as part of a mixed use project for restaurant, retail, office and potentially academic space for its proposed commercial office building and the redevelopment of the corner of Third and New Street.

The organization of the Bethlehem Revitalization and Improvement Authority was authorized by Resolution, along with appointment of five members to the Board. The Authority was formed under a new incentive from the State for Third Class Cities titled the Community Revitalization and Improvement Zone (CRIZ). The CRIZ allows the City to take a new increment generated in designated areas of the City to help economic development. The Authority submitted an application to the State for 130 acres including the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation’s Martin Tower on 8th Avenue, a 13 story residential, retail and office complex in the South Side Business District, a 3 story office and commercial development along Route 378 off the Hill to Hill Bridge, industrial flex space at LVIP 7, and a planned data and technology center on land adjacent to LVIP 7.

B. Mayor



A. Bill No. 42 – 2013 – Amending Article 145 – Human Relations Commission

The Clerk read Bill No. 42 – 2013 – Amending Article 145 – Human Relations Commission, on Final Reading.

Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 5. Bill No. 42 – 2013, now know as Ordinance No. 2014-1 was adopted on Final Reading.

B. Bill No. 43 – 2013 – Amending Article 146 – Environmental Advisory Council

The Clerk read Bill No. 43 – 2013 – Amending Article 146 – Environmental Advisory Council, on Final Reading.

Mr. Reynolds confirmed that both of the Ordinances in Bills 42 and 43 were initiated by Ms. Dolan and were reviewed in Mr. Recchiuti’s Human Resources and Environment Committee. Mr. Reynolds thanked Ms. Dolan for bringing the Ordinances to the Members of Council, and added that both Ordinances are improvements for the City.

Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 5. Bill No. 43 – 2013, now know as Ordinance No. 2014-2 was adopted on Final Reading.







11. PUBLIC COMMENT (for public comment on any subject – 5 Minute Time Limit)

Commending Council Member Jean Belinski

Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, commented that Council President Evans was correct in describing Mrs. Belinski. Mr. Grubb said two other terms were missed and those are that she is a watchdog and a pitbull. Mr. Grubb, noting he did not know Mrs. Belinski before she joined Council but he knew who she was because she had served on the Bethlehem Area School District Board of Directors, communicated that they became friends when he was an administrator for the City of Bethlehem. Mr. Grubb stated that he wanted to publicly thank Mrs. Belinski for her service and added it was a pleasure working with her. Mr. Grubb continued on to say that Council will miss this type of individual, and remarked it seems in today’s world people who are almost apolitical do not run for office anymore. Mr. Grubb pointed out that Mrs. Belinski was very uninterested in the political side of things and more interested in the people side of things. Mr. Grubb stressed that Bethlehem was very well served in her time on Council.

Stephen Antalics, 737 Ridge Street, stated that Mr. Grubb was perfect in his description of Mrs. Belinski in terms of watchdog and pitbull. Mr. Antalics added that many people may not know that Mrs. Belinski saved the City of Bethlehem quite a bit of money as she had exposed things going on at the Watershed. Mr. Antalics recalled that an individual came before City Council claiming to be a Forester and he promised the City $5,000,000 in timbering revenues. When a legitimate Forester was brought in it was discovered that the land that the previous Forester had stated would make $5,000,000 had been cleaned out and the timber was gone. Mr. Antalics, stating that he talked to the Business Administrator and no one could account for the monies, said this is all a result of Mrs. Belinski. Mr. Antalics stressed that Mrs. Belinski is a watchdog and she stayed with that issue and brought it to light. For that and her other activities, Mr. Antalics said he holds Mrs. Belinski in high respect.


The meeting was adjourned sine die at 8:00 p.m.