The Jermyn Borough Council held a council meeting on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 7:00 pm in Council Chambers of the Jermyn Borough Building, 440 Jefferson Ave, Jermyn PA.
The meeting was called to order by Vice President Kristen Dougherty at 7:07pm with the Pledge of Allegiance.
On roll call, the following members were present: Kristen Dougherty, Jennifer Schreiner, Cynthia Stephens, and Joanne Wilson. Also present was Attorney Aquilino. Frank Kulick, Carl Tomaine, Mayor Fuga, Ray Rood, Bob Chase, and KBA were absent. Kevin Napoli joined shortly after roll call at 7:09 pm.
A motion was made by C. Stephens to accept the minutes of 10/18/18. Seconded by J. Schreiner. All in favor, motion carried.
K. Dougherty read a letter from the Insurance Service Office (ISO), stating that the Building Code Effectiveness Grade (BCEG) ratings being applied for Jermyn are Class 3 for Commercial & Industrial Properties, and Class 4 for One and Two Family Residential Properties on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 representing excellent code enforcement and adoption efforts.
K. Dougherty read correspondence stating that Ronald Novotny, 427 Rear Madison Ave, is appealing his property tax assessment with the court of common pleas.
Public Comment: None
HR 291 of 2017: K. Dougherty advised this was brought up by J. Wilson last meeting regarding a resolution to complete a feasibility study regarding a state run earned income tax program. J. Wilson stated that the Lackawanna County Association of Boroughs passed a resolution against HR291, and urged municipalities to do the same. J. Wilson suggested revising the county resolution, making it applicable to Jermyn. D. Markey stated right now, the resolution passed was just to conduct the study, not to change anything. He stated that we were not approached for our input as of yet, and we don’t know enough yet, as it’s just a study being conducted. We could stand to benefit, or we could stand to lose, but we don’t know yet. J. Wilson stated we may be jumping the gun, but she doesn’t want us to lose out on it. D. Markey stated we don’t have enough information yet to make a decision as to whether the borough is in favor of or against the PA Dept of Revenue taking over the EIT collections. K. Napoli stated there are too many open ended areas. J. Wilson suggested we stay up on this. Attorney Aquilino stated it’s just a feasibility study and we just don’t know if it’s going to benefit us or not, but after the study goes through, and the bill is written, we will then have an opportunity to weigh in.
Full Time Officer:
K. Napoli stated he really wanted to get this done tonight, however with the absence of F. Kulick and C. Tomaine, he needs to table until next meeting. Both candidates were interviewed, and they’ve reached a
decision to recommend to council, but for budgetary purposes, he’d like to have the rest of the finance committee present. Tabled until next meeting.
Business Permit: This was asked to be placed on the agenda by F. Kulick. Attorney Aquilino stated to table this also. D. Markey stated that he thinks we may want to resurrect this proposed ordinance, it was discussed at length earlier in the year, advertised once with a fee, then sent back to the drawing board to pass without a fee. Tabled until next meeting.
Employee Handbook: Attorney Aquilino asked if council has formally requested review & revision of the handbook. K. Napoli motioned to request the solicitor to review and revise the handbook. Seconded by C. Stephens. All in favor, motion carried.
Garbage Pickup Issues: D. Markey reported some residents had uncollected bulk items last week, and the can delivery truck came in on Monday and assisted with the bulk trash pickup. Attorney Aquilino asked if there would be reason to believe this would be an ongoing issue? D. Markey said he didn’t think so, it could have been a new driver or miscommunication. Different stories were traded about previous trash issues.
Printing Tax Bills: D. Markey reported he received an email from PDQ printing stating Lackawanna County decided not to print tax bills for municipalities any longer. D. Markey also received a call from Mayor Chelik from Mayfield, who received the same email. D. Markey reached out to PDQ and they advised that the county advised the Tax Collectors Association that they would not be printing tax bills, and recommended council pass a resolution urging the county to reconsider their decision. J. Schreiner motioned to pass a resolution urging the county to continue printing tax bills for municipalities, seconded by K. Napoli. All in favor, motion carried.
Rental Unit Inspections: D. Markey reported he and F. Kulick attended a class for rental unit inspections last week, and he would work with the solicitor/code enforcement officer to update our process of inspecting units, creating a checklist, etc. A discussion was held regarding how often units would be inspected – yearly, once someone moves out, etc. Attorney Aquilino stated that currently inspections are upon code enforcement complaints by tenants, or by visual issues seen by street, or findings by police or fire personnel. Mr. Lou DeMarco asked what type of standards are followed? D. Markey advised the UCC codes are followed. J. Schreiner asked if we’re hoping to inspect all units by next year? Attorney Aquilino asked how many permits were issued this year. D. Markey stated there were about 208 permits issued this year, however, most are multi-unit . K. Dougherty asked if a landlord notifies the borough if a tenant has moved out? D. Markey stated no, but one of the recommendations from the PSAB is that we can ask for names and contact numbers of tenants 18 and older, so emergency personnel can ensure all the tenants are present and accounted for in case of an emergency. He stated that he thinks it makes sense to require landlords to notify the borough of a tenant moving in or out as a requirement to keep their permits. D. Markey also stated we are allowed to come up with an inspection schedule/requirements however we’d like, as long as it’s uniform and fair to all landlords. Mrs. Carrie Chase suggested to look at the Section 8 requirements to benchmark. A discussion was held as to when and how often to require inspections. D Markey stated we’re going to take a deep dive into this and do what works best for the safety and welfare of the residents and the town.
Land Appraisal: The person referred to us hasn’t gotten back to us after multiple calls. K. Dougherty reported she called Henry Deeke to appraise. We need to send PIN #, deed, and he will be able to complete within 5-10 business days.
D. Markey reported he will still give treasurer’s report on 2nd monthly meeting, however he’s going to present a list of bills payable each meeting so he can make payments online and by phone accordingly. This was approved by the solicitor and accountant. Motion by C. Stephens, seconded by K. Napoli to pay the bills, all in favor, motion carried.
K. Napoli asked for a meeting with F. Kulick, C. Tomaine, and Attorney Aquilino to hold a meeting prior to the next meeting to discuss the contract for Chief Arthur.
Adjournment: With no other business to come before the meeting, a motion was made by K. Napoli to adjourn, seconded by J. Schreiner. All in favor, motion passed. The meeting adjourned at 7:54 pm.