MINUTES
City Council Meeting
City of Butler, Pennsylvania
January 26, 2017

Mayor Donaldson called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM. Mayor Donaldson and Council members Walter, Kline, Bonus and Roche were present. The pledge of allegiance to the flag followed an invocation given by Reverend Dan Ledford, Westminster Presbyterian Church.

PERSONS TO BE HEARD:

Lawrence Krause spoke concerning the need for enforcement of the speed limit on South McKean Street by Cliffside Apartments.

Rocco Lamanna and Sal Richetti spoke with council about the festival to be held over Labor Day in 2017.

Motion by Mayor Donaldson to approve an updated agreement with County Festivals, LLC for a festival to be held in 2017.  Second by CM Walter.  All voted aye.

Motion by Mayor Donaldson with a second from CM Walter to approve the minutes of Regular meeting of December 22, 2016. All voted aye.

MONTHLY & ANNUAL DEPARTMENT REPORTS

(Note: Department Reports Distributed to Council at Tuesday’s Forum Meeting for Review)

Motion by Mayor Donaldson with a second from CM Walter to acknowledge receipt of the monthly minutes from RACB, including the CDBG/HOME Program activities

Department reports for the month of December and 2016 year-end reports were approved by individual, unanimous votes.

COUNCIL REPORTS/ACTIONS

 

Councilman Walter

  1. Motion to approve a payment in the amount of $203,417.13 to Wells Fargo Bank for debt service for the City’s 2005 general obligation bonds. (Note: This payment includes principal of $175,000.00 and interest of $28,417.13.) Second by Mayor Donaldson.  All voted aye.
  2. Motion to direct the City Clerk to advertise for bids for a general obligation loan of $390,000.00 for storm sewer repairs, traffic signal upgrades, Sullivan Run Flood Control Project and demolition, payable in 2017 and 2018. Second by CM Bonus. All voted aye.
  3. Motion to direct the City Clerk to set-up the Paychex online service “Employee Access Online”. Second by CM Bonus. All voted aye.
  4. Motion to approve a proposal submitted by Caruso & Spencer, PC, Certified Public Accountants for monthly auditing services for Fiscal Year 2017 as outlined in their engagement letter of January 1, 2017 and to authorize the City Clerk to sign said letter on behalf of City Council. Second by CM Bonus. All voted aye.
  5. Motion to approve payment to the Butler Area Public Library in the amount of $31,763.54 that represents the proceeds from the City’s 2016 library tax.

LIN 01 456 540. Second by CM Roche. All voted aye.

  1. Motion to transfer $7,253.09 from the General Fund into the Tax Increment Financing Fund for payment from the 2016 TIF Financing to the RACB for the Centre City Project. Second by Mayor Donaldson. All voted aye.

Councilwoman Kline

  1. Motion to appoint Bill May to the Bicycle Advisory Commission to fill the remaining term of Rick Carr which expires January 1, 2019. Second by Mayor Donaldson. All voted aye.
  2. Motion to appoint Steve Walter to the Bicycle Advisory Commission to replace Andrew Manfred for a 4-year term which expires January 1, 2021. Second by Mayor Donaldson. All voted aye.

Councilman Bonus

  1. Motion for the second reading and adoption of City Ordinance No. 1739, an ordinance of the City of Butler, Pennsylvania amending the City’s traffic control schedules contained in Chapter 245 of the codified ordinances of the City of Butler by making permanent experimental regulations previously adopted by city council on a 90-day trial basis. Second by CW Kline. All voted aye.

Councilman Roche

  1. Motion to appoint Phillip Lefevre to the City of Butler Parks, Recreation Grounds & Facilities Authority to fill the remainder of George N. Ban’s term which expires on January 1, 2021. Second by CW Kline. All voted aye.
  2. Motion to appoint John Mossman to the City of Butler Parks, Recreation Grounds & Facilities Authority to replace John Spinetti for a 5-year term which expires on January 1, 2022. Second by Mayor Donaldson. All voted aye.
  3. Motion to enter into an agreement with the Butler Area Softball League to lease the Pony League Field and concession stand in Father Marinaro Park commencing on February 13, 2017 through October 31, 2017. Second by Mayor Donaldson. All voted aye.
  4. Motion to approve City Resolution No. 2017-01-26; the City of Butler agrees to comply with the requirements of the Butler County Parks Renovation Program for the purpose of obtaining grant funds for the renovation of Butler Memorial Park. Second by CM Bonus. All voted aye.
  5. Motion to accept the resignation of Donald Paul from the City of Butler Parks, Recreation Grounds & Facilities Authority effective January 25, 2017. Second by CM Bonus. All voted aye.

Mayor Donaldson

  1. Motion to approve payment to Gateway Engineers in the amount of $1,756.50 for the engineering of the Centre City Parking Garage.  LIN 43 463 010.   Second by CW       Kline.  All voted aye.
  2. Motion to approve payment to PSx, Inc. in the amount of $123,300.00 for the kiosks and gates in the Centre City Parking Garage. LIN 43 463 020. Second by CM Roche.        All voted aye.
  3. Motion to approve Change Order No. 3 with PSX, for the Centre City Parking Garage kiosks and gates, in the amount of $2,180.00 increase from $197,318.00         to         $199,498.00. Second by CM Bonus.  All voted aye.
  4. Motion for the second reading and adoption of City Ordinance No. 1738; an ordinance of    the City of Butler, Butler County, Pennsylvania, amending Chapter 189            Parking to add additional residential parking areas in Section 189-3.A.  Second by CM       Roche.  All voted aye.
  5. Based on recommendation from his chain of command and satisfactory completion of his probationary period, motion to grant permanent employment status as of December 27, 2016 to Patrol Officer Kory Fleming. Second by CM Bonus. All voted aye.

Appointment:

David McKivigan has been reappointed to the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Butler for a 5 year term which expires June, 2021.

Mayor Donaldson presented an annual report for the City of Butler (attached to these       minutes).

The City Treasurer presented a Monthly Intake Report for December, 2016.

The City Controller presented bills for payment as follows: from the general fund – $430,754.73; from the parking fund – $12,459.23; from the capital projects fund – $1,365.00; from the liquid fuels tax fund – $70,550.99; and from the 2015-Series Bond Proceeds – $126,056.50 for a grand total of $641,186.45. Motion by with second from to approve payment of bills as presented.  All voted aye.

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS:
  • WISR City Hall – Mayor Donaldson
  • Vogel Disposal Announcement:

“Mattress/box spring: For our worker’s protection, please wrap items in plastic and tape securely closed with duct or packing tape to prevent any possible exposure to infectious pests such as bedbugs, fleas, etc.”

  • The City is requesting donations for the 4th of July fireworks display

Mayor Donaldson adjourned the meeting at 8:01 PM.

 

Report On The State Of The City Of Butler

2017

As we start out in 2017 we can look back at the progress we have made. Our new parking garage is ready to dedicate. The new Marriott Spring Hill Suites will be open by spring. We have not one but two brew works now open in the downtown. The front of the Penn Theater is much improved. Over a year ago I had the theater inspected and it was filled with violations that the Redevelopment Authority could not afford to repair. The inspection was meant to remind people that the Penn was still in need of help. I had hoped for the inspection to bring donors forward to help in the revitalization of the Penn. That plan has worked as there have been several anonymous donors step forward to pay for repairs. There is much to do but we have a good start.

Penndot replaced the West Cunningham St. bridge and has paved Main St. and the volunteers from the Church of the Nazarene painted the yellow on the curbs. Utility companies replaced infrastructure and followed up with repaving of our streets. Butler looks good and is alive and well. The city likewise paved many streets both with outside contractors and city street department employees. The Redevelopment Authority also paved several streets. We have had a good program in place for street paving. This needs to be continued or as in the past when it was discontinued rapid deterioration took place. Even one year not paving will lead to increased costs when starting back.

Looking ahead to this year we need to seriously address our union contracts when negotiating. We need to remember we are the stewards of the public!! We are not the buddies of the union employees!! We are not their enemies but we are management and all members need to remember that. We need to seek contracts more in line with the private sector. We need to schedule along the recommendations of the many studies that have been ignored for years. Our wages and benefit packages far exceed those of most city residents. In many areas we are paying for a Cadillac when we can barely afford a Chevy! We need to follow our own rules and regulations along with that the advice of our Solicitor. We need to work as a team for we are not here for our own interests ( I assure all that I am NOT), but for the good of the city and its residents. That is how I have worked for the past three years and we have accomplished much!!

We need to review our personnel policies and see that all employees follow them. We have many policies that seem to be ignored. At some point this must be corrected or we will continue to be the “Dog That is wagged by the tail”.

We need to institute sensible and timely equipment replacement in all departments. Also we need to explore what additional equipment we could purchase to make more “in house” work possible. Our employees are quite talented and could perform many services at a lesser expense than outside contractors.

Our financial issues have not changed in the last 20 years, we continue to be overrun by non-profits. Our revenues continue to be flat while expenses continue to rise. We have an opportunity monetize our parking assets. If the dollar amount is right we cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity to stabilize our downward financial slide. When I closed the Parking Authority it was with this intent in mind. Monetization can and will help our financial picture both in the short and long term. Tied with

monetization must also be a serious willingness of council to solve the contract issues at the heart of our financial problems.

We need to address our taxes, property and business privilege they need to be lowered to make Butler more business and family friendly. This can only be accomplished if we address our contracts and find new sources of revenue.

We need to move ahead and name a new Fire Chief, anyone with management experience would or should know a strong leader is necessary for the Fire Department. A team without a coach cannot win likewise a Fire Department without a Chief can only fall short of its potential. I challenge those at the table who have become obstructionists and fail to communicate to get over the changes made last year and start to work with me instead of against. Those who won’t work as a team are not hurting me in any way but they are harming our city. The time to work together has always been now. Personal interests should never be ahead of the good of our residents.

I have been working with businessmen and outside developers to bring additional opportunities to Butler as appropriate timely announcements will be made by those involved I ask council to support and help with success should the ventures come to fruition.

I have worked with our veterans groups to honor our veterans with the troop banner program. It has been a success and continues to grow. We have also worked to remember and recognize members of our military who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our country.

Last year was our first Carved in Ice festival, this year could be our first Italian Festival. We continue to change and to grow and make positive impacts on our city.

In closing I find the City of Butler to be a viable place to live and do business with many of her best days still ahead. We should have fond memories of the past and high hopes for our future.

Tom Donaldson

Mayor, City of Butler

 

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Butler Downtown is a grassroots revitalization initiative involving local citizens and people from business, education, government and community organizations throughout the region.

Butler, PA was named one of the Best 20 Small Towns in America by Smithsonian Magazine.

Did you know the jeep was born here? Butler also hosts the Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival, which in 2011 broke the Guinness World Record for most jeeps in a parade.