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Borough Council Legislative Meeting Votes, November 17th, 2011: No tax hike, 3rd Street Dam Status

Nov 17

Borough Council met on Thursday, November 17th, 2011 at 7:30 PM. Jim Cunningham was absent from the meeting.

All votes during the meeting were unanimously in the affirmative for all legislative actions.

3rd Street Dam Status

Pete Alyanakian gave an update regarding the 3rd Street Dam committee. He indicated that the committee met on November 3rd regarding design options with legal counsel. Mr. Alyanakian indicated that any change in the design would require approval by both parties involved in the stipulation, meaning Delaware County, and Broomall’s Lake Country Club. He indicated that the 20% funding promised by the state would be discussed in a meeting in the next week with Dominic Pileggi, regarding the RCAP funding, and discussing whether the funding would also apply to any changes made.

He indicated that on November 4th, a meeting of the 3rd Street Dam Committee, Schnabel Engineering, and PennDOT confirmed that the state 80% grant will pay for 80% of whatever the borough decides to do: A breach, a green-way, or a single or multi-lane roadway. He indicated that if council chooses other options, PennDOT will pay for the alternative options. He clarified that the design work was put on hold in July, and that the design is 50-60% completed. He indicated that the design was put on hold as the borough had not decided on the width of the road.

Lastly, he spoke regarding to the citizens advisory committee as requested by the Friends of Glen Providence Park and other residents. He stated that they have looked at various options for the committee suggested by the Friends group and by the borough manager. They have received 6 resumés, and the committee was in unanimous agreement that the citizens advisory committee should be appointed by the new council in 2012.

Preliminary Budget Approved

Peter Williamson presented the preliminary budget, and indicated that it does not have to be in balance, and that Borough Council must present a preliminary budget in November. The final budget, approved in December, must be in balance. He indicated that the preliminary budget was in balance.

Based on a direct question from Sue Serbin, reporter for Media Town Talk, he indicated that there would be no tax increases in 2012.

The highlights:

  • $7.4M operating budget, slightly higher than 2011, due to increases in gasoline costs, and salary increases.

He indicated that there were increases to groups the Borough makes contributions to, such as:

  • Library, Fair Trade Commission, Media Arts Council.
  • He added that there was a new line item for the Economic Development Committee

Capital budget is significant this year due to repairs needed in town infrastructure:

  • Repairs needed for Parking Garage: $125K into Parking Garage.
  • North Olive Street: due to storms, storm sewers in that part of town have failed. Our engineer has designed a significant replacement which will last a lifetime.
  • Regular ongoing expenses for 3rd Street Dam, while reimbursed by the state, need to be in the budget

Pete Alyanakian noted that this was the first balanced budget he had heard of in November, and highlighted the significant capital requirements next year. The preliminary budget was approved unanimously.

Celebrate Media

Councilwoman Dawn Roe spoke briefly regarding the Celebrate Media event in the  past week went well. She stated that the event on Thursday went well and had a bigger turnout than expected. The Friday event with Blackthorn was also a great success, she said. She said that the committee would like to stay together and promote themselves, and to improve communication throughout the borough and within the non-profit groups.

She also wanted to thank the borough for the donation to the event.

She noted that the revenue numbers for the event were not available yet, but would be reported in the working meeting next month.

Pete Alyanakian commented, “Attendance was not what we hoped for,” but congratulated the non-profits for working together.

Ms. Roe said that they had 100% participation from the non-profit groups, and Mr. Alyanakian added that the events showcased the theater in a positive way. Eric Stein added as clarification that Media Borough donates funds to all of non-profits involved in the event in the annual budget.

Other Items of interest

Some items of interest for residents:

  • The CMAQ Project can be seen along Baltimore Avenue with new lights, and new curbs for wheelchairs at almost every intersection. A question was asked about an updated timeline for the project, and Borough Engineer Bob Johnston stated he would get an update. Dr. Eric Stein requested an updated status report to avoid having issues during the holidays. Mr. Alyanakian referenced the 5 points traffic lights and changes to be made to avoid having downward-pointing lights, and possible improvements to confusing signage.
  • Sewer System Smoke Testing in the Southeastern parts of Media: During storms, Little Washington Waste Water (LWW) has noted that sewage flow increases dramatically, indicating an issue with the sewage systems and the storm water management systems. Media Borough in cooperation with LWW will be testing the systems by literally blowing smoke through the sewage system to find where leaks are occurring. Residents south of Baltimore Pike and East of Monroe street should be aware of the testing in coming weeks, “in case they see smoke coming from their toilets” said Peter Williamson.
  • A new Parking Meter Debit Card Program will be introduced over the holidays, with $300 worth of cards issued to the MBA by Media Borough. Kevin Schramm, chair of the Media Business Authority, was asked to speak and said the program is worthwhile to help raise awareness of the card program, and to bring people back to Media. Councilwoman Monica Simpson asked how members of the public would reload the card. Borough Manager Jeffrey Smith indicated that the card could only be reloaded at the borough offices.
  • Media Borough is seeking to fill a vacancy on the Environmental Advisory Council
  • Media’s Jazz By Night celebration was named as one of the Top 8 Events by the PA Festival Association
  • Media/Upper Providence Library is needing repairs and is raising funds. Employees from Vanguard  cleaned up the library on Veterans Day, Spietzle architecture group working with the Library to raise money for library, and the MBA gave a check for $500 to the library for ongoing efforts
  • There will be Public Hearing next month before the legislative meeting for borough land subdivisions: Chairman of Planning Commission Kevin Matson has been working with Planning Commission and some Community Design Committee members to re-do land subdivision ordinance and land development ordinances.
  • Monica Simpson requested feedback on the new borough website, and added that anyone wishing to be notified in emergencies register their phone number and address on the  website to be added to the emergency contact list.

Public Comments

At the start of the meeting, after unanimously approving the meeting minutes from the Workshop Meeting on October 6th, the Special Meeting Minutes (regarding the 3rd Street Dam) on October 13th, and the Council Meeting minutes from October 20th, comments were taken from the public.

Luic Barnieu, a representative from the Media Business Authority, presented a check on behalf of Dining Under the Stars to donate turkeys to members of the community in need, in conjunction with the Media Police.

Paul Robinson, a resident and councilman-elect, congratulated borough employees, Jim Jeffery, Larry Bok, the highway crew, and Emergency Services Management crew for their handling of the Veterans Day Parade. He also extended congratulations to the Media Police Department, as well as the  veterans in the parade. Borough Council President Pete Alyanakian also congratulated Bob Dimond and Mayor Bob McMahon, and the attending crowd gave a round of applause.

Paul Indorf, a resident from 4th Street, also congratulated the borough on the Veterans Day parade. Then, referencing the October 13th Special Meeting for the 3rd Street Dam meeting minutes, Mr. Indorf had concerns regarding the audio recording of the meeting. Councilman Dr. Eric Stein interjected that a DVD of public meetings is available in the library, however, Borough Manager Jeffrey Smith mentioned that this meeting was not videotaped, and the official audio record had “technical difficulties.”

Mr. Indorf went on to discuss a letter he distributed prior to the election. He continued to discuss a meeting held between the 3rd Street Dam committee and PennDOT. He asked if Mr. Alyanakian had lied to him regarding the time of the meeting. Mr. Indorf had asked at the workshop meeting if there was “a meeting with the engineers,” and Mr. Alyanakian responded in the negative. He then asked if Mr. Alyanakian had lied to him regarding the meeting, to which Mr. Alyanakian responded, “No.”

Mr. Indorf went on to request that Mr. Alyanakian recuse himself from any and all 3rd Street Dam matters, due to a conflict of interest of Mr. Alyanakian and the 3rd Street Dam project.

Councilman Peter Williamson interjected that typically members should recuse themselves from voting on matters when there is a financial interest at stake. Mr. Indorf continued and said he had read Section 12 of the Borough Code, and referenced Mr. Alyanakian’s known association with the County and his association with the swim club. Mayor Bob McMahon interjected and indicated that Mr. Alyanakian‘s associations are well known among council, and asked for some specific evidence from Mr. Indorf, and asked him to move on. After some further discussion, Mr. Indorf ended his statements.

Bob Dimond, tax collector for Media Borough, wanted to personally thank everyone who worked on the parade, and knowing his wife was watching, he referenced a quote from the speech where Vice President Joe Biden said that he and Bob Dimand had one thing in common: They were both in love with his wife, Dale. Mr. Dimond then made a humorous reference that he was speaking up so she wouldn’t be on her way to Washington.

Letitia Jeavons, a resident of Media, asked if anyone from the PA Department of Environmental Protection had weighed in on Dam Safety committee and on the ownership issue with the 3rd Street Dam. Mr. Alyanakian referenced the stipulation and said that the borough would not have been able to move forward without settlement of the ownership issue and that he felt that the state felt settled in that matter.

Mr. Alyanakian congratulated the Councilmen-elect in the room, Kent Davidson, Brian Hall, and Paul Robinson, and wished them luck in the coming term.

Other Votes Approved

  • The liquor license for Spasso’s Inc. (at 1 West State Street) was updated to reflect the accurate comany name. The License Number is R-4813.
  • Updates to traffic codes to reflect changes made in the past year (for example, the stop sign at 3rd and Lemon Street)
  • Approved the mass gathering permit for Veterans Day Parade after the fact
  • Authorize amendments to the residential parking ordinance (to reflect changes in residential parking changes, added and removed spaces, etc.)
  • Dean Sherwin resigned from the Environmental Advisory Council due to moving out of town.
  • Payment of bill for $650,216.67 from the General Fund, $460.22 from the Recreation Fund, and $18,118.29 from the Capital Fund.
  • Approved repair work on Leaf Collection Machine: Accept low bid for $7700.16.
  • Accept Resignation/Retirement of Sandra Bennett from Police Department. She was a Parking Enforcement Officer, and Information Services officer within the department.

Final Comments

The meeting ended with public comments from Bob Dimond, the tax collector for Media, who thanked Sue Serbin for publicity for coverage of Veterans parade, and Courtney Elko for videos and coverage of the Veterans Day parade.

Addie Cianella gave thanks to Monica Simpson for her work with the Media Farmers Market and looked forward to the third year for the market.

Paul Indorf was the final speaker during the public comment and privilege of the floor and made a suggestion regarding the Parking Card and linking it directly to one’s bank account. He then  went on to talk about the Vice President’s comments at the Veteran’s Day Parade regarding the Vow to Hire Hero’s Act, and suggested that the house go through and approve it, and that Pat Meehan put forward the law in the house. He encouraged everyone to talk to Rep. Meehan to support that Act. He then went on to discuss recent meetings and talked at length, saying, “A lot of [us] … felt bruised and battled in this process, I think it’s a matter of looking at all possible options are and with regard to the dam …” and went on to introduce the concept of breaching the 3rd Street Dam.

After Mr. Indorf spoke for approximately 8 minutes, Bob McMahon requested Mr. Indorf not take as much time as he has said that in his years on council he has never heard anyone accuse a member of council of lying, and requested that he make his points in a more succinct manner in the future.

The meeting was adjourned after 1 hour and 27 minutes.