1. Call to Order: Meeting called to order at 6:30 pm. †
2. Moment of Silence & Pledge of Allegiance
3. Roll Call done by Nina Mulnix
Council present: Councilmember Bayko, Councilmember Cardiff, Councilmember Dapra, Councilmember Shoub.
Council not present: Councilmember Cole, Councilmember Perovich.
Other Staff present: Mayor Llewellyn, Borough Manager Peticca, Borough Secretary Nina Mulnix.†
** Councilmember Corrales arrive at 6:35pm **
a. Ridgecrest Court & Murrysville Paving Ė move forward with paving.
Manager Peticca spoke about gathering quotes for two paving projects to be completed. Ridgecrest Court quote is approximately $12.00 per sq yard and there is 2,700 sq yards the total amount would cost approximately $32,400.00 and that work will be subject to go out for bid. We would also then try to seek reimbursement from the developer (Entech and Maronda) for the paving. †Murrysville Road is having issues with water runoff; weíve spoken with North Huntingdon, and we are making sure we are keeping the catch basins clean at all times. This runoff is causing deterioration of the road, and it is recommended to complete a full repair versus just band aiding the problem. There was some further discussion about paving Ridgecrest Court before the end of the asphalt season which is generally around Thanksgiving. There is money in the budget to move forward and get that completed for the Ridgecrest Court residents.
Resident Brian Lindbloom- spoke about a similar situation that happened with a developer. He stated said developers were given a quote for paving during a legal matter and the developer then was able to complete the work at a lower cost but still up to the specifications of the borough.
Manager Peticca replied to Mr. Lindblooms comment, and stated the borough plans to communicate with the developer upon councilís approval.
Councilmember Cardiff stated he is all for a remedy for the residents of Ridgecrest Court and pursue reimbursement from the developers.
b. 2024 Budget Items
Councilmember Bayko- spoke about the preliminary budget discussions that have taken place with Manager Peticca, there are concerns using last yearís excess to aid in balancing this yearís budget. The borough is 70% of our income and weíve exceeded our expenses. There needs to be a conservative approach to spending next year. It was mentioned that the winter season being such a milder season there were some savings when it came to paying out overtime, expenses, and vehicle maintenance. There will be more information to report related to the budget at the next meeting.
c. Public Works generator $10,562.00 with a 10 Ė year extended warranty (prior to Oct 8th). (Capital Purchase budget 406.750) RC Watt.
Manager Peticca discussed the need for a generator at the public works building. Currently the main garage doors are operating without a backup option other than manually opening the door. This is a huge safety concern. The borough obtained a quote and there is money in the line item to purchase. If we are to enter into a contract with RC Watt half of the payment would be due this year and the other half due in 2024. The equipment offers a 10-year extended warranty. A concern in the event there is a power failure during a weather event if the door to the garage cannot open electronically there is going to be a delay in getting the trucks and equipment out in a timely manner, and this could be taking place in the dark and that is unsafe. This is something that came to light recently during a repair that was needed on the garage door, and this is how this discussion came about. It was decided that action will be taken at the October meeting to approve this purchase under an agenda item.
d. JCP Committee Advertisement
Councilmember Cardiff discussed the idea of advertising the Junior Council Program in the Penn Trafford Senior High yearbook. A full-page color advertisement is $150.00, and a black and white full-page advertisement is $125.00. There are half pages that are less expensive.
Councilmember Bayko asked what would be displayed on the page, pictures? There would be a design and basic information about the program and some photos of the activities that have been done during the program. Councilmember Cardiff stated he will draft up some designs to show council and seek approval to advertise the JCP in the yearbook.
e. Any other borough business for discussion-
Open discussion began with Councilmember Cardiff speaking as a member of TECDC, about the revival of the Trafford Economic Community Development Corporation. A meeting was held on Monday September 20th to discuss the Holiday Happening event that volunteers and members are organizing to conduct as in years prior to Covid. Manager Peticca spoke about needing volunteers and donations for the event: examples of where help is needed, baking cookies, set up and tear down of the Manchester Room. The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday December 2nd. Anyone interested in volunteering can reach out to a TECDC committee member. The TECDC will be presenting the event to council as a formality. †
Fire Chief Brian Lindbloom had some comments about the 3 groups that spearheaded the Holiday Happenings in the past, is there a way to have council motion or approve the TECDC as the sole group conducting the event. It gets confusing when multiple committees are involved. The fire company wants to confirm that there wonít be a bunch of different entities planning the same event.
Councilmember Cardiff clarified it would be the TECDC to decide if they want to be the sole group not council. In the event the TECDC confirms they will be spearheading the Holiday Happenings they lay everything out about the event and present it to council. There should be no reason that council would reject the idea.
Manager Peticca commented that it was her understanding that there is to be a collaborative effort to merge all parties together to make the event happen. At the next meeting everyone involved will be pulling all their resources to generate a defined plan to better gauge what all will be needed from food to volunteers. †
It was stated in the discussion that it is not the decision of council to decide who coordinates the Holiday Happenings event but to approve the street closures for the duration of the event and approval of the Manchester Room. The logistics are to be agreed upon by all the parties planning the event.
The discussion meeting was not a voting meeting, everything that needs to be addressed related to Holiday Happenings will be defined and discussed, and possible action can be taken at the next council meeting.
The fire department continued to discuss their need for reassurance that their involvement in the Holiday Happenings is going to be communicated and be clear and concise. The past experiences have left them out of the loop and unprepared for the event. Their objective is to not have that happen this year.
It was asked if the fire departmentís involvement can be status quo for this year to move forward and then objectively look at things after the event to then plan for next year. The fire department confirmed their role in the event, and Mr. Thomas Dobrinick confirmed his role as Santa Clause.
Discussion meeting was open for public speaking:
Mr. George Klipa thanked council for having this discussion meeting and began to speak of his concerns. Without knowing everything about each situation but wanted to speak on the beautification or lack thereof: of the town. There are multiple dilapidated properties that are impacting the area and residents living beside these houses. This is happening in the core part of town, from Brinton Ave to Homewood and everything in between. Mr. Klipa stated about the properties with overgrown weeds and hedges, where is the community outreach from neighbors to help those who need help. It took some time to get the Bandy property tore down along with some other properties, and then the empty lots turn into a mess. The residents that live in the core of the town are left to look at the blight. What is the boroughís role to take care of and control these properties? It was suggested that the borough employees drive around the town to see what the residents see. Cavitt Ave is our main drag and past the high rise those are key visual points into our town.
Manager Peticca addressed some of the points Mr. Klipa discussed. The frustration is shared with you. One of the properties mentioned is privately owned along with many of the other properties. When it is privately owned the borough canít before landscaping work and maintenance, there is a company that is local that can be recommended to anyone who falls on hardship and needs help. However, the property owner would have to approve such a thing. Most of the time the properties that we encounter donít want the help or to better their property. The repeat offenders often end up at the magistrate, itís a revolving circle. The one thing that the borough can do about torn down lots that the borough owns (which there are none currently) is place a clause that defines that land be developed in a defined timeframe. †Code Enforcement sends out violation notices to make property owners aware of the condition of their property and what needs to be done to rectify the problem and the consequences if they donít. The other thing that is coming through the borough is implementing a new zoning ordinance specifying a downtown business district. As an example, one of the improvements implemented in the new zoning ordinance is to allow for different types and styles of buildings, we can build a little higher in that area as it is right now only three stories. This would allow more space for those who want to develop property. The borough is also implementing a LERTA tax which serves as a ten-year tax break for new businesses. The thought is to lay a foundation with hopes that developers and new business come to the borough. †
Mr. Klipa continued to encourage Manager Peticca to drive around the borough. Some additional items from Mr. Klipa. He commended the police for what they do and discussed speeding concerns of cars and school buses around sixth street. He stated there could probably be another stop sign placed somewhere on sixth street.
Thomas Dobrinick also mentioned the speeding concerns on Wallace Avenue.
Councilmember Bayko added to the discussion, the borough has a 25mph speed limit and it was suggested before decreasing the speed limit sign to 15mph. However, if that is made for one street It would have to be for all other streets at 25 mph. There are known cars that repeatedly speed through the town and neglect stopping at stop signs.
Manager Peticca stated a speed study would need to be conducted.
Mr. Klipa asked how many of the properties in Trafford are owned by people from out of state.
Councilmember Bayko stated there are many, but this is where code aids and applies pressure to these owners. One stipulation as an out of state owner is that said property needs to be overseen by a property management company that is within a 25-mile radius of the borough.
Manager Peticca suggested that residents reach out to local legislators to combat this issue. There is only so much that can be done at borough level.
Brian Lindbloom spoke to the fact that code enforcement is more than one person can do,
Manager Peticca and Councilmember Bayko agreed and stated that Andrea has done and continues to do a very good job within her limits.
The borough is constantly trying to reach these property owners that have their businesses listed as LLCís. We cannot individually serve an LLC with citations or fines unless we can find an in-state home address for an individual owner for these properties. †The old t-shirt shop on Cavitt Ave is a prime example of a property that we can not make forward progress on. It would cost a ton of money to get that building torn down.
Councilmember Cardiff spoke to a conversation he recently had with Magisterial District Court Judge Tyburski about the amount of activity she has seen from Trafford with all the things code enforcement is taking to her courtroom. There has been a more aggressive approach than what has been done in the past. We have to follow the process and it takes time.
Mr. Klipa is providing a list of properties to the borough to ask code enforcement to follow through.
Mrs. Klipa asked about the recent visit to the borough from the FBI agents- is that something that the residents should be worried about.
The mayor replied the agents were serving a warrant.
A resident at the meeting wanted to address some concerns about safety while walking along via duct way where there are no sidewalks, and the speed and amount of traffic through that area.
Manager Peticca recommended to approach that side of the street from the side where a sidewalk exists, and then cross over.
a. Announce the next regular meeting for Tuesday October 3rd, 2023, pm in Council Chambers.
b. Move to adjourn: Councilmember Perovich
c. Second: Councilmember Shoub
d. Discussion: No discussion
e. Vote: 5, 0, 2 (Absent)