City Council

Council Minutes

February 1, 2005 Meeting Minutes

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Tuesday, February 1, 2005 – 7:30 PM – Town Hall


President J. Michael Schweder called the meeting to order. Pastor Jack Groblewski of New Covenant Christian Community church offered the invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag. Present were Ismael Arcelay, Jean Belinski, Robert J. Donchez, Joseph F. Leeson, Jr., Gordon B. Mowrer, Magdalena F. Szabo, and J. Michael Schweder, 7.


Prior to the consideration of the regular agenda items, President Schweder called to order two Public Hearings, as follows:

1. To consider Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance Articles 1302 - Definitions, 1312 – CL – Limited Commercial District, 1316 - LI Light Industrial District, 1319 – Off-Street Parking and Loading, 1322 – Uses Granted Under Special Conditions, Appendix A - Table of Area, Yard and Building Regulations - CG General Commercial, CL Limited Commercial, and CS Shopping Center Districts - Maximum Height – Story, and Appendix A-2 - Table of Area, Yard and Building Regulations - RM Residential District – Lot Width Requirements. The Text Amendments change the definition of condominiums, address provisions pertaining to parking in multiple family developments, add permitted uses in CL Limited Commercial District, add Visitor Center in the Light Industrial District, eliminate the limit on the number of stories permitted in the CL, CG, and CS commercial zones, and modify lot width requirements on the bulb of a cul de sac in the RM Zoning District.

2. To consider Amendments to the Subdivision and Development Ordinance Article 1347 – Development Standards and Requirements, addressing traffic studies and recreation fees. The Amendments create provisions for traffic studies and outline when they shall be required, for an escrow account to cover the City’s costs for review of a traffic study by a qualified traffic engineer, and revise provisions for recreation fees so they can be updated by Resolution.

Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance

Darlene Heller, Director of Planning and Zoning, provided a brief explanation for each of the proposed revisions.

Ms. Heller advised that the first change in the Section 1302, Definitions, is for Condominium. Ms. Heller explained presently it is required that a condominium development is only permitted for multi-family dwellings that would be developments of buildings with three units or more. Ms. Heller pointed out that condominium developments are being utilized more and more, and developers are requesting that condominiums be utilized for twin and single developments as well as with town homes. Ms. Heller, affirming it is believed that is appropriate, noted that a condominium development gives more flexibility with design and so on. Ms. Heller affirmed it is requested that the definition of a condominium development be permitted for single and twin developments as well as multi-family developments. Ms. Heller, noting that the provision expands on the definition, added that the Bureau reviewed what other municipalities include in their ordinance for a definition of condominium, and it refers back to the State provisions that allow condominium development.

Ms. Heller, stating that a definition for Visitors Center is proposed to be added in Section 1302, explained that visitors centers are allowed in the IR zone; however, there is not a definition.

Ms. Heller noted that in Article 1312 the addition is recommended of some permitted uses within the CL Limited Commercial District that are basically for neighborhood commercial uses. Ms. Heller pointed out there are some corridors, particularly Easton Avenue, where commercial development has encroached into areas that are now zoned Residential. Ms. Heller added that a zoning amendment is being initiated to take a look at changing that corridor to CL zoning. However, Ms. Heller pointed out it has been noted that uses such as banks, credit unions, small offices, or retail uses are also included within those corridors that it is believed is appropriate. Ms. Heller continued on to note that in the CL zone one way that the City limits the impact of commercial uses on the surrounding neighborhoods is that the uses are limited to a maximum of 2,500 square feet, and the setbacks and dimensional requirements are a bit stricter than in General Commercial or other commercial areas. Ms. Heller affirmed it is recommended that banks, credit unions and savings and loan associations, but not check cashing establishments or pawn shops; office of business, institution, profession or similar entity; and retail use, excluding the dispensing of gasoline and other fuels be included in the CL zone.

Ms. Heller stated that in Article 1316 it is recommended that a Visitors Center be added as a permitted use in the Light Industrial District, provided that the primary facility use shall be manufacturing or industrial use as permitted by right in the LI zone, the floor area shall be greater than 400,000 sq. ft., and the visitors center may not exceed 15% of the total floor area of the primary facility. Ms. Heller, highlighting the fact that Just Born candy company is planning to create a visitors center, communicated that is being taken into consideration as different sections of the Zoning Ordinance are reviewed.

Ms. Heller, focusing on Article 1319, advised that visitors center is added as a use to outline the parking requirements for a visitors center.

Ms. Heller, turning to Article 1322 and one of the provisions under the definition of multiple family dwellings, explained the Bureau is trying to clean up the Zoning Ordinance and fix some of the provisions that repeatedly go to the Zoning Hearing Board and receive approval. Ms. Heller verified that the change in Article 1322 would be one of those provisions. Ms. Heller stated that, when the provision was created for multi-family dwellings, it was geared towards garden apartment dwellings where there would be a building with several units with a common entryway, the parking facilities would be a separate parking lot, and the buffer required between the building and the parking lot is 15 feet. She observed that for a garden apartment style development that makes sense. Ms. Heller continued on to advise what the Bureau is seeing now for multi-family development is more of the condominium type development with town homes where people want to see units with garage space and parking space in front, viewed as a driveway leading up to the garage. Ms. Heller pointed out the Zoning Ordinance does not permit that. She affirmed the Zoning Hearing Board has granted variances for that as they should, and added the proposal is recommended to clean up that problem. Ms. Heller confirmed that a 15 foot buffer is still being required between the parking lot and the building. However, any unit that has an interior garage and/or driveway intended to be used as a parking space would be exempted.

Ms. Heller, focusing on the Appendix, stated there are two recommended changes. Ms. Heller pointed out that in the RM District only, at the bulb of a cul-de-sac, the same lot width is still required as anywhere else in that District which is the highest density residential zoning district. Ms. Heller communicated it seems extremely prohibitive for a zoning district where high density development is encouraged. Ms. Heller, explaining the proposed compromise is that the lot width requirement may be reduced, advised the Bureau wanted to avoid a situation where off-street parking would be impacted. As a result, if a developer wanted to take advantage of that provision then three off-street parking spaces on the lot would be required rather than the standard two spaces per unit. Observing that with cul-de-sac developments there are usually long, narrow lots that have longer driveways, Ms. Heller commented it does not seem as if it would be a prohibitive requirement.

Ms. Heller, turning to the second change in the Appendix, explained it is suggested that the number of stories be removed in Commercial Zoning Districts CG, CL, and CS. Currently, there is a height limit and a limit on the number of stories that is limited to two and a half. A few developments have been requested with three story buildings. Since they would still need to meet the maximum height requirement, Ms. Heller explained it seemed too prohibitive to limit the number of stories to two and a half. Consequently, Ms. Heller confirmed it is recommended that the limitation on the number of stories be deleted, the height limit will still be the same, and it will give a developer more flexibility with the number of stories within a development.

Council Comment

President Schweder, noting that over the last month or two he met with members of various boards who oversee such matters, communicated they think that the whole zoning process in the City is broken. President Schweder, recalling that Mr. Donchez talked about this issue in the past, observed there has probably not been any total review of the Zoning Ordinance in about 35 years.

Ms. Heller advised that the Zoning Ordinance was created in 1970.

President Schweder queried whether it would be better for the Planning and Zoning Bureau to “step back from all of this” and attempt to take a look at rewriting the entire zoning process and the zoning map.

Ms. Heller, responding “that definitely is the way to go,” pointed out it is a huge undertaking. Ms. Heller explained that the Bureau has been trying to piecemeal the process to try to fix some aspects of the zoning map and the zoning ordinance text. Acknowledging it is an inefficient approach, Ms. Heller highlighted the fact that it requires hours of work by various departments. Ms. Heller, while acknowledging that an overview would be more time-consuming, stated that in the long run it would be more efficient. Notifying the Members that the Bureau applied for grant funding about a year and a half ago, Ms. Heller advised there were no funds available at that time, the City needs to reapply, and start to move towards taking a more comprehensive look.

President Schweder inquired what would be the cost to do a comprehensive review and rewriting of the Zoning Ordinance.

Ms. Heller, commenting it is difficult to say, explained to do it right would require a review of the Comprehensive Plan that is 15 years old. Ms. Heller estimated it would cost more than $100,000 to have a planning consultant oversee the process. Ms. Heller informed the Members that the time it would take to conduct a comprehensive review is more than can be handled with the staff of two employees.

President Schweder, agreeing that outside assistance would be needed, asked if there were outside help what is the timeframe within which the project could be accomplished.

Ms. Heller replied that, from the time the project would be under contract, it could not be done in less than a year, and added that a Comprehensive Plan update would take a year in itself. Ms. Heller advised that if both the Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan were updated the entire project would take two full years.

President Schweder communicated that, if a number of people feel the same, there may be a way to help find funding. President Schweder thought that, over the last few years in talking about development, when someone makes a request and a “shoehorn” is used to fit in whatever a developer wants to do in an area there is a continual use of overlays, exemptions, and change in definitions. While observing that may solve a problem in a particular case, President Schweder noted it may well exacerbate the situation somewhere else. President Schweder expressed he is glad to hear Ms. Heller say it is something that should be addressed.

Ms. Heller stated that the Bureau has been very cautious about not trying to fix a problem in one area while creating a problem elsewhere. Turning to the focus on zoning map changes, Ms. Heller noted that some rezoning requests have been submitted by private developers, and the Bureau has tried to be pro-active in looking at some of the ongoing problems.

Public Comment

William Scheirer, 1890 Eaton Avenue, expressed his thought that the process could cost about $200,000 and that figure could be conservative. Notifying the assembly he was informed by Ms. Heller that eliminating the number of stories does apply to the CS, as well as the CG and CL zoning districts, Mr. Scheirer highlighted the fact that is not stated in the Ordinance and must be added. Referring to programs that assist people in transitioning from renting into home ownership, Mr. Scheirer thought perhaps there should be more emphasis on owning a condominium as an intermediate step. Mr. Scheirer said the definition of condominium as being six or more strikes him as being a little restrictive. Adding there may be buildings in the City that were clearly designed for apartments but have fewer than six units, Mr. Scheirer stated if they could not be defined as condominiums that would eliminate any possibility of doing something along these lines. Mr. Scheirer encouraged City officials to reduce the number of six down to anything that is consistent with the smallest buildings in the City that were designed to be apartments and would not be appropriate to be converted into single family housing.

Charles Nyul, 1966 Pinehurst Road, said his concern is variances. Observing that a project is subject to variances, Mr. Nyul highlighted the fact that a developer comes in and wants a variance, and will get a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board that in turn changes the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Nyul thought that if a directive was attached to each that no variances are allowed then that would be the way it is.

Dean Bruch, 625 Hawthorne Road, explained that every time he has been involved in zoning it required more than one sketch and authorization. Mr. Bruch, remarking he can imagine how far $100,000 will go to treat the problem, stressed the issue should be thought about a lot before any money is spent. Mr. Bruch expressed his agreement with the previous speaker about no variances. Mr. Bruch felt that the City should request more money from developers in that if developers are going to make money they are going to pay something extra.

Council and Administration Comment

Mr. Donchez, recalling he has made comments regarding the Zoning Ordinance for the past four or five years, confirmed that he thinks a comprehensive review is needed of the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Donchez observed that sometimes the City is more reactive than proactive, such as developments on South Mountain and other places. Stressing the City has changed tremendously since the Zoning Ordinance was revised in the 1970’s, Mr. Donchez highlighted the fact that the City is totally different. Mr. Donchez thought that, rather than a piecemeal, band-aid approach of reacting as is done many times, the City needs to step back and have a comprehensive review and update the entire Zoning Ordinance at one time, and have the vision to look ahead five, ten, and fifteen years in the future rather than getting caught when someone comes in with a request. Restating it is something to seriously consider, Mr. Donchez noted he has said this for the last four or five years under the past three Administrations, and expressed the hope that it is taken under serious consideration.

Mayor Callahan, saying he completely agrees, advised that the need for a comprehensive review of the Zoning Ordinance and Comprehensive Plan has been talked about internally. He affirmed that a number of plans have been undertaken including the Sasaki Plan for South Bethlehem, and a number of large rezonings including the former Bethlehem Steel Corporation property, former Durkee spice plant site, East Broad Street area in the vicinity of Moravian Village, Schoenersville Road, etc. Mayor Callahan, agreeing that the Zoning Ordinance is out of date, observed not only has the City changed since its enactment, but the market has changed. He pointed out what people want now in terms of housing choices and new construction is different than before. Mayor Callahan, crediting Ms. Heller and everyone in the Department, noted it is difficult to keep up with just the plans that come in on a daily basis. With 20% of the City’s land mass in transition, the LVIP and Bethlehem Works projects, in addition to other ongoing projects, Mayor Callahan acknowledged it has been a difficult task for the Planning Bureau and denoted it is not staffed to deal just with what comes in on a daily basis let alone to do long-term planning for the City. Commenting it would be upwards of a couple hundred thousand dollars to undertake such a plan and time consuming, Mayor Callahan communicated that the City has done its best to try to adjust and acknowledged it has been somewhat reactive. Although the staff tries to be reactive when they see things coming, Mayor Callahan stated it is difficult given the City’s resources but added that the staff is much more efficient and productive. Restating that a review would be costly and take time, Mayor Callahan noted the City will have to reach to the outside for help. Mayor Callahan confirmed that the City will be undertaking planning in the West Broad Street area with funding through the Elm Street grant, in addition to other areas on the North Side, and is pursuing a grant for a planning study of the Pembroke Road and Stefko Boulevard area. Mayor Callahan advised the Administration has been trying to do some comprehensive planning but it has been somewhat piecemeal. Mayor Callahan agreed that a review is something that should probably be pursued in cooperation with the Administration and Council to find the dollars necessary to undertake the review.

President Schweder suggested that, if the matter moves forward, there should be discussions with people who implement the plans “because they are concerned that we’re going to end up with a City that we don’t want.”

Mayor Callahan advised that he had a conversation a few days ago with the head of the Zoning Hearing Board. Explaining that not only is the Zoning Hearing Board concerned about the need for a comprehensive look at the City’s zoning ordinances, Mayor Callahan said he has to give a tremendous amount of credit to the Zoning Hearing Board. Because of all the development that is going on in the City and the inadequacy of the Zoning Ordinances, Mayor Callahan pointed out there has been a tremendous amount of pressure put on the Zoning Hearing Board members for the Zoning Hearing Board hearings. The members, who have spent hours and hours at the meetings that often last until midnight or 1:00 a.m., have expressed some frustration to the Mayor about the workload and the difficulty in dealing with the Zoning Ordinance as it stands in relation to the projects that come before them. Noting he had a conversation yesterday with a Zoning Hearing Board member, Mayor Callahan explained it had been committed to the Zoning Hearing Board to look at pursuing the Comprehensive Plan and the overall Zoning Ordinance.

Amendments to the Subdivision and Development Ordinance

Ms. Heller advised that the proposed amendments in the Subdivision and Development Ordinance have been discussed in the past. Ms. Heller informed the Members about the proposal to update the fee schedules for the Zoning Hearing Board for Subdivision and Land Development and Recreation fees. Noting that is typically done by Resolution, Ms. Heller stated since the traffic impact study fee proposal was being brought before City Council at this time it is being recommended that the recreation fee be taken out of the Ordinance and be updated by Resolution along with the Subdivision and Land Development fees. Ms. Heller added it has not yet been finalized but will be coming before City Council shortly.

Ms. Heller, focusing on Article 1347, explained the proposal to add a new section to address Traffic Impact Studies. Affirming that although the City has typically received studies from developers when it was felt necessary, Ms. Heller verified there is no one on staff to review the traffic studies, and the City pays a consultant to conduct a review. Ms. Heller notified the Members that the provision specifies what needs to be in a traffic study when it is required by the City, and also specifies that the developer is responsible for the cost of the City’s review of the traffic study. Turning to the Purpose and Administration paragraphs, Ms. Heller pointed out it specifically states that the developer is responsible for those costs, an escrow will be set up when the land development or subdivision is filed, and the escrow will be used to pay down the cost of the traffic study review. Advising the City has a traffic consultant that it uses for different projects, Ms. Heller noted the City would continue to use that consultant for the reviews. Referring to the Contents of the Study section, Ms. Heller explained the City is not requiring traffic studies for developments or subdivisions that generate less than fifty trips per hour in the peak hour. For those developments that generate between 50 and 100 trips in a peak hour, the City would be requiring an abbreviated traffic study. Ms. Heller stated it would require that the developer look at the impact within that immediate lot, safety of ingress and egress, traffic, traffic calming, pedestrian safety, and bicycle routes, and would be required for each of the studies. Ms. Heller informed the Members that mostly ingress and egress, site distance, and other provisions would be reviewed. Ms. Heller notified the Members that if the development generates more than 100 trips per peak hour then the City would require a more detailed traffic study. In addition, it will be required that the study area include any public streets or intersections within a 1,600 foot radius of the site. Not only would access drives on-site be reviewed, but also access drives of abutting sites or nearby intersections would be reviewed. The information that would need to be provided in the study is more detailed. The levels of service requirements are basically the same for both studies, but for the more detailed study the level of service is looked at on a broader area.

Ms. Heller informed the Members that, for the provisions in the Administration section, the Bureau looked at several different ordinances from other communities. For the requirements within the study and required improvements, other urban areas were reviewed, and much of the

proposal is mirrored after the ordinance of the City of Lancaster. The proposal was reviewed by the City’s traffic consultants and Public Works Department.

Council Comment

President Schweder, complimenting Ms. Heller on the proposal, recalled that a number of Members of Council have asked for this for about five years. President Schweder observed that the City will select the traffic consultant and the developer will not.

Ms. Heller affirmed that is correct. President Schweder asked will that always be the same consultant or will there be a pool of consultants. Ms. Heller, confirming the City has a contract with Benchmark Engineering, the firm utilized by the Public Works Department for in-house study and analysis, noted the City typically uses Benchmark for projects such as traffic light improvements at intersections. As a result, when traffic studies are forwarded to the City for review, the City used the review services of Benchmark. Affirming the City has a good working relationship with Benchmark, Ms. Heller commented the City would continue to use the company unless there is a conflict, and if Benchmark was engaged in a development with a developer then the City would hire someone else.

President Schweder, affirming that is his point, explained a criticism of the current system is that the developer hires his own consultant and the consultant tells the City everything is fine. President Schweder queried would it be the policy that the consultant hired by the City to review a developer’s traffic study would be a company that had never done any work for that developer in a five year period, for example, and the City would make a conscious effort to have a pool of consultants that did not do work for developers submitting requests to the City.

Ms. Heller advised there is an instance now involving a development on Schoenersville Road for which Benchmark is the traffic engineer for the development, and in this instance the City is utilizing the services of Lehigh Engineering. Consequently, Ms. Heller confirmed the City would not use Benchmark if the company had a relationship with a developer.

President Schweder communicated perhaps the City could be a little more stringent in that, if a developer was using Benchmark and then came back to the City with another development plan six months later, then the City would not use Benchmark.

Ms. Heller, expressing the thought that was fair, expressed that situation would certainly be looked at, and added the City would want to make sure it had a firm reviewing a plan that did not have a conflict.

Mr. Leeson, turning to Section 1347.10 (b), noted the proposed Ordinance states the City would collect recreation fees from developers for residential developments. Asking that the section be broadened to pertain to any development in the City, Mr. Leeson pointed out that, in reality, future development in the City will be primarily commercial, retail, and institutional, as opposed to residential since almost all the residential land is developed. Mr. Leeson added that other municipalities do so and generate substantial revenues from requiring recreational fees from commercial developers, and cited the wonderful things that Bethlehem Township and Hanover Township have been able to do for their citizens with the fees paid by commercial developers. Mr. Leeson asked that revisions be forwarded to City Council. Mr. Leeson further stated the only way a recreation fee can be collected from a developer is if there is a formally adopted recreation plan approved by City Council already in place. In order for the proposed fees to be adopted, Mr. Leeson stated that a formal recreation plan will have to be presented simultaneously for Council’s adoption. Otherwise, the City will not be able to keep the money. Mr. Leeson, asking that the matter of a recreation plan be reviewed and presented simultaneously with the Ordinance, noted that observation was also made by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission.

Ms. Heller, stating she is aware of that, explained the City’s Comprehensive Plan includes a recreation component and that is what the City has been utilizing as the recreation plan for the City. Ms. Heller, in response to Mr. Leeson, affirmed that the Comprehensive Plan was adopted by City Council by Resolution.

Mr. Leeson suggested that the recreation plan be reviewed to make sure it meets current Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code requirements, in order to avoid a technical flaw at a later date.

Mr. Leeson, focusing on fees assessed to developers for studies and other matters, strongly encouraged that the City obtain the money up front. Mr. Leeson exemplified that, hypothetically, a developer could propose a development, the City hires a traffic engineer, the developer withdraws the proposal, and then states he is not going to pay the fee because he is not moving forward with the development.

Ms. Heller notified Mr. Leeson that the City does require an escrow amount, as outlined under the administration section. Ms. Heller continued on to explain when a Resolution is adopted with the updated fees it will include provisions for the escrow. Ms. Heller confirmed that the escrow is required to be forwarded to the City when plans are filed. The escrow is used to pay invoices from the traffic consultant. In addition, there is language that the escrow must be replenished when it becomes half of its provisional amount. Ms. Heller verified it is designed to have money in place before the consulting fees are incurred.

Mr. Leeson stated that, administratively or preferably in the Ordinance, it should be indicated that until the escrow is funded the plans will not be processed. He encouraged tightening up the provision so that when the application is submitted the escrow check is in hand in an amount sufficient to cover the City’s costs rather than the City’s having to recover the amount at a later date.

Ms. Szabo recounted that several months ago she was informed by Ms. Heller about her hope to have a roundtable discussion with City Council, Bureaus within the Department of Community and Economic Development, Planning Commission members, Zoning Hearing Board members, others people who are involved, and the public so that there would be better communication and understanding about what every Bureau does, and the frustrations experienced in the process. Noting it was delayed because of the Budget review, Ms. Szabo requested that Ms. Heller’s idea be followed through. Stating it is an excellent idea and would greatly improve communications, Ms. Szabo added it would be to Council’s benefit to learn exactly what is going on. Ms. Szabo, exemplifying that row houses became town houses, and now town houses mean something else, stressed it is difficult to keep up with just the terminology. Ms. Szabo reiterated her request to follow through with scheduling a roundtable session.

President Schweder, affirming that he and Ms. Szabo spoke about the matter several weeks ago, queried whether Ms. Szabo wants to have a Committee of the Whole meeting scheduled as opposed to a Community Development Committee meeting.

Ms. Szabo noted and Ms. Heller affirmed that she will send a letter to City Council.

Commenting he is open to the idea, Mr. Leeson suggested there be an agenda of topics for the meeting so there is some direction, focus, and purpose to such a session.

President Schweder stated that the appropriate Ordinances will be placed on the February 15, 2005 Council Agenda for First Reading.

The Public Hearings were adjourned at 8:21 p.m.


The minutes of January 18, 2005 were approved.

5. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR (for public comment on ordinances and resolutions to be voted on by Council this evening)



Van Bittner Hall – City Government Use

President Schweder, turning to the rezoning request for Van Bittner Hall at 53 East Lehigh Street, recalled there were discussions prior to Mayor Callahan’s administration between the City and the United Steelworkers about possible uses of the building. President Schweder, affirming it had been requested that the Administration forward all information with respect to past discussions about use of the building such as costs, etc., noted that a response requested by January 14 has not yet been received.

Mayor Callahan, suggesting that City Council set a fairly aggressive timeline in terms of some of the hearings, pointed out that the proposal involves demolition of a well-known building located in the Historic District, and noted this is coupled with the complicating factor of whether the City would be interested in pursuing the property. Mayor Callahan, advising he has had some conversations with Jerry Green regarding the property, and with Woodmont Development in terms of working out a parking plan, confirmed that Charles Brown, Director of Parks and Public Property, is undertaking a space study in City Hall.

President Schweder clarified that the request was to provide discussions last year and 2003 regarding the Steelworkers’ Union Building (Van Bittner Hall) or any discussions that Mr. Hanna had with respect to the building. If there were none, President Schweder advised the response can be that there were no discussions.

Proposal for Van Bittner Hall - Review By HARB

Mrs. Belinski, recalling that Council received information about the Historic and Architectural Review Board’s (HARB) review of plans proposed for Van Bittner Hall, queried what is the sequence and asked can the plans come before the Historic and Architectural Review Board even before the Planning Commission makes a recommendation about rezoning or City Council approves of it.

Ms. Heller, affirming that the 53 East Lehigh Street address of Van Bittner Hall is on the HARB agenda, explained it is on the agenda only for discussion purposes. Ms. Heller advised it is just a conceptual drawing at this point containing an idea of what the developer might want to put on the site. Ms. Heller expressed the belief that the developer would like to get some feedback from HARB on demolition of the Van Bittner Hall building, and what type of structures they would like to see there. Ms. Heller highlighted the fact that HARB would not be making any decisions at that meeting because there would not be enough detail to make a decision.

Mrs. Belinski, reading from the agenda that “this plan is before the Commission as a conceptual design for discussion purposes only,” affirmed Ms. Heller is right, but wondered how HARB can do this when there has not yet been a decision to rezone the property.

Ms. Heller, communicating the developer understands there are many steps to go through, thought the developer was just trying to get some direction from HARB initially about what they might want to see there and how they feel about demolition of the building. Ms. Heller added she thinks the developer is looking for direction.


A. Police Commissioner – Request for Police Training Grant

The Clerk read a memorandum dated January 21, 2005 from Francis R. Donchez, Police Commissioner, requesting consideration of two resolutions concerning application for training grants from the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission. The first is a POLEX Training Course scheduled for June 6-17, 2005, and the second is an Advanced POLEX Training Course scheduled for October 10-21, 2005. The courses are taught by Penn State University and the cost is $14,000 for each course.

President Schweder stated that the authorizing resolutions will be listed on the February 15, 2005 Council agenda.

B. Director of Planning and Zoning – Zoning Map Amendment – Vicinity of E. North, E. and W. Garrison, E. Raspberry, N. Long, N. School, and N. Center Streets, and E. and W. Union Boulevard – CB Commercial Business District to RM and RT Residential Districts

The Clerk read a memorandum dated January 26, 2005 from Darlene L. Heller, Director of Planning and Zoning, requesting a Zoning Map Amendment in the vicinity of E. North, E. and W. Garrison, E. Raspberry, N. Long, N. School, and N. Center Streets, and E. and W. Union Boulevard, from CB Commercial Business District to RM and RT Residential Districts. The Planning Commission, at its meeting of October 14, 2004, voted unanimously to recommend the approval.

Scheduling Public Hearing

Mr. Donchez and Mrs. Belinski moved to schedule a Public Hearing on the rezoning request for Tuesday, March 15, 2005 at 7:30 PM in Town Hall.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The motion passed.


A. President of Council


B. Mayor


C. Finance Committee

Mr. Donchez, Chairman of the Finance Committee, presented an oral report of the Committee’s meeting that was held on January 27, 2005 on the following subjects: Transfer of Funds – Liquid Fuels Fund Budget – Dump Truck Equipment; Amending Article 347 – Municipal Claims for Delinquent Accounts – Fees; Transfer of Funds – Tax Bureau – Equipment; Amending 9-1-1 Fund Budget – 2004 Audit Invoice; Amending Non-Utility Capital Budget – Self Contained Breathing Apparatus; and Setting Salaries for Mayor, Controller, President of Council, and Members of Council.

D. Public Works Committee

Mr. Mowrer, Chairman of the Public Works Committee, presented an oral report of the Committee’s meeting that was held February 1, 2005, prior to this evening’s City Council Meeting, on the subject of the following subject: Stormwater Management.




A. Bill No. 1 – 2005 – Amending Article 347 – Municipal Claims for Delinquent Accounts

The Clerk read Bill No. 1 – 2005, Amending Article 347 – Municipal Claims for Delinquent Accounts, sponsored by Mr. Donchez and Mr. Arcelay, and titled:


Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. Bill No. 1 – 2005 was declared passed on First Reading.

B. Bill No. 2 – 2005 – Amending Article 925 – Stormwater Management Ordinance

The Clerk read Bill No. 2 – 2005 – Amending Article 925 – Stormwater Management Ordinance, sponsored by Mr. Mowrer and Ms. Szabo, and titled:


Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. Bill No. 2 – 2005 was declared passed on First Reading.

C. Bill No. 3 – 2005 - Amending 9-1-1 Fund Budget – 2004 Audit Invoice

The Clerk read Bill No. 3 – 2005 – Amending 9-1-1- Fund Budget – 2004 Audit Invoice, sponsored by Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Donchez, and titled:


Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. Bill No. 3 – 2005 was declared passed on First Reading.

D. Bill No. 4 – 2005 – Amending Non-Utility Capital Budget – Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus

The Clerk read Bill No. 4 – 2005 – Amending Non-Utility Capital Budget – Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, sponsored by Mr. Donchez and Mr. Arcelay, and titled:


Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. Bill No. 4 – 2005 was declared passed on First Reading.

E. Bill No. 5 – 2005 – Establishing Salary – Mayor

The Clerk read Bill No. 5 – 2005 – Establishing Salary – Mayor, sponsored by Mr. Mowrer and Mr. Donchez, and titled:


Mr. Donchez, confirming that he made the recommendations to the Finance Committee, stated he would provide a brief background for the Members of Council. Mr. Donchez recounted he requested that a survey be conducted of other Third Class Cities for the purpose of comparing salaries of Mayor, Council Members, President of Council, Controller, and Department Heads, that was distributed to the Members of Council. In addition, an eight year salary history for the various City officials salaries was distributed. Mr. Donchez explained from 1996 to 2000 a flat dollar amount increase each year was approved for Mayor, Controller, and Members of Council. The last four years an average percentage of the increase for Union employees was given to elected officials. Mr. Donchez further affirmed that Dennis Reichard, Business Administrator, sent a memorandum to City Council with the Administration’s recommendations for the salaries of the Mayor and Controller for 2006 through 2009. Mr. Donchez pointed out that, prior to receiving Mr. Reichard’s memorandum, he had developed his recommendations that were close to that of the Administration’s. Mr. Donchez recounted that what he proposed to the Finance Committee for discussion is recommended to City Council. Mr. Donchez highlighted the fact that City Council is required by State law to set the salaries for elected officials. Mr. Donchez advised that he recommended a 3.5% increase and rounded off the salary for Mayor and it represents an increase of $2,500 a year. For Controller, the percentage increase is about 3.4% or $1,500 a year. Noting the President of Council traditionally receives $500 per year more than Members of Council, Mr. Donchez explained for City Council he rounded off the percentage to 3% that amounts to $200 per year increase. Mr. Donchez observed that, as compared with the other Third Class cities that were surveyed, the salaries of Bethlehem’s officials are about in the middle. Mr. Donchez further pointed out that many of the cities surveyed will be setting new salaries in 2006. Communicating that the recommendation approved by the Finance Committee is a very fair and balanced proposal, Mr. Donchez stated he is asking City Council to consider approving it.

President Schweder thanked Mr. Donchez for all his work, and noted he spoke with Mr. Donchez about the matter. President Schweder stated he will be voting against Bill No. 5 – 2005 and Bill No. 7 – 2005. President Schweder, while commenting he would not be reiterating the things he talked about during the 2005 Budget Hearings, recounted at that time he talked about the fact that it was the combined largest tax increase in a quarter century, and stated he does not think those kinds of actions should be rewarded with salary increases.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, and Mr. Mowrer, 4. Voting NAY: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 3. Bill No. 5 – 2005 was declared passed on First Reading.

F. Bill No. 6 – 2005 – Establishing Salary – Controller

The Clerk read Bill No. 6 – 2005 – Establishing Salary – Controller, sponsored by Mr. Mowrer and Mr. Donchez, and titled:


Ms. Szabo, communicating this position bothers her very much, noted every time she brings up the subject or asks about how many hours are put in by the person elected, she is told the person is elected by the voters and Council has no control over it. Ms. Szabo, stressing she wants it understood that she is not condemning the person but the position, observed there is the absence of communication yet things pass through, are overlooked, and the matter goes on. Ms. Szabo pointed out this is true throughout the State. Ms. Szabo noted that Northampton County had questions about their Controller, as has other communities in the Lehigh Valley. Ms. Szabo thought before raises are given there should be some communication, and whoever is elected to that position should have a system of responsibility to the voters and answers as to why things go unnoticed. Ms. Szabo commented that position has to be responsible for the actions of that position to the citizens. Ms. Szabo said she will not vote for an increase for this position.

In response to Mrs. Belinski, President Schweder observed that the number of hours of work is not defined under the charter.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, and Mr. Schweder, 6. Voting NAY: Ms. Szabo, 1. Bill No. 6 – 2005 was declared passed on First Reading.

G. Bill No. 7 – 2005 – Establishing Salary – President and Members of Council

The Clerk read Bill No. 7 – 2005 – Establishing Salary – President and Members of Council, sponsored by Mr. Mowrer and Mr. Donchez, and titled:


Ms. Szabo said she objects to Council giving itself a raise, even though it is just a trifle. Ms. Szabo communicated there is always a big fuss about Harrisburg legislators giving themselves a raise. While restating it is just a small amount, Ms. Szabo explained she does not think at this time with the City’s financial situation Council should be giving themselves a raise. Ms. Szabo expressed she realizes it can be said that regardless of how the vote comes out tonight she will not get this raise, neither would Mr. Mowrer, and neither would Mr. Donchez if they voted for it. Ms. Szabo, stressing it is not sour grapes or jealousy that she is not going to get the raise if it is passed, said it is just her moral feeling about it. Ms. Szabo pointed out she is not doing this for publicity and is not running for election.

Mrs. Belinski, communicating she feels the position of Council Member is one of giving back to the community, remarked she would do it if she was not paid at all. Mrs. Belinski stated she will not vote for a raise, especially if there is a financial crisis.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, and Mr. Mowrer, 4. Voting NAY: Mrs. Belinski, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 3. Bill No. 7 – 2005 was declared passed on First Reading.


A. Approving Contract for Sale of Land for Redevelopment – Silk Mill Street Vicinity

Mrs. Belinski and Ms. Szabo sponsored Resolution 14,561 which approved Contract for Sale for Redevelopment by and between the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem and Silk Mill Realty, L.P., and the offer of Silk Mill Realty, L.P., and authorized execution of the Contract for Sale with Silk Mill Realty L.P., according to the terms and conditions of the Contract. The property is located in the vicinity of W. Goepp, Geissinger and Silk Mill Streets and the proposal consists of using the property for parking to support a residential re-use. The agreed upon purchase price is $79,500.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.

B. Certificate of Appropriateness – 80 West Market Street

Mrs. Belinski and Ms. Szabo sponsored Resolution 14,562 which granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace the front door at 80 West Market Street.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.

C. Transfer of Funds – Liquid Fuels Fund – Dump Truck Equipment

Mrs. Belinski and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 14,563 which transferred $6,445 in the Liquid Fuels Fund Budget from the Elizabeth Avenue Storm Sewer Account to the Equipment Account to purchase required equipment for a Dump Truck.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.

D. Transfer of Funds – Tax Bureau – Equipment

Mr. Donchez and Mr. Arcelay sponsored Resolution 14,564 which transferred $1,628 in the General Fund Budget from the Tax Bureau – Salaries Account to new Tax Bureau – Equipment Account, for the purchase of a shredding machine.

Voting AYE: Mr. Arcelay, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Leeson, Mr. Mowrer, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Schweder, 7. The Resolution passed.


Treasurer’s Salary

Ms. Szabo, highlighting the fact that the salary of Treasurer for many years has only been $1,000, said the Treasurer does do the job of the position and communicates with people. Ms. Szabo queried “don’t we ever give the position an increase.”

Mr. Donchez recounted that when the position was changed to $1,000 salary per year it was plus benefits, and was the understanding in revising the position from a full time City Treasurer to a part-time City Treasurer.

President Schweder thought that was consistent across the State when such positions were made part-time that the salary was reduced.

Mr. Reichard responded in the affirmative.

Broad and Main Streets – Fire

Mayor Callahan provided an update on the situation at the corner Broad and Main Streets following the recent four alarm fire that affected several buildings and closed the roadway. Mayor Callahan advised that a contract was signed today with a demolition company to do limited demolition, clean-up of the area, and to stabilize the building with the focus towards rehabilitating and preserving as much of the existing structure as possible. Acknowledging it has been a difficult time, Mayor Callahan noted the City has been trying to move aggressively while trying to be sensitive to the owners, and recognizing the importance to existing merchants and the downtown of reopening Main Street. Communicating that the City has brought all of the forces to bear on the City’s side, particularly the Building Inspections Bureau, Mayor Callahan said he wanted to publicly commend Craig Hynes, Chief of the Bureau of Code Enforcement, and Phil Roeder, Building and Housing Inspector, for the great job they have done, working with the owners, and ensuring the situation is resolved as quickly as possible. Mayor Callahan advised, if all goes as planned, it would be the intention to have Main Street reopened by Thursday evening. In addition, Mayor Callahan noted that the Traffic Bureau has done a great job of directing traffic around the detour. Mayor Callahan, stressing the great job done by the Fire Department, noted he had the opportunity to watch the Fire Department in action from the point they arrived at the fire and was very proud of the job they did, particularly under the difficult conditions of snow, ice, and cold temperatures, and commended the Fire Department.

President Schweder thanked the Mayor for his leadership and the Administration in the situation that occurred on the worst possible winter night.

Casino at Route 412 and Interstate 78 – Discussions with LVIP Officials

Mr. Leeson, expressing his understanding that the Mayor has met with representatives of Lehigh Valley Industrial Park (LVIP) several times to try to lobby them to sell the intersection of Route 412 and Interstate 78 to Louis Pektor for a slots gambling casino, questioned if the Mayor is doing that, why is he doing that.

Mayor Callahan noted he is an ex-officio member of the executive board of LVIP. Mayor Callahan said there have been a number of private discussions with the board with a number of developers for that site. Mayor Callahan advised he is not in a position at this point to discuss them. Mayor Callahan continued on to say he thinks there have been a number of individuals who have looked at that site. Mayor Callahan, commenting he does not know that he would characterize it as lobbying, said he does not have any further comment beyond that.

Mr. Leeson asked whether the Mayor is pushing for a particular team with respect to the gambling license and slots machine issue.

Mayor Callahan replied “no, I am not.”

Mrs. Belinski said she understands that former State Senator Uliana now works for Mr. Pektor and asked is that true.

Mayor Callahan responded he does not know what the nature of their relationship is.

Mrs. Belinski stated she brought it up because in the Express-Times some time back it was noted that Mr. Uliana was Mayor Callahan’s political advisor.

Mayor Callahan communicated he would consider Joe Uliana a friend and there are times when he seeks advice from a number of individuals. Mayor Callahan continued on to say that, Mr. Uliana being a former State Senator and elected official, there are times when he has certainly asked Mr. Uliana for advice, not on a formal basis, and certainly not on a paid basis.

Mrs. Belinski noted that Mr. Pektor wants to join with the Mohican Indian tribe to establish a casino. Mrs. Belinski, asking if someone could straighten out what she heard, wondered whether the Indians do not pay taxes. Mrs. Belinski inquired if someone could follow through on the matter and find out for her what specifically are the Indians alleviated from paying.

Mayor Callahan observed that perhaps Mrs. Belinski could direct her question to the City Council Solicitor.

Mrs. Belinski thought the person to contact would be Alex Karras, Tax Administrator.

Mayor Callahan commented perhaps it would be to find out if Indian tribes pay taxes where they are now.


City Council

William Scheirer, 1890 Eaton Avenue, noted that recently a candidate for City Council reportedly referred to infighting on City Council, and another candidate reportedly said that some Council Members put their personal agendas ahead of the good of the City. Mr. Scheirer communicated that the comments caused him to reflect on the nature of this City Council, especially after attending 48 of the last 49 meetings of the council, almost all of the meetings of the Committee of the Whole, and numerous Committee meetings. In reflecting on the nature of this Council, Mr. Scheirer pointed out he was almost immediately struck by its heterogeneity. He continued on to say that each Member of Council is unlike the others, has different backgrounds, different personalities, and different emphases as they approach the issues. Mr. Scheirer thought that if a random sample of seven adults in the City were taken, he would venture to say that it would be quite unlikely that the people in such a sample would be as different from each Member as the Members are. Mr. Scheirer emphasized that, in this sense, it is somewhat surprising how well the Members of Council work together. He remarked that a large number of 7 to 0 votes was becoming rather boring for a while. Then, he noted, came what was perhaps the most important issue of the year, the pension bond, on which the Members were divided right down the middle. Mr. Scheirer said immediately after the 4 to 3 vote the Members went on to other matters without missing a beat. Mr. Scheirer recalled that a Member of Council has said angry words have never been spoken, and another has said the Members are all friends at the end of the meeting. Mr. Scheirer thought that is probably because each of the Members perceives that each of the others is trying to act in the best interests of the City. Mr. Scheirer added that he disagreed with each Member of Council on at least two issues. Mr. Scheirer said “but you are another reason why I am glad I returned to my hometown.”

BEDCO – Real Estate Assets

Carol Ann Krasley, 624 Center Street, asked does BEDCO (Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation) have any real estate assets.

Mayor Callahan replied they do.

Ms. Krasley asked what is the proper disposition of the real estate assets and are they going to be sold.

Mayor Callahan, explaining it would be up to the BEDCO Board as to what would happen to the properties, noted there are no current proposals to sell any of the properties.

Ms. Krasley queried who comprises the BEDCO Board.

Mayor Callahan, affirming he is on the BEDCO Board, added there is a City Council representative to the BEDCO Board.

President Schweder commented he did not think there is a BEDCO Board any more.

Mayor Callahan, confirming there are still assets that are owned by BEDCO, stated as a result there is a need, whether one wants to call it a reconstituted or reformulated Board, to bring a Board together in order to come up with a plan to deal with the assets.

President Schweder, while stating he would ask the Council Solicitor and City Solicitor to check into that matter, restated he does not think there is such a Board any more and that was turned over to LVEDC (Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation). President Schweder continued on to say he thought one of the things the audit of BEDCO, requested by City Council, determined is that the final termination of BEDCO and the signing of the agreement with LVEDC may never have been completed. President Schweder communicated that as best as he can tell for the last two years there has been no BEDCO Board.

Mayor Callahan, noting that Tony Hanna, Director of Community and Economic Development was not at the meeting this evening, inquired is there a particular question to which he can have Mr. Hanna respond.

President Schweder replied it would be the questions asked by Ms. Krasley, as well as what is the disposition of the BEDCO Board and does the BEDCO Board in fact exist.


Dean Bruch, 625 Hawthorne Road, thanked City officials for doing their job, and thought they are very capable. Mr. Bruch, communicating that sometimes he disagrees with them and other times he agrees with them, said for the most part City officials have their minds and he has his. Mr. Bruch thanked Mayor Callahan for supervising the plowing of the snow, and further thanked Mr. Smith, the Fire Department, and the Police Department.


Mr. Bruch, commenting there is a situation, said the population cannot afford what is being done. Mr. Bruch, asking the Members to think about it in terms of the people when they say yes, remarked that the citizens cannot afford their vote. Mr. Bruch, recalling that in the past he has said “accountability,” remarked once in a while he reads it in the newspaper but he does not see anything done about it.

Bethlehem Authority Accounts

Mr. Bruch, turning to the $900,000 discovered in the Bethlehem Authority’s account, asked if the IRS is owed some money on that amount. If so, Mr. Bruch said he wants somebody fired and, if not, he is going to file a lawsuit “because it’s time people do something about not performing.”

Bethlehem Authority

Charles Nyul, 1966 Pinehurst Road, referring to the preceding speaker’s comments, recalled that at the last meeting Mr. Donchez and Mr. Reichard were back and forth on the issue of the Bethlehem Authority and Mr. Reichard’s comment was that he will not step on any toes or accuse anybody. Mr. Nyul said “it’s time…Step on the toes. Accuse him. If he’s doing wrong, fire him…”.

Bethlehem Works

Mr. Nyul, wondering whether Bethlehem Works is based strictly on the fact that there will be a casino there, said he does not think Bethlehem or the Lehigh Valley is being thought of. Mr. Nyul communicated that he expected to be standing in front of the assembly tonight with the 100 page bill that was passed in Harrisburg. However, it was not sent to him from Harrisburg yet. Mr. Nyul remarked that, evidently, seven people have jurisdiction over the casino bill and they already said Bethlehem is not being considered. Mr. Nyul queried whether the redevelopment will go through if the site is not approved for a casino. Mr. Nyul commented he does not want to see gambling in Bethlehem. Mr. Nyul recalled the gambling on the South Side when Bethlehem Steel was there.

Presentation by Michael Perrucci – Bethlehem Works

Dana Grubb, 2420 Henderson Place, noted that Michael Perrucci will be making a presentation of his plan at the Bethlehem Works Now site next Monday night at Cathedral Church of the Nativity. Mr. Grubb thought it is a good opportunity if people are interested in seeing what can happen if gaming comes to Bethlehem versus what happens if it does not.

Bethlehem Authority

Stephen Antalics, 737 Ridge Street, referring to his comments in the minutes of the January 18, 2005 City Council Meeting, communicated that in view of the $900,000 swing with a differential of $1.8 million the taxpayers have a financial burden because of mismanagement and no one knows who is mismanaging. Mr. Antalics noted he had said pass an Ordinance retiring the Bethlehem Authority, and put the entire system within the Administration under the jurisdiction of the Mayor or privatize but something has to change. It is only going to get worse. Mr. Antalics remarked “today we read it’s getting worse.” Mr. Antalics said the question is whether it is suggested that Council take responsibility for that. Mr. Antalics queried is there any discussion within Council to relieve the taxpayer, and taking some finite action.

President Schweder expressed his observations about what he has read over the last few days is that in a sense perhaps things got better. President Schweder thought the new financial advisors that the Bethlehem Authority hired have come across something that has been there. President Schweder commented he is going to wait judgment on that. President Schweder advised he has been told by two members of the Bethlehem Authority that they believe the previous financial advisors withheld information from the new advisor, and that investigation continues. President Schweder, pointing out he thinks action is being taken, said he would anxiously await to see what the new financial advisors report.

Mr. Antalics stated it is a band-aid approach versus something more fundamental and that is the management of the whole system. Mr. Antalics commented that the Parking Authority and Bethlehem Housing Authority operate on the same conditions, and they seem to be making money. Expressing his thought that something has to be done in terms of who will run the water system and have total control and total responsibility, Mr. Antalics stressed that is the fundamental issue. Stating the $900,000 is not good or bad, Mr. Antalics said that has nothing to do with the fundamental problem which he remarked is a systematic mismanagement because of lack of responsibility. Mr. Antalics continued on to say until someone addresses that problem and puts responsibility and accountability in one area it is going to continue because politics will be involved. Mr. Antalics expressed that the municipality should not be in the business of utilities but should be managing the welfare of the community. Mr. Antalics queried does Council intend to look into the situation from that point of view as to how to handle the whole water system.

President Schweder confirmed Mr. Mowrer announced that the Public Works Committee will be listening to the Strategic Plan presentation by David Brong, Director of Water and Sewer Resources, next Tuesday evening that he assumes will address Mr. Antalics’ question. President Schweder added he would assume that the day to day operation and responsibility for running the water operation should rest with Mr. Brong’s Department because it always has.

Bethlehem Authority - Audit

Mr. Leeson said he wants to present an idea for the Members of Council to ponder over the next few weeks and months. Mr. Leeson stated that, in addition to Mr. Brong presenting an overview of the management of the water system, part of which would touch on the finances in one fashion or another, as part of the annual audit he thinks one thing that needs to be looked at as an option is to have the auditors review the Bethlehem Authority. Mr. Leeson communicated one thing that has been a source of puzzlement to him is why the auditors for the Bethlehem Authority have not caught all these things over the years. Mr. Leeson, stressing he is not suggesting impropriety, explained he is suggesting the auditors should find out what is there, what is not there, and get a fresh look not only from the management perspective that will be offered by the administration but also from a financial perspective.

Mr. Donchez, with reference to Mr. Antalics’ questions, confirmed he sent a memorandum to the Chairman and the Executive Director of the Bethlehem Authority concerning what was discussed at the last City Council Meeting and enumerated the questions, as follows: what is the exact dollar amount of arbitrage that is owed; why did this occur; who is responsible for this occurrence; will any legal action be taken by the Bethlehem Authority or the City to recoup the amount owed; what will be done to ensure this does not recur in the future. Mr. Donchez noted there are no solid numbers yet from what was reported in the newspaper two weeks ago from a low of $100,000 to as high as possibly $800,000. Mr. Donchez commented he is waiting for a response to his memorandum. Focusing on the Strategic Plan to be presented next Tuesday, Mr. Donchez said hopefully that will clear up the responsibilities of the City and the Bethlehem Authority.

State Representative Steve Samuelson

Mr. Bruch, with reference to a newspaper article today about State Representative Steve Samuelson, remarked there should be some recognition of Representative Samuelson as a credit to the community. Mr. Bruch, stating he knows Representative Samuelson turns down his raises, said he told him not to do so because his family needs the money as well as others do. Highlighting the fact that Representative Samuelson stays in Harrisburg and votes on the issues, Mr. Bruch stressed that now State legislators do not even have to do their job by voting in person in Harrisburg as a result of the law that was passed allowing leaders to vote for them. Mr. Bruch asserted that legislators are at home doing their own business, taking the taxpayers money, and not doing their jobs. Mr. Bruch queried who has the authority to recommend a commendation for Representative Samuelson and the job he does. Mr. Bruch commented that if a commendation is not considered he may have to buy a full page ad and give his own recognition to Representative Samuelson “because he is an excellent representative.”

Water System

Mr. Bruch suggested that if the City wants to get a price for its water works then an advertisement for sale should be placed and maybe someone will tell the City what it is worth.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m.