The regular monthly meeting of Yoe Borough Council was held on March 5, 2013 at the Yoe Borough Municipal Building, 150 N. Maple Street, Yoe, PA. The meeting was called to order by Council President Sam Snyder at 7:09PM followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Council members in attendance:
Regan Strausbaugh (arriving at 7:43PM)
Others in attendance:
Sandy Sterner, Secretary-Treasurer (leaving at 8:50PM)
Steve Malesker, Engineer
Seth Springer, sitting in for Borough Solicitor Charles Rausch
John Sanford, Mayor
Philip Briddell, York Habitat for Humanity
Councilman Snyder asked if everyone had an opportunity to look over the minutes from the prior meeting. A motion was made by Councilman Allar to accept the meeting minutes of February 5, 2013 as presented. The motion was seconded by Councilman Howett. All in favor. Councilman Snyder said motion carried.
Councilman Allar said I mentioned last month that York Habitat of Humanity would be coming to our meeting. This is Phil Briddell, he is one of the board members. He and I had worked together on getting monies prior. Steve Munchel, he is the construction manager, he can’t be here tonight. However, Steve did see the property in question. While I thought it would be too bad for Habitat to take over. He said no, he has seen worse. On the construction standpoint, at least the construction manager is happy with it. I want everyone to know, that at least Habitat has seen it recently. I’ll turn it over to Phil. Mr. Briddell said good evening everybody. I recognize some familiar faces. Councilman Allar said Phil was former President of the York Township Supervisors. Mr. Briddell said its been fun being on the force, at the end of the day you see something that has been done. Perhaps the most rewarding thing of all, is when you open the door and turn the keys over to the family. It’s a joint effort by the an awful lot of people to make that happen. I’ll go through this and I’ll try to do this rather quickly just to give you a sense of the people involved, houses we create and of course time for questions and answers. This was done for a year end dinner that we have at Aldersgate. This is a faith based organization that we have. We do rely on a lot of support from a lot of different churches around York County. We have been around for 26 years. The number of homes since October is 107. We had the veteran build on Poplar Street on January. 107 houses that we’ve done. And its really been from Dover Borough where we did a brand new subdivision of 16 townhouses in it. The land was donated by somebody. And we and the borough actually developed the whole project. Oak Lane which is right down off Penn Park, seventeen houses that were all down and were replaced with fifteen brand new ones. So we do anywhere from one house a site someplace, to multi family houses. We have an active group. The swinging seniors show up Wednesday and Fridays. Its good to have ten guys that are talented. When we do a house we call it a build. In order to do the build, someone has to sponsor us. That’ the biggest challenge that we have, if we are doing a spot in Yoe. If we have some organizations that sponsor and they don’t care where it is, others very specifically want to address a particular community or something like that. Mayor Sanford asked whats involved in a sponsorship? Mr. Briddell said its sort of, everyone is a little bit different, but to be called a sponsor its $20,000.00. Our typical builds run between 100 and 150. And more often than not, we’ll have more than one sponsor into it. To feel comfortable, we have everything covered. During the course of that project, we’ll get enough donations, cash, volunteer, provided services. And having done 107 houses we have a pretty good feel on how things flow like that. That is the challenge, is getting sponsorships. Johnson Controls, they have internally been working, to raise the money to do the one. That is where Steve is. York New Salem, we started one there. And Johnson Controls have sponsored. They will have raised money. They have a golf tournament every year, they sell food at work. They are really committed. This is one, you can see what is left of it. That’s what was left of the house, and it was rebuilt. They have all sort of activities for the habitat homeowners, picnics, holiday gatherings. They are a pretty type group. You have to go all the effort to work on your own house. Participate in a lot of different things. Have a lot of commradery. We have colleges that come in at special time. That is a good source of volunteers. Realtors sponsor every couple of years. This is one, that was our 100th home. If you have any questions? We try to do a house, from scratch, we pick the features that belong to that neighborhood. Some standard issue on a lot that doesn’t belong there. We have some talented educated people. We have a gala every year, that is one of our big fund raisers. This is the veterans build, we started on Memorial Day, turned it over on Veterans Day in November. Channel 8 went down, he was coming in from Afghanistan, and knew his house we built but never had seen it. Ironically, he was building houses over in Afghanistan. He comes home, he has a great looking house to come home to. What a couple, they are awesome. This gentleman here was still in the service, he went into a Rutter Bros. he got shot in the face. He was on disability. Other than that, he was healthy. He was there everyday working on this house, he was dedicated. A lot of veterans, help out. This is one where we brought in, a whole modular system was donated by a ministery. They donate these blanks for houses. It was all raised and under roof in one day, during Memorial Day. There were 75 people there. Till it all finished, was in November. It was a community awareness, community supported kind of thing. It does that everytime we do it. Americorp helps two months twice a year. We do try to do where we’re doing a bunch of them in an area. So it has that community impact. We try to do four or five in an area. You can see how some, we did one that there were no porches along that street, so we did it without the porch. Other houses have porches, so we put it on. They are extremely well built houses. We have people doing HVAC and the electrical, they are not volunteers. Material gets donated. We have a couple contractors that we work with, that are very supportive of Habitat. Plumbers and HVAC. Volunteers do what volunteers can do, then we have people that follow the volunteers to make sure it gets done right. This is one we are doing now, York College has a freshman class that did a house across the street from this. Now the seniors are doing the second house. Glatfleters is a big supported. Part of what we do, a certain percentage of the money we raise, actually goes toward international sort of thing. We have done $96,000.00 in a partnership in that area. They can build a house way sooner than we can. We do a lot with YMCA and YWCA. Habitat’s work is done mostly with volunteers, that are so dedicated. We did five houses, start to finish last year. This year, two and we are working on one right now, seven or eight others for the next two years. If we did something here, it would be two years out. 2015. What drives it, is getting sponsors. Its absolutely, amazing, if you ask someone to help. Things happen. Volunteers are about 3000 hours per house. They enjoy it, everyone knows what their specialty is. We make every effort, we advertise that this opportunity comes up, so they can apply for it. It’s a pretty rigorous application process. The advantage that Habitat has, especially in this market is we not only do the house, we provide the mortgage to the homeowners. And we provide everything, at a figure that homeowner, no matter what their situation is. We hold them to whatever it is that they qualify for. They go through a lengthy thing, of what its like to be homeowner, home budget, setting your budget, that kind of stuff. And more often than thought, when we make a home available, they are better off financially. Its unbelievable, seeing how some of these folks are residing. A lot of the time, it’s a single mom with a couple kids. And I just couldn’t believe what they are paying for utility costs. It was like a $1,000.00 a month, you’d never get out from behind. Considering the fact, that all of these, people with supportable income. They have to be within a certain percentage of income. Our cases we are making a much more desirable living experience, on cost and where they live. It’s not perfect. We hold 39 mortgages right now. We only have two in the 30 to 60 day late. If they don’t pay it right away, escrowed monies for tax, we’ll right on them. Its an obligation they have to support what we are trying to do. We can’t let someone get away with it. So we’re pretty tough. We work with them, for the best way possible to make it happen. In screening the people, there is a committee that is very active, they meet with them and works with the person and make sure the family understands the obligations that they will be taking. And they’ll make a recommendation to the board for approval of that person. They’ll take in all different considerations to choose somebody. Particular when you consider what the income levels are that we are considering. A good part of it, is the whole commradorie that all this folks experience. They feel they are part of something. You can see it when you turn the keys over. They are happy to be part of it. Its what I enjoy. The secretary asked do you hold them responsible for maintenance on the property once you turn it over to them? Mr. Briddell say yeah, effectively we sell the properties to them, its their property. We having a big debate, there are certain things you can’t do because we don’t want somebody abusing the system. We turn the house over, and they lease it out to somebody. You can’t do that. Our debate is, whether that should be a deed restriction or some other agreement. I really, I have seen so many deed restrictions for someone fifty years down the road. We do put restrictions on them. Its also from the point of view, that they are home owners and they are responsible. We hold the mortgage the same as a bank does. Its been interesting, we have some people that have been in for twenty years now. We even had some, while they were young, with a family, were struggling. Both of them end up going to school and now are teaching at Red Lion School District. Its just phenomenal how habitat was a trigger that made it work for them. Councilman Snyder said I saw 103 houses, the previous said 104 houses. If habitat only holds 32 mortgages, what about the other 70 homes, are there private ones? Mr. Briddell said some of them do, because there is a income qualifier on it. If they make too much, it doesn’t work. There are some that are held by EFFA. Maybe 12 or so. We’re actually on advice of legal counsel, we strongly recommend that they turn the money over to a third party right now. Just because of all the issues involved, mortgages and everything. A lot of them are paid off. We are only holding about 39. The other thing that we do, when we sell the property for what it appraises at. If in fact it appraises at higher, this just happened at Poplar Street, higher than what that family can afford. We hold what is called a self second mortage. Where they don’t pay anything on that mortgage. If they sell that property, that would be liened against that property. They would have to be. That way Habitat would be covered. That couldn’t just sell it out from under and pocket the extra $40,000.00. Matter of fact, Steve Munchel was Habitat in 2001. He is our construction manager. We have nine different projects right now. Mr. Springer asked do you know of any property that you’ve held conservatorily? Through a conservatorship. Mr. Briddell asked when you say that, you’re holding it for? Mr. Springer said it’s a new rule with Pennsylvania development nine, where the court can give conservator rights. Conservatorship law, essentially you petition the court, and title never transfers from the owner of the property, someone is apponted as conservator and then the conservator can encumber the property and Habitat would be the one to do that. And then you can have the title of property eventually transferred to Habitat, so Habitat could transfer to the. Mr. Briddell asked without having to go through a transfer? Mr. Springer said oh no, there would be a transfer. Mr. Briddell said the in between. Mr. Springer said or it could go directly through Habitat, or not directly to that owner. I was wondering if you ever have done that? Mr. Briddell said not with a conservatorship, we haven’t. What we have done is through the redevelopment authority. Councilman Allar asked do you know John Baranski? Mr. Springer said yes. Councilman Allar said he’s the habitat’s lawyer. You and he ought to talk. If there is a minefield, something we’re not thinking of then we ought to find that out early. Mr. Springer said right, and I talked to Judge Linebaugh, the President Judge and he said, just informally. He told me to schedule an appointment with him so we can knock out what he wants to see in a petition. I’m going to talk to the Redevelopment Authority in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh because they’ve used this conservatorship law. Get the samples of what they did, take it to Judge Linebaugh, knock out what he wants to see. I don’t know if Habitat has done this before. Mr. Briddell said not that I’m aware of. Did you say anything to Steve about that? Councilman Allar said yeah, I talked to Steve about it. He was the one that came by, I wanted to find out about the property construction wise. If it was something Habitat would find acceptable to do. But from a legal standpoint, the board will do what the board does but still the legal counsel will have to say, hey I think we can do this conservatorship or we can’t. We’ll have to talk to him and sell it. Its brand new. Mr. Springer said this hasn’t been done in York yet. Councilman Allar said so he’s going to nervous about something new, I’m glad you are talking to the judge. That will be very helpful. Explain to the Habitat attorney. Find out early if its going to work. Mr. Springer said if it works for this one, other ones as well. I was talking Don Hoyt who is the attorney for the Redevelopment Authority of York and he said well we haven’t done it here in York but he knows people in Philadelphia that used this. Councilman Allar said you mentioned, that you try to keep the architectural style in the same manner as the neighborhood. We have old homes. You have no problem if its Victorian, you can keep along those lines. As opposed to putting in some modern one story,if it’s a two story or three story it stays a two or three story. Mr. Briddell said we would definitely keep it to what the borough has, we take a lot of pride in accomplishing that. That’d be a priority item. To make sure everybody. Mr. Briddell said I think I saw it driving down. Councilman Snyder said when you said, typically you need a sponsor, one sponsor of $20,000.00 is that something that, you take care of finding or is that something the borough does? Mr. Briddell said we get money from wherever we can, if you have connections someplace with somebody an organization. We get calls from people that specifically what to sponsor something, so if there is anybody in the area that is interested in a partial or whole sponsorship. In order to be considered a sponsor, $20,000.00 is the usual figure. For the board to proceed, they would need 3 or 4 of those. Depending on the property. Steve would have to through and figure out, what exactly would have to be done. Councilman Snyder said that is what we need to consider, if you need to have sponsors lined up before you even take on a property, because you need to know you have the money in place to be able to rehab it. That’s something then, because the borough is looking at going through a conservatorship, to see if we can’t partner with someone to rehab it or else is it cheaper for the borough to go through condemnation. Mr. Briddell said I think if there is point that I can make that you all understand is that we’re totally functional with sponsorship. We’d love to do houses all over the place, we can’t do what we don’t have sponsors for so. It takes typically that two to three year period to work through assistance to find sponsors for the project. We actually have more houses than we have sponsorship for. We always have the pipeline full, because some work for some reason or another, work out faster than others. We’re working with Wrightsville, they have a vacant lot near the borough building. Councilman Snyder said that would be something that we would have to consider for the conservatorship because if they have such a bag log to get sponsors to do it. If we take conservatorship, is the judge going to say, we need to see progress. Attorney Springer said plans. Councilman Snyder said yeah, we need a plan. Attorney Springer said you are collecting sponsorship money on the front end to rehab a house or to build a house, and then you have a 30 year mortage for the appraised value give or take, do you have any grant programs from the income coming from the mortgage to fund a new build or remodel? Mr. Briddell said we’ve done a lot where people because we can offer the mortgage like we do, through the Housing Authority, County Planning, they have, there is a whole lot of red tape involved with that. We’ve done several houses like the one on Poplar Street, that settled in January that was through county planning. If there is money available, that certainly expedites this. Attorney Springer said Felicia Dell mentioned something about grant money available. Mr. Briddell said there is, it’s a matter of getting in that program, MSG some housing program. One that seems to work faster than others is Red Lion School District is doing one. Getting all there money together to do it. Its down in Windsor Borough, that we will be working on. Councilman Noll asked how do you acquire your properties, through donations, is that the only way you acquire your properties? Mr. Briddell said not the only way, but that certainly is less money we have to raise, wherever possible. Its not the only case. Windsor Borough is going to end up having to pay something for that. Its been on the market for five years, they didn’t want to have to give it away. If we have to, we have to. More often than not, its in conjunction with sponsors. Councilman Noll said so the most desirable way to pick up house, to have a sponsor. Mr. Briddell said and the other thing that eliminates, we’re not going to buy a property on spec. So everything has to be laid down what the game plan is before we proceed. Councilman Snyder said again, just like Seth Springer mentioned here. If you have a couple years in the pipeline, Seth Springer mentioned that the hardest thing we’re going to have to sell to a judge, is the plan. As a conservatorship, you’re going to show the plan on how you plan on doing it. One of the things, I’ve already told council is, we’re going route, we have to have a plan on property maintenance. We’re going to have sell this to the town on a ½ mill increase, that will generate roughly $15,000.00 a year and we’ll put that towards property maintenance and the issues that we are facing in town. We’re already have rough estimate of $6,000.00 to $8,000.00 to get the conservatorship started, a second year of our tax millage of another $15,000.00 would give us roughly the extra money to have $20,000.00 that Yoe Borough technically could be the sponsor, at least one sponsor for habitat for the house. That would be part of the plan, I’m not sure what Habitat could do to say you are aware of the situation is coming, I don’t know how you guys find sponsors, whether if you are out there in the business community, donate money for tax right off and the arbitrarily give you money each year. If you can keep that. I am sure Louis Appel, Platzgraff gives out tons of money that way. I can see if you present that to a board and say this is the undertaking of going with a conservatorship maybe could they. We have to show this to a judge, we have to have a plan such. Mr. Briddell said if there is a will, there is usally a way. This is how its been working, through my experience. Councilman Noll said we’re coming up on a grant time for CDBG, I wonder if this would be unique enough. Councilman Allar said those have used conservatorships, several had put down that they used CDBG funds. Councilman Noll said especially if it hasn’t been done in York County, Yoe Borough is going to put money into it. CDBG would have the match. Attorney Springer asked who do you sometimes to handle the mortgages? Does legal counsel advise you to have a bank? Mr. Briddell said yes. I am not on the committee, they mentioned the name. John would know. Attorney Springer said when you take out the mortgage, you get a lump sum for the mortgage, what you get from the note goes to pay off. Mr. Briddell said all we do is collect money for thirty years. We’re talking on an obligation for that. Councilman Snyder said you’re investing in thirty years down the road. Mr. Briddell said exactly. Councilman Snyder said you’re getting monthly income. Councilman Allar said we met with Felicia Dell, and go over all this with conservatorship and so forth and she actually would like that CDBG would get involved. Councilman Noll said did you get a sense of how much is too much to ask for, for something like that. Attorney Springer said I’ve been speaking with her did you meet with her recently? Councilman Allar said February 6th. Attorney Springer said that would have been since I talked to her. One thing the conservatorship allows you to do is, encumber the property. Which is to say mortgaged it, if you could mortgage it, under yourself if you are holding the mortgage. Or I suspect and I know your attorney, I know their reasoning for tossing it off to a bank. There is a lot of requirements, that you have cooperate with. I wonder if you could hold the mortgage, encumber the property as the conservator holding the mortgage or at least the property to your participant, the applicant who will eventually be the home owner. Then I think, that would be possible. Then you could get start money or matching funds through CDBG or Yoe, if you get another sponsor, a school district, church, a business, then we might have the ball rolling. You said there is about a two year wait list. Mr. Briddell said normally there is the two to three year, not to say it couldn’t happen sooner if you had the sponsorship put together. Attorney Springer said if I could talk to Judge Linebaugh, say this what we are trying to do, would you be okay with that? Councilman Snyder asked would he consider that a plan knowing that? Attorney Springer said that’s the question. Councilman Allar said when a judge knows where this eventually ends, I think that, might make it attractive, then Yoe Borough trying it over to make a buck or something. Councilman Snyder said the only question, with conservatorship is that geared more toward the seeing the original property owner gets the property back. Because Habitat of York has their own criteria, we’re going to set something else up in this house. Attorney Springer said not necessarily, then it goes to plan. You can give it back, unencumbered but you can also sell it, you can petition the court to release the property. If they release the property as part of the original plan, what we’re getting at, then we may be alright. Councilman Snyder said that would be the key here, but I don’t know if Habitat of York would like that, end up doing the work, once its appraised first dibs goes to him if he can get a mortgage for $110,000.00, if not then you have the right to sell to whoever you put through the pipeline. Councilman Strausbaugh asked would we even want to do that with this? That house has been sitting for a long time. Councilman Snyder said I don’t know what the courts are going to say with this conservatorship, otherwise they may say you are just doing a taking. You have a eminent domain. Attorney Springer said I think the difference is you already encumbered the property, you fixed it up and it will have a higher fair market value than what it is now, so you can sell it, you would just have to pay Richardson the fair market value at the time you sold it. Mr. Briddell said I think you have to understand Habitat’s goal here. Which is to, I understand your goal, you have a problem property, you want to see the house fixed up. Our goal is getting to fix up the house, its not a house it’s a home for a family that we’re trying to help. Is this a single guy? I’m not sure if he would be as favorably rank as a family in that situation. Attorney Springer said not after he left it fall into disrepair. Mr. Briddell said that would be a hard market to sell to our volunteers. Councilman Noll said you normally, put a family in the home from the very beginning of the build. Mr. Briddell said oh yeah, because they have to work on it. Councilman Snyder said this is what I’m saying, if we end up having to pay Richardson back, that’s not what they want to do. They want this house, free and clear. Councilman Allar said we don’t even start work, we don’t get a crew out there until its owned free and clear, unless we have a court order allowing us to do that. In other words, the conservatorship would allow the property to pass over to Habitat, it would go to us, then we would pass it over to them. They would have total say on who goes into that property. Attorney Springer said Habitat could partition the court itself. Councilman Allar said yes, that’s true. Attorney Springer said then they could the plan. If you, if Habitat is willing to undertake that. Councilman Snyder said like he said though, their goal is to try to get homes free and clear, not have to pay for them up front. I don’t think Richardson is going to let Habitat come in and not give him anything for it. Councilman Allar said we need to petition and take control, once we have control, then we can bring Habitat in. Councilman Snyder said it still becomes an issue what do we do with Richardson. Councilman Allar said once we have the conservatorship, he’s out. Councilman Noll said not necessarily. Councilman Allar said one of the statues of the conservator is to sell the property. Attorney Springer said yes it does but at the same time you are selling the property, he gets the money. The question is the compensation he gets, for the title, sell property, valued at the time we become a conservator or at the time that its fixed. Habitat wants it at the time we become the conservator, because they don’t want to walk into this not knowing that they are going to have the title of the property to pass to their participant. Richardson is of course, is going to want it at the time that it is sold, completed. So that is one the details I have to knock out. Figure it out. Councilman Allar said it doesn’t say anything about the previous owners, it talks about conservatorship, how you go about it and the powers and so forth agreeing to the conservatorship. It doesn’t say anything about after you sell it, that you have to bring the previous owner into it. Attorney Springer said that’s the whole point of the conservatorship law, its not the taking, its not the condemnation. Now its one of the powers that you can do as conservator, is sell it. But that’s also one of the beauties of it, that if you encumber the property by mortgage, you’re not personally liable for it, its on the property. Property remains titled on the guy who owned it. Mr. Richardson. If we were to take it, encumber the property, fix it up and give it back to him, here’s your property back. Councilman Allar asked why would we want to encumber it? Attorney Springer said to fix it up. Councilman Allar said they are going to fix it up when they get control of it. With Habitat money. Attorney Springer said they are going to eventually encumber it anyway. Councilman Allar said but that’s the Habitat. Attorney Springer said yeah. Councilman Allar said but that’s the Habitat not Yoe Borough. Attorney Springer said yeah. Councilman Allar said its not Yoe Borough. Attorney Springer said okay. Councilman Noll said I think what we need to do, is really understand, I think this is a double edge sword. I really think what we are talking about is condemnation. What we want to do, while we really need to understand how this is different than condemnation, what is the difference between the two. Because of all of a sudden you say, you go in and take the property. Say yeah or nay based on your plan for the property and give it a public use all those types of things. With a conservatorship, while the program sounds good, it sounds like its going to be very hard for Habitat to do what they want to do, because of how the ownership transfers in the end. They need to guarantee the ownership upfront. The conservatorship seems like the end, those things are figured out. Attorney Springer said yes and no. I say yes, because it hasn’t been done here in York yet. Its been done in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but hasn’t been done in York yet. I don’t even think been in done in Harrisburg yet. Or in this tri county area. I said no because its specifically written into the law that a non profit can act as conservator. So you have to think, a legislative intent contemplated a non profit to come in and act as conservator. And what a non profit other than Habitat of Humanity, would they contemplating, surely not the Red Cross. It was a carve out for a reason. Just have to figure out the reason, how to effectuate the reason of this carve out. And yeah its going to take. I’ll talk to John. I have to talk to people that have done it. I’ve got to talk to the attorneys out in Philadelphia. Councilman Snyder said we have to find out what the end result is because we can’t just do a taking without a condemnation. And that is the whole purpose of what Habitat of York would like, they want a donated house. Sort of like, if we did the condemnation and gave it to you. That would work. And we may have the same amount of money into it as a sponsorship. Because we probably could do a condemnation for $15,000.00. I mean that would be the other way. Like I said we could do a condemnation for $15,000.00, take actual title through the courts and then turn it over to Habitat of York. That would be same like we talked about, a sponsorship. Mr. Briddell said would be like the Redevelopment Authority in the city. Attorney Springer asked do you pay the Redevelopment Authority? Mr. Briddell said we have paid a $900.00 settlement fee, some twenty years ago, it was minimal but there was some cost. Attorney Springer said one of the key aspects, one of the main consideration that we had was, how do we mitigate the cost for Yoe Borough. That was always, you have these properties, you want to do something with them, you don’t want to raise taxes. At the same its going to cost money, and if you could recoup that money on the back end that is one thing, if you can’t recoup the money, then you are footing the bill. Councilman Snyder said so Habitat wouldn’t really look at say, I am throwing numbers out. Say its going to cost $15,000.00 for a condemnation. That’s above what Habitat would like pay for a house to get one. Mr. Briddell said it would come down to the whole package. Whats it going to take,to get control of the property, when we sell, all that kind of stuff. Its certainly not unheard of, the property gets paid for. Typically not Habitat that does it, its one of the sponsors. Councilman Snyder said even if it means getting an extra sponsor out there, to help come up with the extra money. Councilman Strausbaugh said the question I have, something I thought about is, Tom and I went to the court house and there is only $12,000.00 liens on this house. So if conservatorship costs us $15,000.00 would we be better off letting it go to sheriff’s sale to see if anyone buys it. Or if nobody does, buy it for $12,000.00. Attorney Springer asked do you recall what the liens were on the property? Councilman Strausbaugh said taxes and his water bill. Attorney Springer said okay, taxes and water, you may be able to segregate under the conservatorship law. There is a lot of stuff that goes into it, it depends on if the taxes are to the county, the county could we could do a work. There is a lot of flexibility in the conservatorship law. Councilman Strausbaugh said, if its going to cost us $15,000.00, would be better if the borough outright buy it at Sheriff’s sale? Attorney Springer said I guess. Councilman Snyder said I don’t know. Attorney Springer said I don’t see why not. Councilman Allar said let me go over the numbers, I gave you that file to know the financial, legal background up to date on that. I checked about seven different agencies in York. And right now, the only lien that I could find, I did not do a title search. Would be the borough sewer authority. and some of the liens are actually under Yoe Borough vs. Richardson. Don’t you think we should go into executive session, these minutes are going to be? We know someone who is a friend of his out there, keeps telling him when people show up, that person reads the minutes. Councilman Snyder said maybe he’ll start fixing up the place. Councilman Allar said okay, but there are steps he can do to void what we are trying to do. Councilman Snyder said just don’t mention that. Councilman Allar said I think its wrong but if its legal, okay. The only liens that we had, you have a copy of it. Is the sewer authority approximately $1500.00. Now we have a time clock ticking, he has three years of back taxes of $9000.00, now it would have been up for a tax sale last year but he signed the a stay agreement which he then defaulted on. Now if he doesn’t pay 2010 and 2011 which is $6100.00 by June 28th, he will be up for a upset sale. That would probably take place in September. Now the key thing here, this is why I’m saying about the timeline. We went over the three conditions and the four condition, the building is not subject for enclosure action. As far as I could tell, he has satisfied his mortgage, no bank involved. That is in there, again I did not do the title search, if he has some home equity loan, we don’t know about. Now this is the wording here, if the statue was cleared, and the mortgage foreclosure action precludes the conservatorship courts may interrupt the law to mean that tax sales and other similar actions also make a property ineligible for conservatorship. We have March, April, May and at the end of June he will be up for this and we will be closing out, this will no longer an option for us. That petition has to go in soon. Attorney Springer said but it also says in the law that you can work stuff out at the local authorities. Councilman Allar said yes, if we can, well that’s right, obviously if we can put the sheriff’s sale off. I would prefer that we do what we got to do within that window. Cleaner way to do it. Attorney Springer said okay. Councilman Allar said I wanted you to know the timeline. Attorney Springer said I also saw something in here from Yoe Borough regarding violations, municipal law violations. So I mean, you just don’t have the sewer bill, you have those as well. Let’s consider if this does go to a tax sale, somebody buys it. They’re going to fix it, maybe they won’t. So that’s again. Councilman Strausbaugh said say this thing goes for a tax sale, the sale would be September 3rd, it doesn’t sell, we can still proceed with the conservatorship. Attorney Springer said yeah. Councilman Allar said that’s something you need to check out, once it goes to the realm of the tax claims area, they may president over this and we may not be able to petition. Attorney Springer said we can still pursue a work out with the tax claims. Councilman Allar said if they agree to back off, yes. Attorney Springer said they are obviously not getting the money and nobody wanted to buy the property if it didn’t sell at the tax sale, so we’re giving them something rather than nothing. We are kind of getting ahead of ourselves here. We had enough right now, with the information, a lot of good stuff here. As far he didn’t accept service, they sent him certified letters, he never picked them up, he’s not treating that as his home. Councilman Allar asked is that still valid? Attorney Springer asked what is valid? Councilman Allar said there was two actions, two significant ones, I’m not counting the ones, he got cited about his grass. Attorney Springer asked the notice to vacate? Councilman Allar said yeah, the notice to vacate which was posted but I do not know if he accepted service. Code enforcement would know if he accepted service. We did not a return on the certified. Attorney Springer said you post it. Councilman Allar said according to that fax from Code Administrators, the property was posted. Attorney Springer said and he never appealed. Councilman Allar said was done on August 10, 2011. Attorney Springer said he would have waived his right for failure to appeal. Councilman Allar said so as of August 10, 2011, he has been occupying that illegally. Attorney Springer said that is what my argument would be. Councilman Allar said at one point we were under the impression, that we had to determine whether he is physical there or not, that’s not an issue if he is there or not, because its illegal as of August 10th. Attorney Springer said I think we went over that at the last meeting. Even if he was physically there, the court may still deem him as not legally occupying the property, that is flush language, legally occupying. Councilman Allar said okay, so the posting of that vacate order, takes president, whether he is accepting the certified letter, does not matter? Attorney Springer said I don’t think it doesn’t matter, I think it goes to your argument that he is not living in the property. Councilman Allar said I just want to make sure the vacate order, is a valid order. Attorney Springer said yeah. Councilman Allar said his non acceptance is not negated. Attorney Springer said and granted, I didn’t send the letter but typically we look at the last known address, the last address would be the United States Postal Service, you can send service to that address, certified. His failure to pick it up is on him, either for not notifying the post office of his new address or just simply ignoring the letter. Second when you’ve got a judgment and posted the property, he got actual notice that he received a judgment, failure to appeal waives any appellant rights. Councilman Myers asked can we go in there and lock the doors, and put different locks on the doors? Attorney Springer said we haven’t gotten to that yet. There is a reason that there is so many steps because you don’t want the government just coming in and taking your property. I mean, homeowners are protected but at the same time, you can’t bury your head in the sand and say I’m protected. Do something affirmatively to assert your right. My information he hasn’t done. Councilman Noll said I have a more fundamental question, we’ll doing all this, to potentially get this property. What guarantee, or how do we even know that you want the house? Mr. Briddell said that would be with the staff, right now we are working in Wrightsville, they has certain provisions that they wanted on it, they wanted certain type of house, sidewalks, stuff like that. In our turn, had certain provisions that we had, so its a negotiating understanding to move forward on. Councilman Noll said because you are offered a house, that doesn’t mean you are going to take it. Mr. Briddell said no, way too many things that have to be taken into consideration. If we know there is interest, we see what we can do on our end. And you can do on your end. Councilman Noll said I just bring that up, so we all understand where the party is at. Councilman Allar said that applies if we condemn it as well, if we condemn it. Councilman Snyder said if we condemn it, we can always tear it down, if they decide not to sign on. Attorney Springer said then you have a vacant lot, what are you going to with that? Councilman Allar said I don’t think we want the borough in the real estate preservation. Mr. Briddell asked would you prefer that the building be fixed up or torn down? Does that make difference to you? Councilman Myers said I think we need to determine whether the house needs to be fixed up. Mr. Briddell said we have done homes with only four walls and cables. Councilman Myers said is that right? Attorney Springer said its pretty amazing what they can do. Mr. Briddell said in a lot of cases, its cheaper to tear it down than build a new one. And get someone to donate it to you. Councilman Noll said if it came down to it, you would be interested in a vacant lot eventually? Mr. Briddell said oh yeah. Councilman Noll said the other advantage to that is if it takes three to four years to get it all together, we don’t have a house which is dilapidated and falling into the street. Mr. Briddell said that’s the biggest concern that I have, is knowing there is a time delay with us. You guys have to live with it in the meantime. Councilman Myers said and the borough gets notices. The porch is falling off. The grass needs cut. Councilman Snyder said I think Regan had a good point, if this thing does go up for sheriff in September, you may want to find out if the borough can buy the thing, it may be cheaper. That maybe cheaper than actual. Attorney Springer said I don’t see why you couldn’t. Mr. Briddell said if the borough gets it, is there limitations on the disposition of the property. Whats the deal? I don’t know what it is with the township. Attorney Springer said you are under the MPC, we are under the borough code. Mr. Briddell said I didn’t know if it was different than the borough. Attorney Springer said I’d have to check into it. Councilman Snyder said you may want to check for next month, I mean again if we’re looking for. Mr. Briddell said check with John, he just looked into that for Wrightsville. Attorney Springer said even if you are, if you are putting it up for bids, it means hey, you’re getting the highest price, so you are going to recoup your costs. I mean I wouldn’t, I’ll look into it, but that’s more a problem on the back end. More of a lesson. Councilman Snyder said that may hurt you as far as Habitat of York. But again if it takes care of our problem. Cause again if we put it out for bids and someone looks at it, we may not get any bidders accept Habitat of York. You know, you bid $500.00. You could sell it for $500.00. One thing I will bring up while we are talking about this property, I was down here for unrelated reason, and I was talking to Dana and the mail lady came in. And another one of his notices was being sent back. So I had to sign for that. We got talking about it, she said oh yeah, I’ve seen a lot of these come back for him. I said yeah, don’t worry we are trying to take care of this problem. I said, especially, ironically because of you. You are our justification cause you are John Q. Public. I said right now you are delivering mail there, that porch is ready to fall in. She said I’m afraid everytime I go up there to deliver mail I’m going to fall in. I explained to her the problem we are having and that its suppose to be vacated and he claims he is not living. She said if he’s not living there why am I delivering mail. She said we have a federal law that says we can not deliver to an unoccupied structure. So. My question to council and to the solicitor, knowing what we know about this, did we want to push that envelope send a copy of our notice to vacate along with this information to the Postmaster of Dallastown, to the best of our knowledge this is a vacant house. According to our local carrier, you don’t have to deliver to this address, I suggest since it’s a safety issue and we’ve been trying to correct it, you can stop delivery and try to get this person to tell you where he is living. Councilman Noll said to get proof that he does live there, that’s what we need. Councilman Snyder said he is willing to say I am living there and have my mail delivered there. Either way we could push this envelope one way or another. Understand if we do that, and he says no have it forwarded, I think the mayor said, he gave us last time was a Shrewsbury address. Understand from that point, he will have a Shrewsbury address. I am just saying, that came up, hap hazardly, when she was handing this back as undeliverable. And I’m thinking if indeed they have that law, that they are not suppose to deliver to a vacant structure. Attorney Springer said Dallastown Post office. Councilman Snyder said do they still have a postmaster. The secretary said yes, there is female Post Master there. Councilman Allar said if we all ready established a vacate order, whether he is there or not. So what if we care, if he is there or not, whether he not he gets mail, we have decide on conservatorship, condemnation, whatever. Councilman Noll said I think it strengthens our case when it goes to court. And we said, he has order to vacate. He says yes that is my property and I live there. Attorney Springer said if you take that property through condemnation and conservatorship I’m not even sure about it, but definitely through condemnation and she does fall through, guess who the liability falls on. Councilman Noll said its documented, and that’s the thing we are lacking right now with Code Administrators and they didn’t go further, they issued the order to vacate and unless you find him, and prove that he is living there, it’s a very difficult thing to do without him saying, I’m here. Councilman Strausbaugh asked, staying overnight is that the same as living there? Attorney Springer, said no, that’s not determinable. Councilman Snyder said I think its time to bring the wrath of God down on him. If the man is living there, at least he isn’t going to have the beauty of having his mail delivered to his front porch. And if he is not living there, then it won’t hurt him to get his mail wherever he is living. Attorney Springer said I’ll look into it, a quick call to the Dallastown USPS won’t take long, we want to find out if we can get service stopped there. And what it would take. If it’s the order to vacate we’ll send that, it won’t take too long. Its not like petitioning the court, get that knocked out pretty quick. If that is what you want to do. I don’t think it would hurt, I think it would help, I don’t think it would take too long. Councilman Allar said have they pulled the occupancy permit? Councilman Snyder said we don’t have occupancy permits. Councilman Noll added not for residential properties. Commercial only. Occupancy permits are based on two things, one of them is following the ADA and the other fire and accessibility. And it only has to deal with the public, anytime the public goes in. You can not issue an occupancy permit on that, all though one time York Township wanted us to get an occupancy permit for a horse farm one time. Attorney Springer said let me look into this further. Like I said, last month I told you I would do the research on my own time, if you want to put me on the case during the day. I’ll start looking into this further. But if we have to move on, because we have some other issues to talk about conservation easement and the Reidel property. We have some starting ground to move on with regards to the conservatorship, lets go with that. I’ll look into the tax sale, I don’t see why, the borough couldn’t buy at the tax sale. You run the risk of buying the property, bidding more and then not doing anything with it. Typically people don’t go to tax sale to buy property and do not, they buy it to do something with it. You are talking CR property. He would have to pay the $12,000.00 in sheriff’s sale. A motion was made by Councilman Noll for Attorney Springer to contact the Dallastown Post Master to stop service. The motion was seconded by Councilman Strausbaugh. All in favor. Councilman Snyder said motion carried.
Councilman Snyder asked if there were any other visitors that would like to be recognized?
Councilman Allar asked Seth, in regards to conservatorship, is there a lot of stuff that goes into that petition? A plan and all that stuff. Attorney Springer said I couldn’t tell you. I can tell you, I get on everything as fast as I can as far of doing the background. Its not going to be until next month and we have a vote and I bring in some more information, where you say we want to proceed with the conservatorship. It would make any sense to start a conservatorship without you knowing. Councilman Allar said I was just asking how much time it would take. Councilman Snyder said until he has more information. Attorney Springer said I’m sorry I wish I could give you an answer. As soon as I can give you ballpark I’ll send it to Sam and Seth. Councilman Allar asked you have to file for a hearing for this petition, right? Attorney Springer said right. Councilman Allar asked, now the time you were filing a petition, if its before June fine, we don’t have to wait another six months for hearing, do we? Attorney Springer said no. Councilman Allar said okay, so the clock stops when you file. Attorney Springer questioned the clock stops? Councilman Allar said as to how long its going to be between now and the tax sale, once you file the petition you can send a copy to the tax claim that would hold off the tax claim. Attorney Springer said we would probably work something out with the taxes prior. So they knew. And they would probably stand the action. Councilman Allar said we don’t need a ruling from a judge to do that, just that we are filing would be enough to work something out with the tax claim. Attorney Springer, said no, you would typically work something out with the tax claim, county, anyone that has any liens on the property prior to the petition. You would want them on board going into it. So everybody is on board and knows what is going on. Then it wouldn’t go to upset sale, it would just stand.
Councilman Snyder thanked Mr. Briddell for coming tonight.
Councilman Snyder said to Attorney Springer, one more thing for you to do, give us a cost on out right condemnation. Work up a figure. Councilman Noll said I did research on condemnation law. Councilman Snyder said then we have three options, buying at tax sale, out right condemnation then we wouldn’t be under any guidelines and the conservatorship. Cause if we don’t meet the guidelines for the conservatorship, we would still have the other two as an option. We just need to know, maybe condemnation would be cheaper in the long run. Councilman Allar said when you looking at those who have done the conservatorship prior, legal fees were about $2700.00. So you may want to ask when you call. Attorney Springer said I didn’t do much on the conservatorship, I’ve been doing my time on the conservation easement and knocking out the Reidel.
Councilman Snyder said so our secretary can get out for some family issues tonight, quick Secretary’s Report.
The secretary reported the office will be closed March 6, 2013.
The secretary said in front of you, you have the 2012 Dam/Retention Basin Maintenance Cost. The only thing that I’d like to add to that, it will be $800.00 less for Dallastown Borough because they let us use their truck. We used the equipment bid schedule, which Fitz and Smith gave us, which is $50.00 an hour for a truck and man. Times sixteen hours. That will be deducted off Dallastown’s portion.
The secretary announced York County Borough’s Association will holding their meeting on March 21, 2013 at 6:30PM at the Kerry’s Green Country Club in Red Lion. RSVP by March 16, 2013.
The secretary said I will need is a motion to send that bill out to York Township and Dallastown for the retention costs. A motion was made by Councilman Noll to send out the invoices for the dam maintenance 2012 to York Township and Dallastown. The motion was seconded by Councilman Myers. All in favor. Councilman Snyder said motion carried.
Councilman Snyder said we received notice that York Area Regional is part of ten departments offering free medication take back. Councilman Snyder said there is a request from York County Conservation asking if the borough liked to contact the state to request monies to be put back in for line item for DEP and agriculture.
Attorney Springer said two things. Reidel, you had gotten a message, that York Township had approved the plan. We need to get the plan recorded. We have ninety days to settle on the property from the date the township approved it. Mr. Malesker said the township is going to have the plan recorded. Councilman Snyder said we actually got a call, that is one their bill list for $51.00 to record the plan. Attorney Springer said I would recommend doing a title search. As far as drafted the deeds, that usually goes on the seller. Reidel is the seller. We could draft a deed on the parcel that we are heading, then we would have three deeds. Then draft another deed incorporating all three parcels after its already transferred. I think that is what we contemplated initially. Whether Reidel wants to draft a deed or not, they really don’t have to, until they sell the property again. And then when they sell the property again, draft a deed of what they selling. We would have our deed already recorded. The deeds. Mr. Malesker said sometimes York Township requires as a condition of the approval, the deeds be recorded. There wasn’t anything listed. I was actually surprised by that. That is why we already did the legal description. Councilman Noll said I think we should go ahead and get our deeds done, and let it up to the seller. That is what we talked about, we would take care of all the legal side of things, we would be offered the property and take care of the rest. Attorney Springer said there was one issue when I was going over this with Charley. He said what if its encumbered, what if there is a mortgage on it. What if they don’t even know about it. Its standing out there. We have to get the bank to release that. The way we know that, is to do a title search. You take it without it, but you take the risk of them coming back and wanting there. To do a title search it would run you $500.00 and that would come with the title insurance. Then you would be taken care of on that end. That said, its up to you if you want to do it or not. Councilman Noll said it’s a smart thing, a legal thing. A motion was made by Councilman Myers to do a title search for a cost of $500.00 and to include preparing the deeds the ones for the parcel and combing after settlement.The motion was seconded by Councilman Noll. All in favor.Councilman Snyder said motion carried. Mr. Malesker said if you need anything I have them, let me know.
Attorney Springer said I emailed the conservation easement today to Mr. Danko. He said he will expedite it upstairs and get back to us and see if its alright. We are going to do another inter-municipality agreement, indemnifying York Township the property in consideration of them signing the conservation easement. We are going to correct some of the issues came out of the first inter-municipal agreement. One of them was the grant number. We will identify the correct grant number. Second one, that said, I’ll talk to Steve Hovis regarding this payment. That was due at the time the agreement was executed. That money can’t go to York Township or escrow, it has to remain with Yoe Borough. But the intent of the first inter-municipal was to go to York Township in their escrow account for the project. The secretary said with our money, to York Township, for the project but that can’t be done. Attorney Springer said I’ll talk to Attorney Hovis. He knows how we were getting the money in the grant program. If we can’t effectuate the grant money this way. The secretary said we need an invoice from the contractor to properly process our grant. Discussion continued.
Councilman Snyder said Ordinance 2013-01 has been advertised. The one for the restriction on the parking, any further comment. A motion to adopt Ordinance 2013-01 was made by Councilman Noll. The motion was seconded by Councilman Strausbaugh. All in favor. Councilman Snyder said motion carried.
Councilman Snyder said there was the issue for the handicapped parking. The secretary said the gentleman came to the office, not sure if that was handled yet. A motion was made to approve the handicapped parking based on the outcome of the traffic study by Councilman Allar. The motion was seconded by Councilman Howett. All in favor. Councilman Snyder said motion carried.
Councilman Snyder said there was one other notice under solicitor, but the borough wasn’t discharged. So, it doesn’t affect that.
Councilman Noll asked if he should forward all the letters and correspondence from York Township. The secretary said yes, if you think we should have it.
Mr. Malekser said I don’t have anything else under wetland mitigation.
Mr. Malesker said I met with Sam to go over progress on the MS 4 report that is due in June. Councilman Snyder said I forwarded everything he wanted, and haven’t heard back on it. Mr. Malesker said we will invite the public in July, to talk about the MS 4 issues. Councilman Snyder said under new MS 4 regulations, we have to hold a public meeting for MS 4.
Mr. Malesker said I met with Dana at the Reidel property, about the limbs of the white pine, condition on the plan. I gave them a call, letting them to know that the borough will be doing this. They have no issues with this.
Mr. Malesker said do you want to do the equipment and material bid which expires in June. A motion to go ahead to start the paperwork to start the bid process with Dallastown, by Councilman Myers. The motion was seconded by Councilman Noll. All in favor. Councilman Snyder said motion carried.
Councilman Snyder said we got the Chesapeake Outreach Program update. That is a MS note. Everyone got in our packet, this year’s sewage permit that they sent up the date, we are still under capacity.
Mr. Malesker said I forwarded email on Greenways and Trails Grant. This is from Marcellus Shale impact fees. A hard copy was provided to the borough. You can look at it. Mr. Malesker said the project of a Growing Greener applied for, wasn’t funded. What wasn’t funded, was the Water Street over channel in Mill Creek. Jake had applied for it. Councilman Allar said they turned down both projects. Discussion continued.
Councilman Snyder said everyone have an opportunity to look over his report. I will note that Dana had an opportunity to update his list of property maintenance. He now has a spreadsheet of everyone that he sent notices to, time it was sent and time it was paid. So he can send out notices of violation then. I have him kudos for that. On the back he also updated the properties that Sandy or the tax collector noticed, he was doing investigating that.
Councilman Noll said I’ll pass this around so you can take a look at it, the zoning report. A couple of things that Patti has been working on, one of them, she got quotes on those four properties we were talking about. One of the quotes was $4,931.00, another was $4180.00. We told her $2000.00. What she did, very pro active, she is working with another contractor, Klean Kut Lawn Care, they are donating services to the properties, basically she got it all together for $2000.00. The process of doing that in the next couple weeks. Also we got together, Patti, Regan and myself, and talked about the properties that we went over at the last meeting. She got a new copy of the 2012 Property Maintenance Code, Dana and the borough have a copy also. We looked at how we would cite, we have nine properties that we are looking at from the list we compiled. They are 230 S. Main, 159 S. Main, the garage at 92 W. Broad Street, also the garage at 130 W. Broad Street, shed and concrete 194 W. Broad, front porch and garage 166 S. Elm, out buildings 246 S. Main, garage 74 S. Main, broken windows and gutters 23 E. George. Letters will be going out using the Property Maintenance Code as the citing authority. She is in the process of citing those properties. We met a week after council meeting.
Mayor Sanford said the county sent a communications plan review request out. We got an email saying they aren’t going to do anything.
Mayor Sanford said I declared a State of Snow Emergency tonight at 11PM and goes off at 7AM on Thursday. That was sent to all needed parties.
Mayor Sanford asked if everyone got a copy of the report. It includes January’s report. On January’s Report it shows the December report and 2012 totals. On February’s report it shows my activity. At the time I did not have the police activity, I’ll include that on next month’s report.
Mayor Sanford said I mentioning that Officer’s Sampere’s canine will retire in the near future. There is a benefit on March 16th, to help raise money on that, to replace the dog.
Mayor Sanford said I continue to work with regional and Lt. Zech on the Broad Street, truck problem.
Councilman Myers asked have they done any walks on Broad Street at all, in the alleys and stuff? Mayor Sanford said I didn’t specifically asked that, we had talked about it in January. They are aware of the situation on Broad Street, one of their officers assigned to the drug task force. I can try to find out. There is also a concern at the park.
There was no unfinished business.
Councilman Allar said for the record to give Patti, an atta boy, for the cleaning up of the properties. Volunteered service in that matter. Councilman Snyder said to pass that along. Councilman Myers asked someone else do that.
Payment of Bills
Councilman Snyder asked if everyone had an opportunity to look over the bill list? A motion was made by Councilman Noll to pay the bills as listed. The motion was seconded by Councilman Snyder. All in favor. Councilman Snyder said bills are paid.
A motion was made by Councilman Strausbaugh to adjourn the meeting at 9:10PM. The motion was seconded by Councilman Snyder. All in favor.