Reading Redevelopment Authority Minutes 01/20/16

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MINUTES FROM THE REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING OF THE READING REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF READING HELD ON 20th JANUARY 2016

 

The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Reading held the regular Monthly Meeting at 815 Washington Street, Room 2-53 in the City of Reading, County of Berks, and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on 20th day of January, 2016.

 

The meeting was called to order at 5:07 p.m. by Mr. Heinly, Chairman and on roll call, the following were present:

 

Mr. Chris Heinly Chairman

Mr. Dan Luckey Vice-Chairman – Via telephone

Mr. James Radwanski Member

 

Also present were:

 

Mr. Adam Mukerji, Executive Director

Mr. Dennis Witwer, Executive Assistant

Mr. Keith Money, Barley, Snyder

Mr. Michael Zielinski – D.I.D.

Mr. Charles Broad – D.I.D.

Mr. Larry Lee

 

Upon roll call, Mr. Witwer declared a quorum.

 

The Minutes of last month’s meeting were reviewed as well as the Finance reports and were both approved unanimously.

 

Mr. Mukerji discussed with the board an issue that keeps coming up in City Hall year after year regarding the RRA paying for IT services from the city.

 

Mr. Mukerji stated that stated that he was presented by the city finance department three years’ worth of bills for IT services which total somewhere around $25,000. He advised the board that he has sat in many meetings over the last few years fighting these bills, to no avail. He asked them for their input on the matter.

 

20th January 2016

 

Mr. Mooney stated that as per the current Co-op. agreement that the City and the RRA has, the RRA is in no way legal obligated to pay for such services. The Co-op agreement lists services that the City is to provide the RRA at no cost and IT services is one of those listed.

 

Mr. Heinly asked how old the Co-op agreement was, to which Mr. Witwer stated that it was about six years old. Mr. Witwer stated that four years ago the City and RRA had tried to negotiate a new Co-op agreement but neither side could come to an agreement regarding services from both parties.

 

Mr. Mooney stated that because there was never a new agreement signed and in place the old agreement still stands and is legal.

 

The board stated that the IT bills should not be paid and if the City wants to enter into a new agreement, the city will need to initiate the process.

 

Downtown Improvement District contribution

 

The Authority heard a request from the Downtown Improvement District for a financial contribution.

 

DID Executive Director Mr. Charles Broad asked the board to consider a

$6,200 contribution, based on 20 percent of the assessments of the redevelopment properties in the DID improvement district.

 

Mr. Michael Zielinski, chairman of the DID board, explained that last year during the reauthorization process, DID officials approached City Council asking it to increase its allocation to DID to make up for losses of city properties that are no longer on the tax rolls.

 

Mr. Zielinski stated that they told council it would have to increase individual property fees by 12 percent to make up the losses.

 

The city agreed to increase its allocation to $100,000 from $60,000.

 

He explained that left a $65,000 budget gap, which council told DID officials to attempt to make up by asking city authorities for a donation based on 20 percent of property assessments.

 

Mr. Broad said DID provides services to the authority such as the removal of litter, graffiti, leaf, snow and ice.

 

Mr. Mukerji said the challenge facing the RRA is that is does not receive any city funding.

 

20th January 2016

"We have no money; we eat what we kill, so to speak," Mr. Mukerji said. "The way we have kept operations afloat is we sell property, and the proceeds are used for operation and the rest is put right back into properties."

 

Mr. Broad reminded the board members that small-business owners in the DID improvement district pay anywhere from $50 to thousands of dollars a year, which also pays for the upkeep of authority-owned properties.

 

Mr. Radwanski said it is important for everyone in the city to work together and requested the board consider the request after it further discusses the matter.

 

The board chose not to discuss the issue Wednesday but told the DID officials that Mr. Mukerji would be in touch regarding the funding request.

 

Bookbindery Apartments

 

Mr. Larry Lee, Bookbindery Manager, gave the board an end of year update of the progresses he has made that the property.

 

He told the authority that in 2015 there had been approximately

$34,000 worth of plumbing repairs done to the building. The building was fitted with cast iron pipes which over the years have become extremely clogged and has caused most of the plumbing problems. He stated that he has replaced about 40% of the old pipes with PVC pipes.

 

Mr. Lee also advised the board that the chiller on the roof still needs to be replaced.

 

Mr. Radwanski stated that he would look into getting a chiller donated by the Reading Hospital. He asked Mr. Lee to get him size and dimensions of the current chiller.

 

Mr. Lee stated that he is also try to update the apartments of tenants who have lived in the building for 20 plus years. He has replaced some refrigerators, carpets and some bathroom fixtures, but he would like to update the kitchens now.

 

Mr. Luckey advised Mr. Lee to see if “U-Build” could help with the replacement of kitchen cabinets to help cut costs.

 

Executive Session

 

At this time the board entered into an executive session to discuss legal matters regarding the possible sale of the Riverview Industrial Park.

 

20th January 2016

 

There being no further business to be brought before the board, Mr.

Luckey made a motion to adjourn the meeting; all members were in favor.

 

The next monthly meeting of the Reading Redevelopment Authority will be held on 17th February 2016.

 

Respectfully submitted by:

 

Executive Assistant

 

 

20th January 2016