Williams Named Council President
Wanda Williams will serve another term as president of the Harrisburg City Council, council members decided last month.
Williams was the only council member nominated for the position and received unanimous support.
Councilwoman Shamaine Daniels was elected council vice president by a 4-3 vote, narrowly besting Councilman Jeffrey Baltimore.
The vote was taken during the council’s reorganization, held with each new term. The reorganization followed the swearing in of three new council members: Cornelius Johnson, Westburn Majors and Destini Hodges. Baltimore, who has served for almost two years, took the oath for his first full term.
Council also announced the following committee chairmanships for the 2016-17 session:
- Administration: Wanda Williams
- Budget and Finance: Ben Allatt
- Building and Housing: Shamaine Daniels
- Community and Economic Development: Jeffrey Baltimore
- Parks, Recreation & Enrichment: Destini Hodges
- Public Safety: Cornelius Johnson
- Public Works: Westburn Majors
Council Re-Opens Budget
The Harrisburg City Council last month began reconsideration of the 2016 spending plan passed in December.
The $60.7 million budget added 36 new positions, about half in a newly created Neighborhood Services Division, funded through city trash bills.
The administration also has proposed tripling the local services tax (LST) to $3 per week per worker. The Commonwealth Court must first approve the hike, which then must be sanctioned by council.
Council re-opened the budget to accommodate input from three new council members, who were sworn in last month. A vote on a revised budget is expected this month.
Free Downtown Parking
The Papenfuse administration last month announced a novel plan to allow free, short-term parking in select loading zones in downtown Harrisburg.
Under the plan, people are able to park for 15 minutes for free in eight zones located on N. 2nd Street between Walnut and Pine streets. This will help customers who want to stop briefly to make a quick purchase or pick up food from restaurants, said Mayor Eric Papenfuse.
For the past two years, shop owners have complained that the cost of parking—$3 per hour—prevents customers from frequenting their stores.
The 15-minute time limit would be strictly enforced, said Papenfuse. After 15 minutes, parkers would face tickets with standard fines for parking in a loading zone.
Parking Breaks to Continue
An experimental plan that lowered some parking rates in downtown Harrisburg will continue this year.
Mayor Eric Papenfuse said that there are no plans to stop the program that lowered rates by $1 per hour on weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m. and provided four free hours of weekend parking through the Pango mobile app.
Papenfuse said that the changes were deemed successful because they didn’t lower meter revenue for parking operator, SP Plus.
Meanwhile, rates for garage parking for motorists without monthly passes increased last month to $9 for two hours, up from $8.
School Board Set
The Harrisburg school board is back to full strength as members last month selected community activist Alan Kennedy-Shaffer to join the body.
Members voted unanimously to appoint Kennedy-Shaffer, who also is a member of the Dauphin County Democratic State Committee. The seat was vacant after the sudden resignation in November of former board President Jennifer Smallwood.
Kennedy-Shaffer is a co-founder of the community group Harrisburg Hope and, last year, was forced to drop out of the primary race for City Council following a successful challenge to his nominating petitions.
Police Bureau Changes
A long-time Harrisburg police officer was promoted to captain last month, as five new officers also were sworn in.
Twenty-year force veteran Gabriel Olivera was named captain of the criminal investigation division, most recently serving as a sergeant in that division after rising through the ranks.
Mayor Eric Papenfuse also swore in the following new officers:
- Christopher Palamara
- Wesley Feduke III
- Corre Sommers
- Adrienne Monroy
- Daren Sharp
Bar Denied License
Harrisburg denied a Midtown bar both business and health licenses last month, though the bar has remained open pending an appeal.
The Third Street Café appealed the denial to the city’s Tax and Appeal Board. Dauphin County Judge Andrew Dowling also issued an order so the city could not fine the bar for operating without a license until the board issues a decision.
The city last year ordered business licenses revoked for three bars it considered troubled. The Royal Pub closed immediately, and the Taproom shut on Dec. 31. The Third Street Café chose to fight the revocation of its 2015 license and now is opposing the denial of a 2016 license.
New Pumper Approved
The Harrisburg City Council last month voted to buy a new, $480,000 pumper for the city’s Fire Bureau.
The vote was unanimous, but made contingent upon receiving a matching grant from the Harrisburg Volunteer Firemen’s Relief Association.
To pay for the pumper, the city had previously allotted $160,000, and another $90,000 was made available last year through a budget reallocation.
The Harrisburg Carriage Company vacated the carriage house on City Island last month following the receipt of eviction notices by the city. The city and the company could not reach agreement over long-standing issues such as the payback of five years of delinquent rent, making fixes to the dilapidated stable and properly accommodating several horses.
Harristown Enterprises last month began a three-month project that will replace the escalator in Strawberry Square. The $350,000 project had been in the planning phase for the past two years, with the Dauphin County Industrial Development Authority providing a $100,000 loan to help finance it, said Brad Jones, Harristown president and CEO.
Zeroday Brewing has expanded its hours as it enters its second year of operation. The Harrisburg-based brewery is now open Tuesday through Sunday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Alison Ct., 3: M. Malinov to D. Patrick, $69,000
Barkley Lane, 2511: V. & D. Rodriguez to K. Clement, $59,000
Boas St., 418: Newlands Asset Holding Trust to PA Deals LLC, $74,250
Chestnut St., 2405: T. & A. Sawyer to W. Majors, $140,000
Croyden Rd., 2778: Secretary of Veterans Affairs to PA Deals LLC, $38,000
Forster St., 1612: N. Combs to S. Mason, $82,900
Fulton St., 1405: A. Pagano to PA Deals LLC, $83,000
Green St., 1400: P. Misivich to S. Weiland, $118,900
Green St., 2245: Y. al-Refae to J. Smith, $56,000
Green St., 2952: S. Gassner & J. Morris to N. Williams, $185,000
Hamilton St., 271 & 275: W. Grace & J. Hadfield to K. Ayres & A. Gupta, $189,585
Herr St., 217: S. Grovers to K. & V. Land, $50,000
Industrial Rd., 3400: Exeter 3400 Industrial LP to Big Box Property LLC & Exeter Property Group, $17,600,000
Kensington St., 2153: Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co. NA to H. Marca, $31,000
N. 2nd St., 400: GSO Real Estate Inc. & Realty Management Associates LLC to Murphy & Laus Real Estate LLC, $240,000
N. 2nd St., 2127: J. Livingston to A. Graffius, $84,500
N. 3rd St., 1700, L57: Bank of America NA to J. Cody, $75,000
N. 6th St., 1408: Secretary of Housing & Urban Development to PA Deals LLC, $82,250
Norwood St., 947: C. & M. Morgan to PA Deals LLC, $32,000
Penn St., 1204: M. Mekilo & U.S. Bank N.A. to C. Wagner, $109,000
Penn St., 1317: L. Stickley to M. Wilkins, $62,500
Penn St., 1523: E. Jones & J. Lindgren to T. Smith & K. Leighton, $147,000
Reservoir St., 73: G. Neff to H. Rentas, $38,900
Rumson Dr., 353: A. Skillman to W. Assefa, $62,000
Rumson Dr., 2574: PA Deals LLC to R. Reeves, $80,000
S. Front St., 631: K. & A. Gulotta to A. Poindexter, $150,000
Harrisburg property sales for December 2015, greater than $30,000. Source: Dauphin County. Data is assumed to be accurate.