HAZLETON — City Council unanimously approved a lease agreement between the city, its parking authority and DHD Realty Holding LLC.
The agreement will mean DHD will control 215 spaces located in a downtown parking garage and 35 spaces on Mine Street.
The decision, however, was not without controversy.
Resident Dee Deakus addressed council with concerns regarding the utilization of those spaces by the company to the detriment of other downtown businesses. She voiced special concern regarding the availability of spaces for Luzerne County Community College students who attend classes in the downtown area.
In response, Neal DeAngelo, speaking on behalf of DHD, said the agreement had been amended to include a mandate directing 25 percent of the parking spaces referred to would be available to area residents, and not limited to DHD employees.
In addition he emphasized parking after business hours would largely be available to residents patronizing downtown businesses.
DeAngelo said he felt it necessary for DHD to lease the entire parking area in order to ensure proper maintenance and security at the site. The company will have the option of purchasing the property after 10 years.
DeAngelo indicated he would be willing to pay that additional amount if the figures quoted by Deakus were accurate.
In another matter, council tabled a motion to name an auditor for 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Representatives of SB & Co. LLC and Dennis & Robert Moore, Certified Public Accountants, addressed the council, outlining services to be provided if awarded the position.
Council President Jack Mundie said despite pressure from the mayor, council wanted to take time to review the qualifications and services of both firms.
Council also approved a Netrastar Police Training Partnership that would enable its police force to do consistent brief trainings online.
Police Chief Frank DeAndrea said the program would allow him to track and document police trainings at no cost to the city. Topics in the training familiarize officers with local, state, and federal regulations and procedures.
DeAndrea assured council the trainings would not detract from his duties or those of the force.
In another matter, council approved the erection of a stop sign at 19th and Peace streets.
DeAndrea said he had originally been unsure if the signage was necessary, but after four hours of observation at the intersection, the amount and speed of traffic did warrant the stop sign.
Councilman David Sosar said that council, as the governing body of the city, would address issues in a timely and effective manner.
The next meeting of the City Council will be on July 15 at 6 p.m.