Mundane agenda items such as budgets, traffic signals, and streetlights took a back seat Monday evening as Lebanon City Council passed a resolution recording “a deep sense of loss in the death of Lt. William Lebo.”

On March 31, Lebo became the first city police officer killed in the line of duty in over a century. He was fatally shot while responding to a domestic break-in call at a city home.

Council president Joseph Morales read the proclamation, which noted that “Lt. Lebo was scheduled to retire in May 2022 after serving proudly with the Lebanon Police Department for 40 years.”

“During his time with with the City of Lebanon,” the resolution continued, “Lt. Lebo proved to be a capable and dedicated member of the Lebanon City Police Department, and we are grateful for his commitment and tireless efforts protecting the citizens of the City of Lebanon.”

Morales said that an official copy of the resolution will be presented to Lebo’s widow and family, who were not present.

After a nearly 60 year absence, city offices and police HQ are about to return to downtown

Nearly two and a half years after it took the first steps toward returning city hall and police headquarters to downtown Lebanon, City Council held its final meeting in the Lebanon City-County Municipal Building last night.

Mayor Sherry Capello told council that she hopes to have a ribbon cutting on May 23 for the renovated former HACC Lebanon campus building at 735 Cumberland St.

City offices, including the police department, have been located in the Municipal Building on the city’s south side since shortly after it opened in 1963. Before that, city hall was located downtown on N. 9th Street.

The purchase and renovation of the HACC building was financed in part by the city’s sale of its half of the Municipal Building to Lebanon County, which will now be its sole occupant.

Because moving after 60 years at the same location is a complex process, Capello said that city offices will be closed “to in-person business” from Friday, April 29, through Friday, May 6.

However, persons with city business will be able to communicate with city employees by telephone and by visiting the city’s website.

“Friday and all of next week the city will be closed to the public,” Capello said. “We will be answering the phones, and returning phone calls as soon as we are able. We are asking people to be patient.”

More details on temporary city operations while the move is underway will be posted on social media and in advertisements, according to Capello.

City offices will resume full operations at the new downtown City Hall on Monday, May 9.

UPDATE: The city issued a press release late Monday evening with further details on the move and interim operating procedures.

Beginning on Monday, May 2, the city’s new primary phone number will be 717-639-2800.

Other business before City Council

  • With the fiscal year 25% complete on March 31, city receipts were at 23% of budget projections, with property taxes starting to trickle in, Capello said. Expenses for the period were at 17% of projections.
  • The city received two audit reports from the state Auditor General. An audit of the police and paid firefighters’ pension fund found no deficiencies.
  • However, an audit of the city’s non-uniformed pension plan found that the city made an error in reporting an employee’s change from part-time to full-time, resulting in a delay in receiving $9,721 in state funds. The city will be reimbursed for the full amount at a later time, according to Capello.
  • Council authorized the mayor to seek PennDOT approval to install flashing lights at mid-block pedestrian crossings at Liberty and Chapel streets in the 700 block of Cumberland Street.
  • Council amended an earlier resolution approving an agreement with Metropolitan Edison for the installation of four LED streetlights near North Liberty and Spring streets to replace older sodium vapor lights.
  • The LED streetlight resolution resulted in several comments from members of the public that some LED lights already installed in the city were harsh and uncomfortably bright. Council members Morales, Chris Miller, and Richard Wertz agreed, and Capello said the city would work with Met-Ed to resolve the problem.
  • Wertz expressed his unhappiness with large amounts of trash being left on the newly expanded and renovated basketball courts at South 6th Street Playground. “If things continue like that, I say padlock it,” he said.
  • Weidman Street resident Jerry Kalinoski said that cars are being left on the street during posted street sweeping nights, sometimes for successive weeks, making it hard to thoroughly sweep. He suggested raising the fine for such violations to $50. Council and the mayor said they would look at the problem.

Next City Council Meetings

City Council’s next pre-council planning meeting will be on Thursday, May 19, at 4:45 p.m. The next regular monthly council meeting will be on Monday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m.

Both meetings are open to the public and will be held in the new City Hall at 735 Cumberland Street in Downtown Lebanon.

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...