South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

 
 

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Things are looking up in Mt. Oliver with new cameras, sewer grant

 

April 29, 2008



The April 21 meeting of Mount Oliver council began with the good news that the borough was awarded not only a low-interest loan for sewer defect corrections, but a grant for the project as well.

The announcement was made by assistant borough engineer, Justin Wagner.

In the absence of council President James Cassidy, the meeting was officiated by Councilman Patrick Malloy. Dennis Obeldobel was also absent, and Vice-President James Caylor arrived during the latter half of the meeting.

Mr. Wagner said the borough's initial application for a $1.3 million loan from PennVest, the Pa. Infrastructure Investment Authority, was turned down a few months ago. But it was resubmitted, and the borough was granted a $750,000 loan. It was also awarded a grant for $750,000.

So far this year, the borough has been awarded $1 million in grants.

"No one else gets nearly that," said Mr. Wagner.

A $20,000 grant was also awarded from the office of state Rep. Harry Readshaw, with the money due at the end of May. The funds will be used for building inspection training for Tom Plietz, sewer repairs, and more.

Once Mr. Plietz is trained, the borough will no longer have to outsource the service.

Mr. Wagner also reported that a letter was sent to Brentwood borough about sharing usage of its street sweeping machine, but no response was received.

The borough will "piggyback" on a city contract to resurface Stamm Ave ., Locust St ., Sherman St ., and Moye Place. It will be done whenever the city is doing road work in the area.

Finally, Mr. Wagner said the borough will submit a grant to the state Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources for replacement of the retaining wall in Ormsby Park. Mr. Wagner estimated the cost of the 200-feet long, 10-feet high wall at $300,000.

"It's a very significant wall," he said.

Council voted 4-0 to pass a resolution authorizing the submission.

He also reminded council that applications for county

Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are due to the COG in May. He said the borough should be thinking about projects for possible funding.

During the public comment session, resident Bernie Pawloski asked if open pit burning fires are allowed. Her neighbor has such a pit from which flames shoot close to Mrs. Pawloski's house. The teenage children also operate it without supervision.

Mayor Jeff Repasky said he has received three phone calls already this year on open pit burning.

He said to call 911. The county has an ordinance against open pit burning, but borough police can enforce it.

Fire chief Tom Plietz also said if the charcoal creates a public nuisance, it is not allowed.

In the mayor's report, Mr. Repasky said the camera system will be installed (last) week. The cameras will provide surveillance at the five-point intersection at Brownsville Rd ., Hays Ave ., Amanda Ave ., Bausman St ., and Sherman St.

He also said the bike patrols are out. The borough is also doubling officers in cars to save gas.

To a resident's question about speeding at all hours on Hays Ave ., Mr. Repasky called it an "ongoing battle."

He said he tries to prioritize, but that the borough doesn't have the manpower to monitor every street for speeders.

"If I get more money you'll get a camera on every corner," he said.

In the public safety report, Mr. Malloy said 979 calls were answered last month, and police vehicles logged 6,824 miles. The two canine officers parked their cars and walked 29 times.

Mr. Repasky said the canine officers often respond with their dogs — a drug-sniffing dog, and a bomb-sniffing dog — to calls from other boroughs.

"We don't live on our own little island. As long as we can continue to provide help we're going to keep doing it," he said.

Council then passed a resolution reducing police officers' contribution to their pension from five percent to two percent. The borough will make up the difference.

In the economic development report, Billie Michener said the April 18 clean-up was a success, attracting 29 volunteers, including Boy Scouts. Ormsby Park was cleaned and swept, and playground equipment was painted.

Volunteers also cleaned both sides of Walter St. down to Wagner St ., which intersects with Becks Run Rd. Twelve tires were removed from a hillside.

She also reported that the outstanding 2007 bill of $2,700 for solicitor James Perich was paid. It was the last of the outstanding bills from the previous council.

Mrs. Michener hopes to meet during the first week of May with city Finance Director Scott Kunda about services the borough can "piggyback" on with the city.

She next announced that the borough would be sending letters to tax scofflaws during the second week of May. Recipients have within 10 days of the date of the letter to contact the borough about payment of overdue taxes.

She said the borough wants to take a more "hands-on" approach to collecting overdue taxes, such as suing, locking business doors, and executing judgments the borough already has.

The last big push on suing for non-payment of taxes occurred in 2005 when more than $100,000 was collected through the district magistrate's office.

Most recently, $30,000 was collected at the end of Dec ., 2007. Mr. Perich has already sent the standard borough letters to scofflaws. "It's the same people all the time," he said.

On another topic, Mr. Perich said he will try to set up a town meeting with Section 8 housing officials.

To Mrs. Michener's query about the three flag-less flagpoles at the intersection of 18th St ., Arlington Ave ., and Brownsville Rd ., she was told flags would be hung this week.

In concluding her report, she said she is getting more resistance than support from her fellow councilmen. Her ideas, she said, are met with negative responses on why they cannot succeed.

As a result, she will continue to raise topics at caucus meetings, but will also bring up issues at public meetings so the public can get on board to solve problems, she said.

Next, Mr. Plietz said he is frequently asked by developers if the borough offers tax-incentive programs to entice businesses. Mr. Perich said tax incentives are on the books for commercial and residential development — the latter if the property is condemned.

In the public works report, Mr. Malloy said the borough is looking into a new tractor lease purchase for cutting grass. The current tractor is 28 years old.

The borough is accepting applications for part-time help for the summer for chores like cutting the grass and painting curbs.

Applicants for the seasonal positions must be at least age 18. Applications are available at the borough building.

The next borough meeting will be on May 19.

 

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