South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Cost of snow removal in boro estimated at $20,000, for now


Even as it was melting, the 30-inch snowfall earlier this month was a primary focus at the February 22 meeting of Mount Oliver Council.

Council members Billie Michener, Dennis Obeldobel, and John Smith, Sr., were absent.

The meeting began with borough secretary Joanne Malloy reading a letter from a resident lauding Public Works employee Jim Sheehan for his snow removal efforts. The resident wrote that Mr. Sheehan shoveled his driveway and street so the resident, who is disabled, could attend a funeral.

Council President James Cassidy then formally thanked all of the Public Works personnel, the police, firefighters, and everyone who contributed to clearing the roads following the snowstorm.

Snow removal cost the borough about $20,000, of which $10,000 was for private contractors. The total also includes the cost of salt and overtime for borough employees.

Code enforcement officer Tom Plietz said there is no guarantee the borough will receive funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to cover some of the expense.

In his report, Mayor Jeff Repasky thanked residents who helped remove fallen trees which were blocking roads.

"A lot of residents stepped up," he said about what he observed in a drive-through of the borough the Saturday after the Friday night storm.

Carmen Way, which no one lives on, is where most of the snow was pushed. As it is not a priority street, it was still closed as of the time of the meeting.

In the engineer's report, Justin Wagner said $225,000 in federal stimulus funds, and the borough match of $61,000 in budgeted sewer funds, will help finance storm sewers repairs mandated by a federal consent decree of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Council voted to award the contract to State Pipe Services for $285,800.

Council also approved a payment to R&B Excavation for $7,200 for the demolition of the abandoned house at 511 Brownsville Rd. The entire cost was funded by SHACOG.

Council agreed to add $20,000 for engineering fees and surveys to the Williams St. rehabilitation project. The street is caving in, said Mr. Cassidy.

Council voted to accept two grants, through SHACOG, requiring matching funds for demolitions, subject to additional funding. One grant is to demolish 131 Kohler.

The other, a Neighborhood Stabilization grant, is for three sites: 128 Ormsby Ave., 195 Penn, and 178 Arlington Ave.

Councilman Patrick Malloy said he can't see spending money on demolitions every year as the borough gets nothing from it.

Mr. Plietz said most sites requiring demolition are fire, drug, and loitering hazards.

"It's a vicious cycle. The longer we let it sit, the worse it becomes," he said.

Mr. Cassidy said the borough will not match grants as it has no money. SHACOG will pursue funds, he said.

Council next voted to pay John Zottola Landscaping the final payment of $6,466.43 for improvements to Transverse Park.

The final engineering news was that applications for three matching grants were submitted to the office of U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle last week.

The applications are for surveillance cameras, police software and computers, and overtime. The "match" will be sought from other grants.

In the public safety report, Mr. Malloy reported that one of the borough's two canine dogs, Jocko, died of cancer. Jocko was seven years old.

Council voted to reimburse a police sergeant $2,223 to cover the veterinarian costs.

Council also voted to hire a part-time police officer who was interviewed by Mr. Malloy and police Chief Frank Mosesso. Funding for the new officer is already in the budget.

Mr. Malloy reported that all the equipment and surveillance cameras are up and running.

In other public safety news, the Frederick St. block watch met on Feb. 20.

Mr. Plietz went to the podium to discuss snow covered sidewalks. He said three weeks after the storm, hundreds have not been touched. That spurs calls from parents whose kids walk to school, as well as questions about breaks given to seniors who cannot shovel snow.

Mr. Malloy said cars should be tagged and towed that are blocking roads.

Mr. Cassidy said residents should be cited for snow covered sidewalks. If seniors are not able to clear their sidewalks, the borough should get them help.

The mayor said any organization which can provide students to shovel for seniors, for which the youngsters will receive school or scout credit, should contact him.

Mr. Plietz also proposed updating the borough zoning to reflect reality, for instance, removing commercial zoning in areas which will never be developed commercially due to topography, surroundings, etc.

Mr. Cassidy called for a tentative meeting on March 1 at 7 p.m. in chambers that would include council, Planning Commission, and Zoning Board to "get the ball rolling" on the zoning issue.

In the recreation report, Mr. Malloy said the registration of field permits is postponed until further notice.

The next council meeting will be on March 15.


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