‘New' Mt. O. Council takes charge, institutes changes in procedures
It was a new council, but the issues confronting members at the Aug. 15 monthly meeting were the same ones prior councils faced: delinquent garbage accounts, uncut grass, unfunded mandates, and more.
The new members, sworn in at July 27 special meeting, are Corey McGough and Darnell Sains.
Former council President James Cassidy is the new mayor. Patrick Malloy is the new council president, while George Farneth is the new vice-president.
Council members Dennis Obeldobel, John Smith, and Christine Brendel were absent.
Mr. Malloy began the meeting by announcing procedural changes. To speak, a person must be recognized by the chair. When a council member is giving a report, another council member must say "excuse me" to comment during the report. Comments will also be taken at the end of reports.
Also, monthly caucus meetings will be held at 7 p.m. instead of the longstanding 6 p.m. for greater accessibility for working people.
In the mayor's report, Mr. Cassidy said his email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. He will shortly be meeting with police Chief Frank Mosesso and city Councilman Bruce Kraus to discuss safety and other issues.
In the engineer's report, Kurt Todd announced the fall workshop meeting with council, in which the engineer discusses current and future projects, will be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 in council chambers. The public is welcome to attend.
Mr. Todd called the Aug. 6 "Cruisin' on the Hilltop," sponsored by the Hilltop Economic Development Corporation (HEDC), "a pretty successful event."
He also announced the borough received a $575,000 loan from PennVest, the Pa. Infrastructure Investment Authority. The funds will complete sewer repairs mandated by a federal consent decree of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In other news, Mr. Todd said he would search for grant money for an estimated $40,500 for remediation in Ormsby Park. Testing revealed arsenic contamination from the playground equipment is confined to the playground itself and there is no surface contamination in the grass areas.
While the equipment has been removed, the park remains closed.
To Mr. Malloy's question if the park can be safely opened, Mr. Todd said it should be fine. Basketball hoops will be hung shortly.
To Mr. Farneth's assertion the affected area should be cordoned off, street commissioner Ron Smith recommended a fence with locks should be rented to secure the area. If the orange fence at the park is erected, youngsters will burn it, he said.
On another topic, Mr. Todd said he received an estimate of $34,750 to demolish a five-unit structure on Anthony St. The problem is a wall on a vacant row house. Although it is on private property, the wall presents a hazard as it is about to fall.
The owner, who filed for bankruptcy, does not respond to the borough's notices. Before filing for bankruptcy, the owner transferred the property to an LLC without going through the borough procedures and rules, like occupancy permits. The owner is the principal owner in the LLC company.
Solicitor James Perich said he will review the borough's options against the partnership for demolition costs and back liens.
Council also authorized Mr. Perich to file a lawsuit against the driver who knocked down a pole in the 300 block of Brownsville Rd.
In the final engineering news, Mr. Todd said the borough must come up with a sign maintenance program, like making sure signs are visible, by Jan. 12. It is another unfunded mandate.
In the public safety report, Mr. Farneth said in addition to very high grass at a Margaret St. residence, he is compiling a list of other sites which need to be addressed. Residents should contact the borough offices with addresses of high grass sites.
Although the borough does not, as standard practice, cut residential lawns, the Margaret St. lawn is so high it conceals mice and rats, making it a hazard to the surrounding homes.
Mr. Farneth also said the fire hall needs to be upgraded. While it is structurally sound, its biggest issue is a leaky roof, for which grant money will be sought. Less pressing concerns include sliding doors that are out of sync, and rooftop air-conditioning units that need to be addressed. It is also not ADA-compliant.
A wish list includes separate sleeping facilities for males