Snow and the salt to clear it was a primary topic at the Feb. 17 meeting of Mount Oliver council.
Councilman Nick Viglione was absent.
The evening began with Mayor James Cassidy swearing in new full-time police officers Adam J. Candioto, Patrick J. Lucas and Thomas R. Snyder. The officers had previously been part-time officers in the borough.
In his report, project manager Ricky Hopkinson said the Keystone Collections group collected $13,000 last month in delinquent real estate taxes owed the borough.
Tax collector Dottie Smith was also able to collect $6,000 by working with borough property owners who needed payment plans.
The Mount Oliver Business Owners Association (BOA) held its first meeting on Jan. 31, and was very successful, Mr. Hopkinson said. The plan is to meet every other month, with the next meeting at 4:30 p.m. on March 27 at a site to be determined.
About 12 to 15 businesses expressed interest, he said, which represents a good number to get the association started.
The borough has $25,000 pending from private and public sources for Ormsby Park. In total, $110,000 has been secured for park renovations.
The borough has applied for a county Community Infrastructure and Tourism grant to demolish vacant 151-155 Brownsville Rd. and turn it into a metered parking lot.
The BOA talked about the lack of parking in the business district.
Next, Kate Dillon, editor of the borough’s new monthly newsletter, “Mt. Oliver Messenger,” said there is a new format this month, with the community calendar on the front. There will be a council corner each month, as well as a BOA corner.
In the mayor’s report for January, Mr. Cassidy said all police systems, equipment, and vehicles are up and running. Training is up to date.
There were, among other statistics, 522 police calls for service, no burglaries and 40 drug-related incidents resulting in arrests.
“A lot came from traffic stops,” he said of the latter, which is also why two or three police cars are often present during the stops. Many offenders are transients passing through the borough.
The police department now partners with the Middle Atlantic Great Lakes Organized Crime Law Enforcement Network (MAGLOCLEN), an information sharing network involving 100 police departments.
“It’s another asset for us,” acting Chief Matthew Juzwick said.
To view the complete police report, visit the borough website: www.mountoliver.us.
In the ordinance report, residents and businesses have 24 hours to clear snow from the sidewalks in front of their home or risk being cited.
Councilman Darnell Sains said if a resident has a neighbor who is elderly or disabled and needs help shoveling, help them or contact the borough offices.
Mrs. Michener said the borough is trying to set up a program with a list of those who need assistance. Youth groups will be contacted about helping them.
In the fire report, assistant chief Ron Lowrey of the Mount Oliver Hook and Ladder Co. said the annual fund drive will begin shortly. Last month, there were 13 calls, with most for broken water lines in houses.
Mr. Lowrey also announced the fire company received upgraded certification from the state Fire Commissioner’s office. It is now one of only 111 fire departments in the state that are certified at the 75 percent level or above.
The fire company has always been first responders for EMS. It was just certified through the state as QRS (quick response service) for emergency medical calls.
It will now respond with the city EMS on high priority calls.
In public safety, Mr. Sains reported the 15210 zip code is the number one violent crime area, covering Mount Oliver, South Side Slopes, Bon Air, Carrick, Beltzhoover, Knoxville, Arlington and other communities.
“It’s not just Mount Oliver. We’re not that bad,” he said.
He also reported that earlier in the month members of Voices Against Violence and the Coalition Against Violence held an assembly to raise awareness of violations against women and children.
The gathering was another in a series for justice for 15-month-old Marcus White, who was shot and killed in the East Hills last May.
The child’s family thanked attendees for their efforts.
In the police report, acting Chief Juzwick said there were four interviews last week for part-time police officers. The plan is to hire four part-timers as soon as possible.
The department is looking at bicycle officers this summer. Mrs. Michener said business owners like seeing officers on bikes riding throughout the borough.
In the public works report, Councilman Corey McGough said the borough is having the same salt issues as other communities.
If the salt level gets too low, the borough can put in a request to borrow salt from PennDOT. The borough must repay the loan of salt with future salt it purchases.
The snow-clearing procedure is to clear the main streets and intersections first.
Mr. McGough said the streets are getting beat up, resulting in large potholes that can be dangerous. Call the borough offices to report especially problematic ones.
Next, Councilwoman Barbara Keener said she will be conducting an Easter egg hunt for the borough. It will be held on April 12, with details to follow, including the site.
In the parks and recreation report, Councilman Frank Bernardini said the committee is in the process of revising permit applications. He also wants to see if there is interest in a baseball program.
Mrs. Michener said the application needs to include a permit fee deposit to ensure the area is clean after usage. Otherwise, the money will go toward having the maintenance workers clean up after them.
In the waste/sewage report, Councilman Dave Lowe reported there are 444 delinquent garbage service accounts. The $33.87 garbage fee becomes $43.87 after 30 days delinquency.
The Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) raised its sewage rate 17 percent: the fee of $4.32 per 1,000 gallons of water is now $5.05.
But the borough lowered its rate from $7.85 per 1,000 gallons to $7.12, thereby absorbing the increase.
Residents pay the borough rate to help fund Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates, maintain sewer lines and more.
Of the 118 water shut-offs that were looming for sewage account delinquents, 102 have been reconciled, leaving only 16 facing shut-offs.
Residents with payment problems should contact the borough offices or Jordan Tax Services to work out a payment plan.
In the question-and-answer session, an attendee commented Transverse Park is being used as a dumping site for Christmas trees and garbage.
He also said Penn Ave. is one-way off Hays Ave. He would like to see another one-way sign as motorists are going the wrong way. Mr. McGough will look into whether the sign is needed.
To a question about clearing the sidewalks at the crosswalks in the business district with salt as the resident called them “frozen solid,” Mr. McGough said the roads must come first in light of the salt shortage.
An attendee asked who is paying the Keystone Collections group to go after delinquent real estate taxes owed the borough.
There is no cost to the borough as the company’s fees are passed on to the delinquent taxpayers.
The next council meeting will be on March 17.