South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Mount Oliver boro awards contracts for sewer, pavement maintenance programs

 


The June 20 Mt. Oliver council meeting began with Mayor James Cassidy swearing in new Zoning Board member Deborah Viglione. He also swore in two new part-time police officers, and a promoted officer.

 The two new officers are Karra White and Brett Carb, while Corporal Adam Candioto was promoted from patrolman.

 In the police report for May, there were 682 total calls and 58 drug-related arrests. The drug arrests were for the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia. The mayor said the drug arrests occurred throughout the borough, with many at traffic stops.

 There were also two burglaries, one Koehler St. and the other on Brownsville Rd.

 Borough police officers performed 145 targeted patrols at Ormsby Park; arrested two males with illegal firearms; and served 13 arrest warrants.

 All equipment is up and running. All training is up-to-date.

 The mayor said if anyone sees anything suspicious, call 911. Callers may remain anonymous.

 Councilman Nick Viglione commented he has cruised through Ormsby Park, and it is doing well.

 “Keep up the good work,” he told police Chief Matthew Juzwick to tell the other officers.

 Last month, a couple who lives near the park complained to council that more police patrols are needed in the park as youngsters are throwing rocks, breaking windows, and engaging in other delinquent behavior.

 The chief told them officers do patrol the park, but there are times they are tied up in other matters.

 In the engineer›s report read by council President Amber McGough, Gateway Engineers has received signed contracts from El Grande for the 2016 pavement maintenance program. The contract completion date is Sept. 1, 2016.

 A sanitary sewer operations and maintenance (O&M) excavation repairs contract was awarded through SHACOG to Roto-Rooter Services for $357,903, of which the borough share is $28,380.

 Gateway is waiting on the contractor to submit a schedule to begin work.

 The O&M sewer lining repairs contract was awarded through SHACOG to Robinson Pipe Cleaning Co. for $86,027.50, with a borough share of $7,100.

 Gateway is also waiting on this contractor to submit a schedule to begin work.

 Council then voted unanimously to approve a payment to Osiris Enterprises for $109,577.70 for Brownsville Rd. sewer excavation repairs completed up to May 27.

 Council also voted unanimously to approve a quote from Digital Systems, Inc., for $948.58 to add conduit and install a data cable to the cameras at Ormsby Park.

 In the planning report, Deana Wuenschel reported a first draft of the borough’s Comprehensive Plan will soon be available.

 Next, Councilwoman Christina Reft reported $120,000 more was collected in taxes compared to last year.

 In the code enforcement report from inspector Chuck Knaus for May 6 to June 9, Councilman David Beltz reported there were 69 violation/notices, 22 rental licenses (29 units), 29 complaints, 51 citations, five occupancies, one zoning permit, 10 legal citations, and one demolition permit issued.

 In the public safety report, council accepted a bid of $10,100 for the police van. It was the sole bid for the vehicle.

 In public works, Councilman Justin Viale reported a new slide was ordered for Ormsby Park. He also said Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Knoxville Branch would reopen on June 25. It has been closed for $3.5 million in renovations since last June.

 In resolutions and ordinances, council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance amending the vacant property registration program.

 Under the program, all vacant properties in the borough are required to be registered annually by the owners. If the borough must cut, clean, or otherwise perform any type of maintenance to the property, the owner will be invoiced for labor and equipment.

 The change approved by council was the setting of registration fees for vacant properties. For commercial property, the fee is $100 for the first calendar year, and $200 for each subsequent year the property remains vacant.

 For residential property, the fee is $50 the first calendar year, and $100 for each subsequent year the property remains vacant.

 In public hearings, former councilman Frank Bernardini asked about the residential and commercial properties the borough owns. He has stated previously that the borough should not be in the real estate business.

 Borough manager Rick Hopkinson said the borough currently owns nine properties, of which five are vacant lots. He said no taxes are paid by the borough as the borough is tax-exempt.

 Regarding the bank building at 101 Brownsville Rd., and the former bakery shop at 225 Brownsville Rd. – both of which are owned by the borough – Mr. Hopkinson said the insurance will be covered by the leases.

 The bakery is currently being shown to prospective bakers as borough officials want to keep it a bakery. Mr. Hopkinson has stated previously the borough needed to acquire it to get site control to counter the trend of the past year of property sales on Brownsville Rd. resulting in storage sites.

 Mr. Bernardini also asked about all of the work on Brownsville Rd. by the municipal building, which began in November with the handicapped ramps. When is somebody going to step up and get it done? he asked. He also said he is not the only one complaining.

Last month, Mr. Bernardini said council should request the utility companies compensate business owners, in some form, as the work/closings caused a loss of income for the businesses. He said there were days when no work seemed to be occurring. Over Memorial Day weekend, there was no apparent activity on Thursday, Friday, Sat., Sun., or Monday, he said.

 Mr. Viglione said he feels council dropped the ball on the Brownsville Rd. repairs/replacement project.

 “As a council, we should learn from this,” he said.

 He said council should have been more involved in helping the businesses. Residents have told him their cars bounce on the road, and they can’t get to the businesses.

 In an update on the Brownsville Rd. project, water and gas work are completed in the 100-200 blocks, while the work continues in the 300-500 blocks.

 The borough is currently replacing the storm sewer pipe in the 100-200 blocks. It is expected to be completed by early July. The borough will then replace all of the sidewalks in the 100-200 blocks, after which the space will be repaved.

 All of the gas, water, and sidewalk work is expected to be done about the same time: September.

 In other attendees’ comments, an Arlington Ave. resident said he found two grave markers in his yard marked 1918. Council said Inspector Knaus would contact him.

An attendee asked if when Brownsville Rd. is completed, will there be an effort to upgrade the front of businesses?

Mr. Hopkinson said there are façade programs through the Hilltop Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) and Economic Development South (EDS) for paint, signs, lighting, and more.

 The next council meeting will be on July 18.

 

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