South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Tom Smith
South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor 

Mt. Oliver council urged to get more involved in boro quality of life issues

 

August 1, 2017

Guests tour the former Kullman's Bakery as part of an event hosted by Economic Development South (EDS) to highlight available commercial properties in Mt. Oliver. The bakery will soon return to life as an incubator to foster baking businesses.

The July Mt. Oliver Borough Council meeting agenda moved rapidly without any special presentations, public hearings or a Mayor's Report.

As part of the Engineer Report, council awarded a contract in the amount of $207,081 to Independent Enterprises for the Anthony Street Sewer Replacement Project.

Fran Kestner reported the Mt. Oliver Fire Department answered 66 calls in May, the most recent time when data was available. Of the 66 calls, 49 were for EMS with the remaining 17 fire calls.

He added there "not much damage" in one fire in June on Transverse.

Frank Bernardini questioned from the gallery whether gas companies turned off the gas at the curb after a building is demolished and if it would be advisable to have the companies cap it at the main instead.

Mr. Kestner said the gas line is the company's and it is left up to them where they shut it off.

Mr. Bernardini disagreed saying, "too much has been left up to them."

Under Code Enforcement, Councilman David Beltz reported there were 27 Borough citations issued, four occupancy permits, 37 violation notices sent out, nine legal filings, 19 rental licenses issued, one building permit issued and one condemnation. In addition, there were nine complaints received.

Councilman Nick Viglione said the Borough Council has to step up and start helping out Building Inspector Chuck Knaus by making follow-up telephone calls and attending Housing Court hearings.

"We just can't sit here as a council like we do. There's more stuff that has to be done. We've got to help (Mr. Knaus) out and go up there and talk to (District Magisterial Judge Richard) King," he added.

After residents said they would volunteer to help, Borough Manager Rick Hopkinson said it has to be a coordinated effort so everyone is on the same page. Mr. Viglione said they would talk with Mr. Knaus about procedures before proceeding.

"We want to know step by step so we can start making some of these calls," he said.

A resident suggested from the gallery that Mr. Kestner join Mr. Knaus when he does rental license inspections to make sure the rental properties are up to date on the fire code requirements.

Another resident asked if there is a list Mr. Knaus uses when he inspects a building. Mr. Hopkinson replied there is a list and they are in the process of reviewing it to see if it needs updates or additions.

Mr. Kestner said he stops and asks to go in a building if he sees renovations going on, more as a courtesy and to know what to expect in the event of a fire. Usually people are accepting of his offer and welcome his advice.

Mr. Viglione would like to see the council return to doing a once a month ride (or walk) around with each member taking a few streets in their part of the borough to note code violations, cars with expired inspection stickers and more.

In the Public Safety Report, it was noted the borough's police responded to 537 calls in June. Among the calls were eight accident reports, eight domestic disturbances, eight criminal mischief calls and four fights.

There were four burglaries in the borough in June: two on Ormsby Avenue, one on Brownsville Road and one on Hays. In the Brownsville Road and Hays Avenue burglaries, the suspects were arrested at the scenes.

The police also made 44 narcotics arrests, many during traffic stops, for marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin and drug paraphernalia.

Officer Thomas Snyder and canine Enzo were also reported to be in training and were expected to be available soon.

The council also accepted the resignations of two part-time police officers, Bruce Waldo and Dakota Dahler.

In the Public Works Report, Councilman Justin Viale said park maintenance and planting of new trees took place at Ormsby Park in addition to work at Transverse Park in preparation for the borough's 125th Anniversary celebration on August 5.

In addition, there were 15 trees planted along Brownsville Road. The public works crew was also busy painting crosswalks throughout the borough.

SHACOG's Vac-all was in the borough and vacuumed out a "whole dumpster" of debris from the sewers.

Council also appointed Councilwoman Amber McGough and Mr. Viale to SHACOG's Franchising Authority Board.

Mr. Viale said SHACOG is negotiating with Verizon for a new cable franchise agreement. The last agreement was signed in 2008 prior to Mt. Oliver becoming a member. The new agreement would authorize Verizon to provide cable services in the borough, as one of the 22 members of SHACOG.

As part of the new contract, Mt. Oliver will be able to charge up to a five percent franchise fee on cable services. Currently, they receive the five percent fee on Comcast cable services.

The next Mt. Oliver Borough Council meeting will take place on Monday, Aug. 21.

 

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