South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Tom Smith 

Mount Oliver looking into owner's complaints about trucks breaking sidewalks


Frustrated with the prospect of being required to replace the sidewalk on his Freemont Street rental property, William Haines came to the July meeting of the Mount Oliver Borough Council seeking relief.

Haines, owner of 114 Fremont Street for the past 14 years, said the sidewalk and curb on his property have been damaged by garbage trucks and other large vehicles. The damage occurs when the vehicles drive on the curb and sidewalk on the narrow street.

He told the borough council that approximately 20 to 22 feet of his sidewalk has been collapsed by the weight of the vehicles. The curb has also been “pressed into the ground” along the same stretch of road, the lowest part of the street according to Haines.

“I'd like to have the borough's assistance to do something,” he continued. “It's certainly in disrepair and needs replaced.” He was asking for help from the borough because many of the vehicles causing the damage have been either borough trucks or are under contract to the borough, such as the garbage hauler.

The landlord said he understood why the trucks would sometimes drive on the sidewalk, especially during winter months when they were trying to avoid parked cars. The one-way street is narrow and doesn't provide much room for large trucks to maneuver.

However, Haines also wasn't interested in replacing the walkway only to have the new concrete broken again by the weight of the trucks.

One suggestion, to place poles in the sidewalk, was quickly discarded as being illegal in the borough. Council President Marty Palma referred the problem to the borough's Public Works Committee for further discussion.

In committee reports, Mayor John Smith said the borough's police department received a $2,000 grant from Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr's. office to install laptop computers in two of the borough's police cars. He said the department was expecting more than twice that amount and asked the council to make up the difference. An amount of almost $3,000 was later approved for the purchase and installation of the computers, bringing the total to $5,000.

Mayor Smith reported that the borough's Special Response Team is now up and running. The team of 10 police officers will also train with the Mount Oliver Fire Department.

The mayor also commended the team for making a drug bust on Locust Street in the borough. In addition to making “numerous” arrests the team seized drugs, weapons and money. Smith noted the house where the arrests were made is part of the Section 8 housing program.

Councilman Dennis Obeldobel, chair of the Computer Committee, said he is in the process of taking an inventory of computer equipment the borough owns. He asked all department heads to return a survey so the equipment can be accounted for.

Obeldobel also said borough officials are looking into updating the borough's Website, The site hasn't been updated for several years. Those with suggestions for upgrades should contact the councilman at the Borough Building.

Councilman Pat Cassidy, chairman of the Public Works Committee, said bids have been received for new signage to replace the kiosk at the Clocktower. The cost for four new signs to be placed on the Clocktower for Beckman Motor Company will be $3,560.

The councilman reported that the borough sent a public works' employee to Allegheny County's West Nile Virus Program to learn how to treat standing water against mosquitoes. So far, the borough had treated 29 catch basins and two potential trouble areas to help prevent the transmission of the disease.

Cassidy said the West Nile Virus treatment program will continue throughout the mosquito season.

Jean Statler, substituting for Borough Engineer Ruthann Omer, said they are in the process of developing a “Master Plan” for Ormsby and Transverse parks. The plan will be utilized in applying for grants to improve the parks.

She said a low bid of $6,750 has been received from BJC Enterprises to tear down 139 Stamm Avenue. When awarded, the contract requires the structure to be demolished by September 30.

The borough is also going to apply for a $25,000 county Economic Development Grant to demolish three more houses at 462 Walter Avenue, 431 Karl Street and 121 Koehler Street.

Effective around September 1, Mount Oliver Borough residents will begin receiving their monthly sewage bill incorporated into their water bill from Pennsylvania American Water Company (PAWC). Previous to that date, residents received a separate bill once a quarter.

The change will also affect the way the borough has handled past due accounts. Instead of getting a bill with a penalty and interest, PAWC will charge past due accounts 1½ percent on all outstanding balances.


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