South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Mt. Oliver appoints new tax collector


August 26, 2008

The appointment of a new tax collector highlighted the August 18 meeting of Mount Oliver Council. Councilman Patrick Malloy was absent.

Former borough secretary Colleen Pack got the nod over two other candidates.

At last month's council meeting, President James Cassidy read a letter from borough tax collector Colleen Gestiehr in which she resigned due to health issues. She held the post for four-and-a-half years.

Ms. Pack will finish Ms. Gestiehr's unexpired term until Dec. 31, 2009.

The meeting began with complaints by three residents about speeding traffic, including PAT busses, on St. Joseph St.

A seven-year-girl was hit by a car on the street on Aug. 1.

Mayor Jeff Repasky said he received numerous complaints of speeding on many borough streets. But he will keep a police presence of the street until a permanent solution is found.

The residents suggested speed bumps, a stop sign, or lowering the speed limit to 15 miles per hour. Police Chief Frank Mosesso said the latter is illegal.

He said he would have lines painted on St. Joseph and other streets. With Accu-Track, the borough will have the ability to track speeders.

To a resident's suggestion of installing cameras on the street, Mr. Repasky said he is trying to secure grant funding for more cameras, like the ones at the five-point intersection at Brownsville Rd., Hays Ave., Amanda Ave., Bausman St., and Sherman St.

Each camera costs about $10,000, he said.

Next, during the report of assistant borough engineer Justin Wagner, council voted 6 to 0 to accept a bid of $41,500 to demolish 146 Brownsville Rd. The vacant building once housed the former Barone's Bar.

The work is expected to occur within the next six weeks.

Council also voted 6 to 0 to pay P.J. Caruso & Sons $120,186.76 for the recently completed road paving work. The amount is $11,000 under budget.

In the public safety report, Mr. Cassidy said 948 calls were answered last month by borough police. Officers parked and walked 98 times in the 100 and 300 blocks of Brownsville Rd.

The fire department responded to 13 incidents — none serious — in July.

Mr. Repasky said that with school starting, he is trying to put police details throughout the borough to look for speeders.

Next, Deana Wuenschel, of the Planning Committee, commenting on last month's Community Days Festival, said she thought "the fireworks were better than downtown's."

Dennis Obeldobel asked her if the Planning Commission could look at obsolete ordinances and make recommendations to council on what to delete. She agreed.

Councilwoman Billie Michener said she rode around and counted the number of housing units in the borough. There is a high discrepancy between the units counted by refuse hauler Waste Management, and what the borough records indicate.

The borough counted 1478 units, and Waste Management reports 1965 units. The borough is charged by unit count for its refuse collection.

A response is expected from Waste Management in a couple of weeks.

In the Recreation Committee report, John Smith said a representative of Verizon would talk to council sometime in the future about possibly switching to Verizon for cable services.

Residents and some council members have complained about Comcast consistently moving channels from basic to higher levels of paid service.

Mrs. Michener said too many street lights are burned out in the borough.

"You have to do a ride by," she told Mr. Smith, who said he would do so the next day.

The borough is charged by Duquesne Light even if lights are out.

Mr. Repasky asked that residents report burned out lights to the borough offices.

In the Public Works report, James Caylor said the lettering on some street signs has worn out, and he will see about having them repainted.

In the Computer report, Mr. Obeldobel said he plans to try to establish a web page for Mount Oliver that will include borough ordinances, which might cut down on code enforcement problems.

A web page will give residents easy access to borough matters without having to stop by the borough offices.

In the Economic Development report, Mrs. Michener said the next "clean sweep" will take place on a Sunday in September which has yet to be chosen.

The Ormsby Park project by Boy Scout Kurt Miller to attain Eagle Scout status is completed.

The volunteer work by him and other scouts involved turning the old dec hockey rink into two basketball courts. They also tore down and repaired fences, cleaned and painted walls, and more.

Another Boy Scout, she said, is planning a project for the park.

The next economic development meeting will be on Aug. 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the Elder-ado Senior Center on Brownsville Rd. Everyone is welcome.

Josette Fitzgibbons, of Mainstreets Pittsburgh, Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, will talk about the Mainstreets program.

The next council meeting will be on Sept. 15.


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