South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Mt. Oliver extends chief's contract, limits public comment at meetings


September 28, 2010

A new four-year contract for police Chief Frank Mosesso, and new regulations governing residents' public comment period during council meetings, were the top news from the Sept. 20 meeting of Mount Oliver council.

Councilwoman Billie Michener was absent.

The chief's new contract contains three percent raises in each year from 2011 to 2014. His pay was frozen the past three years.

Councilman Dennis Obeldobel said he preferred a four percent raise the first year and three percent the next three years as the chief saved the borough $6,000 the past three years with the pay freeze.

But Councilman Patrick Malloy said Mr. Mosesso was happy with three percent, and that motion was passed 5-1, with Mr. Obeldobel dissenting.

In other news, from now on, a resident is limited to five minutes to address council, and must submit his concern or complaint in writing in advance of the meeting, preferably by a week.

"Meetings got to be quite lengthy," said council President James Cassidy about the five-minute limit. In meetings earlier this year, the public comment section frequently lasted well over an hour.

The purpose of requiring the question in advance is so that the matter can be looked into and an answer provided when presented publicly during meetings.

The first speaker that evening asked about the cracks in the curbs and sidewalks near roughly eight homes on Church Ave., which he has questioned council about for the past five months.

Solicitor James Perich will contact Columbia Gas to find out if the company is responsible for work done previously at the Church Ave. site.

The resident also asked about the delinquent sewage and garbage accounts.

Mr. Cassidy said there is a $100,000 discrepancy between the delinquency figures of the borough, water company, and Jordan Tax Services, which collects sewage payments. The amounts owed by sewage delinquents range from $12 to $5,000.

The borough has not yet received information from Waste Management on delinquent garbage accounts.

The resident's final comment was about speeders. Mayor Jeff Repasky said on weekend mornings, now school has begun, the police park on streets with speeding problems and stop offenders.

Mr. Cassidy said residents can help by completing "silent complaint forms" with descriptions of cars — like color, model, license number — that they notice speeding frequently in the same area.

The police will then know to look out for them.

The second and final speaker complained about a vacant lot on Margaret St. with high grass and debris strewn throughout the yard.

He said if the borough cuts the grass he will pick up the trash in the property's vicinity. The borough will check the site.

In the mayor's report, Mr. Repasky said he received a letter from Goodwill thanking the borough and residents for recycling electronics.

In the engineer's report, Kurt Todd, who replaces the promoted Justin Wagner, said the annual engineer/borough review of past, current, and future projects will be held at 5:45 p.m. on Oct. 18 in council chambers.

In other engineering news, a bill of $220,026.35 for refurbishing manhole covers will be sent to the South Hills Area Council of Governments (SHACOG) for payment.

The Williams St. resurfacing and retaining wall work began that day.

The deck hockey site in Transverse Park is completed. A final bill of $62,835 will be sent to SHACOG for payment.

Mr. Cassidy told Mr. Todd that, from now on, the borough wants copies of all plans so that when questions arise in the engineer's absence there are documents for referral.

Regarding delinquent sewage accounts, Mr. Cassidy said the borough is not happy with Jordan Tax Services' proposal to collect delinquencies as fees have been added, such as for attorneys.

Council then voted 6-0 for the engineer to open negotiations with the company.

Mr. Cassidy said the borough may also hand over other delinquencies to Jordan Tax Services.

A discussion meeting with the company will be held in council chambers on Oct. 12 at a time yet-to-be-determined. The public is invited. No action will be taken at the meeting.

In the public safety report, Mr. Malloy said police vehicles logged 7,810 miles last month. The maintenance cost on the vehicles was $2,641 due to two older vehicles.

There were 1,194 calls. Of the borough's 34 nuisance properties, five are Section 8.

There were nine drug arrests, and one search warrant executed. The canines were used 71 times.

All the equipment and surveillance cameras are up and running.

The police department continues to wait for a technology grant to upgrade its systems. It was awarded to the department over a year ago.

In the public works report, Mr. Obeldobel reported Duquesne Light replaced most of the burned-out lights on Brownsville Rd.

But the two lights by the bakery could not be done as there is no power at the site. Mr. Cassidy said he would talk to the fire chief about the problem. Anyone who knows of burned-out lights on side streets should contact Duquesne Light or the borough offices.

Next, Deana Wuenschel of the Planning Commission said members are talking about starting to work on a comprehensive plan for 2013. Councilwoman Sara Kudasick is working with the Planning Commission on the plan.

Mr. Perich said grants are available for outside help with comprehensive plans as surveys, statistics, and more are required. The last one was completed 10 years ago.

Mr. Cassidy said such plans are important as some grant proposals require a copy of one.

Next, council authorized Mr. Perich to advertise for proposals to review the fund management aspect of pension plans for borough employees.

Council also voted 6-0 to cooperate with 38 surrounding boroughs to receive a discount on utilities for the borough. The organizer is called Connect.

At the meeting's conclusion, the ordinance committee was asked to revisit an ordinance which charges owners a fee for vacant property, but which is not enforced.

Adopted last year, it establishes the registration of vacant or abandoned properties. That way the borough will know what is vacant, and how long. The fee would be based on length of vacancy.

The next council meeting will be Oct. 18.


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