South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Hauler rejects trash from boro deliquent accounts


April 26, 2011

Mount Oliver Borough Council presented a proclamation to James Sheehan (left), Ron Smith (right) and John Michener of the borough's Public Works Department for “excellent” snow clearing during the winter of 2010-2011.

Mt. Oliver acts to remove Michener from council

The non-pickup of garbage from homes with delinquent garbage accounts; the closing of Ormsby Park; and an effort to vacate a council member's seat were the top stories from the April 18 Mount Oliver council meeting.

Absent were council members John Smith and Billie Michener, and Mayor Jeff Repasky. Councilman Patrick Malloy participated via speaker phone.

Earlier in the day, Waste Management bypassed garbage set outside for pick-up at residences with delinquent garbage accounts. Instead, only residences in which bills were paid had their garbage picked up.

Councilman George Farneth said the borough was given no warning of the action.

In prior years, the borough compensated Waste Management to for delinquencies. But since last year, a change in procedures now has the company pursuing delinquents, at no cost to the borough.

Council President James Cassidy said garbage will not be picked up until payment is made.

Delinquents must move their garbage from the street and onto their property or else the borough will cite them. If the non-payment persists and garbage accumulates, the Health Department will be contacted.

Delinquents are urged to call Waste Management immediately about their accounts.

To a resident's comment that delinquents will simply carry their garbage to the home of a paying customer, Mr. Farneth said residents should call the borough and report it if they do.

In other news, Ormsby Park, which closed two week ago, will remain closed until further notice due to a low percentage of arsenic found in soil samples at the playground. The borough will be soliciting bids to cover testing of the entire grass area.

Mr. Cassidy said there is no immediate danger, the soil report stated a child would have to play at the site eight hours, seven days a week, and eat the soil to be harmed.

The soil evaluation was requested by KaBOOM!, a national program for installing new playground equipment.

Under the program, municipalities partner with corporations and playground equipment manufacturers, with the latter supplying equipment at cost, and the corporate sponsor paying up to $65,000 for the equipment and its installation.

The cost to the borough is $8,500, with half already raised by the Hilltop Economic Development Corporation.

Engineer Kurt Todd said Western Pennsylvania is high in arsenic due to the steel mills and other factors. The public works employees, wearing dust masks and gloves, will tear down the old playground.

At the meeting's conclusion, Councilman Dennis Obeldobel made a motion to vacate the seat held by Mrs. Michener for lack of attendance and participation, and failure to respond to an inquiry of when she would return. The vote was 4-0 among members in attendance.

Mrs. Michener did not respond to a letter sent on March 29 asking her intentions, said solicitor James Perich. She has not attended a monthly council meeting yet this year.

Council then set a date of May 2 at 7 p.m. for a hearing. She can appeal any decision to Common Pleas Court.

If Mrs. Michener does not appear, the seat may be declared vacant at the next council meeting. Council then has 30 days to appoint a new council member or Common Pleas Court will fill the vacancy.

When a resident asked earlier in the meeting about Mrs. Michener's absence, Mr. Cassidy said she turned in an excuse, but privacy laws prevent him from revealing the reason for her absence.

The resident also asked why she continues getting paid for being on council. Council members receive $150 per month.

"There are some legalities behind it," said Mr. Cassidy.

Mr. Perich said borough code states excused absences are not held against anyone.

The meeting began with two proclamations: for Jocko, the late K-9 dog; and for the Public Works Dept.

Jocko, who died in 2010, was recognized for his service to the borough. The proclamation was presented to his handler, Sgt. Matthew Juzwick.

The public works employees — Ron Smith, James Sheehan, and John Michener — were recognized for their "excellent" snow clearing in 2011.

During the public comment period, a resident asked if the police were supported by council.

Mr. Cassidy said yes, as evidenced by a resolution adopted last month disallowing discussion by council members or any borough official in any public forum of police activities, including investigations, undercover work, or more.

The resolution is intended to protect police officers.

In the engineer's report, council voted to work with the Hilltop Economic Development Corp. to improve storefront facades on the main street.

Council also accepted the low bid from Allegheny Asbestos to test for asbestos prior to demolition of two homes on Hays and Onyx avenues.

In the Public Safety Report, it was reported there were 800 answered police calls last month. There were eight drug arrests, three DUI arrests, and six suspended investigations.

It was noted of the 30 nuisance properties in the borough, only four are Section 8 residences.

At last month's meeting, a resident commented borough children find the police intimidating; but council members disagreed.

In response, at this meeting, police Chief Frank Mosesso circulated photographs from April 14 in which about 20 Head Start children enjoyed a "youth outreach" by the department. The youngsters were able to pet the police K-9 dog and become familiar with some of the officers.

In the public works report, Mr. Obeldobel told street commissioner Ron Smith white and yellow lines need to be painted in the borough. He also said residents told him the newly patched potholes on Hays Ave. are like speed bumps.

The Planning Commission reported additional members are needed. Borough residents should contact borough secretary Joanne Malloy if interested in applying for a commission seat.

Mr. Cassidy said it will be mandatory for the next code enforcement officer to attend Planning Commission meetings. The borough is interviewing for the position since Tom Plietz left for a similar position in Collier last month.

K-9 officer Sgt. Matthew Juzwich accepts a proclamation for Jocko, his late canine partner. Jocko was recognized for his service to Mount Oliver Borough.

In the computer/risk management report, Mr. Farneth said there will be another contractor evaluation at no charge of the municipal building and its code violations. A cost estimation for any needed repairs will be provided.

Fire escapes are needed, and there is a potential carbon dioxide issue due to the police vehicles in the basement.

In the solicitor's report, a new four-year public works contract was adopted that includes raises of two percent each year for its two employees.

Council also adopted a resolution to apply for grants for improvements to Ormsby and Transverse parks. A retaining wall needs to be replaced at Ormsby, while Transverse has steps which need to be repaired.

The next council meeting will be on May 16.


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