South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Mount Oliver mayor resigns, council to fill vacant seats


Repasky to move out of borough, Special meeting

will fill mayor, council vacancies

Mayor Jeff Repasky announced his resignation at the July 18 Mt. Oliver council meeting, leaving council with two seats to fill: the mayor's and a council seat previously held by Billie Michener.

The appointments will be made at a special meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27, in council chambers.

Mr. Repasky served as mayor since 2006. Prior to becoming mayor, he served as a councilman for four years.

The lifelong Mount Oliver resident and Fire Department member resigned as mayor because he and his family are moving outside the borough.

"No matter where I go, I'll be Mount Oliver," said an emotional Mr. Repasky.

Until a new mayor is appointed, council President James Cassidy will be acting mayor while remaining president of council. As acting mayor, he will only vote when needed to break ties, according to borough code.

The appointee will serve as mayor until January. An election will be held in November to complete the final two years of Mr. Repasky's term.

The mayor's hotline for reporting borough problems, which Mr. Repasky funded, has been disconnected.

The open council seat once held by Mrs. Michener was vacated by council in May after members accused her of missing too many meetings. She was appointed back into the seat after being the leading vote getter in the May primary election. Since Mrs. Michener has not accepted the appointment, the seat remains vacant.

Council members said either Corey McGough or Darnell Sains, who were also primary winners, will likely be appointed to the seat. Mr. McGough garnered more votes than Mr. Sains, which could be a factor in the appointment.

Both men, who were in attendance, said they would be willing to assume the seat.

The meeting began with certificates of appreciation awarded to Tomille Bennett and her daughters, Tania Bennett and Tiana Bennett. The recognition was for their service to the borough helping seniors, the homebound, and the less fortunate.

In the engineer's report, Kurt Todd said the third annual "Cruisin' on the Hilltop," featuring a car cruise, sidewalks sales, live band, flea market, moon bounce, and more, will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 6.

The location is the 100 to 300 blocks Brownsville Rd., from Arlington Avenue to the clock tower.

It is sponsored by the Hilltop Economic Development Corporation (HEDC).

He also said an upaid student intern is working on a draft of an HEDC newsletter and a borough website. Another intern is expected in the fall.

Mr. Todd said the borough received a $9,395 grant from the Snee Reinhardt Foundation to upgrade its police computers. Five computers and other items have already been purchased.

In other news, soil testing in Ormsby Park revealed arsenic contamination is confined to the playground itself; and, there is no surface contamination in the grass areas.

The HEDC will share the testing cost with the borough. The report attributes the arsenic to the playground equipment. Although the equipment has been removed, the park is closed until further notice.

Councilman George Farneth said he has not been able to obtain information from the county Health Department on the effect of the contamination on children versus adults.

Mr. Todd said he received an estimate of $37,555 for tearing down a wall on a vacant row house on Anthony St. Although it is on private property, the wall presents a hazard because it is about to fall.

The owner, who filed for bankruptcy, does not respond to the borough's letters. Solicitor James Perich said he would look into the borough's options.

Council next voted to spend $3,999 to complete repairs to Williams St. that caused a home's wall to collapse. The street has been deteriorating such that it pushed the curb into the corner of the house, knocking down the wall. The problem has been on-going for three years.

The funds will come from the borough's road budget.

The borough's insurance company will also pay $2,300 to remedy the damage to the residents' property.

Prior to the vote, Councilman Patrick Malloy said it should be approved "and give these people peace of mind," referring to the home's owners who have repeatedly raised the issue at council meetings hoping for a resolution.

In the public safety report, Mr. Malloy said there was one building permit issued, 14 rental inspections, eight complaints, and two re-inspections.

In the last two months, the fire department answered 16 calls.

In the police report: 780 calls were answered, and there are six suspended investigations. All the equipment and surveillance cameras are up and running. All police officers are certified in CPR.

There were 15 drug arrests and one DUI arrest. The two canine units did 34 park-n-walks.

The maintenance costs on the police vehicles totaled $1,124.

Council then voted, in response to a letter from HEDC president Ruthann Omer, to lend the borough's assistance for the Aug. 6 car cruise, such as security and a police information booth.

In the public works report, Councilman Dennis Obeldobel said both tractors are in need of repair. Council then authorized spending $900 to repair one tractor.

Mr. Obeldobel is awaiting a progress report on paving, the painting of white and yellow lines, and more once street commissioner Ron Smith returns from vacation.

In response to a letter from the public works employees' union, council agreed to adopt a contract addendum changing their work hours to 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In the computer/risk management report, Mr. Farneth said a meeting to discuss options for the 100-year-old-plus borough building will tentatively be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 2 in council chambers. The date has not yet been confirmed, but the meeting will be open to the public.

The building has major structural deficiencies. Fire escapes are needed, and there is a potential carbon dioxide issue with the police vehicles in the basement.

An option is to secure grants to acquire a building to convert into a new municipal center. A possibility is the First National Bank building on the corner of Brownsville Rd. and Arlington Ave.

Attendee Mrs. Michener said the building has a lot of potential uses, such as a venue for community meetings, and she would like the borough to try to buy it.

"I would not like to lose that building," she said.

Council next voted to release the bank from liability during the Aug. 6 car cruise as the bank's lot is used for activities.

For the same day, council okayed a special event rider on the borough's insurance for "Crusin' on the Hilltop", at the HEDC's request.

The next council meeting will be on Aug. 15.


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