South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Mt. O. Council hears Halloween plans and of boro secretary's 2012 retirement


September 27, 2011

Halloween festivities, the loss of a prospective municipal building site, and a borough secretary's 2012 retirement were some of the topics at the Sept. 19 Mt. Oliver council meeting.

Council members Dennis Obeldobel and John Smith were absent.

The meeting began about 15 minutes late due to an executive session held prior to the regular meeting. Council President Patrick Malloy apologized for the delay in beginning the meeting.

In the mayor's report, James Cassidy announced the mayor's hotline is back up and running at 412-431-7333, extension 110. Callers are asked to leave a detailed message so he can look into the problem before returning the call. Callers should be sure to leave their name and phone number when calling the hotline.

The mayor can also be contacted via email at:

In the engineer's report, Kurt Todd asked for a special council meeting to approve the awarding of bids for mandated sewer repairs. Funding will come from a $575,000 loan from PennVest, the Pa. Infrastructure Investment Authority.

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 24, to be followed by a 7 p.m. meeting to kick off the 2012 budget process.

Mr. Todd also reported the borough's manhole rehabilitation project is complete. Council voted to send the $41,230 invoice to the South Hills Area Council of Governments (SHACOG) for payment; the borough will also pay its share.

He said Ormsby Park is open except for the fenced-in area around the arsenic contamination. Testing revealed arsenic contamination from the playground equipment is confined to the playground itself, and there is no surface contamination in the grass areas. Although the equipment was removed, the park had been closed since April.

The invoice for remediation in Ormsby Park will be sent to the Hilltop Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) to pay their portion. The $41,000 tab includes testing, removing and replacing soil, and more.

In other engineering news, the Williams St. retaining wall is completed. All that remains is receipt of the invoice from the contractor.

In the public safety report, Councilman George Farneth said the fire department in July responded to 13 incidents, and to 11 incidents in August; Borough police made 20 narcotics arrests, four DUI arrests, and were investigating 19 nuisance properties during August.

Council then voted to hire two part-time police officers: John Brown and Matthew Toney.

Regarding a damaged light post at 313 Brownsville Rd., the offender has provided insurance information, avoiding a court hearing. His insurance company has since been contacted to make the needed repairs.

Mr. Farneth invited borough residents and business owners with public safety concerns to contact him via the borough offices.

In the code enforcement report for Aug. 16 to Sept. 19, there were six occupancy inspections, 13 violation notices, and 10 borough citations.

Mr. Farneth said when gas and water companies perform construction work in the borough, residents are not always informed. He would like advance notification from the companies of the work so affected residents can be notified.

In the public works report, Corey McGough said more children are playing in Ormsby Park since it has reopened than are playing on the street, which he described as being a very good thing.

He also reported street line painting is 99 percent completed.

To an attendee's question about repairing sidewalks, Mr. Malloy said property owners are responsible for the sidewalks in front of their own property. He noted the borough is responsible for sidewalks in front of municipal property.

Mr. Farneth said since the borough has substantially completed repairs on its own property, it can now contact businesses to repair theirs.

In recreation news, Halloween in Mt. Oliver will be observed from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29. Fire and police personnel will be on the streets during those hours.

Following trick-or treat at 4 p.m., "Crank it at the Clock," at the clock tower on Brownsville Rd. will feature free food, fun, a disc jockey, moon bounce and more. The after-Halloween event is sponsored by the HEDC.

Busses will be rerouted. Hays Avenue in front of Rite Aid and Family Dollar will be closed. The event will end about 7 p.m. About 200 people attended last year.

The Redd-Up campaign with University of Pittsburgh students would be held on Saturday, Oct. 22 in conjunction with the HEDC. It will be its third year for the event.

Borough volunteers will be assigned a Pitt student to help them clean-up the street on which they reside. Volunteers will receive a ticket for a drawing for a $100 Giant Eagle gift card.

Mr. Farneth reported First National Bank on Brownsville Rd. has decided not to sell the vacant bank property. The site had been considered for converting into a police department or administrative offices.

The borough is looking into grants for acquiring a building to convert into a new municipal center.

The current municipal building is more than 100 years old, and a former fire station. It has major structural deficiencies. Fire escapes are needed, and there is a potential carbon dioxide issue with the police vehicles in the basement.

In the solicitor's report, James Perich said under the Open Records law, if a resident wants a copy of the recording of the council meetings, the person could get a copy of the tape at the borough offices. If they want a written copy, they would have to have someone transcribe the tape. Mr. Perich said the borough must respond to such requests within five days.

In new business, the borough's secretary of 28 years, Joanne Malloy, plans to retire in June, 2012.

Mr. Farneth next asked if the borough has a policy on the request for interviews. A television station made an inquiry regarding high grass in the borough, and asked to speak with him. Mr. Farneth has not yet responded.

Mr. Malloy said he had no problem with Mr. Farneth speaking to the media, nor did any other council members in attendance voice an objection.

In conclusion, Mr. Farneth invited all residents interested in the crafting of the 2012 budget to submit ideas, concerns, and questions in writing to the borough offices.

The next council meeting will be on Oct. 17.


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