South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Police and firemen honored by Mt. Oliver Council


Sergeant Matt Juzwick, Corporal Ed Besselman, Corporal Laura Murray and Officer Matthew Toney received commendations from Mount Oliver Mayor James Cassidy for their quick work in responding to a gun fight on Locust Street in the borough. The officers responded, setup a perimeter and moved in tactical formation in taking one of the suspects into custody. A second suspect was shot multiple times and and died.

No increase in tax millage for ‘12

Commendations, promotions, and passage of a 2012 budget without a tax increase highlighted the Dec. 19 Mount Oliver council meeting.

All council members were present.

The meeting began with Mayor James Cassidy announcing commendations for the police department's Sergeant Matt Juzwick, Corporal Ed Besselman, Corporal Laura Murray, and Officer Matthew Toney for their actions on Oct. 4.

Responding to a gun battle between two shooters on Locust St., the officers set a perimeter on both ends and moved in a tactical formation, immediately placing one of the actors into custody. The second actor was shot multiple times and died.

"If it was not for the fast response time of these officers, training and experience to suppress this incident, innocent civilians could have also been victims of this senseless shooting," the commendation states.

Mr. Cassidy also thanked members of the fire and police departments "in the preservation of life and protection of property" for their actions on Nov. 1 in the rescue of a man trapped inside a residential structure fire.

Those assisting in the overall response included: Corporal Ed Besselman, Sergeant Keith Williams, Fire Chief Fran Kestner, firefighters Earl Robinson and Jim Sheehan, engineer Michael Terreri, Captain Tony Gigliotti, and Captain Dennis Korbe.

Next, during the public hearing, a business owner stated three areas he said need addressed: the citing of repeat parking offenders; litter pick-up; and enforcement of the two-hour meters.

In the engineer's report, Kurt Todd from Gateway Engineers confirmed a sewer update meeting with council at 7 p.m. on Jan. 24 in council chambers.

A conference call is coming up, he said, to discuss the closing date for a $575,000 loan from PennVest, the Pa. Infrastructure Investment Authority, for mandated sewer repairs.

Council then voted unanimously to award the sewer project to low bidder Soli Construction for $376,434.

Mr. Todd announced a $100,000 grant, funded from the casinos through the county, has been acquired for remediation of the arsenic contamination in soil of the borough's Ormsby Park playground.

The soil testing report attributed the arsenic to the playground equipment, which has been removed.

The soil evaluation was requested by KaBOOM!, a national program for installing new playground equipment. New equipment will be provided once the soil is replaced.

In the public safety report, Councilman George Farneth said the fire department answered 12 fire calls in November.

Next, in response to a resident's question at last month's meeting about the activities and expenditures of the Mount Oliver Hook & Ladder Co., Chief Kestner prepared a report, which was presented by assistant Chief Ron Lowrey.

In the report, he said the borough allocates one mill of tax revenue annually to the fire department for expenses, or about $70,000. The borough does not "give" the fire department the money, but rather makes payments on behalf of the department.

Fundraising has not been as successful as in years past. Bingo income is off about 24 percent since the casinos opened and the smoking ban went into effect. The annual community days and firemen's carnival income is also off by about 50 percent.

"Money's a serious issue," said Mr. Lowrey.

At the same time, there are future capital expenditures looming, including new command and pumper vehicles.

Additionally, he said it costs $6,345 to outfit one firefighter.

Besides being a fire department, members respond to medical assists and public service calls; help out with community functions; do fire prevention and safety training; staff the station round-the-clock during snow emergencies; and more.

Mr. Farneth said he and firefighters will work on fundraisers as fundraising helps relieve the burden on taxpayers.

Mr. Lowrey said while there will be Community Days in 2012, there will be no fireworks, which cost about $10,000, unless sponsors donate money for the display. This year's Community Days was canceled due to a mix-up with the carnival vendor. The dates for next year's event have already been reserved with the carnival.

In the code enforcement report, there were 25 rental inspections, three occupancy inspections, 18 complaints investigated, nine borough citations issued, and one building permit issued.

In the police report for November, there were seven narcotics arrests, three DUI task force arrests, and 18 nuisance properties under investigation. Only two of the nuisance properties are Section 8 housing.

Last month, a resident complained when his wife called 911 twice about loud wailing coming from a Church Ave. residence, no police officers responded. The cause of the noise was a man beating a pit bull so hard in the head the dog was wailing in pain.

The man said because the wailing could have come from a child or someone having a heart attack, officers should have been sent.

Mr. Farneth said he had a 911 supervisor check the record for the calls. The supervisor said while the caller said she did not want to see the police, the 911 operator should have dispatched the police anyway.

In other police news, Mr. Farneth announced Chief Frank Mosesso submitted a letter of resignation from Sergeant Christine Secilia, effective Dec. 30. Council then voted unanimously to accept the resignation.

Mr. Farneth said the chief also recommended the following promotions, effective Jan. 1, 2012: Corporal Ed Besselman to the rank of sergeant; Officer Kevin Lockhart to the rank of corporal; and part-time Officer John Brown to full-time status.

His also recommended hiring one part-time patrolman to replace Officer Brown.

Councilman Darnell Sains asked that the vote on the chief's recommendations be postponed until the next agenda meeting for further discussion.

Mount Oliver Mayor James Cassidy thanked members of the fire department “in the preservation of life and protection of property” for their actions on Nov. 1 in the rescue of a man trapped inside a residential structure fire on Middle Way. Those assisting in the overall response included: Corporal Ed Besselman, Sergeant Keith Williams, Fire Chief Fran Kestner, firefighters Earl Robinson and Jim Sheehan, engineer Michael Terreri, Captain Tony Gigliotti, and Captain Dennis Korbe.

Before voting on Mr. Sain's motion, council voted 4-3 to promote and hire, with Mr. Sains, Corey McGough, and John Smith voting against the promotions.

In the discussion prior to voting on his motion, Mr. Sains said the issue is the budget.

"There is no way we can promote these officers without a pay increase," he said.

"Something, somewhere, somehow is going to falter.

"Where are we getting the monies from?" he said.

Mr. Farneth said in accepting the resignation of a sergeant, and then promoting the other three as suggested, "there is a zero dollar change."

Another part-timer has to be brought in, he said, or else overtime will have to be paid.


Reader Comments(1)

tuffygirl writes:

Matt Toney.....u r such my hero. Little did I know that we had we had neighbors in comm9n. Despite Shelby I can still rock that just let me kknow the address.xoxo


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