South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Mount Oliver Borough to raise parking fines, swears in new assistant code enforcement officer


The unveiling of proposed, new parking violation rates, and the swearing in of the new assistant code enforcement officer, were among the actions at the July 16 Mount Oliver council meeting.

Council members Pat Malloy and John Smith, Sr., were absent.

By a 5-0 vote, council agreed to advertise an ordinance for the new rates for parking violations, most of which are increasing from $25 to $35. An exception is for overtime meters paid within 24 hours: the $12 fine will increase to $15.

Current $25 fines which would rise to $35 include, but are not limited to: violations paid within five days; parking within a crosswalk, within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, or within 20 feet of an intersection; and expired inspection or registration plates.

Earlier in the evening, the new assistant code enforcement officer, Melvin Pollard, was sworn in by Mayor James Cassidy. Ordinance officer Steve Wilharm has said the position requires tracking down vacant property owners and others whose property is in violation, and which is very time-consuming.

Council President Billie Michener has stated she is working on a program to deal with code violators, including a tracking system to determine if citations are paid -- all in an effort to collect revenue that is due the borough. Mr. Pollard will be involved, as will Mr. Wilharm, building inspector/building code official Chuck Knaus, and tax collector Dottie Smith.

In the mayor's report which began the meeting, Mr. Cassidy said he received email from a resident thanking the public works department for clearing high weeds and more from vacant property on Transverse Ave.

An attendee next stated the restrooms at Transverse Park are a mess, and that is a problem with Community Days approaching.

Councilman Darnell Sains said he would look into the matter. Usage of the field for organized football and other sports will bring issues like this, he said.

The youth, up to age 14, currently using the field are from throughout the Hilltop.

He is currently awaiting clearances from the leaders to be able to work with children. The group also carries the insurance.

For all games, there will be policing and the presence of medical staff.

During the engineer's report, which is based on discussion at the agenda meeting, votes were taken on various motions:

Council approved the next phase of Ormsby Park improvements, which entails installing playground equipment at Ormsby donated by Community Human Services in Oakland, and valued at $60,000. The borough's only expense is transporting and installing the equipment.

Council approved a loan for $39,523 at one percent interest for the borough's share of replacing the light bulbs in the 100 to 300 blocks of Brownsville Rd. with energy-efficient LED lighting.

Council approved Jordan Tax Services as the borough's sewage billing agency. All 17 communities in South Hills Area Council of Governments (SHACOG) were expected to do the same. SHACOG recommended the action after checking for the best price.

Beginning in October, residents will receive a monthly water bill from Pennsylvania American Water, and a monthly sewage bill from Jordan Tax Services.

"You will not get one bill for water and sewage," Mrs. Michener said.

In the police report for June, there were: 875 calls, 21 narcotics arrests, and two DUI arrests. In addition to: nine targeted patrols, one building search, and three crowd controls.

Of the 13 nuisance properties in the borough, six are Section 8.

Mr. Sains thanked the borough police, road crew, and administrative staff for their efforts with last month's SHACOG meeting held in Mount Oliver, which he called "a profound success."

It was the best attended SHACOG meeting in the last 10 months.

He also said council would be voting on an ordinance at the end of the summer which would ban smoking in parks and recreation areas.

An attendee expressed concern about cars speeding up Locust St., which endangers children in a nearby daycare center. He would like to see 25 mile per hour speed limit signs posted, to which Mrs. Michener agreed would be done.

An attendee asked what could be done about parents who allow their youngsters to wander on Locust St. at all hours. Councilman Corey McGough said there is a curfew in the borough and to call the police.

In the public works report, he said 30 percent of the line painting remains to be completed in the borough.

Moving forward, when a resident applies for a handicap parking space and sign in front of their house, Mr. McGough and street commissioner Ron Smith will check it out to see if it is feasible. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

In the code enforcement report from June 14 to July 12, Mr. Sains said there were: 17 legal actions filed, 20 complaints, three business licenses, and one building permit issued.

In the economic development report, Councilman George Farneth said major sponsorships are being sought for the "Cruisin' on the Hilltop" on Aug. 18 along Brownsville Rd. from Arlington Ave. to the clock tower. It will be held from noon to 6 p.m., and feature car cruise, sidewalk sales, live band, and more.

The next meeting of the Hilltop Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) will be on July 26.

Regarding a borough website, Mr. Farneth said it should be up and running by July 20. It will include old photographs of the borough. The address is:

During the public hearings, the managers of Ace Cash Express complained about loitering and littering in front of their Brownsville Road business. Loitering is a safety concern for the employees due to the cash on the premises they said.

Police Chief Frank Mosesso said he and Mr. Sains are working on a plan.

Mr. Sains said loitering is a problem on both ends of the business district.

"You can't take kids totally off the street," he said. He told the managers if they feel they are in harm's way, to call the police.

"You will be attended to," he said.

As for litter, Mrs. Michener said there is an ordinance which states businesses must keep their sidewalks clean.

"This is your job -- you have to clean up the litter," she said.

Next, a resident said he plans to tear down a deteriorated building he owns at 151 Brownsville Road to make the space into a parking lot. He was looking for direction from council on the legal procedure.

He was told he needs borough permits to demolish the building, and after it's leveled, he needs to return with his plan for the parking lot.

The final speaker asked about the Civil Service Commission, which council spoke about earlier this year. Mrs. Michener said it has taken a back burner, but she wants to eventually get it up and running. It will consist of three borough residents appointed by council.

The speaker also expressed concern about properties on Stamm Ave. and Locust St. that appear to serve as daycare centers. Children are dropped off there with no apparent adult supervision. The youngsters play in a vacant lot littered with needles from drug users.

He said he would contact the Office of Children, Youth and Families (CYF).

"You have to pound them with calls," Mr. Farneth said.

The next council meeting will be on August 20.


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