South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Boro council discusses park clean up,

new lights on Brownsville


Upcoming borough events like “Crank it at the Clock” and “Redd-Up Day” were discussed at the Oct. 15 meeting of Mt. Oliver council.

The meeting began with Mayor James Cassidy recommending that Sergeant Keith Williams be appointed acting chief while Chief Frank Mosesso is out for surgery. He said Sergeant Matt Juzwick believes his own time is best utilized with all his other duties.

Council President Billie Michener said the matter would be discussed at a later date.

In the engineer’s report, Kurt Todd said there is no longer arsenic contamination in the playground at Ormsby Park. A 2011 soil testing report attributed the arsenic to the playground equipment, which was removed shortly afterwards.

He also said the new surface will be installed in Transverse Field for free in the next few weeks, weather permitting.

In August, resident Bob Warnock told council he received a grant from the Pirates which he was willing to use to repair Transverse Field. It will result in a new infield, bases, and surface; repair of the backstop; refurbished dugouts; and more.

In other engineering news, new, energy-efficient LED lighting will be installed in the 100 to 300 blocks of Brownsville Rd. by Christmas.

In his report, ordinance officer Steve Wilharm said there were 91 violations, 30 borough citations, 10 new state citations, 34 violation letters, and nine state citations.

George Farneth asked Mr. Wilharm about Mrs. Michener’s claim Judge Richard King did not act on borough citations submitted to him, costing the borough thousands of dollars, was true.

Mr. King had told him he acted on all of them, Mr. Farneth said. Mr. Wilharm agreed Judge King acted on the citations.

Mrs. Michener said she never cast blame on Mr. King; rather, what she said was, Mr. Wilharm issued citations to borough residents which they did not pay. Mr. Farneth concluded it was an internal problem.

In the fire report, there were 17 calls for service in August and 10 calls in September. The fire ladders all passed the recent annual inspection.

Two fire company members are CPR-certified, with one of those being Mr. Cassidy.

Mr. Cassidy reminded attendees the fire department has vehicle rescue abilities -- both the equipment and the know-how.

In the public safety report for September, Darnell Sains said there were 1,143 calls, 378 park-and-walks, more than 100 targeted patrols, eight narcotics arrests, five DUI Task Force arrests, and three calls for crowd control. Of the 17 nuisance properties under investigation five are Section 8.

He reported all computers are in service with no problems.

In the public works report, Corey McGough said he hopes next month to receive a report on what, if any, equipment needs to be repaired for the upcoming winter weather.

In the code enforcement report for Sept. 10 through Oct. 11, John Smith, Sr., reported there were 26 complaints, 19 violation notices, 39 rental inspections, three building permits, five legal actions filed, and six occupancy inspections.

In the recreation report, Mr. Sains said he would investigate whether to allow one more home football game beyond what was scheduled.

He said he wants the hillsides, parking lot, playground, and Transverse St. cleaned afterwards. Mr. Farneth said the area was well cleaned after the Oct. 6 game.

In recreation, Pat Malloy said Halloween in Mt. Oliver will be observed from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27. Fire and police personnel will be on the streets during those hours.

Following trick-or treat at 4 p.m., there will be free food, fun, games, and more at the family-friendly “Crank it at the Clock” at the clock tower on Brownsville Rd. The entertainment headliner will be Christ In You The DJ Party. Free hot dogs and more are donated by local businesses.

The Police Department will take care of rerouting busses until it ends about 7 p.m.

Last year’s “Crank it at the Clock” drew about 200 youngsters. Volunteers are needed. The event is sponsored by the Hilltop Economic Development Corporation.

On another event, Mrs. Michener said the Redd-Up campaign with University of Pittsburgh students would be held on Saturday, Oct. 20.

The plan was to clean the parklet beside the borough building and, weather permitting, paint it also. More would be done elsewhere if time allowed. Adult volunteers were needed to accompany students to make sure they are safe.

“It’s another good, positive thing,” Mrs. Michener said.

She also said events like “Redd-Up Day” and “Crank it at the Clock” are the kinds of things she wants residents to recommend to her to help change the perception of the borough.

Another positive activity is the county’s facade program which resulted in four borough businesses receiving matching funds for facade improvements: Kullman’s Bakery, A&E Deli, Mt. Oliver Styles, and Jalens II.

In the website report, Mr. Farneth said he is waiting for some council members to post their biographies.

In the Waste Management report, he said he is still working on an amnesty program for water and sewage.

Mrs. Michener said borough residents are no longer getting a single bill for water and sewage. Beginning this month, they will receive two bills: a water bill from Pennsylvania American Water Co., and a sewage bill from Jordan Tax Services.

The borough benefits in that the sewage money collected by Jordan will go directly to the borough for the sewers.

In the Question and Answer session, a resident complained about youngsters throwing garbage, using foul language, and fighting as they pass her home leaving the football field. They are not all neighborhood football players, she said, but also friends and opposing teams’ members.

Mrs. Michener said Mr. Sains would talk to Kevin Alton of the athletic association.

“I feel for you because I know what you’re going through,” she said.

Mr. McGough said he had problems last year with kids vandalizing his property, so he spent $300 for cameras.

Mr. Sains said the adults in the league are all volunteers who are trying to keep the kids off the streets. He noted football season is almost over also.

Mr. Farneth said his reports are that the coaching staff controls the youngsters well on the field, but there are some issues after leaving the field. Mr. Cassidy said to call the police and report the disorderly person as it is occurring.

In new business, Mrs. Michener announced that Edward Woessner, who received a certificate of appreciation at council’s June 20, 2011 meeting for his 103rd birthday on June 9, died on Sept. 27 at age 104.

“I am very sorry for his loss,” she said.

Mr. Woessner lived in the borough since 1938.

Also in new business, Mr. Sains said he attended a Local Government Academy seminar on changing the size of the elected government body.

He said if the population of Mt. Oliver drops below 3,000, council size could decrease from seven members to five or three. The population was 3,403 at the time of the 2010 census.

With seven members, council is where it should be at this time. Hopefully, the borough will increase in residents, he said.

In old business, solicitor Deron Gabriel said a woman who was denied speaking at last month’s meeting because she was not a borough resident should be permitted to do so.

Mrs. Michener said the woman owns property in the borough, which makes her eligible.

However, Mrs. Michener then told her to see the building inspector/building code official Chuck Knaus in the next week to have the property inspected.

The woman denied Mrs. Michener’s claim the property had not been inspected since 2008, calling it “retaliation” for bringing up the Sunshine Act.

Mrs. Michener apologized for not allowing her to speak at last month’s meeting.

The next council meeting will be on Nov. 19.


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