South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Mt. Oliver swears in new councilwoman, acting police chief


Mount Oliver Mayor James Cassidy kept his swearing-in skills sharp by administering the oath of office twice during the April 15 council meeting: to the new Acting Chief, Sergeant Matt Juzwick, and to new council member Vanessa Talley.

The vote to promote Sgt. Juzwick was 6-0, with council member John Smith, Sr., absent.

Police Chief Frank Mosesso has been off work for several months on workmen’s compensation.

“He selflessly stepped up to keep the force up and running,” Councilman Darnell Sains said of Sgt. Juzwick.

The acting chief, 36, worked in the borough for three years as a patrolman, followed by nine years as sergeant. He has been a K-9 officer for 10 years.

Ms. Talley, 41, is a social work student at the University of Pittsburgh who has lived in the borough for the past seven years. The vote to appoint was 6-0.

“I want to help rebuild and reshape this borough,” she said.

Ms. Talley was one of three candidates seeking to fill the unexpired term until December of Patrick Malloy, who resigned last month.

In nominating Ms. Talley, Mr. Sains noted she has a child who is in the targeted age area in which the borough has problems, which could prove helpful in devising solutions.

The meeting began with council President Billie Michener encouraging residents to attend an update and discussion on the potential merger of the Carrick and Knoxville branches of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

It will be held on April 27 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Temple Baptist Church, 743 Brownsville Rd.

She said it is better for Mount Oliver residents if a new library is built closer to the borough than to Carrick.

“We need our voices to be heard,” she said.

In his report, borough intern Ricky Hopkinson said the borough map has been completed and will be distributed to all business and property owners by month’s end.

A borough block group meeting was held on April 10, featuring special presentations by police officers, and discussion on nuisance properties and landlords, code enforcement, Waste Management, beautification, and more.

The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on May 8 in the fire hall. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

He also reported the borough will soon have a Facebook page.

In the Mayor’s Report, Mr. Cassidy said the police force includes three new part-time members: Officers Candiota, Lukas, and McCarthy.

In March, the police received 484 total calls. Among the calls, there were 29 domestic calls, five accident reports, five criminal mischief and eight fights.

Drug arrests took place on William St., Walter Ave., and Brownsville Rd. There were DUI arrests on Sherman St., Brownsville Rd., Rustic Ave. and Ormsby Ave.

Copper, landscaping equipment and other items were stolen in burglaries on Rustic, Onyx and Giffin avenues.

Mr. Cassidy said residents are urged to call 911 when they witness suspicious behavior. They can remain anonymous, so there is no danger of retaliation, he said.

In public safety, Mr. Sains said unauthorized motorists who park in handicapped spots will be ticketed. Police visibility will also be increasing.

While there has been increased cooperation between borough and city police recently, the new acting chief will be meeting with Zone Three Commander Catherine McNeilly about even better cooperation, Mr. Sains said.

He also said he does not want any of the 43 people arrested in Carrick recently for drug crimes to come to the borough. Many were chased from Mount Oliver last year.

Residents should call the police, the mayor’s hotline at 412-431-7333 extension 110, or council if they witness drug activity.

In the engineer’s report, Mrs. Michener said the problem of some of the decorative street lighting going out is being worked on.

Council voted to pay $400 as the borough’s annual fee for CONNECT, the Congress of Neighboring Communities, which promotes cooperation and collaboration between the city and 37 surrounding urban municipalities.

Mr. Cassidy said CONNECT has, in prior years, secured funds for the borough to replace lights with high-efficiency bulbs, to purchase new hot water tanks and more.

The annual car cruise will be held on June 22. Volunteers are needed.

In his report, ordinance officer Steve Wilharm said there were 89 action items, 56 borough citations, seven new state citations, and one pending state citation.

An attendee commented she thought garbage cans were supposed to be in the back of houses.

Mr. Wilharm said some houses have no so-called “backs,” and the cans are put on the side of houses. But if he sees overflowing trash, he will write a citation.

He will also cite for putting trash out too early. It should not be put out before 6 p.m. on Sundays (does not apply to private haulers).

In the public works report, Corey McGough said residents are illegally dumping their garbage in and around business dumpsters on Louisa St. that are for use by Trinity Lutheran Church and a pizza shop.

The borough will be putting surveillance in the area of the dumpsters to identify the offenders.

If block watch members observe the illegal dumping, they should write down license numbers and make a report anonymously.

Residents may put out large items and, if Waste Management has the employees that day, the hauler will pick up the items. But the company will not pick up a roomful of large items, such as materials placed outside by a landlord from an evicted tenant.

In that situation, landlords must contact Waste Management and make payment arrangements for it to be hauled away.

On project updates, Mr. McGough said the garage floor in the municipal building has been demolished. It had been cracked, and the action was required to bring it up to code. For the same reason, painting was to begin the next day on basement walls to remove stains. It will then be inspected.

The dec hockey court in Transverse Park has cracks near the bottom of the walls. The borough is looking into the warranty agreement to see if it is covered.

Council voted to purchase a tractor vacuum to clear leaves and debris in parks and surrounding areas. The new equipment will also cut down on man hours needed to clean up the leaves.

Residents who apply for on-street handicap parking spaces may be denied if they have a garage or off-street parking. The decisions will be made on a person-by-person basis.

Mr. McGough and new council member Dave Lowe stopped by a home on Transverse Ave. regarding a reported stray cat problem. He said the woman is doing a service by paying to neuter stray cats she finds.

Giffin Ave. has a similar stray cat problem that will be looked into.

Public works is seeking part-time summer help. Those interested in applying should stop in the borough offices for an application.

In recreation, the park field house will be cleaned out at 9 a.m. on May 4 for use for storage.

Next, Mrs. Michener said she would be reassigning some committees in light of the resignation of George Farneth.

She said Waste Management was sending bills to tenants when, in fact, a borough ordinance requires the bills be sent to landlords. The company will comply and begin sending to landlords.

In the question-and-answer session, a resident said he would like to see a baseball game involving the borough police and fire fighters.

Another resident said a lot of older residents tell him they have complaints they feel are too trivial to contact the borough. Mrs. Michener said a block watch group is needed in every neighborhood to listen to, and address, concerns.

“I want nebby neighbors in my community,” she said.

Another resident applauded the hiring of Mr. Hopkinson by Mrs. Michener.

“I think he should be our borough manager,” she said.

The intern has two more years of college remaining.

“This is a good stepping stone for him,” Mrs. Michener said.

A resident thanked the police department for finding her mother, who has Alzheimer’s, every time she wanders away.

“We look at police as our extended family,” she said.

The woman, who is from Haiti, said she wants to legally donate land she owns in her homeland for vacations for borough police.

In new business, Mrs. Michener said there are businesses which are not paying the annual $250 business privilege tax, and many since 2008. Adding some Brownsville Rd. businesses are not paying the business privilege tax and their sewage bills.

She and Mr. Hopkinson will be compiling a list of the tax scofflaws and publishing their names, followed by taking them to the magistrate.

In May, an ordinance is expected to be adopted requiring Jordan Tax Services to send sewage bills to the homeowner instead of tenants.

Also in May, a vacant property registration ordinance will be voted on requiring that after a building becomes vacant, the owner must pay $250 which will be returned if a new tenant is found within six months.

The fee will cover fire and police protection.

The next council meeting will be on May 20.


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