South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Boro seeks new council member, starts newsletter


The launching of a borough magazine, and the search for a new council member, were the lead agenda items from the Sept. 16 meeting of Mount Oliver council.

Council members Corey McGough and Darnell Sains, and Mayor James Cassidy, were absent.

The council search refers to the resignation of Vanessa Talley who moved out of the borough after eight years of residency. Council has 30 days to appoint a new member.

Ms. Talley was appointed to the seat in April by council to fill the unexpired term until December of Patrick Malloy, who resigned the prior month.

“I think she was a great contributor,” council President Billie Michener said.

The meeting began with news the borough will be starting a monthly newsletter, with Duquesne University student Kate Dillon as editor.

The journalism major has written for the Baldwin-Whitehall Patch and the Duquesne Duke; she also served as editor of “Off the Bluff” about Bloomfield.

The publication will start with three to four pages, and contain news of Mount Oliver and the Hilltop communities. A name is being sought.

There is no start date.

Ms. Dillon will be paid $500 per month from the general fund.

“It’s about getting a positive message out there,” Mrs. Michener said.

Next, borough intern Ricky Hopkinson, whose new title is project manager, said he hopes the Keystone Collections group will recover much of the $529,000 in delinquent real estate taxes owed the borough.

There will be no cost to the borough because the company’s fees are passed on to the delinquent taxpayers.

In other news, there will be new banners for the poles in the Brownsville Rd. business district after the block watch decides on colors. Each banner will contain the borough logo and the name of the sponsoring business.

Mr. Hopkinson said surveys were sent to businesses about various issues; the next step, hopefully, is forming a business owners association, he said.

The Hilltop Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) strategic planning session will be at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 in the Elder-ado Senior Center. The public is invited.

The annual, family-friendly “Crank it at the Clock” Halloween event that follows trick-or-treating is seeking 18 volunteers.

With the mayor absent, Acting Chief Sergeant Matt Juzwick read the police report for August. There were 603 calls, 39 domestic calls, three accident reports, seven criminal mischief calls, 10 fights, 11 drug-related arrests, three burglaries, and two DUI arrests.

To view the complete police report, visit the borough website:

The acting chief also reported the department’s 2006 Ford Interceptor, with more than 115,000 miles, will be retired and not put out to bid. The car is the old code enforcement vehicle.

In the engineer’s report, Mrs. Michener said Pennsylvania American Water Co. (PAWC) will be paving Frederick St. from curb-to-curb in the entire excavation area.

The borough’s share of the paving and new sidewalk will be about $50,000, for which the borough will seek county assistance. However, paving cannot commence until the owners of the five condemned properties on the street inform officials of their plans for their respective properties.

In July, numerous houses on Frederick St. were damaged due to an abandoned underground coal mine.

At last week’s meeting, Mrs. Michener said the borough received a $75,000 grant from the county to demolish all or some of the five condemned properties as they are a hazard to others on Frederick St. While there are at least 20 affected homes on the street, none are as bad as the five that were condemned.

If the owners of the five properties want to keep and repair them, they have to get their own structural engineer to review their respective houses.

In a related matter, council voted to hire Davey Plumbing to do camera laterals of the sewers on Frederick St. A segment of the sanitary sewers appeared to have been cracked due to the mine subsidence.

It is estimated to cost $3,000 to line the segment, for which the borough is hoping the county will supply a grant. This procedure must be completed before the paving because it involves digging up the street.

In his report, ordinance officer Steve Wilharm said there were 72 borough and 13 state citations issued, in addition to 15 violation letters sent. He added that owners of 19 vacant properties did not show up for court hearings.

In the public works report, council awarded Lester Tree Service and Landscaping a contract for $2,850 to cut trees on Park Rd. and Transverse Ave. The trees have been a problem for years, doing damage to a resident’s house.

The borough will pay an additional $2,635 for an extended warranty on a new 2013 Ford truck. The cost of the truck is $44,272. It will be in operation by the end of the month.

The next borough budget meeting will be on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in chambers. While it is open to the public, there will be no public comment period.

In the code enforcement report, there were 15 rental inspections, 38 violations along with three permits, 13 borough citations, and four occupancy permits issued.

In other news, some homes on Frederick St., where the mine subsidence occurred, still have not had their garbage picked up. Solicitor Deron Gabriel sent Waste Management a legal letter stating it is not the responsibility of the residents or borough to carry trash to the company’s trucks.

Mrs. Michener said the company has small-sized trucks that could go down the street and collect the garbage.

The next council meeting will be on Oct. 21.


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