South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Officer promoted, consultant hired in Mt. Oliver Boro


A police promotion, a fundraiser for last month’s fire victims, and the hiring of a consultant to provide financial and managerial directives were among the news items at the July 21 meeting of Mt. Oliver council.

Council member Billie Michener was absent.

In his report, project manager Ricky Hopkinson said the Keystone Collections Group collected $600 in delinquent funds in June, and $10,000 so far in July.

In fundraising, the decorative banners containing photos of the clock tower, and sold to benefit the Mt. Oliver Business Owners Association and other projects, did not fit on the poles.

It was the manufacturer’s fault. The banners were returned, and will be sent back to the borough in the correct size.

In the mayor’s report, James Cassidy asked council to approve the promotion of Corporal Kevin Lockhart to sergeant, effective that day. Council approved the motion by a 6-0 vote. New part-time police officer Christine Mayernik was scheduled to begin the next day.

In the police report for June, there were 572 calls, 48 domestics, nine accident reports, 11 criminal mischief, five community-oriented police details, three DUIs, and six burglaries. Twelve arrest warrants were served.

Seven nuisance properties are under investigation.

Of the 57 drug-related arrests, 20 were in traffic stops, which is why there are often multiple police cars at stops. Of the 572 calls, 18 were assists for other police departments, 17 of those by the city.

Council President Darnell Sains asked Acting Chief Matthew Juzwick to move people along, especially youngsters, who are clogging corners in the business district.

Mr. Juzwick said a beat cop is on the job, and there are bicycle officers out on Brownsville Rd. who monitor the situation.

In the engineer’s report, the demolitions on Frederick St. have been completed. Payment will be made to the contractor once the punch list items are addressed.

In July, numerous houses on Frederick St. slid from their foundations due to an abandoned underground coal mine.

The borough received a county grant to demolish all or some of the five condemned properties. Four owners accepted the county’s offer.

Soli construction will be paid out of the sewer account for repairing a sink hole in Transverse Park.

The borough will apply for handicap ramps on Brownsville Rd. through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for 2015.

Council authorized Gateway Engineers to evaluate the drainage system in the Ormsby Ave. area in light of last month’s devastating fire which destroyed and damaged numerous homes.

In his report, ordinance officer Steve Wilharm said 106 citations were issued, with 59 being borough citations and 10 state citations. Fifteen letters were sent out. The rest are vacant properties or a police matter.

Regarding unkempt vacant properties, Mr. Sains said the borough’s public works department will first take care of borough property before it tackles vacant property.

In the fire department report, Mr. Cassidy said a forcible entry simulator has been delivered. The police and mutual aid departments may use the device to pry open doors, bolts, locks, etc. Of the $6,150 cost, $3,000 will be paid by the borough, with the rest coming from the fire department budget.

In June, the fire department responded to 64 calls, of which 12 were fire-related and 52 were EMS-related. Beginning April 14, the fire company started responding on all priority medical calls within the borough.

The fire company’s ladder truck, which was out of service for more than a week because of issues with the electrical system, has been repaired and is ready to go.

To a resident’s request the next time the fire department conducts a practice in the park a sign be erected to that effect, Mr. Cassidy said often times the practices are planned at the last minute with no time to post signs.

Instead, he will tell members to alert the people who are present in the park so they have time to move their cars.

Next, council member Amber McGough said a fundraiser for last month’s fire victims will be held at Casne World on Hays Ave. on Aug. 2.

The dinner begins at 7 p.m., followed by a show at 8 p.m. BYOB. The cost is $25 by July 31. Call Joanne at Casne World for more information: 412-481-3121.

In economic development, Mr. Hopkinson said meetings of the Mt. Oliver Business Owners Association will be revamped, with perhaps quarterly lunch meetings instead of monthly evening meetings. The change could begin in September.

In the waste/sewage report, Councilman Dave Lowe reported garbage hauler Republic Services, which missed numerous streets on some recent collection days, has ordered new trucks.

Mr. Sains said he talked to the company president about the problem, who blamed it on trucks breaking down due to the heat, and losing workers.

In about five weeks, 15 new trucks will be on the street.

Mr. Cassidy noted after Republic finishes collecting the trash, the cans are stacked up, and not thrown around like other companies did.

In the code enforcement report, Mr. Lowe said there were 25 inspections (44 units), 37 complaints, 33 citations, 32 violation notices, four zoning permits, and two occupancy permits.

In the solicitor’s report, Grass Roots Solutions was hired to provide services to complete a joint Early Intervention Program/Comprehensive Plan Project for two years at a rate not to exceed $85,550. The borough will pay $20,000, with the rest coming from grant money.

The purpose of the consultants is to establish short-term and long-term financial and managerial directives that strengthen the fiscal capacity of the borough government along with the integration of strategies to strengthen the borough’s tax base.

In old business, Kate Dillon, editor of the borough’s monthly newsletter, breached her contract due to non-response in not returning emails or phone calls.

While her services are no longer requested, the publication will continue, but not in its current format, council members said.

The next council meeting will be on Aug. 18.


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