South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Boro council hears updates on arsonist, robocalling for trash

 


An update on a convicted arsonist fighting a local fire, robocalling on late garbage payments, and a vote on a full-time public works hire were among the topics at the Sept. 15 meeting of Mount Oliver council.

Council member Billie Michener was absent.

In his report which began the meeting, project manager Ricky Hopkinson said the first quarterly meeting of the Mount Oliver Business Owners Association was held in the fire hall earlier this month.

The next meeting will be in December.

The fundraising decorative banners containing photos of the clock tower are starting to be put up by the public works department.

He also reported that the borough’s block group conducted a clean-up of 1730 Arlington Ave. last weekend.

In the police report for August, Mayor James Cassidy said there were 621 calls, 70 domestics, eight DUIs, two burglaries, and others.

One drug bust on Church Ave. netted 57 bricks of heroin.

Many of the drug arrests were in traffic stops, which is why there are often multiple police cars at stops.

The parking meters were checked by the county in a periodic inspection, and all are fine.

In the engineer’s report, Niando Construction was awarded the Transverse Park sanitary sewer contract as low bidder for $234,345.

The vote was 6-0. The borough’s share will be $143,131, and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s share is $91,213.

By the same vote, A.W. McNabb was approved to demolish five houses on 251-259 Anthony St. for $23,790.

Soli Construction will be paid a final amount of $104,421 for making repairs to alleviate a Transverse Park sinkhole.

Council next voted 4-1 to make public works employee and former councilman, Corey McGough, a full-fledged employee of Mount Oliver. His 90-day probation period ended on Aug. 8.

Mr. McGough’s wife, council member Amber McGough, abstained from voting, while Barbara Keener voted no.

Council also voted 6-0 to spend $2200 plus shipping costs, paid from the recreation fund, to purchase soccer nets for Transverse Field.

President Darnell Sains said borough youngsters want to play soccer, with most of the prospective players being Bhutanese.

In his report, ordinance officer Steve Wilharm said there were 122 violations over the past 30 days. There were nine state citations and 52 borough citations.

There are also 31 vacant properties with violations.

At the request of council members, he will look into two properties on Arlington Ave. with garbage strewn outdoors and high grass.

Under the fire report, Mrs. Keener said she and Mr. Sains met with the executive board of the Mount Oliver Fire Department. The meeting followed the board’s meeting about the convicted arsonist who was seen at a fire in gear helping to fight the fire.

She said the board spoke with the arsonist’s parole officer, and it is now up to the court system.

He was sent a registered letter stating he is not allowed in the fire station or usage of its equipment.

He sneaked in and took the gear when the truck rolled out of the garage, leaving the door up. From now on, it will be immediately lowered. The equipment was returned.

Assistant fire chief Ron Lowrey volunteered to resign over the incident, but the fire department and Mr. Sains asked him to stay as he is too valuable to the borough.

Mr. Sains said there has been criticism of the ``clubbish’’ atmosphere of the fire department. But he said it is meant to be a club as its members perform a valuable service to the borough without pay.

In the health/sanitation report, Councilman Dave Lowe reported 26 water shutoffs were scheduled for Sept. 20 for delinquent sewage accounts of $300 and above.

Delinquents must reconcile their accounts, or sign on for a payment plan to avoid shutoffs. Notices were sent.

Starting next month, robocalls will be made to those whose garbage payments are not made after 60 days.

Besides a reminder that payment is past due, they will be told they have two weeks to make payment at the municipal building before the bill goes to a collection service.

The three-month garbage fee is $33.87. The late fee is an additional $10 after 30 days.

To an attendee’s question about what specific tasks the public works employees tackle every month, Mr. Lowe will begin reporting on the activities at agenda meetings starting in October.

In the treasurer report, Diane Holzer reported, ``We paid all our bills on time.’’

In the parks and recreation report, Councilman Nick Viglione said he will be looking into starting deck hockey and basketball.

Councilman Frank Bernardini said he will push for the repair of the bleachers, and sports activities, at Transverse Park next year.

In the economic development report, Mrs. Keener said she, Mrs. McGough, and Mr. Hopkinson are looking for an alternative to the annual ``Crank it at the Clock’’ Halloween event on the last Saturday in October.

They are thinking of an Oktoberfest theme to draw older residents, and will talk to Casne World about entertainment there. She said it will be small this year, but would grow if successful.

Another upcoming event will be a community gathering from 1-6 p.m. on Oct. 1 to mark the end of the gardening season, and celebrate the Hindu Festival of Dasara with the local Bhutanese.

It will be held at the bottom of Giffin Ave. at Transverse Park by the old tennis courts.

Residents are urged to bring a potluck dish to share with their neighbors. There will also be music and dancing. Children may come in Halloween costumes.

Vandalism at the garden is a concern as food items have been stolen and destroyed.

There was also an assault at the garden on a senior by young girls.

In the code enforcement report, Mr. Bernardini said he hands over addresses of problem areas to code enforcement officer Chuck Knaus.

For last month’s code enforcement report, there were 17 violations, two building permits, nine citations, 11 complaints, two zoning permits, eight occupancy inspections, 20 rental inspections, and 13 legal citations.

The next council meeting will be on Oct. 20.

 

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