South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Vandals damage equipment, building at Transverse Park

Borough officials will change procedures for next year’s season

 


Vandalism at Transverse Park headlined the Oct. 20 meeting of Mt. Oliver council.

Council members President Darnell Sains and Billie Michener were absent. Vice-president Frank Bernardini conducted the hour-long meeting.

Up only a few days at Transverse Park, two soccer nets were cut with knives, ruining both.

The vandals also damaged the field house building by pelting it with rocks, and bent the batting cage doors. The sewer grates were also pulled out.

“We can’t get anything going down there for the kids,” Councilman Nick Viglione said.

When the borough removes the soccer poles at month’s end, no athletic equipment will remain at the park. Next year, the soccer nets will be erected before each game, and taken down afterwards.

Solicitor Deron Gabriel will look into installing cameras in the parks.

In announcing the vandalism, public safety chair Barbara Keener said residents must call 911 when they see or hear something suspicious.

Mr. Bernardini said at the last block watch meeting an attendee complained about her neighbor. While she has been told numerous times to file a complaint at the magistrate’s office, she has not done so.

He said residents must “step forward” and be pro-active.

“The police can’t be everywhere in this borough,” he said.

In his report which began the meeting, project manager Ricky Hopkinson said the borough was awarded two grants.

The first was for $125,000 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Multi-Model Fund for the Brownsville Rd. streetscape.

The other grant was for $63,385 from the state Dept. of Community and Economic Development to complete a joint early intervention program/comprehensive planning project. Its purpose is to develop strategic financial and managerial objectives to improve service delivery and strengthen the borough’s tax base.

In the police report for September, Mayor James Cassidy said there were 590 calls, 65 domestics, two burglaries, 11 drugs arrests, 15 warrants served, and three DUI arrests on Arlington Ave.

Nine of the 11 drug arrests were at traffic stops, which is why there are often multiple police cars at stops.

There were also nine canine uses, 74 park-and-walks, five targeted patrols, and 25 community-oriented patrols.

All police equipment is up and running.

In the engineer’s report read by borough secretary Kathy Connolly, council voted 5-0 to adopt a resolution for the demolition of 151-155 Brownsville Rd. and 145 Locust St.

The borough will seek $90,000 in a grant from the county Dept. of Economic Development for the demolitions.

Council adopted a similar resolution for the demolition of 258 Church Ave. and 301 Quincy Ave., for which a $20,000 grant will be sought.

The borough will also request a grant for $55,250 for handicap ramps on Brownsville Rd.

The ramps would be at every intersection to allow wheelchairs access to sidewalks on Brownsville Rd. At this time, council does not have exact addresses for the ramps.

In the ordinance report for last month, there were 128 violations; 85 borough citations; 12 new state citations, with seven pending for last month; 13 violation letters; and 16 vacant properties.

In the health/sanitation report, Councilman Dave Lowe reported officials are working on a new billing system for garbage starting in January, 2015.

Currently, residents pay the first 60 days to the trash hauler. If payment is late, they are billed a $10 late fee. To keep the account from going to a bill collector, residents may pay at the borough building.

Otherwise, the account goes to the bill collector, and Keystone charges the resident an additional fee of $25.

Mr. Lowe said they are trying to simplify the process by having Keystone bill residents directly from the start. If they make a one-time payment to cover the entire year, they will receive a $10 discount.

In sewage, there are 130 accounts owing $300 and above. Water shutoffs have not yet been scheduled.

Mr. Lowe also reported there were 52 calls to the public works department last month about water and sewage problems.

In the code enforcement report, Mr. Bernardini delivered last month’s report: six occupancy inspections; 22 violation/notices; 23 complaints; one building permit; one demolition permit; 34 rental inspections (62 units); eight citations; and six legal actions filed.

In the solicitor’s report, Mr. Hopkinson, the project manager, made a motion to adopt an ordinance repealing the Nuisance Property Ordinance. It passed, 5-0. He said the borough was challenged on the ordinance a few months ago by an injured party.

It turns out that such ordinances are inherently a violation of people’s civil liberties. Other municipalities are getting sued over them, and the borough was given the opportunity to dodge a potential lawsuit provided it repealed the ordinance.

Mr. Hopkinson also asked for a motion to purchase a new phone system and security box to replace the broken and outdated office phones, and to enter into a contract resulting in the borough’s code of ordinances to be placed online.

Both motions passed, as did entering into a contract with Unifirst for the supply and service of public works uniforms and general building mats.

The next council meeting will be on Nov. 17.

 

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