South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Mt. Oliver council updated on chickens, fire company, rentals


Mt. Oliver Council President Darnell Sains began council’s May 18 meeting with the sad news that former council President Pat Malloy died on May 5.

He and his wife, former borough secretary Joanne Malloy, were married for 45 years.

Mr. Sains said Mr. Malloy was quiet, and a lot wiser than he let on.

“He taught me a few things,” he said of borough business.

In the planning report, Deana Wuenschel said a woman wanted to open a 24-hour daycare on Giffin Ave. with five employees. But as there is no yard, and only one parking space, Mrs. Wuenschel told her it would not work.

In another case, a woman wanted to own chickens. Mrs. Wuenschel sent her the borough ordinances which allow up to four chickens, with adequate space requirements.

Next, a new Planning Commission member, Donald G. Brown, was sworn in by Mayor James Cassidy.

In the fire report read by Mr. Sains, he stated the fire company is certified to the silver level. Only eight departments in the county are certified to silver level.

Mayor Cassidy, who is also fire company president, said the company has a mutual aid agreement with the city.

If the city responds in the borough on its own, the fire company will not receive a bill. If the city responds at the request of the fire company, the fire company will receive a bill.

“If we need them, we’re going to call them,” Mr. Cassidy said.

The company has 25 active members, two EMS members, and two new probationary members, and is currently putting a membership drive together for new members.

To an attendee’s question last month if the fire hydrants are being maintained, Councilwoman Barbara Keener said they will be checked in mid-June.

In the code enforcement report from inspector Chuck Knaus for the past month, Councilman Frank Bernardini reported there were 37 rental inspections (66 units); 16 complaints; 87 violation/notices; seven legal filings; 22 citations; and two occupancies.

A landlord in attendance said she went to his office before 3 p.m., and was told he was gone for the day. But 3:30 p.m. is listed in correspondence as his closing time.

Mr. Sains said the inspector job is to be out in the field. But he needs to clarify in mailings and postings that, at times, he will be out of the office.

Next, Mr. Bernardini said he wants to revisit the borough’s nuisance property ordinance. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the ordinance was not enforceable.

Police Chief Matthew Juzwick said while a landlord can evict a troublesome tenant, the borough cannot force the landlord to do so. The borough can send the landlord a letter with concerns, but it cannot state there will be sanctions against the landlord, property, or tenant.

“We must wait until there are convictions,” he said.

Mr. Sains suggested Mr. Bernardini and new borough manager Ricky Hopkinson discuss options with solicitor Deron Gabriel.

In the parks and recreation report, Councilman Nick Viglione said state law mandates clearances on coaches and anyone else associated with youth sports.

There are currently no sanctioned leagues in Mt. Oliver.

To an attendee’s question if the borough charges a fee to use its fields, the answer is yes.

To a question of what happens if a permit holder does not clean up after themselves, Mr. Bernardini said the deposit would be kept.

“You have to leave the park the way you find it,” he said.

In the public safety report, Mrs. Keener said the borough has a stray dog problem. With Triangle Pets no longer in business, she will pursue options with Chief Juzwick.

In the police report, the chief said there were 526 calls and 55 drug arrests. Beat officers are back, and speed enforcement will begin again.

In the public works report, Councilman Dave Lowe said 55 sewage accounts that are delinquent more than $200 are due to have their water shut off about June 1.

He said property owners are taking more responsibility for paying as the borough now liens their property.

There are reports of door-to-door solicitors in the borough. Solicitors must have a badge and a document issued by the police department. It will contain a permit number, and be signed and dated by the police chief.

A borough permit is $10 for the first day, and $5 each additional day.

If a solicitor does not have the proper credentials, call 911.

In motions, council adopted a memorandum of understanding with the Hilltop Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) regarding the former pet shop on Brownsville Rd. which the borough owns for nonpayment of taxes by its former owner.

The HEDC will now own the building. It will become an office of Economic Development South (EDS) following $100,000 in renovations. The EDS will pay rent to HEDC to cover the debt service.

In the question-and-answer session, an attendee complained about people dumping tires. He asked if there was help anywhere.

Mr. Sains said he would ask the South Hills Area Council of Governments (SHACOG).

Borough secretary Kathy Connolly said the county has a program, but tires must be taken to a specific site.

Next, an attendee complained about young thieves stealing pipes and more from Ormsby Park. Mr. Bernardini said activities there cannot be monitored around-the-clock. Mr. Hopkinson said there will eventually be a camera system in the park.

In other borough news, two groups are looking for new members: the Mt. Oliver borough community group, and the Mt. Oliver block watch. Both meet on the second Wednesdays in the borough building.

From 6 to 7 p.m., the community group meets, with the beautification of the borough its focus. Afterward, from 7 to 8 p.m., the block watch meets to discuss crime and more. The police chief attends most of the meetings to answer questions and address concerns.

The next council meeting will be on June 15.


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