South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Boro approves contracts for paving, sidewalk programs


Last updated 5/23/2016 at 5:45pm

The May 16 meeting of Mt. Oliver council meeting began with the report of Mayor James Cassidy.

He said a new police officer began working a week earlier, and another will start of June 11. The additional officers will get the force up to the desired number.

In the public safety report for April, the mayor reported there were 462 calls, 29 drug-related arrests, 58 targeted patrols, and seven arrest warrants served.

About $15,000 was raised at a May 14 “gun bash,” with the proceeds going toward a replacement canine dog for the police force. The current canine is about to retire.

In the engineer’s report, council voted unanimously to award the 2016 pavement maintenance program to El Grande Industries for $262,182.50.

Council also voted unanimously to award the Brownsville Rd. sidewalk replacement project to Palombo Contracting for a base bid and alternatives, for a total contract of $293,028.

The demolition of the structure at 151-155 Brownsville Rd. is completed, and Schaaf Excavation and Demolition is working on completing the restoration of the lot. Council voted unanimously to approve the final payment to Schaaf for $35,000 for the demolition.

In the code enforcement report from inspector Chuck Knaus for April 8 to May 5, there were 86 violations/notices, 35 rental licenses (92 units), eight occupancies, 12 citations, 11 complaints, five building permits, three legal citations, and one zoning permit issued.

In the public safety report, Councilman Nick Viglione said he has seen more police officers on patrol, and he thinks it is partly due to the new part-time police clerk.

In March, council voted unanimously to hire a part-time police clerk for 24 to 32 hours a week. She does reports, answers the phone, and engages in other duties to free up officers to spend more time on the streets.

To a question about 160 Brownsville Rd., the KC Castle Diner, for which concerns were raised by residents at last month’s council meeting, Police Chief Matthew Juzwick said the owner and manager were in jail for drug possession, and the diner shut down. The bail for each was $10,000.

He said juveniles were found locked in the building by the owner, and said they were given drugs and alcohol.

At last month’s meeting, an attendee complained about disco lights and music emanating from the diner on some nights at 3 a.m. He also said he saw youngsters smoking outside of it at 4 a.m., and people entering and exiting the building after 2 a.m.

Former councilman Frank Bernardini said he had the business pinpointed for illegal activities when he saw bongs, or drug paraphernalia, in the front windows.

In public safety, council voted unanimously to promote Officer Adam Candioto to the rank of corporal, in accordance with Civil Service rules and regulations.

Council President Amber McGough said motorists should make sure they park on the correct side of the streets, like Ormsby, or they risk being ticketed.

In the fire report, Mr. Cassidy said the water company is currently replacing the water lines for two hydrants on Margaret St. Officials are asking motorists not to park on yellow lines in the 100 and 200 blocks of Margaret St.

Motorists should also not block hydrants on Bertha St., Carl St., or the 100-200 blocks of Giffin Ave. in case they are needed while the other two are out of service. The hope is that the Margaret St. hydrants will be usable within two weeks.

In public hearings, Mr. Bernardini said council should request the utility companies compensate business owners, in some form, as the construction caused a loss of income for the businesses.

A couple, who live near Ormsby Park, said more police patrols are needed in the evening in the park as youngsters are throwing rocks, breaking windows, and engaged in other delinquent behavior. A youngster spray-painted the steps in the basketball court.

Chief Juzwick said officers have been in the park 107 times in the past three weeks. He said there are times the police are tied up in other matters, and cannot always get to the park. But residents should keep calling 911 to make the police aware of problems.

The couple said most of the youngsters are not from the borough. They play basketball at midnight, although the park closes at 9 p.m.

The chief said if the police bring a troublesome youth to the station, they have to babysit, and therefore are restricted as the parents are often not home to pick up their child.

To a question if the police can then contact the county’s Children, Youth, and Families about the youths left unsupervised, Chief Juzwick said it depends on the individual situation.

Mrs. McGough told attendees to keep calling 911 about problematic behavior in the park. She said it will only increase in the warm weather when school is out. If residents call, the police will know there are issues to be addressed.

Chief Juzwick said if a resident calls 911, and an officer doesn’t respond, to let him know and he will look into the reason why not.

To a question of whether the cameras in the park can be used, he said some information can be retrieved, but the borough is looking into a higher quality system that can capture images from all angles.

Next, to a complaint about four discarded televisions on sidewalks, borough manager Rick Hopkinson said he will have public works personnel take them to a recycling site, and charge the property owners. A nearby recycling site to which residents may bring such items is Evolution E-cycling, 2235 Mary St., South Side. The phone is 412-390-3450.

In the question and answer session, Mr. Bernardini asked where the $79,000 borough funds came from to purchase the former bakery shop at 225 Brownsville Rd.

“We shouldn’t be in the real estate business,” he said.

Mr. Hopkinson it was purchased via a line of credit. He has stated previously the borough needed to acquire it to get site control to counter the trend of the past year of property sales on Brownsville Rd. resulting in storage sites.

Mrs. McGough said if the borough does not try something, there will only be nail salons and check cashing shops in the business district.

“We just can’t keep spending,” Mr. Viglione said.

“It takes time. Things don’t change overnight,” Councilwoman Barbara Keener said.

To an attendee’s question about a borough noise ordinance, Chief Juzwick said it is up to the officers’ discretion. The attendee said drug dealers pull up with car radios blaring so loudly the items on his household shelves vibrate.

The chief said to call 911 when that occurs.

The next council meeting will be on June 20.


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