South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Mt. Oliver takes care of business, 'Up on the Hilltop'


Last updated 11/28/2016 at 5:21pm

Details of a Dec. 3 Holiday Jubilee in the 100-200 blocks of Brownsville Rd. was a highlight of the brief Nov. 21 meeting of Mt. Oliver council. Absent this evening were Mayor James Cassidy and Councilwoman Tina Reft.

Called “Up On the Hilltop,” the event is dedicated to the community and to highlighting the borough’s business district and all of the positive things occurring there, such as a new bakery and new candy shop, as well as upgraded infrastructure, new sidewalks, and new handicap accessible ramps.

It will take place from 1-4 p.m. Due to the expected crowd, the 100 and 200 blocks of Brownsville Rd. will be closed. Parking will be available on side streets and in designated lots

Entertainment and activities will include: Brentwood Jazz Band, local choral groups, ice sculptor, kids’ crafts, and food trucks.

A few vacant storefronts will be activated for the afternoon, like a craft market at 127 Brownsville Rd.

Businesses are encouraged to remain open during the event, and to possibly offer promotions like discounted specials, raffles, hosting a workshop, holding a contest, and more. If interested, contact the borough offices so the name of the business/promotion can be added to the activities list.

Also that day, a borough committee will be judging a holiday lights/window decorating contest among businesses. The winner will receive a plaque, free marketing, sponsored social media posts, and more.

For questions, contact 724-681-7163.

The meeting began with the engineer’s report.

Council approved payment to El Grande for $224,714 for work concluded to date, including the completed storm sewer, handicapped ramps, and paving in the contract.

Council also approved the final payment to Pavement Technologies for $2,470 for the work completed to date. The rejuvenator for Koehler and Carl streets was completed last month.

Council approved payment to Palombo Contracting for $100,636 for work completed through Nov. 9. Palombo continues to work on the sidewalks and curbs in the 100-200 blocks of Brownsville Rd.

 The final approval was for $6,320 to Robinson Pipe Cleaning for sanitary sewer operations and maintenance (O&M) lining repairs.

 In the police report for October, there were 494 total calls and 22 drug-related arrests, the latter for the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia.

There were also 18 domestic calls, 10 for criminal mischief, three burglaries, and two robberies.

All computers are up and running. 

In the fire report for October, there were 39 EMS calls, six fire calls, four calls in which mutual aid was given, and two calls in which mutual aid was received. The fire call response time was five minutes and nine seconds; the response time for EMS calls was seven minutes and four seconds.

In the code enforcement report from inspector Chuck Knaus for October, Councilman David Beltz reported there were 31 rental licenses (42 units), 15 complaints, 14 violation notices, two zoning permits, 10 borough citations, and seven occupancy inspections.

Attendee former councilman Frank Bernardini reported for the past month, there have been old televisions in the rear of the old laundromat with garbage on top of them.

Borough manager Rick Hopkinson said another citation was sent last week. An option is for the borough to pick them up and bill the property owner; otherwise, he is afraid they could be disposed of in the park or over the hillside. There is also a microwave among the televisions, he said.

Council agreed the best procedure is for the borough to take them, and bill the property owner for pick up and labor costs.

Councilwoman Barbara Keener asked police Chief Matthew Juzwick about body cameras for police, which the city recently okayed for its force.

The chief said one borough officer is now in a 30-day trial phase with a body camera. The department would need a minimum of seven body cameras, which pick up both audio and video.

While the cameras cost $400 each, the annual fee for the software is “outrageous,” he said.

In the public works report, Councilman Justin Viale gave a brief update of public works activities in October: streetscape completed Nov. 13; leaf clean-up conducted at the park; trucks winterized for salt and snow plows.

To a question about the starting and quitting times of the public works staff, Mr. Viale said 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with 30 minutes for lunch.

In resolutions and ordinances, council adopted a resolution requesting an Early Intervention Program grant of $162,000 from the Dept. of Community and Economic Development to be used for an Implementation EIP Phase II project.

The borough is requesting the funds to update its zoning ordinance, upgrade technology, and conduct a space utilization study of borough facilities. Specifically, the scope includes: updated zoning map, website design and upgrade, smart parking meters, digitized record management system, space utilization study, and more.

Council President Amber McGough next read a letter from a resident thanking the borough for the paving of Jonas Way.

In public hearings, a Walter Ave. landlord said he bought his property 27 years ago. At that time, he sat down with the chief of police to discuss the parking problem on Walter Ave. The resolution at the time was to clear out an area for his tenants to park in, which he did.

But three weeks ago a tenant received a ticket for parking on the sidewalk, which was the cleared out area of years ago. The resident would like his tenants to be permitted to park in the cleared out space.

Chief Juzwick said Walter Ave. is a busy road, and when a motorist parked in the space exits the vehicle it is onto Walter Ave. Or, if a car is parked there, a pedestrian or mailman has to walk onto Walter Ave. to get by the car. He called it “a safety issue.”

Councilman Nick Viglione said there is ample parking across the street, which is a better option. But council will discuss the matter, and get back to him, he said.

Mr. Bernardini next asked why Brownsville Rd. will be closed for the holiday jubilee on Dec. 3.

Mr. Hopkinson said the event “is to promote the business district,” and the Business Owners Association said it was okay with them to close the road.

To a question from Mr. Bernardini about the repair of the sidewalks following damage from utility work, Mr. Hopkinson said Columbia Gas paid the borough $25,000, and Pennsylvania American Water paid $50,000.

In announcements, there will be free parking on Brownsville Rd. the week before Christmas.

The next council meeting will be on Dec. 19.


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