South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Mt. O. Council questioned on need for an emergency response person


Last updated 9/27/2017 at 5:06pm

The Sept. 18 meeting of Mt. Oliver council began with the loyalty oath administered by Mayor James Cassidy to canine handler Tom Snyder and K-9 officer Enzo, a German Shepherd.

During public hearings at the meeting, Frank Bernardini asked why the borough is paying $500 for an emergency response person when the county will provide one at no cost. He said he called downtown, and it is not the borough’s responsibility to provide such a person.

“We’ve been Santa Claus long enough. Time to put a stop to it,” he said.

Borough manager Rick Hopkinson said the borough chose to pay a $500 annual stipend as the person must go through training, and does have numerous qualifications.

Council President Amber McGough said she will look into the matter as she thought a borough resident was required for the role.

Mr. Bernardini then asked why a guard rail had not been erected at the parking lot as the contractor was supposed to do last month.

Mr. Hopkinson said he is looking for better prices for the installation. It is expected to be done this month, he said.

In the police report for August, there were 630 total calls and 39 drug-related arrests. The drug-related arrests were for the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia.

There were also 17 accident reports, 12 domestic calls, five criminal mischiefs, and 10 fights. Burglaries occurred on Hays and Church avenues.

The police served 14 arrest warrants, and arrested a male in the 100 block of Brownsville Rd. for intent to deliver crack cocaine and illegally possessing a handgun. Police also made two arrests involving illegally possessed firearms.

The K-9 units were used 12 times, including for park-and-walks, drug search, building search, traffic stop, and targeted patrols.

All computers are up and running. All surveillance cameras are operating properly.

The mayor concluded his report by administering the loyalty oath to new Zoning Board members Donna Smith and Patsy C. Taylor-Moore.

An attendee said he called the police about a car parked on Mary St. during garbage pick-up, and where there are clearly posted “No Parking” signs. An officer came but did not give a ticket, the man said.

Police Chief Matt Juzwick said for vehicles with expired stickers, the police will take charge.

In the engineer’s report, council voted to award the 2017 pavement rejuvenator contract to Pavement Technologies for $6,923.

The 2017 sanitary sewer operations and maintenance (O&M) excavation project was awarded through SHACOG to Niando Construction, Inc., with a borough share of $44,531. Council voted to approve payment application number 1 to Niando for $13,509.63 for work completed to date.

Council also voted to approve payment application number 1 and final to State Pipe Services, Inc. for $2,900 for work completed to date on sanitary sewer O&M lining repairs.

In the borough’s volunteer fire company report for August there were 67 EMS incidents and 14 fire incidents. Mutual aid was given seven times and received seven times.

In borough financial news, 74 percent of the property tax has been collected so far, which is standard for this time of year. There is now a penalty for those who have not paid.

In the code enforcement report from inspector Chuck Knaus for August, there were 23 borough citations issued, 11 legal filings, 29 rental licenses issued (47 units), 78 violation/notices sent, 32 complaints received, one zoning permit issued, two building permits issued, one condemnation, and six occupancy permits issued.

In public safety, Councilman Nick Viglione reported he contacted the county Health Dept. after receiving numerous complaints of rats, which are entering homes from the sewers, which provide them shelter and food. They travel through sewers and into basements.

An attendee said the sewers should be baited when buildings are torn down.

Councilman David Beltz said for Monday morning pick-up, garbage cannot be set outside before 6 p.m. on Sundays. Some residents put it out as early as Saturday, which draws rats, he added.

Mr. Viglione said the Dept. of Public Works will begin baiting the sewers.

In public works, Councilman Justin Viale reported that last month department employees: filled potholes, watered flowers, removed three dead animals, performed dye tests, and more.

In economic development, the Hilltop Alliance is offering a Free Personal Wills Program as a means to fight blight. Research by the organization revealed many properties ended up abandoned, dilapidated, and tax delinquent after owners die and there is no legal framework in place to transfer ownership to an heir.

The Free Personal Wills Program will connect qualifying homeowners, 50 years of age or older, with a partnering attorney to provide them with a Last Will and Testament at no cost to ensure their homes have a defined heir in the future. These heirs will then more easily be able to gain control of the properties and possibly receive financial assistance for home improvements.

For more information, email Tim Dolan at, or call 412-586-5807.

In other news, new parking meters were installed in the 100-200 blocks of Brownsville Rd. Motorists can now use a credit card in addition to change. No receipts are generated.

The borough received a $50,000 grant for a facade improvement program to enhance the storefronts on Brownsville Rd.

The next council meeting will be on Oct. 16.


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