South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

New code enforcer and rental inspector for boro


Last updated 10/26/2017 at 6:29am

Replacing the retiring Chuck Knaus resulted in two actions at the Oct. 16 meeting of Mt. Oliver council.

Mr. Knaus, who has worked for the borough since 2011, served as code enforcement officer and building inspector.

At the meeting, council voted to hire Tom McAllister as part-time code enforcer. The vote was 6-0, with Councilman Nick Viglione absent.

Mr. McAllister will work 30-35 hours per week, and will be enforcing the Property Maintenance Codes of Mt. Oliver.

His probationary period of employment will be 180 days as council voted that evening to extend the probationary period for newly hired non-uniform employees from 90 to 180 days.

Council also voted 6-0 to appoint Building Inspection Underwriters of Pennsylvania, Inc., to do rental inspections, fire/safety inspections, and title transfers/inspections. The company will be paid on a per property basis.

To an attendee’s question about the service, Councilman Dave Beltz said he was very impressed by their presentation.

Mayor James Cassidy said they will likely look for things that are often overlooked, such as screens for every window.

“That’s probably the kind of thing that’s on their check-off list,” he said.

Councilwoman Barbara Keener said the company also made suggestions for updating borough ordinances.

In the police report for September, there were 680 total calls and 60 drug-related arrests, the latter for the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia.

There were also five accident reports, seven domestic calls, nine reports of criminal mischief, and five fights. Burglaries occurred on Onyx Ave., Brownsville Rd., and Locust St. Police also reported an attempted burglary on Walter St.

The police served 11 arrest warrants. Mt. Oliver officers also arrested a male on Walter St. for illegally possessing a handgun, and arrested a male on Arlington Ave. for fleeing and eluding officers.

New parking meters have been installed in the borough.

The K-9 units were used 32 times, including for park-and-walks, drug search, tracking, crowd control, article search, building searches, traffic stops, and targeted patrols.

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

In the engineer’s report, council approved the final payment to Red Zone Robotics, Inc., of $7,582.80 for work completed to date on the sanitary sewer operations and maintenance (O&M) closed circuit television contract.

Council also approved the final payment to Niando Construction, Inc., for $1,501.07 for work completed to date. The 2017 excavation project was awarded through SHACOG to Niando Construction with a borough share of $44,531.

Council also recommended SHACOG award the Mt. Oliver stormwater inlet replacement contract to Soli Construction, Inc., for $38,160 for the base bid and $9,700 for the additional alternate bid for a total of $47,860.

Next, in the report of the borough’s volunteer fire company for September, there were 38 EMS incidents and 18 fire incidents. Mutual aid was given six times and received four times.

In the code enforcement report from inspector Knaus for September, there were 10 citations issued, six legal filings, 34 rental licenses issued (72 units), 75 violation/notices sent, 18 complaints received, one zoning permit issued, three building permits issued, one condemnation, and two occupancy permits issued.

In public works, Councilman Justin Viale reported that last month department employees: patched potholes on 10 streets; mowed 30 blighted properties; disposed of dead animals; and did graffiti cleanup at Transverse Park. Last week marked the conclusion of part-time help.

In economic development, Councilwoman Tina Reft said the Second Annual Up on the Hilltop celebration will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 2, in the 100-200 blocks of Brownsville Rd. The street will be closed to traffic.

The free event will feature Santa Claus, crafts, music, and more.

In the questions and answers segment which concludes meetings, a resident complained about rental properties on Walter Ave.

One home has garbage outside 24/7. The mayor said citations have been issued, but the occupants are not complying.

The resident also said some homes have large amounts of wood stored in garages, which could be a fire hazard. She suggested the fire department investigate.

Mr. Cassidy said the fire department has no authority over garages full of wood, and that it is a code enforcement issue. But fire officials are aware of all houses with hazards, he said.

On another topic, the resident offered congratulations to a borough police officer for finding the man who tried to climb through a window into her house. She said the officer did a good job.

Next, former councilman Frank Bernardini suggested that when problem residents are cited, neighbors impacted by the problems should be contacted so they can attend the hearing in the magistrate’s office and have their voices heard.

Next, an attendee wanted to warn everyone of phone scammers. He said his neighbor received a call that her grandson was in jail, and that she should go to WalMart and buy gift cards and send the card numbers. She was later informed the judge would not release her grandson unless more money was sent.

In total, the neighbor lost $11,000 to the scam.

The next council meeting will be on Nov. 20.


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