South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Borough swears in Beltz to fill vacant Mt. O. council seat


Last updated 1/24/2018 at 8:13pm

David Beltz is sworn in by Mt. Oliver Mayor Frank Bernadini to fill a vacant seat on the Borough Council.

The January 15 meeting of Mt. Oliver council featured the swearing in of former councilman David Beltz to the vacant council seat. The vote to appoint him was 6-0.

The seat became available when Frank Bernardini ran for both mayor and council in the general election, and won both seats. He chose to take the mayor's office, leaving the council seat vacant.

The council interviewed three applicants from the borough for the vacant seat before making its decision.

Mr. Beltz was sworn in by Mayor Bernardini, and took his seat on council.

In the police report for December, there were 446 total calls and 37 drug-related arrests, the latter for the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia. Police also made three DUI arrests.

The K-9 units were used 13 times, including for park-and-walks, drug search, drug arrest, warrant service, building searches, apprehension, and targeted patrols.

There were 10 accident reports, 11 domestics, four criminal mischief, four fights, and one report of a burglary on Anthony St.

The police responded to six commercial alarms and nine residential alarms.

All computers are up and running. New computers will be installed in the police department this month. All surveillance cameras are operating properly.

Mr. Bernardini announced he is willing to forfeit his monthly mayoral pay to help seniors and property owners who need minor repairs to their homes. Interested residents should call him at 412-377-6339.

Next, to a question about paving projects, borough manager Rick Hopkinson said in 2018, Pfeil Way and Coutts Street will be paved as part of the borough's annual paving program; Anthony Street will be paved from Ormsby Avenue to Elizabeth Street due to a 2017 sewer project; and Arlington Avenue, as well as parts of Koehler, Fremont, and Frederick streets, will be paved due to 2017 utility work.

He also reported that potholes are repaired year-round.

In the end-of-the-year fire company report, Chief Francis Kestner reported there were 757 calls for service, of which 573 were for EMS and 184 were fire related.

Four fire company members completed their FF1 Pro Board Cert .; five members completed their Fire Instructor Pro Board Cert .; and three members completed their EMT Cert.

There were 3,390 individual responses from members between fire/EMS calls, training, and other activities. About 10,000 man-hours were volunteered to the community.

The fire company has about 25 active volunteer firefighters.

The fire company retired its 1986 and 2004 vans to make room for a 2017 pickup that will be outfit as its new Quick Response Service (QRS) vehicle.

Mr. Kestner also reported Mt. Oliver Hook and Ladder was one of 24 departments that donated outdated miscellaneous equipment to a Goodwill mission to Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, for a total donation of $4 million.

In fundraising, the annual fish fry will be starting soon. A craft vendor show will be held from 12 to 5 p.m. on April 15 at the fire station. Interested vendors and crafters should call the station to purchase a table. There will also be a Chinese auction during the show.

It is free to the public.

Another upcoming fundraiser will be held jointly with the police department: a gun bash on Sept. 8 at the Sokol Club in South Side. More details will follow.

At the conclusion of the fire report, Mr. Bernardini said he would furnish information to Mr. Kestner about the Army and Navy depots in Pennsylvania where excess military and government equipment is auctioned off.

In borough financial news, 82 percent of the property tax has been collected through 2017, or $721,842. The total due is $878,074.

In the finance report, Councilwoman Tina Reft announced property tax bills will be mailed the first week of February.

In the code enforcement report for Dec. 11 to Jan. 5, Councilman Dave Lowe reported there were 13 violations, including for condemnation, early trash, overflowing dumpsters, and parking lot debris.

Issued fines totaled $675 for early trash and overflowing dumpsters. To date, $325 was collected in fines.

Four cases were heard at District Judge Richard King's office on Dec. 11 and Jan. 5, with one case dismissed, two cases continued, and one case abated prior to the hearing, resulting in no fines or any further action.

Eighteen rental applications were mailed out for January renewal. Nine denial letters were mailed for unpaid taxes, refuse, and/or sewage.

Code enforcement is currently working to obtain demolition orders for two properties.

In the public safety report, Councilman Nick Viglione said the borough will start citing pet owners who leave pets outside in the cold. In the summer, pets left outside without water will also result in owners being cited.

In public works, Councilman Justin Viale reported that last month personnel removed weeds, cleaned up leaves, picked up trash, removed rocks and tree limbs, installed a "No Parking" sign and painted yellow lines, responded to 20 PA 1 calls, continued supervisory activities related to utility projects, patched pot holes, performed two dye tests, cleaned inlets, performed routine vehicle maintenance, and more.

He reminded attendees citations may be issued for residents who shovel snow onto streets. He also asked that they try to keep hydrants clear by not piling extra snow around them.

Council President Amber McGough said it was brought to her attention some borough sidewalks and property were not shoveled. Mr. Hopkinson said he would look into it, and the department is always working to improve.

Mr. Bernardini reminded everyone any employee working with machinery, such as taking down a tree, must have another employee present in case one falls and the other is there to help.

In the solicitor's report, council voted unanimously to adopt a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the borough and the Hilltop Economic Development Corp. (HEDC) detailing terms regarding the transfer and subsequent sale of 304 Hays Ave. and 105 Penn Ave.

Mr. Hopkinson said its sole purpose is developing and selling 304 Hays and 105 Penn, both vacant lots that are related to the development of 300 Hays, collectively the "Project."

The HEDC agrees to convey both properties to Brandon and Joanna Taylor for $500 each as part of the Project and reimburse the borough the entire sale price, less closing costs, for the borough's expenses related to holding the properties and clearing the titles.

In resolutions and ordinances, council appointed Mr. Viale and Mrs. McGough to the SHACOG Franchising Authority Board.

In unfinished business, Mr. Viglione was appointed president pro-tem.

The next council meeting will be on Feb. 19.


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