South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Boro to get tough with those who are delinquent on sewage


Last updated 7/25/2018 at 9:02pm

A change in how delinquent sewage bills will be handled kicked off the July 16 meeting of Mt. Oliver Borough Council.

Mayor Frank Bernardini said he and other borough officials met with Jordan Tax Service a few weeks ago.

Going forward, residents who miss one sewage payment receive one notice and must set up a payment plan. If they miss another payment under the plan they receive a notice and their water is shut off.

Jordan may put liens on property for excessive non-payment of sewage bills.

Jordan may also go to the property’s mortgage company and bill them from the escrow account and put the property up for sheriff’s sale. Borough approval is not required, Mr. Bernardini said.

The borough has about 105 sewage delinquents owing about $78,000. One account owes $2,200. Liens have been filed against 10 properties.

“The good old days are gone. Freeloading is done,” Mr. Bernardini said.

On another topic, Mr. Bernardini asked about the status of the nuisance property ordinance, which council is working on. Councilman David Beltz said he would have a draft in a few days for the mayor to review.

“I’m fed up. I’m here for the taxpayers,” Mr. Bernardini said of nuisance properties in the borough.

In the public safety report for June, he reported there were 656 total calls for service, and 28 drug-related arrests. Arrests were made for the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia. There was one burglary and two DUI arrests.

The K-9 units were used 37 times, including for drug searches, arrests, warrant service, demonstrations, park-and-walks, and targeted patrols. Twelve warrants were served by the police department.

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

All firearms qualifications and training will be conducted in July for part of the department. The remainder of the department will be scheduled later this year.

An attendee told council that she has seen people walking on Anthony St. scoping out properties for, she suspects, criminal purposes. Police Chief Matt Juzwick said to call 911 when she spots them, and that she does not have to give her name.

The resident said the word on the street is they came to Mt. Oliver from Brookline to commit crimes, and they do so during daylight hours.

Another attendee complained motorists run the stop sign at the corner of Anthony and Wagner streets. Another complaint was that cars are parked on the Locust St. sidewalk.

To a question from Councilwoman Barbara Keener about excessively loud music, the chief said officers must describe decibels on a citation, but the borough does not have that type of machine.

In the fire report for June, the Mt. Oliver Volunteer Fire Company responded to 63 incidents, 48 of which were for EMS and 15 for fire.

In the code enforcement report for June, Mr. Beltz reported there were 45 violations, including for early trash, overgrowth, accumulation of garbage, debris, and failure to renew rental license. The violations resulted in 41 citations and four notices. Twenty-five legal actions were filed.

Thirty-four rental applications/notices were mailed for June. Sixteen rental licenses were denied due to municipal claims owed.

Mr. Beltz also announced that code enforcement officer Tom McAllister has resigned to accept another job.

“He will be missed. He was a good guy,” Mr. Beltz said.

“He accomplished more in the short time he was here than the other two put together,” Mr. Bernardini said. He added that another young, aggressive person is needed to fill the role.

An attendee complained that a two-bedroom, single home turned into a duplex has about seven people residing there.

Mr. Beltz said he would look into the matter.

In public safety, Councilman Justin Viale said while fireworks are now legal, they cannot be set off within 150-feet of an occupied building. Residents should call 911 if they feel their safety is at risk, or if it is a late hour.

When they call 911, they should tell them where the fireworks are being set off so the police can readily arrive at the site.

In other public safety news, a new police clerk was hired.

In the public works report for June, Councilman Dave Lowe reported routine facility maintenance was conducted, like emptying trash, cleaning/sweeping, and re-stocking supplies. Trash cans were emptied three times per week in the business district, and tires and TVs were picked up throughout the borough.

Personnel finished painting crosswalks and stop sign bars around the borough.

In Transverse and Ormsby parks, workers emptied trash cans and spot sweep three times per week. They also cut the grass and weed whacked once a week in those parks. Grass was also cut on vacant properties on Anthony St., Arlington Ave., Brownsville Rd., Church St., Hays Ave., Frederick St., Ottillia St., Stamm Ave., and others.

In sanitary/storm sewer maintenance, four dye tests were performed, and inlets were cleaned throughout the borough.

In economic development, a grand opening was held for the new The Bakery Society of Pittsburgh’s bakery incubator at 225 Brownsville Rd, or the former Kullman’s Bakery site.

The borough purchased the Kullman’s Bakery property in 2016, and then sold it to Economic Development South (EDS) for the purpose of redevelopment.

In resolutions and ordinances, council voted 6-0 to adopt the police mutual aid agreement between the borough and SHACOG. Councilwoman Tina Reft was absent.

The agreement makes it official that if any of the roughly 20 SHACOG municipalities request Mt. Oliver police for an issue, they will respond, and vice versa. It updates the prior agreement to incorporate any new member municipalities that were not part of the original.

Council also authorized participation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s cooperative purchasing program (COSTARS) contract for the purchase of a 2019 Ford Police Interceptor. An increase in indebtedness was also approved for the purchase.

Council also voted 6-0 to establish the date by which delinquent real estate taxes are to be turned over to the appointed delinquent real estate tax collection (Keystone) for collection. That date is January 31.

Council also gave the go-ahead to requesting a multimodal transportation grant for the sidewalk replacement in the 300-500 blocks of Brownsville Rd.

A request for handicap parking at a Carl St. residence was denied.

In questions and answers, an attendee asked if the borough ever considered installing speed bumps in light of all of the speeding complaints.

Solicitor Kate Diersen said she has heard from other municipalities that speed bumps ruin snow plows.

Another attendee said he sees school busses speeding and running stop signs. The mayor told him to jot down the bus number. The police chief said officers will monitor the situation when school starts again.

Mr. Bernardini said the school police are useless – he has called them about problems, but to no avail. He said when school starts, children will be seen hanging out on Brownsville Rd. during school hours, but school police do nothing.

The attendee said children run in front of busses on their way to Philip Murray Elementary School. Nothing will change, unfortunately, he said, until a child is hurt or killed.

Council President Amber McGough said the borough will continue to monitor the situation.

The next council meeting will be on August 20.


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