South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Mt. Oliver updates rental license, street opening ordinances


Last updated 2/27/2019 at 8:54pm

A brief, 45-minute meeting of Mt. Oliver council on Feb. 18 began with the public safety report for January read by Mayor Frank Bernardini.

He reported there were 598 total calls for service, and 28 drug arrests, the latter for the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia.

There were two robberies: a business on Brownsville Rd. was robbed of cash and cigarettes (still under investigation); and cash was taken from a home on Ottillia St., for which an arrest was made.

There was one DUI arrest.

The K-9 units were used 28 times, including for a drug search, arrests, park-and-walks, a traffic stop, and targeted patrols. Eight warrants were served by the police department.

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

Parking Enforcement wrote 72 borough tags, while the Police Department wrote 32 borough tickets. There were 55 state citations issued for parking violations. The total collected for payment of fines for tickets issued in January was $1,280.

All police equipment is operating properly.

The total miles on all vehicles was 4,555 miles. Vehicle maintenance and repair totaled $330.54.

Traffic stops conducted in January totaled 150.

Mr. Bernardini said that the prior week a home invasion resulted in one occupant being pistol-whipped and another held hostage. He said the victims knew the intruders, but will not name them.

“This is what we’re up against.

“It’s not going to get any better,” he said.

Mr. Bernardini reminded attendees that calls to 911 may be anonymous.

He also thanked everyone who attended the Zoning Hearing Board on Feb. 12 regarding a proposal to turn the former Mt. Oliver School building into a health and care giving facility operated by the human service agency Auberle.

Councilman Nick Viglione said the hearing was a success as there was high attendance.

No decision was made at the hearing. The board has 45 days to render a decision.

Under Auberle’s substance use disorder program proposed for placement in the borough, families impacted by a caregiver’s addiction will move into one of the facility’s apartments for four to six months with treatment focused on everyone challenged by that addiction.

Mayor Frank Bernardini has repeatedly expressed his opposition to the plan, stating the police department is overloaded with all of the drug activity in the borough.

Borough manager Rick Hopkinson has stated the property meets the zoning ordinance requirements.

Next, in the fire report for January, there were 62 incidents, of which 42 were for EMS and 20 were fire related.

The fire department will be receiving complimentary smoke-detector and carbon-dioxide alarms through the Red Cross for distribution to residents in need of such devices in their homes.

In the treasurer’s report, 86 percent of the property tax for 2018 has been collected so far, or $742,525. The total due is $870,974. The 2019 property tax bills will go out this month.

In the administration and finance report, Councilwoman Tina Reft said to inform the borough if new people move into the borough so as to make sure code enforcement regulations are met.

In the code enforcement report for January, Councilman Aaron Graham reported there were 60 violations, and 51 of 793 open cases.

There were 11 hearings in front of District Magistrate Richard King.

Thirty-one rental licenses were issued for 51 units, and 29 rental applications/notices were mailed out for licenses expiring Feb. 28.

Two occupancy permits, four building permits, and one zoning permit were issued.

In demolitions, 253 Ormsby and 118 Penn were demolished.

In public safety, council voted 6-0, with Councilwoman Barbara Keener absent, to hire Ryan Lawrence as a part-time patrolman. He will be starting shortly.

To a question about ShotSpotter, gunshot detection technology that locates and alerts law enforcement about gunfire incidents as they occur, Police Chief Matt Juzwick said it is being used in Mt. Oliver.

It better protects officers; enhances the likelihood to make arrests and recover evidence; directs police to crime scenes in time to aid victims; and more.

“It is not one hundred percent accurate, but good to have,” he said.

The City of Pittsburgh is paying for the law enforcement tool.

Next, in the public works report for January, 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 TVs, tires, and debris were picked up throughout the borough.

A stop sign and pole were replaced at School and Ormsby, and at Quincy and Hays.

A stop sign was repaired at Giffin and Hervey, and at Giffin and Transverse.

In Transverse and Ormsby parks, workers emptied trash cans/spot swept three times per week.

In sanitary/storm sewer maintenance, inlets were cleaned throughout the borough.

A new salt truck was delivered, and is now in service.

In economic development, Ms. Reft reported an Easter event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 13. It will consist of a pancake breakfast at the fire hall; an appearance by the Easter bunny; and businesses handing out eggs or candy.

The goal is to attract people to Brownsville Rd. to show what the borough has to offer.

In resolutions and ordinances, council voted to replace the decades-old rental license ordinance with one that reflects what is done now in practice.

Annual inspections will still be required.

Council also voted to take the section related to point of sale inspections that used to be in the Rental License Chapter and give it its own section in a more related chapter, specifically the Sale of Real Property Chapter.

In the street opening ordinance a bond must now be submitted before a permit may be issued.

In the question-and-answer period that concludes council meetings, a resident asked about a St. Joseph St. house that has been empty almost three years as the owners died.

Mr. Hopkinson said he is waiting to see what steps the family takes.

An attendee asked about garbage being tossed onto a flat roof. She is worried about a fire as she owns the property across from it. Sometimes the tossed garbage misses the roof and ends up on the street.

Mr. Hopkinson said he would investigate.

The next council meeting will be on March 18.


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