South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Boro to put veterans' photos on street poles

Submit image, information to mayor or at the boro offices


Last updated 9/25/2019 at 9:16pm

Patriotic military banners displayed on street poles are coming to Mt. Oliver.

At the Sept. 16 meeting of borough council, Mayor Frank Bernardini asked that veterans residing in the borough provide their name, rank, years of service, and branch of service to him or the borough administration.

The military banner program adopted by numerous local boroughs is designed to honor any active, retired, or deceased military personnel who resides or resided in the borough by placing banners with the local heroes' photo and name on street poles.

"The veterans who live in the borough are long-time residents, and they deserve recognition," Mr. Bernardini said.

Next, he read the public safety report for August.

There were 673 total calls for service, and 53 drug arrests, the latter for the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, and drug paraphernalia. There were also four DUI arrests.

The K-9 unit was used 45 times for arrests, park-and-walks, and targeted patrols. Eighteen warrants were served by the police department.

The police responded to three commercial alarms and 12 residential alarms.

Regarding abandoned vehicles: three were posted; 21 warnings were issued; and two vehicles were towed.

Parking Enforcement wrote 121 borough tags, while the Police Department wrote 18 borough tags. There were 35 state citations issued for parking violations.

The total collected for payment of fines for tickets issued in August was $1,520. The total paid in magistrate ordered fines was $295.

Officer Larkins was placed in charge of monitoring all police calls to check for nuisance properties. Mr. Bernardini said he hopes a list is soon compiled of nuisance properties, with drug trafficking a main focus.

He said last month that with three people recently appointed to the Nuisance Property Committee, it was time to start listing properties.

All equipment is operating properly.

The total miles on all vehicles for August was 4,254 miles. Vehicle maintenance and repair totaled $152.

Five applicants passed the physical and written section of the civil service process, and will move forward to the oral interviews. The borough is looking to hire a full-time police officer.

At the report's conclusion, the mayor said he just learned that a day care center was about to open in the borough. He said it cannot open without an occupancy permit, inspection, and meeting building codes.

The state also requires background checks on all employees working with children.

"It ain't happening no more," he said of businesses opening in the borough without meeting requirements, and often operating as scams.

Borough manager Rick Hopkinson said the focus first is on the occupancy permit, and then go from there.

In the treasurer's report, 77 percent of the property tax for 2019 has been collected so far, or $665,979. The total due is $865,294.

In the code enforcement report for August, Councilman Aaron Graham reported there were 88 violations. There are 45 open cases year-to-date.

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

Twenty-four rental licenses were issued for 36 units, and 77 rental applications were mailed out for licenses expiring Sept. 30 (130 units).

One occupancy permit and one building permit were issued.

Mr. Graham said code enforcement is working with the solicitor and borough council to develop a ticketing ordinance that will penalize repeat offenders for high grass, early trash, trash storage, and snow removal violations.

He also reported that Fall Fest will be held from noon - 5 p.m. on Oct. 5 in Transverse Park. There will be food and beverages, children's activities, music, games, and a festive fall market.

From 2 - 4 p.m. on Oct. 26, Trunk-or-Treat will be held in Transverse Park. The Halloween celebration will feature music, treats, and more.

Trick-or-Treat in the borough will be 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

In the public safety report, council voted 5-0 to accept the resignation of police Officer John Mayernik. Council members Tina Reft and Barbara Keener were absent.

In the public works report for August, Councilman Dave Lowe reported that routine facility maintenance was conducted, like emptying trash, cleaning/sweeping, and re-stocking supplies. TVs were taken to recycling, and scrap to scrapyard.

Pot holes were patched around the borough. There was continued replacement of faded and damaged signs.

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

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

Councilman Justin Viale said residents sometimes set TVs out on curbs for pick-up. Mr. Hopkinson said he calls them, or sends them notices, as TVs will not be picked up.

In the economic development report, Mr. Hopkinson said he is applying to the Allegheny Together program. It is a program through Allegheny County Economic Development that provides strategic planning and technical support for traditional main streets.

In the program, communities are led through a facilitated strategic planning process, utilizing data analysis, community engagement, and an urban design review.

Through this process, priorities are established and technical assistance is then provided to implement the plan with the primary goal of helping existing businesses succeed and attracting new businesses, thus increasing district vibrancy. 

Regarding the business district, the mayor said youngsters hanging out at all hours outside businesses has been a problem for years. Amanda St. to McDonald's is especially bad, he said.

Mr. Hopkinson also reported volunteers are needed from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Nov. 9 to install smoke alarms in homes. No experience is necessary. Volunteers should meet at the fire house at 9:30 a.m.

The fire department received complimentary smoke detectors through the Red Cross for distribution to residents in need of such devices in their homes. 

In the question-and-answer segment which concludes meetings, a resident complained about a Locust St. residence with six to eight bags of garbage in their backyard, and cases of empty beer bottles.

He also said there should be a representative from each borough committee, like the zoning hearing board and nuisance property, at all council meetings "just to get a grasp of what's happening," he said.

Another resident suggested having free parking in the borough on Saturdays to encourage shopping at the businesses.

Mr. Hopkinson agreed it would fit well with the mainstreet program with the county.

The next council meeting will be on Oct. 21.


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