COUNCIL OF THE BOROUGH OF WEST MIFFLIN met in regular session in the Municipal Building Council Chambers on Tuesday, July 19, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. prevailing time with President Scott Stephenson presiding.
Before the regular Meeting, Council recognized the service and retirement of Officer James Farrell for 37 years as a West Mifflin Police Officer.
ROLL CALL: Kushner Present Olack Present
Marone Present Davis Present
Stupar Present Kostelnik Present
Seven members present. Absent none. Mayor Kelly absent.
CITIZENS COMMENTS ON AGENDA ITEMS:
John Koczka 4333 Everlawn Street questioned Item A. He wanted to know who held the Retirement Plan prior to this switch and who does the Plan benefit. Mr. Kamauf said the previous plan was held by Met Life which became Mass Mutual. This new Plan is the retirement plan for non-uniformed employees. Mr. Koczka asked about the lot consolidations and subdivisions under Agenda Items B and C and said the public needs more information on this. Mr. Kamauf told him that this is discussed at the Planning Meetings where he can ask questions. He then explained that the Norman Drive consolidation was to correct a previous error when the home was built and the Lebanon Road subdivision is a lot that is being sold and the lots are being divided.
James Jasinski 4100 Home Street asked if there were any fees associated with the transfer of funds to Mass Mutual. Mr. Kamauf said there were no fees. Mr. Jasinski asked if the subdivision would remain zoned for commercial use. Mr. Anthony said it will still be zoned commercial.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
Motion by Olack, seconded by Kushner that the Minutes of the June 21, 2016 Council Minutes be approved. Roll Call: Seven ayes, no nays. Motion carried.
Motion by Olack, seconded by Marone to approve the transfer of the Borough’s 457B and 401K plans to MassMutual Financial Group, pending final document approval of Borough Solicitors. Roll Call: Seven ayes, no nays. Motion carried.
Motion by Davis, seconded by Olack to approve the Niccolai two lot consolidation plan located at 135 Norman Drive as recommended by the Planning Commission and Engineer. Roll Call: Seven ayes, no nays. Motion carried.
Motion by Davis, seconded by Olack to approve the Holiday Plan of Lots, a 3 lot sub division located at 1203-1205 Lebanon Road as recommended by the Planning Commission and Engineer. Roll Call: Seven ayes, no nays. Motion carried.
Motion by Kostelnik, seconded by Olack to approve and accept the Civil Service Certified Police Sergeant Promotion List. Roll Call: Seven ayes, no nays. Motion carried.
Motion by Kostelnik, seconded by Olack to Promote Officer Thomas Kahler, to Sergeant of the West Mifflin Police Department. Roll Call: Seven ayes, no nays. Motion carried.
AN ORDINANCE OF THE BOROUGH OF WEST MIFFLIN, A MUNICIPALITY OF THE COUNTY OF ALLEGHENY, COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA; DEFINING AND PROHIBITING NUISANCES IN THE BOROUGH INCLUDING REGULATION OF ACTIVITIES OF ANIMALS._____
Solicitor DiLucente opened the Public Hearing for comments or questions. Before taking questions, Mr. DiLucente explained this has been a very controversial ordinance. He explained this Ordinance is to maintain the health and public safety of the community by following the PA Dog Law. He stated that this Ordinance is for nuisance animals such as feral cats, animals leaving deposits, excessive noise, non-domesticated animals, etc.
At this time, Councilman Kostelnik had to leave the meeting for another commitment.
Michael Weisbrod 311 Lebanon Manor Drive said his neighbors have made public accusations against his goats. These neighbors have been on his property, which is why he has installed surveillance cameras. He has a petition signed from his other neighbors stating his animals are not a nuisance. Most didn’t even know he had goats. He stated he has followed the law and spends many hours a day cleaning up after his animals. Mr. Weisbrod welcomed any member of Council to inspect his property at any time. He stated he has contacted an attorney for civil harassment against his next door neighbors.
Mr. Stephenson told Mr. Weisbrod if everything is in order, he should not have any problem. Mr. Stephenson said this Ordinance is made because the Borough had nothing specific before this. Mr. DiLucente said this needed to be done. He stated this was not directed to any person, place or thing.
Kim Weisbrod 311 Lebanon Manor Drive wanted to know who determines what is a nuisance and an annoyance. Mr. DiLucente said this is a judgement call by the Code Enforcement Officer. Mr. Anthony explained the Code Enforcement Officer will observe the situation and if he determines this is a nuisance, he will send a notice of violation. The resident will have several days to correct the situation. Mr. DiLucente added that the Ordinance states continuous and excessive noise.
Dolores O’Donnell 317 Lebanon Manor Drive said she is the next door neighbor of the previous speakers. She thanked Council for considering an amendment to this Ordinance. She said she is aware of the petition. She commented that some of the neighbors said they cannot hear any noise. She said some of the signatures are from neighbors who no longer live on the street. She added that even though the noise is not always consistent, it is very annoying. A recording was then played of chickens and goats. She added she did not go on their property to obtain this recording. She also said when they bought their property many years ago, they chose a quiet residential area. She stated farms should not be allowed to exist in a residential area.
Diane Danko 1795 Timothy Drive requested clarification in the Ordinance for the wording of annoyance. She has a small dog who barks at the neighbors. She immediately takes the dog inside. The neighbors say the dog annoys them and have used threats. Mr. Stephenson said this is a common sense issue. This change is for continuous annoyance and the Zoning Officer will make the determination. Mr. DiLucente told Mrs. Danko this change will not be an issue for her.
Beverly Black 370 Bost Drive commented on the section of the Ordinance about unsanitary nuisance exemptions. She states there is an area of her property where dog walkers let their dogs urinate. She asked these people many times to stop with no avail. She also commented that she lives in a residential area and her property values are based on living in a residential area. She feels farm animals do not have any business in a residential area. She stated that years ago her family had a pet duck which they had to get rid of because a neighbor complained. Mr. DiLucente said unfortunately, a law against dog urination is unenforceable because of the dissipation.
Pam Amicarella Coal Valley Road stated she maintains a colony of cats on St. Agnes Lane. She has spent a lot of time educating about trapping, vaccinating, spaying and neutering. Too many irresponsible people dump cats. She believes the wording in the Ordinance is too vague. She said if a cat is not on someone’s home property it will be trapped and killed. She said the Borough will spend a lot of money on rounding up these cats they believe to be nuisances. Mr. Stephenson said our animal control is no kill and Mr. DiLucente said this was directed towards nuisance animals. She says she thinks this change will penalize the caretakers. She wants to provide the Borough with several model Ordinances relating to cats. She believes if wording is not changed about the cats, we will have a major problem with rodents like they had in other communities.
Harry Thompson 6679 Adams Avenue wanted to know if this Ordinance only pertained to animals. He was told there is a separate noise Ordinance.
Mr. DiLucente said he appreciated everyone’s questions and comments and they will be taken into consideration. Hearing no further questions or comments, Mr. DiLucente closed the public hearing.
Motion by Olack, seconded by Kushner the Ordinance be enacted. Roll Call: Six ayes, no nays, one absent (Kostelnik). Motion carried. Ordinance given No. 1204.
Community Development………………………………….……………..Walter B. Anthony
Mr. Anthony read the Community Development Report for the Month of June 2016.
Police……………………………………………….………………………Chief Ken Davies
Chief Davies read the Police Department Report for the Month of June 2016.
Mrs. Kushner said she received a call from a resident about speeding at Homestead Duquesne Road and Bull Run Road. Chief Davies said he could possibly place a warning sign there.
Public Works……………………………………………………………………….James Hess
Mr. Hess read the Public Works Report for the Month of June 2016.
Mr. Stupar wanted to recognize Mr. Hess and the Sewer Authority for fixing a water run off problem for a resident on Bost Drive.
Mr. DiCenzo reported the following:
- The Recreation Department will be hosting a Family Fun and Movie Night at the Community Park on Friday, August 19th beginning at 6:30.
- Plans are continuing for Community Day.
- The Soldier Tribute Banner program has increased rapidly. Other locations are in consideration for placing future banners.
EMS………………………………………………………………………..Chief Todd Plunkett
Chief Plunkett read the EMS Report for the Month of June 2016.
Chief Plunkett said his department is participating in a program called Stop the Bleed. It’s an educational program to teach the public how to stop massive bleeding after a horrific incident.
Mr. Marone questioned since there has been tourniquet training, he would like to see if he could get some of the tourniquets for the Fire Trucks. Chief Plunkett said he will see to it.
Mr. Marone also commended First Responders for the CO2 Leak at McDonalds. Everyone did a great job.
REPORT OF THE MAYOR:
REPORT OF THE SOLICITOR:
Solicitor DiLucente reported many items he and his firm are working on are reserved for Executive Session.
He said his firm is still reviewing the contract of Berkshire Hathaway for the sale of the old Borough Building.
His firm is reviewing several letters of complaints on noise violations.
REPORT OF THE ENGINEER:
Mr. Balewski gave an update on the Basketball Courts at the Community Park. He said he expected the signed contracts from the contractor shortly. He will get these contracts to Mr. Kamauf and the project should be started by August 1st. This project should take about 30 days to complete.
Mr. Balewski also said the paving program will start next week and should be completed in 3-4 weeks.
REPORT OF THE BOROUGH MANAGER:
Mr. Kamauf read the Finance Report for the month of June 2016.
Mr. Kamauf said the Bond is officially completed and closed. A check in the amount of $337,038.86 was received and will be deposited into Capital Projects.
Mr. Kamauf said he received a request from Mosites Contracting who is doing the Homeville Bridge Project. They requested a two hour temporary closing of Grant Avenue Extension to bring in steel and materials. This makes it easier than hauling the materials through Homeville Road. A notice will be posted for residents. Council said if this makes the project go easier and quicker, then by all means honor their request.
PAYMENT OF BILLS:
Motion by Davis, seconded by Kushner that all bills properly approved by the Finance Committee be paid. Roll Call: Six ayes, no nays, one absent (Kostelnik). Motion carried.
Mr. Marone asked if the Soccer Field has been turned over to the West Mifflin Soccer Association. Mr. DiCenzo said he has been in contact with the President of the Soccer Association and will meet next week to officially sign it over. Mr. Stupar said he and Mr. Kamauf met with a member of Pittsburgh City Council to make residents of Lincoln Place aware that the Soccer Field will be officially open.
Motion by Davis, seconded by Marone to donate the remaining furniture at the old Borough Building on Lebanon Church Road to Goodwill. Roll Call: Five ayes, no nays, one abstain (Olack), one absent (Kostelnik). Motion carried.
Dave Marshall 2220 Reuben Drive said he is a representative of the West Mifflin Football Boosters. He said he and the West Mifflin Band Boosters are having a joint fundraiser at the Borough Building August 21st from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. This fundraiser is a test drive event with Bowser. For every test drive, $20.00 goes to the student’s account which will be used towards banquets, out of town events etc. Mr. Marshall said he will clear everything with the Police and EMS. He also noted there will refreshments along with KDKA broadcasting the event. He also stated Bowser will have the insurance coverage for the vehicles and other unforeseen incidents.
Larry Howells 3417 Duquesne Avenue stated that he is in the process of buying a vacant lot on West Street. He was upset because after buying the property he found out that he cannot put a fence around the property. He also found out if he wanted to add this property to his deed it will cost him $1500.00 which he said he cannot afford. Mr. Kamauf said unfortunately he could not put a fence around vacant property. Mr. Howells argued it would not be vacant since he would own it. It was explained he needed a permanent structure on the property to install a fence and this is the law. Mr. Anthony explained according to the zoning ordinances the fence or any other accessory structure has to be on the same parcel of land. Mr. DiLucente suggested to Mr. Howells that he apply for a variance.
Jim Jasinski 4100 Home Street commented on the coyotes in the Homeville area.
Mr. Jasinski asked about any additional information from the PA Turnpike Commission. Mr. Kamauf said there is a meeting for public officials on August 3rd and a meeting for the public August 9th at the Skyvue Fire hall.
Mr. Jasinski asked if Spirit Airline will ever come to the Allegheny County Airport. Mr. Stephenson said Mayor Kelly had been in several meetings with Spirit and no reason was ever given why they will not be coming here. Mr. Stupar said Westmorland County has subsidized millions of dollars to Spirit. He informed Council the size of the runway at Allegheny County Airport is 6500 feet and the runway size at Latrobe Airport is 8200 feet.
Mr. Jasinski asked if there was any more information on the sale of the old Borough Building. Mr. DiLucente said he is still reviewing the contract of the Realtor.
Mr. Jasinski asked if Council has ever heard of induction lighting which is similar to fluorescent lighting. He said Findley Township is using this and costs have been cut tremendously. Mr. Stephenson said he has never heard of this form of lighting.
Mr. Jasinski said since the Borough has hired seven new employees for Public Works, how well will the snow removal be for the upcoming winter season. Mr. Hess said he is confident in these workers. Mr. Jasinski asked who pays for their CDL license. Mr. Hess said if the employee goes off site for training, they are responsible for the fee. If they have in house training they will be compensated for the fee.
Mr. Jasinski said there is another water main break on Duquesne Avenue. Mr. Hess said he is aware of this and has contacted the water company.
Mr. Jasinski said he has pictures of the Homeville Bridge Project and will share them with Council to be posted. He said he spoke with a contractor from Mosites and was told this project could be completed by late September or possibly the middle of October.
Mr. Jasinski said since 130 – 150 flights take off every day from the Allegheny County Airport, does the Borough get any revenue from these flights. He was told no and it is the Airport Authority that gets any fee revenue. Mr. DiLucente said he would like to see more revenue but our resources are limited.
Motion by Olack, seconded by Kushner that the Meeting be adjourned. Meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m. prevailing time.