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August 13, 2012

The following elected officials were present: K. Brannon; M. Cheberenchick; N. Kovach; J. O’Malley; D. Swisher; M. Warhold; D. Baumgarten; S. Torris. Council Member V. Smith was absent. The following appointed officials were present: T. Hartswick, Borough Manager; Police Chief K. Truver; D. Biondo, Solicitor. Codes Official P. Vietmeier and Junior Council Person M. Kunig were absent.

Mr. Hartswick presented a request from Ms. Kunig for a leave of absence from council meetings for the months of August, September and October to participate in the volleyball program at Keystone Oaks. Council approved the request.

The minutes of the July 9, 2012 council meeting were presented. Mr. Swisher motioned to approve the minutes; Ms. O’Malley seconded; all in favor; motion carried.

Ms. Kovach opened the public comment section of the meeting.

Carolyn Adams, 1025 Connor Road – discussed the vacant, abandoned property at 1023 Connor Road, and stated the property is a fire hazard, a safety issue, and a blight on this community. Ms. Adams noted problems with rats, high grass, and overhanging trees and submitted pictures of the property for council to view. Ms. Kovach stated that codes department has notified the responsible party of code violations. Mr. Hartswick will discuss the status of this property with Mr. Vietmeier.

William Suvak, 1029 Connor Road – is also concerned about the deteriorating condition of the property at 1023 Connor Road and submitted additional photographs for council. Mr. Suvak contacted the deceased owner’s son regarding the condition of the property; however no action has been taken to maintain or repair the property. Mr. Suvak joined Ms. Adams in asking council to please take any steps available to have the property brought up to code.

Michael Stout, 4223 Willow Avenue - reported that thanks to Mr. Michael Brooks five hundred petitions were signed within five days against the closings of the Martin Villa and Smith Street trolley stops. Although Mr. Fitzgerald and Port Authority were bombarded with telephone calls to keep the stops open, Martin Villa stop was closed. Handicapped and senior citizens cannot walk the extra distance to the St. Anne stop. Mr. Stout thanked the mayor and the council members who attended the town meeting with Mr. Fitzgerald, and thanked Chief Truver for installing a speed monitor trailer to slow traffic.

Mr. Stout discussed Act 13 that usurps borough zoning rights and prohibits local municipalities from passing zoning ordinances aimed at banning natural gas drilling. Act 13 will be presented to the Supreme Court for a final ruling. Mr. Stout submitted a collection of stories from property owners regarding environmental contamination problems caused by the fracking process, and stated that the fracking process contaminates our water supplies. Mr. Stout discussed a group called South Hills Area Against Dangerous Drilling (SHAADD) which is a group of concerned citizens working to educate people about the potential dangers of hydraulic fracturing and natural gas extraction and to advocate for our right to protect our communities and environment. Council stated that the planning commission will be addressing this issue in the new zoning ordinance.

Mr. Stout asked if he would need a building permit to install solar panels on the side of this house. Council advised Mr. Stout to contact Mr. Vietmeier.

Phillip Grabowski, 940 Newport Avenue – called the police in February to report an incident where someone shot his garage with a bb or pellet gun. The Grabowski’s were told that a Castle Shannon police officer told their neighbor that his son was shooting up the garage. Mr. Grabowski vowed that neither he nor his wife have ever accused anyone of this crime. Chief Truver will review the case with the appropriate officers.

Ms. Kovach closed the public comment section.

Bid Openings:
Nothing to report.

Public Hearings:
Ms. Kovach presented Ordinance #886 to establish a Shade Tree Commission. The public hearing was opened; no comments were received; therefore the public hearing was closed. Mr. Warhold motioned to adopt Ordinance #886 at its first reading; Ms. O’Malley seconded; all in favor; motion closed.

Civil Service Commission:
Nothing to report.

Real Estate Tax Collectors Report:
Mr. Torris reported that July collections received were $117,119.42 with a collectable balance of $212,624.21. Collection rate is 93%.

Council Committee Reports

Public Relations/Communications – Ms. Brannon reported that the borough’s facebook page at facebook.com/castleshannonborough lists forty-one likes. Anyone who has a community event to post should e-mail contactus@csboro.com. Postings are done weekly.

Congratulations to the U-12 boys’ baseball team for finishing in second place in this summer’s tournament.

The Castle Shannon Fire Department held a very successful carnival. First place prize for the car raffle went to a Dormont couple.

A Citizen’s Fire Academy is being hosted by the Castle Shannon, Dormont, and Mt. Lebanon fire departments. Meetings are held on Wednesdays from September 5th - November 3rd from 7pm - 10pm at the Public Safety Center, 555 Washington Road. A link to the information is on the facebook page.

Public Works/ Building and Grounds:
Mr. Swisher reported that council met with Castle Shannon Youth Association and will be partnering with them on several projects.

The six-week summer recreation program held for children in the borough was very successful.

Many accolades have been received on the condition of the borough parks and ball fields. Mr. Warhold and Ms. O’Malley both commended public works on the parks. Ms. O’Malley added that public works was most helpful in arranging tables and benches, and many people commented on how lovely the upper level of Hamilton Park was for the picnic.

Public Safety/Fire – Mr. Truver reported that two burglaries occurred this past week on Maplewood and Waterford. Information has been posted on the borough’s main website and police department’s sub-site, on Nixel, the Next Door program, and the borough’s facebook page.

The police department’s website also has a link to Crime Reports which has interactive mapping of activity. Mayor Baumgarten stated this link is a great tool for residents to view police activity.

Police candidate entry level testing was completed through SHACOG joint testing. Ninety-four candidates passed the test for ten police departments.

Two candidates took the sergeant’s oral exam, and one candidate completed the written lieutenant’s exam.

Several weeks ago a woman with a knife attempted a robbery at Asti’s Pharmacy on Mt. Lebanon Boulevard. Due to the quick action of the pharmacy employees, no one was injured and the woman was arrested within four minutes from police dispatch.

Mr. Cheberenchick motioned to ratify the July treasurer’s report; Ms. Brannon seconded; all in favor; motion carried. Mr. Cheberenchick noted that several line items are over budget. Ms. Kovach added that it is important to stick to the budget figures.

Community Activities/Planning & Codes – Mr. Warhold reported that the Castle Shannon pictorial history book will be available for purchase in October at the Municipal Center, Community Library and Barnes & Noble.

The Castle Shannon Revitalization Corporation fund raiser is a golf outing scheduled for September 14th at 9:00 a.m. at Riverview Golf Club. Funds are used to subsidize the Shannon Soldier banner program.

In addition, CSRC is partnering with the Emmanuel Lutheran Church to provide a medical equipment loan program for residents such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, etc. CSRC is seeking donations of gently used equipment.

The Shade Tree Commission will be applying for a grant through the TreeVitalize program to obtain twenty-five trees through the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources). Volunteers are attending classes to become certified tree tenders to prune and care for the plantings.

Ms. O’Malley reported that Taylor Reed-Young has been hired as the new children’s librarian upon the resignation of Heather Anderson.

Editorial Board:
Article deadline is September 17th for the winter newsletter.

The agenda contained the minutes of the May meeting. Mayor Baumgarten reported that two new ambulances were received and are on the road to service residents of the borough.

Municipal Associations:

Allegheny County Boroughs Association:
Nothing to report.

Allegheny League of Municipalities:
Nothing to report.

South Hills Area Council of Governments:
Heidelberg will be hosting the August SHACOG board of directors meeting.

The administrative advisory committee met regarding the fall purchasing commodities. Rock salt pricing through SHACOG is significantly lower than state or county prices.

Police Pension:
The agenda contained the second quarter investment report.

Non-Uniformed Pension:
The agenda contained the second quarter investment report.

Earned Income Tax Collector's Report:
The agenda contained the July distribution analysis reports.

Engineer's Report:
Nothing to report.

Manager's Report:
Mr. Hartswick reported that bids for the 951 Arch Street demolition will be out August 23rd.

We have met the requirements for the application of two projects for demolition in 2013; however the continuance of federal funding for these projects is uncertain.

Mayor Baumgarten proposed that a policy be initiated where the property owner receives a notice of code violation; and, if the grass is not cut after five days, the public works department will be notified to cut the grass and the property will be liened for the expenses incurred by the borough.

Mayor Baumgarten stated that the center yellow lines on several heavily traveled borough streets have faded. The police department and public works will prepare a listing of streets to be painted.

Planning Commission:
The agenda contained the minutes of the July 16th meeting.

Solicitor's Report:
Nothing to report.

Keystone Oaks:
Nothing to report.

Zoning Hearing Board:
Nothing to report.

Ms. Brannon announced that school will begin August 27th.


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