A request to eliminate parking from the both sides of the 100 block of Holzer Street in Mt. Oliver opened the May public meeting of the Mt. Oliver Borough Council. Attending were council members Amber McGough, Christina Reft, Aaron Graham and Brandon Taylor. Absent were Nick Viglione, Lisa Pietrusza and Paul Doyle.

Council President Amber McGough asked Police Chief Matt Juzwick his opinion of the request. He replied it was a steep tight street and other than residents, it would only be curious people venturing up it. Currently, although parking is permitted on both sides, residents park on only one side.

Ms. McGough moved discussion to the June meeting to allow council members to gather more information.

In regular business, council passed several motions related to the borough’s sewer system including:

  • Concurring with awarding the 2022 SHACOG Joint O&M Excavation Repairs contract to Roto-Rooter Services for $119,656, with a borough share of $16,825.
  • Concurring with awarding the 2022 SHACOG Joint O&M Spot Lining contract to State Pipe Services for $44,750, with a borough share of $9,550.
  • Concurring with awarding the 2022 SHACOG Joint O&M Manhole-to-Manhole Lining contract to Insight Pipe Contracting for $364,340, with a borough share of $48,550.

A resident asked where the work was being performed. Borough Manager Rick Hopkinson said it was all over the borough. Since the work is performed each year, he would try to include the service map in the future.

Under New Business, a topic of discussion was possible guidelines for the Questions & Answers portion of the meeting. Mayor JoAnna Taylor offered several suggestions including time limits, more organization and decorum and structure. While she didn’t want to limit discussion, she suggested an initial period where someone could speak uninterrupted for a period of time without side conversations. Additional time could be provided for answering questions.

Ms. McGough recognizing three council members weren’t in attendance, suggested postponing discussion until the June meeting. She added that she wasn’t opposed to adding more structure to the meetings, but was concerned putting restrictions on people’s ability to speak might deter them attending the meetings. Mayor Taylor said she was concerned there were residents who weren’t attending because of the lack of structure. She offered to work with the borough solicitor to come up with several different sets of guidelines for the council to consider.

Ms. McGough said possible Q&A guidelines would be added to the agenda in June. Mr. Hopkinson will work with the solicitor for suggested guidelines.

In the Q&A period, former mayor Frank Bernardini disagreed with Councilmember Pietrusza’s comment in connection to the voluntary veteran banner program that there was a long history in the borough of racism and redlining. He pointed out the borough has had two Black council members and several Black public safety officers in the past.

Ms. McGough said while she doesn’t agree with Mx. Pietrusza’s opinion, that everyone is entitled to their opinion. She added she didn’t want to see any verbal or physical abuse in Council Chambers because of a difference in opinion.

There will be another Redd-Up Day in the borough on Saturday, June 4 from 9 a.m. to noon. See the borough website for more details.

The Summer Live Music Series will begin on Fridays, and select Saturdays, from 6-9 p.m. on The Deck beginning June 3.

The Allegheny County Health Department Overdose Prevention Program will be at the Clock Tower on Monday, July 11 from noon to 4 p.m.

Tom Smith is the former Managing Editor of the South Pittsburgh Reporter from 2000 until 2023. Following in his mother's footsteps, he delivered news that changed our world.