Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cleaning up Tarentum: February Borough Council meeting

Tarentum Borough Council met last night, February 19, and in a short meeting with unanimous votes moved ahead several pieces of business that had been discussed at the previous week's agenda meeting.

Council voted to advertise Ordinance 07-04 concerning trees. (The VND reported last week on this ordinance's consideration at the agenda meeting.)

Council voted to advertise Ordinance 07-05, which will allow attorney fees to be collected on Sheriff Sales.

Council accepted the revised dock lease for 2007. A number of changes in the lease are intended to ensure that the people docking their boats here keep the banks and the area around them clean. (The VND reported last week on the dock lease's consideration at the agenda meeting.)

The Council voted to begin condemnation proceedings on three properties on West 6th and West 7th Ave.

Council President Magnetta announced that Tarentum was now officially part of Allegheny County 9-1-1. There have been minor (non-emergency) problems since that transition, and the county has been very responsive in resolving those issues. Mr. Magnetta encouraged such problems to be reported to the Borough Manager.

Borough Manager Bill Rossey announced that the borough was developing a new website at www.tarentumboro.com. (As of this writing you won't find anything there yet, not even a parking page to tell you it will be the website for the Tarentum Borough.) Mr. Rossey distributed refrigerator magnets to those in attendance at the meeting. The magnets give various telephone numbers for emergencies and non-emergency situations; these magnets also will be mailed with the next water bill.

Meanwhile, in the citizen comments at the meeting, citizens came forward with concerns about the ways their neighbors are not maintaining property. There was citizen support for the Tree Ordinance from a resident who said that a neighbor's tree was leaning against her house.

There was a citizen concern about the slowness of the process of getting a neighbor to rectify a serious pet odor problem that could be smelled a large distance from his house. Borough Manager Bill Rossey acknowledged the problem, and said that the offending property owner had been in court before the magistrate two weeks ago. Rossey said that the property owner himself smelled so badly that day that he was not allowed the use the magistrate's waiting room in advance of the hearing. (I would guess that the property owner was also unsuccessful in convincing the magistrate that the complaints were baseless.)

There was also a citizen comment asking where confidential reports can be made of people soliciting drug deals. The police department is very open to receiving such reports, and does keep them confidential.

This struck me as a quiet meeting, in which the Council moved ahead on some important efforts to clean up the town, while facing the fact that there was still a lot to be done.

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