Articles

6/23/18

As expected, the Northgate School Board voted unanimously Monday night to adopt a 2018-19 budget that does not include an increase in the property tax millage rate.

With board president Gary Paladin and member Shannon Smithey absent from the regular meeting, the remainder of the board voted to approve a budget of $25,393,273 at the current millage rate of 24.7867. Business manager Chris Ursu said that the budget was balanced with the projected transfer of $2.7 million from the district's $11.5 million reserve fund. Another $1.7 million is set aside for capital projects.

6/23/18

Ben Avon Council discussed some property matters in the borough at Tuesday's regular meeting.

Council member Earl Bohn said there is a three-story brick house off Park Avenue where several concerns have been reported. A neighbor complained that ceramic dishes were being thrown through a window screen on the second floor and breaking on the ground below.

6/23/18

Ben Avon Mayor Melanie Holcomb said she learned through talking with residents that some are not contacting the police about break-ins, but rather are posting the information on social media. She encouraged them to call the police if such an occurrence happens. Police Chief Joe Hanny agreed, saying people should definitely call 911 to let the police know.

6/15/18

The final budget for the Avonworth School District was approved and, as anticipated, the millage rate was increased.

At Monday night’s meeting, the school board unanimously approved the 2018-19 school year budget, in the amount of $33,367,337.

Additionally, the board approved Resolution 061118-A, establishing the millage at 19.10 mills for the 2018-19 school year.

Also, as recommened at last week’s workshop session, the board approved changing the assignment of the school resource officer from two days per week to five days per week, effective with the 2018-19 school year.

6/15/18

Area firefighters had their work cut out for them when Bellevue Police reported a fully-fire-engulfed house in one of the borough’s least accessible areas, Carson Avenue. The house, pictured at right, sits alone on a road that runs into the woods off Spring Avenue and below Route 65.

6/15/18

Bellevue Borough solicitor Matt Racunas told council and residents at Tuesday’s pre-council meeting that the owner of rowhouses on Laurel and Gilliland avenues is expected to appeal the borough’s determination that the houses are not being used in compliance with their single family dwelling occupancy permit.

6/15/18

The Northgate School Board is expected to vote next Monday to approve a 2018-19 budget that does not include a property tax millage increase, but continues to warn taxpayers that a financial crisis is looming on the very near horizon.

At last Monday’s committee of the whole meeting, finance committee chair Dan O’Keefe reported that the committee had reversed its earlier recommendation that the millage rate be increased by 3.2 percent beginning this coming fiscal year. Had the board followed that earlier recommendation, the current rate of 24.7867 would increase by .7923 mills.

6/10/18

Property owners in the Avonworth School District can expect to see an increase in the property tax millage rate for the 2018-19 fiscal year, with final approval of the coming year’s budget expected at next Monday’s school board meeting.

An increase of .43 mills will bring the district’s overall millage rate from 18.67 to 19.1 and provide about $474,000 to offset a projected budget deficit of just over $1 million. It will be the district’s first increase since the 2013-14 fiscal year.

5/26/18

Although Bellevue Council expected residents to be happy that the borough intended to challenge the occupancy permits for properties being leased to a transitional housing program, the response officials received at Tuesday’s council meeting was two hours of bedlam, with residents shouting at silent officials from the audience and one man being removed by police.

5/26/18

With a reworked spread sheet that predicts financial doom for the Northgate School District even sooner than previously estimated, school board members heard another argument at their Monday night meeting for increasing property taxes this year and every year for the foreseeable future.

5/19/18

Council member Ken Opipery presented an invoice to Ben Avon Council at Monday's meeting for emergency sewer repairs that had been done at the corner of Church and Forest avenues. The invoice, from State Pipe & Supply Inc., was for $11,940, and payment was unanimously approved by council.

5/19/18

When the 2018-19 school year begins in August, students and staff will be seeing some new faces, because during the May 14 meeting, the Avonworth School Board approved creating six new positions for the upcoming 2018-19 school year.

The new positions will be for a literacy coach, an elementary assistant principal, a half-time art teacher, a half-time computer teacher, a full-time kindergarten teacher and a full-time eighth grade math teacher.

5/19/18

In a very close vote Monday night, the Northgate School Board opted not to include a property tax increase in the district’s proposed 2018-19 budget. Taxpayers, however, could see that decision change before the final budget is adopted in late June.

The Northgate School District currently ranks eighth highest in property taxes in Allegheny County, with a millage rate of 24.7867 mills. That means property owners pay nearly $25 for every $1,000 in assessed value. For a property assessed at $100,000, the owner would pay the Northgate School District nearly $2,500 per year.

5/19/18

Ben Avon council unanimously approved the hiring of Theresa (Terry) Patsch as borough secretary, effective May 14, to replace Lisa Cronin, who submitted her resignation for personal reasons. Patsch's hours have not yet been established for the part-time position, but Cronin offered to extend her time with the borough to help train Patsch.

5/13/18

Bellevue motorists can go back to parking the way they have been for decades, as the recent ticketing of vehicles parked against traffic on two-way streets has been limited to high traffic and danger areas.

5/13/18

From back when Norbert Micklos's family moved to Ohio Township in 1957 to the present as he enters retirement, the community has undergone some radical changes.

The somewhat remote Pittsburgh suburb of a few clusters of houses along with some rolling farmland has transformed to upscale housing developments, shopping areas, and a population that now tops 6,000 residents, all linked to the City via I-279.

And just as the community has grown, the responsibilities of the chief of police and his staff of officers also have grown in the community which they serve.

5/13/18

An angry and extremely vocal crowd of about 50 people spent the better part of two hours Tuesday night telling Bellevue Council why they did not want a transitional housing program operating in the borough.

5/13/18

The Northgate School Board got its first look at a proposed 2018-19 budget during a special workshop meeting Monday night. The $25.1 million general fund spending plan currently features a deficit of $2.5 million, which is likely to change before the final budget is adopted in June.

5/7/18

A transitional housing program designed to help people in need has planted its roots in Bellevue, where 46 row houses are targeted to become homes for people who have trouble finding safe, affordable housing.

As of April 1, the Zero Six Eight corporation began implementing its plans to create one of the largest transitional housing programs of its type in the northeastern United States, according to Zero Six Eight founder Daniel Bull, by taking on a master lease for all of the row houses on Gilliland Place and Laurel Avenue in Bellevue.

4/21/18

Everyone knows that first responders -- police, firefighters, EMS -- regularly encounter situations most people hope to avoid. Tuesday, April 10, was a day of rollercoaster emotions for local police and firefighters. On the one hand, there was the rescue of a man and several dogs from a burning building, and the quick and efficient response of fire crews who saved the neighboring homes in the cramped environment of Marie Avenue in Avalon. They focused on their jobs knowing all the while that inside that house, already beyond rescue, were two longtime members of the community.

4/21/18

Ben Avon Council member David Stoeckle said at Tuesday’s regular council meeting that Gateway Engineers received nine bids for the borough’s 2018 street paving project, and the low one came from Independent Enterprises Inc at $387,038.75.

Because the bid is lower than the cost estimatedby the engineers, the borough will be able to pave all of the streets included in the base bid, plus three others.

4/21/18

After reviewing proposals from several companies, Avalon Council voted Tuesday to renew the borough's contract for property inspection with Building Inspection Underwriters.

BIU will provide zoning, building code and rental property inspections, property maintenance and code review and enforcement services. Borough manager Lorraine Makatura said the fees will remain the same, and that they were the lowest fees offered by any of the companies who applied for the contract.

4/21/18

Emsworth’s Center Avenue will soon be a bit brighter.

At the April 11 council meeting, a motion was approved unanimously to purchase 10 new LED lights at a cost of $1,217 each. The new lights come with a 10-year warranty, and 65 percent of the light will shine on the street and 35 percent on the sidewalk.

Council member Paul Getz and the Emsworth DPW will install the new lights.

4/21/18

At the direction of Bellevue Council's finance committee, the borough's solicitor is looking into obtaining abandoned property on South Fremont Avenue and possibly turning it into a parking lot.

The lot at 12 S. Fremont Ave. is now vacant after the house was condemned in late 2016 and subsequently demolished. Solicitor Matt Racunas said that the easiest way for the borough to take over the property would be through the delinquent tax collection process. An adjacent property owner could work through Allegheny County's vacant property program to purchase the property.