Content about Council


Could someone in Bellevue be attempting to undermine the borough's relationship with Allegheny County and create obstacles to Bellevue obtaining future grants?

Council president Linda Woshner said that she had received an unsolicited phone call from a member of the Allegheny County Department of Economic Development staff, who reported that the department had received communications from an unknown person(s). Woshner said that derogatory comments about Bellevue being difficult to work with had been made and communicated to the county.


The Bellevue Council meeting came to a screeching -- literally -- halt not long after it started Tuesday evening, with a recess called as a final effort to stop yet another tirade by the borough’s mayor.

The incident started calmly enough when Mayor George Doscher asked why he had not been informed in advance of an executive session held by council last Monday to discuss a personnel matter.

Executive sessions are meetings from which the public is excluded, held to discuss only a handful of subjects as defined by state law, among them litigation and personnel matters.


Emsworth will be ordering some new recycling bins, although officials want to do some research into whether it would be cheaper to have the bins imprinted with the borough name by the manufacturer, or order decals separately.

Council president Paul Getz said that the borough has not ordered bins for about five years. Secretary Cathy Jones said that there are only about five bins remaining in the borough’s supply.

Getz said that residents often purchase additional bins to accommodate m9ore recyclables, and bins also are lost due to people moving or damage.


When Bellevue skate plaza opens in Bayne Park -- possibly as soon as next month -- the rules will require helmets and pads to be used only by children ages 12 and younger.

The borough council was divided on whether the helmet rule should apply to all minors, or coincide with the state’s rule for bicycle helmets, which applies to the 12 and under group only.


Bellevue Council will vote next Tuesday on whether to continue a contract with the Northgate School District for a full-time school resource officer (SRO) at Northgate Middle-High School.

The proposed contract, already approved by the Northgate School Board, would have Northgate contributing $25,000 to have a Bellevue Police officer at the school on a full-time basis, according to council members who discussed the issue at last tuesday’s pre-council meeting.


Bellevue Council voted to override the mayor’s veto of a controversial open burning ordinance when officials met Tuesday evening.


Bellevue Council will consider changes to the borough’s proposed burning ordinance after hearing from a number of residents at a special meeting on Tuesday.

Most of the 30-plus residents who attended the meeting opposed any restrictions on back yard fires, but council also received a grim reminder of the dangers of unrestricted burning.


Bellevue Council voted Tuesday to approve the initial readings of ordinances related to the swimming pool operation this year.

Motions to require a 1:25 lifeguard-swimmer ratio and create a new assistant manager position died for lack of seconds at Tuesday’s regular meeting.


Although there are new faces in the Bellevue council chambers, Tuesday night’s debate over whether to hire a pool management company was familiar. Proponents argued that the higher cost of a management company is justified by a safer and better-run pool at Memorial Park, while other council members said the borough cannot afford the price tag.


With only a couple weeks left in the year, local officials are being forced to make the hard decisions when it comes to budgets for 2012.

In Bellevue, final adoption of the budget will not be considered until Dec. 30, with a public hearing to be held Monday, Dec. 19. Council members are continuing to debate the proposed .25 mill property tax increase and a 25 cents per 1,000 gallons sewer surcharge hike.

Council member Linda Woshner said that since the news of the tax increase came out, she has heard from several people opposed to it.


Plans for construction of a skate plaza in Bayne Park will go no further for now, as concerns about the rising cost, loss of green space and lack of proper procedure prompted Bellevue officials Tuesday to again delay a decision.


Bellevue officials have authorized a number of applications for grant funds that could go a long way towards revitalizing the borough.

Even as Allegheny County is preparing a request for proposals that will be advertised to get a firm to prepare a plan for streetscape improvements along Lincoln Avenue, Bellevue is applying for a grant to implement at least part of that plan.



Ben Avon Borough is seeking grant money to start the next phase of improvements on Avon Park.

Council president Lloyd Corder said at Tuesday's meeting that he wanted the borough to apply for a grant now because he did not believe funds will be available in the coming years. The money would be put to use to remove part of the tennis courts and put a surface on the rest that could have multiple purposes, i.e., for tennis, basketball, dek hockey.


Two residents of the 600 block of California Avenue asked Avalon Council at Tuesday’s meeting to consider residential parking passes.

Prompted by the increase in meter fines from $4 to $10, both residents said that they were home during the day and found it difficult to feed the meter on an hourly basis. One resident said that she worked at night and slept during the day.

Council president Ed Repp said that the request would be considered by council’s safety committee.


Another half million dollars in grant funds are expected to be received in Bellevue this year, funding projects as diverse as public safety, recreation and economic development.

Anticipating the pending arrival of the borough’s new aerial firetruck, purchased in large part with $600,000 in FEMA funds, Fire Chief Glenn Pritchard told Bellevue Council Tuesday that the fire company also has received a $300,000 FEMA grant to purchase a new fire engine.

The new truck will replace Bellevue’s 1989 pumper, the chief said.

And that was only the start of the good news.


Emsworth will have to pay an engineering company nearly $30,000 even though plans it developed for a temporary Herron Avenue Bridge cannot be used.

Council president Maria West said that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (Penn-DOT) vetoed plans for a temporary span to carry traffic over the Lowries Run creek, saying that the proposed temporary bridge would not work in the location selected.


Bellevue will take its proposed 2011 budget down to the wire, with the major points of contention left unresolved despite extensive debate at a special meeting on Tuesday.

Council reached a consensus on only one of three sticking points, that of next year’s garbage fee increase. Major points that could sway a final vote on the budget on Dec. 28 are the sewer surcharge and a raise for the public works supervisor.


If it's budget time, it also must be time to discuss the Bookmobile service in Ben Avon. At Tuesday's council meeting, officials said the cost of the service will increase from $9,115 this year to $10,000 in 2011.

Finance chair Judy Konitsney was absent, but council member R.J. White said she told him she was not going to put it as a line item in the budget. However, White said he has heard from many residents who want to keep it.



Frustration was evident on both sides as members of Ben Avon Council and members of the Ben Avon Volunteer Fire Department discussed a possible consolidation of the Ben Avon and Emsworth fire departments at Tuesday's council meeting. Ben Avon firefighters told council that they are happy with the status quo, and see no need to consolidate or merge the departments.


After receiving positive feedback from Allegheny County, Bellevue will move ahead with a grant application that could produce much of the funding necessary to construct a skate board plaza in Bayne Park.

Council president Kathy Coder and administrative assistant Katie Hale said that the borough had submitted a pre-application for a Community Development Block Grant that sought funding for a $360,000 project in Bayne Park that also included an amphitheater, dog park and boccie court. Hale said that county officials quickly zeroed in on the skate plaza aspect.


Bellevue residents could find themselves subjected to street sweeping parking restrictions year 'round.

"I want this enforced," safety committee chairman David Gillingham Jr. said of the borough's 1981 ordinance that provides for the weekly parking prohibitions on particular streets to be in place all year, rather than just the April through November period that has been the practice for decades.


With a garbage collection contract nearing its end, Emsworth Council has voted to have the borough rejoin the Quaker Valley Council of Governments (QVCOG)

The QVCOG, comprised of municipalities along the Ohio River in this area, performs a number of functions, primary among them the negotiation of joint contracts for municipal services and administration of federal grants. Emsworth opted not to join the COG last year, saying that the borough did not utilize its services.

Emsworth's dues for a year total $1,600, according to borough secretary Cathy Jones.


The final step that would have authorized a sewer surcharge increase for most property owners in Emsworth was put on hold on at council's regular meeting on March 10.

Council voted in January to change the rate structure of the surcharge, making it based purely on how much water is used, in an attempt to make the sewer system self-funding. That vote came after officials decided in December that instead of a rate change, reserve funds could be transferred.


Bellevue's new solicitor is finding out the hard way what it means to earn his retainer in the borough.

Tom McDermott found himself uninformed and on the hot seat as Bellevue Council wrangled over several issues at its twice-rescheduled regular meeting on Feb. 16.