Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"You can't handle the truth!" UPDATED

I have started to look at the granddaddy of all RTKs (that's what I am calling it for now.) I am not even one fourth of the way through, and I hear Jack Nicholson saying, "You can't handle the truth!"

The truth is over an email exchange between our Public Information Officer, Susan Morgans and Penn State's Andrew McNitt.

Susan writes, "The purpose of this meeting it [sic] NOT to discuss the potential harmful effects of artificial turf..."

Not to discuss the potential harmful effects of artificial turf? That wouldn't look good, now would it, Susan? Yes, I know that the PIO is paid to write fluff, but to intentionally avoid any discussions of potentially harmful effects is unethical, at least to me. I can't believe that even she would stoop that low.

May I remind Susan that she is being paid to disseminate information to residents of Mt. Lebanon, not to organize a "meeting tightly to control any potential problems."

I was relieved to see a police officer at Mellon that night. I remember how I felt threatened at the not for the general public public meeting on April 24. Little did I realize, he was there because of the "small but vocal minority of people who have come to oppose the project recently, long after it was voted on and plans made to move forward."

Update July 30, 2014 8:37 AM I took a quick glance at the RTK. I will be adding to this list throughout the day, but will not break it down by separate updates.

It turns out that Andrew McNitt has a separate business and billed Dan Deiseroth (Gateway) for $2500. He was not representing himself as an expert from Penn State.

John Bendel had his list of Q & A for the June 12 presentation on June 5. Here it is.

Bendel sure was prepared! He had Dan Deiseroth vetting Andrew McNitt. Obviously, McNitt gave the right answers. Here are his responses. Check out McNitt's answer to Item C.

I just love how Susan Morgans was ready for a scene. "We will have a police officer there, and if there is any disruptive behavior that person will need to leave. We cannot invite guests to speak at a meeting and have them publicly debased or bullied." I have scanned a few emails together since they relate to the June 12 "Field Enhancement" meeting. Read page 3 for Susan's justification for using words such as "field improvements" and "field surface."

"July 26, 2014 at 7:21 PM," I saw your letter with your email address redacted. I never did find a check from Gateway. You are welcome to review the RTK. Email me privately. Let me back up a minute. Part of the RTK was for all correspondence to/from municipal engineer Dan Deiseroth (Gateway Engineers) related to or regarding artificial turf within the dates October 1, 2013 - June 19, 2014. I think email records were sterilized. Not a trace of his check. I did find emails from SAB regarding the donation, but nothing other than that. What I did find concerning fundraising, "7:21 PM," was this. Any time that Deiseroth worked on the fundraising, was on him and would not be billed. What a guy.

Here is the email which states that Gateway had agreed to donate $4000 into the Mt. Lebanon Community Endowment Fund. That is why we never saw Gateway's check in the RTK or in the turf donation checks in a previous post.

What tops Mother of all RTKs?

Remember my mother of all Right To Knows? A kind Lebo Citizens reader covered the cost of that Right To Know back in early March.

A new Right To Know has been granted after a month's legal review. It is twice the size of my mother of all RTKs. Again, it was paid in full by a Lebo Citizens reader.

While I start looking through the 700 or so emails, I thought I would ask readers to play "Name that RTK." Here is a little hint. It is concerning artificial turf.

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's not over yet

Big news from tonight's commission meeting. The turf contract has not been signed yet. For those of you who have thrown away your anti-turf signs thinking it was a done deal, we can get more signs to you.

Email me if you need a sign. Now it all makes sense as to why some signs were stolen over the weekend. It's not over yet, Folks!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Turf donation checks

Through a Right To Know, a photo copy of the checks presented to the municipality ear marked for the turf project has been provided. Unfortunately, there is no copy of the $4000 check from Gateway as discussed in the January Sports Advisory Board meeting.

The photo copies are available here. I redacted the account numbers on the checks before publishing them. I have not taken the time to reconcile the amounts of the checks. Please note that the $1000 donation from The Saloon was issued in two checks.

2013 Tax Liened Properties

Every year, the Mt. Lebanon School Board Directors approve the publication of all properties on which taxes for the prior year have not yet been paid. This list is provided by the Tax Office and has been provided through a Right To Know.

The list is available here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The voice of democracy?

Remember Larry Evans? He was representing himself as a consultant to the commission. Larry strikes again. This time, Larry is representing himself as the voice of democracy.  His To turf or not to turf letter to the editor (saved in Google Docs) is in The Almanac today.

Larry's original letter was not published. His original letter was much more interesting. Larry, being the "useful idiot" that I am, I will reprint your original letter. You're welcome, Larry.

To Turf or Not to Turf  
By Larry Evans, Mount Lebanon (FYI: I am a Democratic Party Committeemen)
We Leboites should thank our lucky stars that the biggest concerns currently confronting our sleepy little suburb are 1. To coldly cull or just politely neuter our dancing and prancing (into traffic) deer population and 2. To artificially turf a couple perpetually soggy sports fields or stay grassy “green” but rather lean on our kids’ playing time. To keep things in perspective, we should appreciate that we are spared the more acute contentions raging elsewhere around the globe like civil wars, suicide bombings, kidnappings, “honor” stonings and the suing of the leader of the free world for being uppity about trying to actually accomplish something.
Presented to our municipality’s recent Commission meeting was the bringing of birth control to our deary deer breathren plus installing sensor-controlled street crossing technology. This wiz-bang of a caring idea only stops short of extending Obamacare to all of our domestic and wild furry friends…now that’s a move which would, overnight, make this healthcare breakthrough the most popular public policy since the New Deal. Humanely solving the deer problem beats the heck out of letting loose a posse of trigger happy “Pittsburgh Hunters” to lurk behind our backyard fences with bows and arrows, AK 47s and hand grenades. There occurred hardly any argument against this state of the art proposal despite its potentially pricy price tag and possible psychosexual disorientation inflicted on our horny Bambis looking to get duly laid in the wood. But we do what we can because that’s what we do constantly in America, unintended consequences taken care of later. We will not winnie the pooh this proactive action just because it is not 100% safe for neither our deer nor our ever more dear, speeding Beamer populations. It’s called progress, people since it will make our community a happier, more prosperous place for man and beast. Improvements always come with a cost but also a benefit to property values, doncha know. Just check out the spike whence that shiny spaceship of a renovated Mt. Lebo High School is finally unveiled!
To turf or endlessly mow was the larger issue at the meeting – cost and contention wise. The pro-turf people (grateful jocks mostly) were very nice while the anti-turf critics got rather testy. But, at the end of a very long day, turfing was supported by all the youth sports organizations with thousands of member families who put their money ($250 grand) where their mouths were and the project was passed on a 4-1 vote by the Mount Lebanon Commission. Work to install 110,000 square feet of synthetic grass on Cedar Blvd will begin in August, and be done by late fall. Will it be 100% safe since it is made of plastic compounds and has an infill of rubber pellets mimicking soil? – of course not. Nothing is, including grass which requires pesticides and much more maintenance since it is known to inspire mud.
But the vote wasn’t embraced as a great hop, skip and jump forward. A nest of begrudging Republicans led the charge protesting the turfing as too expensive and get this - not green enough for their sensibilities. This out of the mouths of folks who would probably - in a Range Resources minute - sell the fracking rights to Bird Park. Heck, Deer Lakes, you got nothin’ on us!
Confounding my Democratic sensibilities mightily was the fact that our usual GOP obstuctionalists (are there any other kind?) were fortified by an unlikely ally – our neighborly and well meaning environmentalists who while sipping their artificially flavored H2O from plastic water bottles, got all worked up over our Johnnys and Suzies ODing on plastic grass, what with rubber pellets clogging their nostrils and MRSA bacteria attacking their skinned knees. It was a fascinating marriage of convenience of the conservative “don’t spend a cent” right and liberal “why don’t we just have a referendum” left. And there I stood – in the middle of this debate – a space I am not known to inhabit. Before retiring, I have worked both as a labor environmentalist organizer in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley (the notorious Big Chem industrial area between Baton Rouge and New Orleans) and I have also been a salesman of Field Turf synthetic grass all over the East Coast. For the purpose of gaining some more perspective – that La. chemical alley literally reeks of some of the planet’s most dangerous pollution. While on that assignment, I was mentored by both the late irrepressible Studs Terkel and the late great union leader Tony Mazzochi of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Worker’s Union who was the guy Karen Silkwood was on the way to meet when her car got run off the road. While on the job in the bayou, I was repeatedly threatened to be fed to the alligators by some fun folks who really do feed people to alligators.
When I returned to Pittsburgh and started coaching my kids from our new Mount Lebanon digs, I managed a few indoor soccer complexes and became a synthetic grass salesman. I fashioned myself on a Johnny Appleseed crusade covering 22 states with the good news of a safer sports alternative to Astroturf’s nylon rugs. I sincerely believed that I was on the good side of a highly regulated industry and syn turf fields have proliferated to the point that today they are the rule rather than the exception. My biggest sale, btw, was to W & J College, - a 235,000 square foot multi-sport complex off of Interstate 70 next to the Washington Wildthings Stadium. At the time it was the largest continuous synthetic field in the world. That field is now over 10 years old and is still in pristine shape and I talked with their Athletic Department folks who would highly recommend it to our Lebo community. At the Commission meeting I suggested to all to venture on down to that field if they wanted to check out their Cedar Blvd field’s future. I even offered to drive but got no takers.
Nonetheless I gotta say that democracy in Leboland is alive and well and downright interesting - much like the challenging advanced courses taught in our blue ribbon school district where there is a 100% PTA participation and 99% college admission rates.
And luckily for me there are no alligators…yet.
Larry Evans

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

School Board Meeting update UPDATED

I have uploaded the podcasts from last night's Construction Update and the Combined School Board meeting. For the purpose of discussion here, I am only going to share some highlights. Please listen or watch the meetings for further information.

The 2013 Liened Properties list was approved for public viewing last night. Bill Cooper asked where the lists are published. President Cappucci said that in the past, the media would publish portions of the list, but that hasn't happened in quite a while. She failed to mention that I have been publishing the lists here. I filed a RTK for the list last Friday.

The Board knows that we are going to run out of the contingency fund. They have moved funds around to allow for flexibility.

The trophy case bid was approved last night for a total of $52,000 after much deliberation. The case is to be 74' long x 8' high x 16"-24" in depth. Larry Lebowitz said that we NEED a trophy case. Dan Remely pointed out many inconsistencies in the bid, yet the Board voted it through with Bill Moorhead and Dan Remely voting NO. It is sad that the bulk of the discussions at any board meeting are about construction. Aren't these people charged with the education of our children?

The artificial turf maintenance agreement was approved. Timmy said that the school district maintains Middle and Wildcat Fields by spreading infill and lining the fields. District costs are currently $129.37 in labor weekly for 30 weeks and infield mix and field dry runs about $1400 for a total for $5731. The School District uses those fields for Baseball. The labor cost for the turf would be $4331. Remely was the only one who voted NO.

The pool railing was brought up again by a resident. 24" is the current height of the railing. It meets all codes. Because of community request, it will be raised to 46" and will be completed before the beginning of the school year.

Update July 22, 2014 9:19 PM Mt. Lebanon School District to maintain turf fields

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Municipality and School District are in it together now

It hasn't been an easy win for the first group of newcomers. In my May 29, 2014 post A win for fairness! there was an agreement to an 84% of Full Market Value (FMV) settlement, which would apply to all people who had an appeal pending at the BOV.

Initially, the school board threatened to challenge the settlements, which would have made implementation of the settlement impossible. Ultimately, however, Municipal Solicitor Phil Weis was able to strong arm the school board into agreeing not to object to the settlements. Unfortunately, after getting things worked out with the school board, the county began resisting the 84% settlement. To date, a couple of hearings have taken place where the county did send their lawyer, but did not present any evidence to rebut the settlement agreement between the homeowner and Mt. Lebanon. As a result, although hearings were held, the 84% settlement figure was implemented.

However, Phil Weis said the folks who lost the original municipality appeal but failed to appeal to the BOV in 2013, yet appealed as a homeowner as a part of this group in 2014 and are now trying to get into the BOV queue are SHIT OUT OF LUCK. The municipality is now saying since the homeowners have instituted the appeal, they are sending the school board to fight the newcomers at the BOV level.

Is this how Kristen Linfante or Dave Brumfield (I can't remember which) planned to resolve this issue? Send it to the school district? While we have all been agonizing over the toxic turf crap, our friendly commissioners have joined forces with the school district to stick it to the newcomers.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Timmy recommends approval of turf maintenance agreement UPDATED

Instead of a Board Discussion meeting and a separate Board Regular meeting, the school board has only one meeting in July. This Monday, July 21, the school board will be holding the combined meeting. The agenda has been posted here.

It appears to me that the school district is also guilty of overtaxing us. According to the agenda:
Designation of Fund Balance – Board Policy sets the year end fund balance at 6% of the expenditure budget and designates the remaining fund balance to the Capital Projects Fund, the Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) Reserve or to other purposes as determined by the Board. The 2014-15 Budget utilizes $750,000 of the fund balance to mitigate the need for a tax increase. Beyond that, there remains approximately $4.3 million to be designated. One proposal would be to transfer $3 million to the Capital Projects Fund and $1 million to the OPEB reserve leaving $300,000 to be determined at a later point once the audit of the 2013-14 Fiscal Year is complete and any additional funds to be transferred can be finalized. The superintendent recommends approval of this action.

Designation of Fund Balance – RESOLVED, That the Board approves the transfer of $3 million from the designated General Fund - Fund Balance to the Capital Projects Fund and $1 million to the OPEB reserve.

This month, the school board will be awarding the contract for the $74,000 trophy case to Olan Wood Products in the amount of $52,000 as the lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications.

What we have all been waiting for is the discussion of the Artificial Turf Maintenance Agreement between the Municipality and the School District.
Artificial Turf Maintenance Agreement – The Municipality is requesting that the work we do to help maintain their current fields now be changed to help maintain their new turf field since we already own the equipment to do the maintenance. Since this is no additional cost to the District and we will continue to be able to use their fields at no cost, I am recommending approval of this agreement.

Artificial Turf Maintenance Agreement: RESOLVED, That the Board approves the agreement with the Municipality for maintenance of their turf field and authorizes the Superintendent to sign the agreement.
I am curious as to how this is going to work with the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The CBA does not recognize Municipal Fields as approved work sites. According to the Zipper Clause, the Association has to agree to any changes with the District.

Finally, the change orders for July total $242,696 bringing the total to $3,658,409.65.
Change Orders for High School Renovation Project – Change orders for Board approval for the month of July totaling $242,696 have been reviewed by the architect, PJ Dick and the District administration:
a. GC-103-235 to Nello for $158,947 for masonry, doors, steel, beams, window blocking, fire rating, building dimensional discrepancy, stairs, handrails, cooling towers and slab changes,
b. PL-32-236 to Vrabel for $34,531 for storm and sanitary changes and credits for drains and piping,
c. EL-63-237 to Farfield for $42,132 for lighting modifications, cabling, sound system devices, speaker clusters in auditorium, heat detectors and power changes, and
d. ME-25-238 to McKamish for $11,086 for return grills and duct modifications. 

Update July 18, 2014  6:17 PM Further clarification concerning School District field maintenance of Municipal fields per Timmy's recommendation.

From: Tom Kelley [mailto:tkelley@mtlebanon.org]
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2014 3:15 PM
To: Nick M.
Subject: Re: fields 
No at this time we do all the work on our fields and the school district maintains their own. Once the synthetic turf is placed at the Wildcat and Middle field area then the school district will maintain the field surface (clean and groom the synthetic turf). We will continue to maintain all of our grass fields with no help from the school district.

On Fri, Jul 18, 2014 at 2:50 PM, Nick M. wrote:

Hi Tom, 
Can you please clarify something for me. 
Is the school district currently doing any maintenance work on any municipal fields? 
The reason I ask is because in the school board agenda for next Monday it states, 
“The Municipality is requesting that the work we do to help maintain their current fields now be changed to help maintain their new turf field since we already own the equipment to do the maintenance.” 
What work is the school district already doing to help maintain their (municipal) current fields. 
Can you please clarify this for me. 
Thank you Tom, 
Nick M.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Attention [Cedar Blvd.Residents] Flood Victims

A new law allows property ownsers to stave off potential floods without municipal authorities. Senate Bill 1255, which passed in May, allows property owners to implement stormwater management practices to stem the flow of runoff and the debris often carried in it. Communities such as Scott Township and Upper St. Clair have recently looked to their local governments for help, but have been tied up with months-long investigations--leading any potential solution to come next summer storm season.

Stormwater law frees homeowners to build infrastructure

Sunday, July 13, 2014

While we're waiting for the project to start

While we are waiting for the toxic turf trucks to roll in, I wanted to tell everyone about a new group in Toronto called No Toxic Turf.
We want tire waste synthetic turf to be banned in Toronto, as it is being banned (and replaced with natural grass) increasingly in cities and countries around the world. 
To quote Patti Wood, Executive Director of nonprofit Grassroots a Environmental Education: 
“This crumb rubber is a material that cannot be legally disposed of in landfills or ocean-dumped because of its toxicity. Why on earth should we let our children play on it?”
At the very least, we want the TDSB to honour its mandate to protect the health and welfare of its students by declaring a moratorium on the replacement of its natural grass fields with artificial turf – until it can prove that it is safe. 
The health of our students, our communities, and our environment depends on the protection of our precious, dwindling, green spaces.

Their Research & Articles include some of the same links that we shared with our commissioners. I do not see Brumfield's obscure study from the Netherlands. Some day, I would love to locate that study. I did find data from the Norwegian Institute for Water Research here. In the link, the question was raised as to what cleaning products will be used to maintain the artificial turf, just as I had questioned during Citizen Comments.

Maintenance of artificial turf can include application of algaecides or disinfectants to keep the surface clean. [31] Maintenance could also include application of fabric softener to mask the odor of the artificial turf. [32] What is the final destination of these chemicals and their implications for the environment and those coming into contact with them while playing on the fields? 

No Toxic Turf includes a link to Safe, Healthy Playing Fields Coalition. Check out the entry dated February 18, 2014. Boy, did that hit home.

Read the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's refusal to classify artificial turf as a children’s product.

The Mt. Lebanon Commissioners should bear the burden of proof. 
"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof. The process of applying the precautionary principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action."

​- Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle, January 1998.

What if it turns out that we are right, Commissioners? Think about what you are doing to our kids, our water, and our air.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Where's Gateway?

Below is the "Account Detail Report from 04/01/14 to 07/31/14. " Why is the reporting period from April 1 to July 31? Gateway donated in 2013. How can a report be postdated? What is the final check reference number?

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: "Stephen Feller" <sfeller@mtlebanon.org>
Date: Jul 10, 2014 12:06 PM
Subject: Fwd: Wildcat Middle Field
To: "Commission" <commission@mtlebanon.org>, "David P. Franklin"<XXXXXXX>, "Audrey Bode" <abode@mtlebanonendowment.org>
Cc: "David Donnellan" <ddonnellan@mtlebanon.org>, "Dan Deiseroth" <ddeiseroth@gatewayengineers.com>, "Andrew McCreery" <amccreery@mtlebanon.org>

Please be advised that as of today we have received $255,733.73 from non-municipal sources for the Wildcat/Middle Field turf project. Attached is the Account Detail Report from the Finance Department. 
We appreciate the hard work of everyone involved in this effort. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Turf bids awarded UPDATED

Lots of excellent comments made by residents this evening who are against the turf project. Dave Franklin was thanking everyone for this night becoming reality. Brian Auer, another member of the Turf Project Task Force and Sports Advisory Board, doesn't understand why any corporate sponsor should be made public. This was after I asked for an accounting of corporate donors and the amounts donated. This really bothers me. Why are corporations' identities being withheld?

I noticed that President Linfante did not ask if there was anyone who did not sign the sheet to speak during Citizen Comments. She did it again after the Public Hearing closed. Thankfully, Kelly Fraasch  brought that to President Linfante's attention. Linfante reopened the Public Hearing.

OK, so here is where I go into the vote for moving unassigned funds for the turf project at Middle and Wildcat Fields. Please watch or listen to Kelly Fraasch and her reasons for voting against assigning funds to the turf project. It brought tears to my eyes. Also listen again a little later when Kelly Fraasch reads her letter to the EPA. The motion passed 4 to 1 with Kelly voting against the motion.

And now the vote for artificial turf. The motion passed 4 to 1.

Shark Tank gave a unanimous thumbs down to synthetic turf.  It’s worth watching if you attended the meeting this evening — for comfort.

Good night.

Update July 9, 2014 12:53 AM Commission Discussion Session available here.

Commission meeting- up to and including the bids awarded to Vasco available here.

I didn't stay till the end of the meeting.

Update from Steve Feller

Good morning Elaine:

1) The status on the non-municipal funds is:
  • The Municipality has received a check for $92,000 and a check for $5,000 totaling $97,000
  • Mr Franklin has indicated that today by 2 pm we will have additional funds totaling $93,466 bringing the total to $190,466
  • Mr Franklin also states that a check in the amount of $50,000 will be delivered prior to the meeting bringing the total to $240,466
  • Finally, Mr. Franklin states that the Community Endowment has funds in their possession totaling $15,267 that will be delivered to the municipality by the end of the week bringing the total over $255,000  

2) Concerning the NPDSS permit, we have responded to the Conservation District's comments and expect to receive a permit by the end of the week.
3) Concerning the review of documents, the Solicitor has the right to review all documents up until the point that they are signed.
4) The draft document with the School District is attached. It has been reviewed by the School Solicitor and Supt. but has not yet been presented to the full Board.
5) We received the MSDS and related information from the low bidder
6) As Commissioner Fraasch indicated in her email to you, last night Dr. Johnson sent the Commissioners comments on this matter.

Steve Feller

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Commission Meeting Agendas for Tuesday UPDATED 2X

Tuesday's meetings will be action packed. For starters, here is what is in store for the Commission Discussion Session starting at 6:30 PM: 

1. Deer topics:
a. Presentation on roadside detectors – Edward Mulka, JAFA Technologies
b. Conference call regarding sterilization – Enid Feinberg, Wildlife Rescue

6:55 P.M.
2. Wildcat/Middle Field Improvements Project:
a. Bids
b. Funding sources
c. Environmental tests
d. Maintenance
e. Other

7:15 P.M.
3. Review MS-4 and plan for TMDL stormwater. 
I really don't know what Item 3 is about, but the Commission has set aside 25 minutes for this agenda item.

But wait, there's more!

At 8:00 PM, the real fun begins. On the Commission Meeting Agenda: 

First, Senator Matt Smith and State Rep. Dan Miller will be presenting a citation to Mt. Lebanon for being an Allegheny League of Municipalities (ALOM) Banner Community. 

After recognition of a Mt. Lebanon volunteer, Citizen Comments begins. Citizens have five minutes to speak on any topic. Please sign the sheet as you enter the commission chambers if you wish to speak at this time. This is NOT for the Public Hearing.

Agenda Item 5 is the Public Hearing on Capital Investment. There will be a separate sign up sheet for the Public Hearing. This is when you can speak about the list of possible projects discussed so far:

1. Wildcat/Middle field remaining allocation
2. School safety signage
3. Recycling cans
4. Robb Hollow park improvements
5. Deer sterilization and other deer management practices
6. Traffic pedestrian upgrades
7. Bird Park and Twin Hills trail signs
8. Iroquois fill and grass
9. Church Place concrete pad
10. Rockwood Park concrete pad
11. Other park improvements
12. Consultant to develop design guidelines and HARB ordinance
13. Golf course pavilion
14. Firing range improvements
15. Public Works facility improvements
16. Private street contribution
17. Expanding street reconstruction and maintenance
18. Prescription drug incinerator
19. Sidewalks at tennis center
20. Other capital projects listed in the 2014-2018 Capital Improvement Program

First item on the list will be approved. See Agenda Item 14. We will get to hear from the sports people to please assign funds toward the turf project, even though it is already on the agenda. Deer people, here is your chance. PAYT people, time to speak up. Want more money for Tom Kelley's Public Works facility and parks improvements? Get in line. Sidewalks at the tennis center? Sign up. Live on a private road which needs attention? Tell the Commissioners all about it. Kelly Fraasch has been trying to talk about a prescription drug incinerator at all the Commission Discussion Sessions, but the commissioners would always run out of time. See where her possible project is on the list? Almost at the end. I know this will never happen, but it would be nice if the people who want artificial turf, would let the others speak, since it is already an agenda item. If not, I can see this being an after midnight meeting again. 

That was only Agenda No. 5. Items 6 & 7 are Home Rule Charter amendments for the November election.

Still with me? Let's skip to No. 12. Usually, Maher Duessel is appointed as an independent auditor annually, but this year, they will be getting a three year contract. This firm has been our independent auditor for the Municipality and the School District for YEARS! The commission wants to appoint Maher Duessel for audit years 2014, 2015, and 2016. 

But Items 14 & 15 are what most people are interested in, of late. 

14. Consideration to assign funds for athletic field improvements.
At this time, the Commission would like to assign an additional $162,600 for this project.

Use of Funds Amount
Base Bid $ 859,000
Add Alt. 6 (filtration) 21,000
Add Alt. 9 (fountain) 8,000
Professional services 122,000
Contingency 40,000
Total $1,050,000

Source of Funds Amount
11/25/13 Assignment $ 637,400
7/13/14 Assignment 162,600
Non-Municipal Sources 250,000
Total $1,050,000
The original amount to be assigned was $112,600. November 25, 2013 Commission Meeting Minutes

15. Award of bids for the installation of turf at Wildcat/Middle fields
On July 8, 2014, the Mt. Lebanon Commissioners will award the contract to Vasco Sports Contractors for Base Bid 1 - Blended Turf with Thatch Zone with Sand and Rubber Infill ($859,000)
Add Alternate 6 - Storm Filtration System ($21,000) and
Add Alternate 9 - Water Fountain ($8,000)
for a total price of $888,000, subject to:
a) Receipt of the NPDSS (?) permit,
b) Receipt of $250,000 of non-municipal funds, and
c) Review and approval of all contract language by the Solicitor and Municipal Manager.
Number 16 has been top secret. The Commission had been speaking of a turf maintenance agreement with the School District, but we never would get any details. No. 16 is to execute the turf maintenance agreement with the School District.

And if there hasn't been enough controversial topics, the Commission will consider parking issues on Academy Avenue. 

Finally, Agenda Item 18 is moving the parking on Cedar Blvd. near Wildcat and Middle Fields, from the north side of the road to the south side of the road.

What the commissioners have managed to do is pack as many hot topics as possible into one evening. The only issue missing is the dog park. That could be under Robb Hollow park improvements.

And in case you missed it, Charlotte Stephenson wrote an excellent Letter to the Editor in today's Post-Gazette. "Newcomer tax and turf unnecessary"

Update July 4, 2014 11:02 AM Please visit newly created "Mt. Lebo Residents Against Child-Health Risks of Artificial Turf" on Facebook.

Update July 6, 2014 5:53 PM Mt. Lebanon, PA Residents Against Artificial Turf at Wildcat and Middle Fields Petition here.