Wednesday, May 27, 2015

State Sen. Matt Smith resigning to become chamber president

State Sen. Matt Smith resigning to become chamber president

State Sen. Matt Smith is leaving office this week to take a position at the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, State Sen. Jay Costa announced Wednesday. 
Smith, D-Mt. Lebanon, will become the president at the chamber, which is the advocacy arm of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, according to Costa' announcement congratulating him on the appointment. 
“I would like to thank my constituents for entrusting me to be their advocate in the district and at the state level, and want them to know that even as I leave public office I will continue to work to make our region stronger and prepare our workforce to compete in the 21st century economy,” Smith said in a statement. 
Smith's resignation will take effect by the end of June. No decision has been made on plans to fill his seat.

Read more: State Sen. Matt Smith resigning to become chamber president

Highlights from the commission meeting

I didn't go to the commission meeting last night, so I am relying on Matt Santoni's Twitter feed and callers who attended part of the meeting.

  1. sets June 9 hearing for shorter public notice for debt, removing 4-vote supermajority for borrowing. Would get Nov. referendum.

  2. . Deputy Chief Aaron Lauth is promoted to McDonough's position, unanimously confirmed by commission.

I hope the super vote issue is a dead issue. I will be watching out for that one when the video is posted this afternoon.

Congrats to Aaron Lauth, who will be our new chief of police! Dan Miller and Matt Smith honored Coleman McDonough, retiring police chief.

PAYT is being recycled again. All the comments were about PAYT. Only one spoke against it. The pro PAYT folks will be counting on Chief Lauth and his force for becoming the trash patrol, moving up from corn police.


The one anti PAYT resident had concerns about all the apartment buildings in the area. Many have seen that TV sitting on Kenmont for weeks. Kelly Fraasch, the remaining commissioner who is for PAYT, assured everyone that she lives near apartment buildings where leaving furniture and other large items has never been a problem.

As one pro PAYT resident assured the anti PAYT resident, the police don't have anything else to do. Definitely. There are no drug issues or speeders to deal with in Mt. Lebanon. 

Where were all the PAYT people when the commission approved toxic turf at Middle and Wildcat Fields?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mt. Lebanon Flower Bed Installation Project UPDATED

The Mt. Lebanon Flower Bed Installation Project was not advertised but Gateway sent out bid requests to seven firms and five firms responded. Attached is a copy of the bid tabulation form and the purchase order.

Fourteen flower beds are being planted by Littles Landscaping out of McDonald, PA for the amount of $36,895.88. Gateway's fees were not included in the cost of this project. I am hoping that deer resistant plants were used this year, another recommendation made by Sandy Baker. The biggest deer salad bars, she noted, were planted by the municipality. Deer would cross roads to get to these gardens contributing to deer/vehicular accidents.

Update May 27, 2015 4:20 PM The bid tabulation form was difficult to read. This copy is easier to read.

Ball Field Signs on Cedar Blvd.

Through a Right To Know, four vendors have purchased signs for the ball fields on Cedar so far. They are:


  • Giant Eagle
  • Saloon of Mt. Lebanon
  • Oxford Landscaping
  • Concordia of the South Hills

Monday, May 25, 2015

Just documenting "toxic"




Friday, May 22, 2015

They're baaack



Sure hope we get a warranty on the concrete work:


                Middle field about 20 feet up from the backstop on the right side.


The financial ruin of Mt. Lebanon

On Tuesday's Commission Agenda: Dave Brumfield will be introducing an ordinance that will be the financial ruin of Mt. Lebanon.

Introduction of Ordinance (Bill No. 7-15) amending the Charter to change the number of commissioners required to incur debt.  
On January 7, 2014, the Ad Hoc Home Rule Charter Study Committee recommended various changes to the Charter.  
Currently, a simple majority of the Commission is authorized to make decisions regarding expenditures, capital programs, budgets, and setting of tax rates. However, the Charter requires a super majority of the Commission to make decisions regarding debt. This ordinance would change the Charter regarding the number of commissioners required to incur debt to promote uniformity in financial decision making.  
The proposed ordinance would place the issue on the November 3, 2015 general election ballot.  
Recommended Action:   
DB 1. Introduce Ordinance (Bill No. 7-15). 
JB 2. Set the public hearing for June 9, 2015

This will be the financial ruin of Mt. Lebanon if this goes through. Our Home Rule Charter now requires four affirmative votes to incur debt. This is also referred to a "super vote." It was put in place as a checks and balances system to prevent an election year like this one where Wards 1, 3, and 5 elect their commissioners. It is not going to happen, but let's say that no incumbent wins this year. There would be three newbies in office. They would not need to rely on the advice of the Ward 2 and 4 commissioners. Wards 1, 3, and 5 hold all the cards.

Consider this. Bendel wins. He is proturf. Brumfield and Silverman are proturf. The three of them could incur debt to replace all the municipal fields with artificial turf. They could turn McNeilly into a new recreation center and our bond rating would plunge.

I have been told that this blog is toxic. I maintain that all I am doing is documenting the toxicity. This is really bad for Mt. Lebanon's future.


Private street goes public UPDATED


Consideration of a petition by residents of Rosbury Place to improve their private street and change the status to be a public street
On November 24, 2014, the Commission approved a Private Street Policy. The residents initiated the process by submitting a petition and deposit to pay for engineering costs. The Commission then directed staff to prepare an initial review sufficient to obtain a preliminary cost estimate. The Engineer has prepared preliminary plans and cost estimates, and the Municipal Manager has recommended the maximum level of financial contributions by the Municipality.  
Recommended Action: Move to (1) approve the recommendation that the street will qualify as a significant level of public use for a 75% municipal contribution for improvements to the physical cartway of the street, (2) direct the Solicitor and Engineer to prepare formal right-of-way and waiver documents and bid specifications, (3) ask that the property owners abutting the street formally indicate their willingness to pay the contribution, complete the appropriate waivers, convey the right-of-way and other legal acknowledgments contained in the private street policy.
Will residents waiting to have street improvements be bumped behind Rosbury Place? Will Rosbury Place now be at the top of the list? These are questions being asked by Mt. Lebanon residents.

Update May 25, 2015 6:45 PM Photos added
Rosbury Place - no signs

Summer Place
Summer Place

Summer Place

Summer Place

Summer Place




Special School Board meeting

From the Mt. Lebanon School District's website:


The Mt. Lebanon Board of School Directors will hold a Special Meeting to approve the bid for the Jefferson Middle School Captured Vestibule project on Friday, May 29, 2015 at 7:30 a.m. in the Mt. Lebanon High School Fine Arts Theatre.

Sign at Wildcat - "The Rest of the Story"

Here is "The Rest of the Story" on signs at Wildcat.

Hi, Elaine. Thank you for your interest in a sign for the ball fields. Are you advertising a business, or what type of sign did you have in mind?

The policy describes the process to obtain a sign, including the type of digital files that are acceptable. You would need to work with a sign company/printer to produce your sign. The printer would need to provide a proof of the proposed sign to me for approval prior to making the sign. I would be your sales representative. I would extend the term of the sign rather than prorating the fee. Repair or replacement of vandalized signs is the responsibility of the sign owner.

I've attached the policy/application form for your convenience. Let me know if you have additional questions.



David D. Donnellan
Director
Mt. Lebanon Recreation Department
900 Cedar Boulevard - 2nd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15228
Phone: (412) 343-4519
Fax: (412) 561-6499
www.mtlebanon.org 


sign sponsorship program approved 021015





















Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mt. Lebanon, take the pledge

I am not a fan of petitions. See my post, Coalition for CoexistenceThey only work if they support the elected officials' agendas.

The Coalition for Coexistence asked me to put together an online petition, as well as a downloadable hard copy on Lebo Citizens. I declined. After some discussions, the Coalition asked me to circulate a personal pledge instead. I accepted and posted it online. Pay no attention to the word "petition." I couldn't find a way to publish this pledge any other way. Please take a moment to read the pledge. If you wish to sign it, please click on the red button below.
I am a Mt. Lebanon resident who believes that the Mt. Lebanon Municipal Government, including its Commissioners, ("Municipal Government") should not be governing its residents through bloodshed. Further, I am opposed to violence, including the unnecessary and purposeful killing and wounding of deer within Mt. Lebanon. Regardless of its position on violence, I urge the Municipal Government to conclude that the high density of Mt. Lebanon's population prohibits it from initiating or supporting all efforts and/or programs, the purpose of which is the unnecessary killing of deer. I advocate a progressive and comprehensive non-lethal plan of action. For that reason, I pledge to:
  • Observe all deer crossing signs.
  • Take responsibility of my garden by planting deer resistant plants and using nonlethal methods of protecting my garden.
  • Trim all bushes, shrubs, and trees to improve sight lines and create better visibility for both drivers and deer.
  • Stop feeding deer directly or indirectly by way of bird feeders.
  • Drive defensively at active times such as dawn, dusk, and during the Fall rut (mating season).
  • Contact our Commission either by email (commission@mtlebanon.org) or during Citizen Comments and urge them to manage deer via nonlethal methods in our densely populated community.
  • Pass along this peaceful message to my neighbors and friends in Mt. Lebanon.
By signing this personal pledge, I vow to coexist with nature in a friendly, cost effective, community wide and collaborative effort.



To spread the word, there will be a limited supply of these VERY classy wristbands available around May 28.


If you are interested in making a fashion statement, please let me know and I'll make sure you get one. I believe there will be a table at First Friday. If you signed the pledge, give your name at the table and a volunteer will be glad to give you a wristband.  For. Free.  

There are plans for yard signs in the not too distant future.

Thanks for your support.

It's Dave's Day

Tonight marks the end of an era. "Late Show with David Letterman" will air its final broadcast tonight. Yes, David Letterman's 33 years in late night television broke Johnny Carson's record by three years.

I have been looking at clips on YouTube. (Thank goodness for YouTube!) I thought about posting my favorites but there are just too many to post. I thought it might be kind of fun for Lebo Citizen readers to share a link to their favorite.

Someone sent me a Top 10 Mt. Lebanon version, and gave me permission to share on the blog.

TOP TEN THINGS THAT MT. LEBANON COMMISSIONERS
DO NOT WANT TO HEAR DURING CITIZEN COMMENTS

10.   “Are you serving any tasty sides with that main dish of bull crap?”
  9.    “I feel like I am sitting on a bar stool at The Saloon.”
  8.    "US Consumer Products Safety Commission no longer stands behind the safety of artificial turf with rubber tire crumb."
  7.    “And, then I saw a huge buck taking a big poop right there on the artificial turf. Talk about scary.”
  6.    “How Dare You?”
  5.    “The cops aren't paid to protect corn.”
  4.    “My pants are too tight to sit through this. It must be my crumb rubber.”
  3.    “Are you saying we elected you jerks?”
  2.     “A study conducted by Cornell University reported………..”

  1.     “Good Evening. My name is Elaine Gillen.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

School Board Unanimously Approves Teacher Contract

School Board Unanimously Approves Teacher Contract 
May 18, 2015

The Mt. Lebanon School Board unanimously approved the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Mt. Lebanon Education Association at the May 18, 2015 School Board meeting. This is a three year extension of the current contract covering July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2018. In his remarks, School Board President Lawrence Lebowitz stated, "I am very pleased that we have a new three-year extension of our Collective Bargaining Agreement with the MLEA. This new Agreement is a "win-win-win" for the District, for the teachers and, most importantly, for our children. This is truly the essence of bargaining and reflective of the excellent working relationship which the District and the School Board has had and is proud to have with our teachers."

The highlights of the Agreement are as follows:

• This is a three-year agreement.

• The is a reduction of workdays from 197.5 to 195 but student days remains the same. There is no loss of student/teacher contact time.

• The reduction of workdays represents eight flex hours, one classroom management day and a four-hour evening activity each year through the term of the contract.

• The tentative Agreement adds no new money to the salary schedule utilized under the previous Agreement other than a small increase for the top step. The only additional funds are for those people on the top step, at the top of the salary scale, amounting to $400 in the first year, $700 in the second year and $900 in the third year, respectively.

• The overall increase for the entire term of the Agreement is 3.38%.

• There is an increase in health care contributions from the teachers including an increase in "caps," i.e., the maximum amount a teacher would be required to pay on a monthly basis.

• Based on an increase in salary for those at the top of the scale and the decrease in employer health care cost, the net increase to the District for the contract term is 3.17%.

• There will also be no increase in any other economic terms including EDR (Extra Duty Remuneration) rates as well as payments to teachers for additional work, e.g., lunch duty, playground, summer workshops, etc.

• There will be no loss of professional development time for teachers.

Update May 23, 2015 1:37 PM The Collective Bargaining Agreement Between the Mt. Lebanon School District and the Mt. Lebanon Education Association effective July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2018 

School Board Approves 2015-2016 Budget

School Board Approves 2015-2016 Budget 
May 19, 2015

At the Monday, May 18, 2015 School Board Meeting, the Board unanimously approved the Final Budget that includes a .40 mill increase with an operating budget of $91,643,749 at a millage rate of 23.55 mills. The Final Budget reflects a decrease from the .42 mill increase in the budget presented at the April 13, 2015 School Board meeting. The decrease in millage is the result of updated revenue and expenditure projections. This budget also requires the use of $750,000 of the fund balance and a reduction of approximately $500,000 in expenditures, including the reduction of three support staff positions. Additionally, the school district will not fill one support staff position and one teaching position due to retirements.

The 2015-2016 budget reflects a millage rate that is under the Act 1 Index limit of a .44 mill increase which is allowable according to inflationary guidelines. The cost of the millage increase to a homeowner is $40 a year more in taxes on a home assessed at $100,000.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Coalition for Coexistence UPDATED

In an earlier comment, I stated that I was going to post another petition, against my better judgment. I am not big on petitions, considering many of us were trudging through "goat paths" during Snowmageddon 2010. We collected almost 4000 signatures and were ignored. The prokill women have a 1400 signature advantage, even though some supporters had no idea what they were signing. We can collect 1401 signatures and the commissioners may decide to ignore our petition, as local officials have done in the past. The prokill women can collect ten more signatures and then say that they represent the majority of Mt. Lebanon. I'm not playing their game.

There is a grass-roots movement in the works. The group is called "Coalition for Coexistence." The Coalition represents Mt. Lebanon residents who believe that the Mt. Lebanon Municipal Government, including its Commissioners, (“Municipal Government”) should not be governing its residents through bloodshed.  Further, the Coalition is opposed to violence, including the unnecessary and purposeful killing and wounding of deer within Mt. Lebanon. Regardless of its position on violence, the Coalition urges the Municipal Government to conclude that the high density of Mt. Lebanon’s population prohibits it from initiating or supporting all efforts and/or programs, the purpose of which is the unnecessary killing of deer.

The Coalition for Coexistence advocates a progressive and comprehensive non-lethal plan of action. I understand that this group will be attending First Fridays. More to come. I promise.

Update May 20, 2015 5:21 PM Someone wants that taco!