Dormont bumps up parking enforcement

Matthew Santoni
| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Parking enforcement and a development planned near Port Authority's T station in Dormont are key pieces of the borough's budget for 2014.

Dormont Council adopted a $10.66 million spending plan on Monday by a 6-1 vote, with Councilman John Maggio opposed. It includes reconstructing one road and up to 30 alleys, and would add multi-space parking meters at five borough lots.

The budget gives most employees raises of 3 percent and sets aside money to waterproof the borough building's leaky basement.

Taxes will remain at 8.97 mills, or $897 for every $100,000 of a property's assessed value.

Borough Manager Jeff Naftal said some of the projected 7 percent increase in general fund revenue will come from lengthening enforcement hours for parking meters and permits.

Dormont has enforced meters and parking rules for fewer than its stated hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and bumping up meter enforcement with an additional parking officer will increase collections by $219,000, officials project. The general fund, for day-to-day expenses, will be $7.99 million, up from $7.47 million in 2013.

Resident Greg Langel said he's concerned the budget includes about $350,000 worth of anticipated building permits and fees from the $39.8 million garage and apartment building proposed for properties owned by the borough and Port Authority at the Dormont Junction T station.

Council approved negotiating with the developer for a lease on the borough's share of the property.

“When is that expected to be paid, and what happens to the budget if we don't come to an agreement?” Langel said. “You must have a pretty strong feeling this project will be greenlighted.”

Port Authority, which agreed to “exclusive negotiations” with Fore Property Group for a lease on the project, was involved in similar negotiations for apartments in Bethel Park, on land next to the South Hills Village T station, since October 2012. The authority's board extended that negotiating period to March, said spokesman Jim Ritchie.

Maggio wondered about the size of the proposed complex, which Fore anticipates would include 500 parking spaces and 240 apartments.

“We're going to take the most densely populated community in Allegheny County and add more dense population,” he said.

Naftal said some of those concerns could be addressed during lease negotiations or, once a lease is signed, during the approval process for the development.

If money from permits and fees does not come through in 2014, Naftal said, officials could balance the budget with other revenue or from cash reserves, replenishing that money when fees are paid.

The budget is posted online at boro.dormont.pa.us under the Departments-Finance heading.

Maggio took issue with increased fees for renting the recreation center and space in the borough building, and the fact that the budget did not include money to replace the rec center roof with one that includes solar panels.

Council President Bill McCartney said solar panels are a low priority, based on what residents said they wanted to emphasize in an updated comprehensive plan.

“One of the nine or 10 topics that people could select was ‘greening' and that came in dead last,” McCartney said.

Matthew Santoni is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5625.

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