Tarentum to disband parking authority

| Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Like so many of its parking meters, time is running out on the Tarentum Parking Authority.

But unlike its patrons, the authority won't get one of those feared yellow parking tickets when its time is up. Instead, it's giving itself a pink slip.

The authority, which apparently last met in 2000 or 2001, will have its last hurrah on Monday when it meets for the final time.

Reconstituted by council with five new members, the authority officially will turn the parking lots, which it legally owns, over to the borough.

“There are six properties in the borough that are basically all parking lots that are deeded to the Parking Authority,” said borough Manager Bill Rossey. “We're basically doing it as a formality to transfer those properties over to the borough so they will be in the borough's name.”

In particular, that has to be done for the parking lots on both sides of Tarentum Station. The authority wants to subdivide the property so it can sell the building at public auction but maintain ownership of the lots.

“We are in the process of Alpha Engineering drawing up the subdivision so, once we get this done, we can go ahead with the subdivision,” Rossey said. “The next step then will be to put the Train Station up for auction.

“That's one of them, but they all need to be done,” he said of the lots. “They should have been done before the parking authority became inactive, I don't know how long ago.”

According to information available in the Valley News Dispatch archives, the last meeting notice for the Parking Authority was on Nov. 3, 2000. It reported the authority would meet Nov. 7 but stated that the authority would be meeting the second Tuesday of each month from April through December of 2001. There were no other meeting notices published after that.

Five new authority members were appointed by Tarentum Council President Tim Rapp since the previous members' terms expired long ago. The new members are Rapp, Rossey, Mayor Carl Magnetta, Councilman Ray Kerr and former Councilman and borough Manager Joe Davidek.

Davidek was a member of the authority when it was re-established in the 1980s after initially being formed in the 1950s and then becoming inactive. Now 84, Davidek asked to be appointed to the authority, a request, he admits, was sentimental in nature.

“When I heard they were going to reorganize, I thought since I was on there it might be nice for me to be on there and turn the property over to Tarentum Borough,” Davidek said.

“We'll probably appoint Joe Davidek the chairman since he was on the parking authority before,” Rossey said.

Davidek said he left the authority in 1993 when he retired as borough manager. Like Rossey, Davidek isn't sure why the authority stopped meeting.

“When I was selected borough manager in the 1980s, there was no parking authority,” Davidek said. “The train station was sitting there, owned by a guy in Homestead. Tarentum was using the lot where the parking meters are and wanted to own it, so they had the parking authority go after it. They started to dicker with the guy, and there was a price negotiated. I think it was $80,000.”

Before it bought the lot, the borough installed parking meters and was getting revenue from the station lot.

“They didn't lease it; they just did it, and he never complained about it,” Davidek said, laughing. “Remember those meters were there way before the parking authority was organized.”

He said the borough re-established the authority in the '80s and turned the revenue from the meters and long-term leases over to the authority so it could maintain the lots and accrue capital to acquire more property for lots when possible. When the authority became dormant, that revenue was retained by the borough.

The Tarentum Station lot is one property but has two deeds, Rossey said. He said the borough will consolidate them into one deed after it takes ownership.

The four other lots, also on the eastern side of the borough, include: one near Central Presbyterian Church next to where Calligan's Pharmacy was between Fourth and Third avenues, another across Fourth Avenue from that one, a small lot between Fourth and Fifth avenues next to the Hometown Restaurant, and one on Sixth Avenue by Fox's Pizza.

The meeting, which will precede the council meeting at 7 p.m. in the borough building on Second Avenue, should be quick, Rossey said. When the meeting is convened and the members sworn in, a chairman will be elected and someone will make a motion to deed the lots to the borough. Once that is approved, another motion will be made to disband the authority.

When that motion is approved, it will fade into the borough's history — at least for the foreseeable future.

“I'm going to vote for it, and that's it. Then we are going to disband the parking authority and I'll be out again,” Davidek said, laughing. “But, somewhere in the books, my name will appear.”

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or tyerace@tribweb.com.

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