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Garbage bags available this week

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 9:26 p.m.

The city-required garbage bags that all residents must use beginning Jan. 2 are now on sale at the city treasurer's office in City Hall and at Duncan True Value Hardware on Lowry Avenue.

The bags are black with a white logo and will hold 32 gallons of garbage.

Cost will be $6.50 for a roll of 25 bags. Council expects the bags to generate around $65,000 in revenues for the cash-strapped city in 2013.

Duncan True Value Hardware is open from now until Christmas, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. After Christmas the shop will be closed on weekday evenings at 6 p.m.

The city is still seeking other business to sell the bags. Interested business owners should contact City Hall at 724-527-4000.

Meter bags to be removed

Council decided this week to remove the white bags covering all city parking meters because the bags are becoming an eyesore.

Drivers will not be required to feed the meters and parking will remain free throughout the city — at least for the immediate future.

Councilman Mark Levander has contacted various vendors who sell “pay and display” meters to seek prices on such a device for the city lot on Magee Avenue. Pay and display meters work by requiring a driver to purchase a certain amount of time from a machine, which will produce a ticket the drive can place on the dashboard while they are away from their vehicle.

City police could then patrol the lot to look for cars without tickets displayed properly and ticket those vehicles. Levander said he would like to see the city begin to make money at the lot, which is often full, once again.

Council is expected to eventually discuss the city's parking meter situation now that the introductory period of free parking has ended. Mayor Robert Carter has said he intends to revisit the free parking issue to decide if it is something council wants to keep in place.

Councilman Jim Benson said he is in favor of keeping parking free along the city streets but is open to charging for parking at the Magee lot.

City to remove two traffic lights

City council has decided to remove traffic lights at two intersections — at South Fifth Street and Bullitt Avenue and at Gaskill Avenue and Seventh Street.

Initially Penndot was going to loan the city two electronic message boards that would alert drivers to the impending light removal, but city engineer Ed Antonacci said this week the message boards are entirely too large for city streets.

The boards Penndot sent, according to Antonacci, are sized for the state turnpike and would be almost large enough to block the entire roadway.

Instead of using message boards, the city public works department will install new stop signs and signs warning of a ‘stop ahead.' For two weeks, the traffic lights at those intersections will be set to blink while drivers get accustomed to the stop signs.

Dunbar draws governor's attention to Monsour site

City Solicitor Scott Avolio told council this week that state Rep. George Dunbar spoke to Governor Tom Corbett about the city's troubles with the Monsour Hospital site.

“Dunbar suggested that we send a letter to Corbett inviting him to visit the site so we can get his help,” said Avolio.

Carter said the city should send the governor a letter and added, “The more attention we can draw to it (the site) the better. We can use any help we can get.”

The site of the former hospital has been abandoned since the facility was closed. City officials have been trying to do something about the dangerous buildings — and their contents — for years. The DEP has searched the facility several times, cleaning and removing potential biohazards.

Despite signs warning trespassers of the dangers, the hospital is frequently broken into by the curious and at times has appeared to be a place where squatters have lived.

“It's good for Dunbar to use the face time he had with the governor to call attention to Monsour,” Avolio said.

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at klinden@tribweb.com or 724-838-5154.

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