ShareThis Page

McKeesport to upgrade, expand public works fleet

| Thursday, March 7, 2013, 3:36 a.m.

McKeesport will borrow nearly $500,000 to upgrade and expand its public works fleet.

During Wednesday's meeting, council authorized the city's administration to finalize a $488,584.37 loan through First Commonwealth Bank to purchase two 10-ton trucks, a 1-ton truck and an excavator.

“The city, by no means, is in a great financial position,” Mayor Michael Cherepko explained during the previous night's caucus. “We know where our hardships are and the financially distressed condition we are in. ... To come up with $400,000 or $500,000 all at once is not an option at this time.”

The mayor said public works crews are driving around near-antiques to keep city streets clear in the winter, and the maintenance and funds required to keep those vehicles operational often are overlooked as a budgetary concern.

On Wednesday, the mayor commended public works staff for doing a tremendous job with what they have. After an overnight snowstorm that dropped roughly 6 inches on the city, he said roads were cleared quickly and efficiently.

“A lot of snow came in a very short period,” Cherepko said. “I was out throughout the night with them ... and our streets were in very nice shape.”

While the trucks used for snow removal and road maintenance are necessary improvements, Cherepko said he is most excited for the excavator purchase.

City staff will be trained to demolish many of the 400 or more dilapidated homes in town.

“It's hard to attract new residents and new businesses when you have so much blight,” he said. “If you are paying $8,000 to tear down a house ... you do the math. That money only goes so far.”

So that the city's liability insurance is unaffected, city workers only will take on projects that aren't adjacent to occupied structures.

“Well over half of our homes that are vacant throughout the city are not sitting right next to an occupied structure,” Cherepko said. “These will be the ones the city focuses on to eliminate blight on our end while we continue to secure funding from other sources in order to tackle the blighted property issue.”

Council approved the following:

• Changing the names of Marshall Drive Extension to Lou Washowich Way and Water Street to Joe Bendel Way.

• Entering an agreement with W.G. Land Co. for $41,860 of improvements to the Jimmy Long baseball field in Renziehausen Park. Allegheny Regional Asset District funds will be used for the bulk of the project.

• Amending the mission statement of the Downtown McKeesport Business District Authority to “promote and advocate for existing businesses and attract new businesses” to the city.

• Recognizing April as Fair Housing Month.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or jvertullo@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.