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Liberty officials pay asphalt company

| Friday, June 21, 2013, 2:01 a.m.

Liberty Councilwoman Janice Matyasovsky has thanked McKee Asphalt Paving of Duquesne for its patience.

A low-interest Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank loan needed to pay a $167,685 bill from McKee finally arrived to pay for last year's street paving in Liberty.

It actually arrived five days after the May 15 council meeting. At Wednesday's meeting, Matyasovsky said a check was cut on May 21 and handed to McKee a day later.

Matyasovsky, council's finance chairman, and her colleagues needed help from the office of state Sen. James Brewster, D-McKeesport, to cap a frustrating process.

Prior to the May meeting, Brewster's aides told borough secretary-treasurer Debbie Helderlein that the state auditor general's office was handling the loan.

In April, Matyasovsky said the state required a separate bank account be opened before it would process the loan, but the state waited too long and the account was closed by First Commonwealth Bank.

Council authorized Solicitor George Gobel to advertise an ordinance raising sewage rates effective July 1, in accordance with a rate increase by the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport.

Council streets and sewers chairman Ron Pope reported that, as designated in the borough's 2013 budget, the increase brings the minimum rate per quarter to $47 for up to 4,000 gallons, then $8.75 for each additional 1,000 gallons.

Unmetered residents will be billed $141.30 per quarter. Final action on the ordinance is scheduled at council's July 17 meeting.

Liberty councilors have expressed outrage about the MACM rate hike at previous meetings but the borough has chosen not to join in the forensic audit other MACM communities are seeking.

The audit is aimed to determine if a $1 million host fee paid by MACM to the city of McKeesport is a factor in that rate hike.

MACM officials have pointed to the $60 million overhaul of the sewer authority's system, a task said to be needed to meet requirements under the state's Act 537.

On Wednesday, health and ordinance chairman Jesse Paradise reported that a public hearing needed for adoption of a codification of borough ordinances has been put on hold.

Some Liberty residents were curious about PA One Call postings tied in to the scheduled installation of new street signs in the borough.

“They thought streets were going to be ripped up,” Helderlein said.

Plavchak Construction is contractor for the street sign work.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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