NBV mayor vows to press fight against illegal drugs
North Belle Vernon Mayor Ed Lyons is sick of the drug problem going on in the borough and he let council know about it during its meeting Tuesday night.
“I think everyone in the Mon Valley knows that, just like everywhere else in the United States, there is a serious drug problem out there. Between illegal and prescription drugs, I don't know which is the worse of the two,” Lyons said. “I'm trying to answer the cries of the people that are asking what our policemen are doing about the drugs. Well, all I can answer is that we're doing the best we can under highly difficult circumstances.”
Lyons said one problem lies in the fact that those being arrested for drugs in the borough aren't being punished enough.
“I'm not running a win-or-loss column with the local magistrate or the judges in Greensburg, as far as I'm concerned, we're going to give it our best effort to make a legitimate arrest, then it's someone else's problem as to how the judgment is going to come down,” Lyons proclaimed. “I assure you, council and the people, that we're not just going to roll over and play dead. I'm sick of it, I'm tired of it. Enough is enough.
“One thing that irks police officers is when the drug dealers pass them on their way back into the Valley. That's what happened in one particular case.”
Lyons said that repeat calls to the same area are becoming a problem.
“Those repeat calls are going to generate into arrests. I'm tired of it. And so are the people that surround these dens of iniquity,” he added. “It has to stop ... it just compounds itself and before you know it, they're talking about guns or they're talking about assaults.
“We've not been light on this. Many of these drug pushers have been removed from this community but the remnants that are still doing the pushing are still here and feel quite comfortable using whatever avenue they can to make it more difficult for the police to do their job.”
Council President Dennis Simboli reiterated to Lyons that per borough ordinance, the owners of the property where repeat calls are taking place can find themselves in trouble and even arrested.
“When there's one officer per shift, our guy can't be in two places at once,” Lyons said. “Some could argue that we can use less police, but there is an argument that we need more.”
Simboli told Lyons that he has the full support of council.
“Mayor, if there is anything you need to help put this to rest, I just want you to know that this council backs you 100 percent,” he said.
In other business, council announced that the borough's annual Light-Up night will be held 6 p.m. November 21 at Graham Street Park.
In a related matter, council urged residents to be patient concerning the installation of cameras in the park.
Councilwoman Betty Shine-Hill said she had met with borough resident Dave Wadsworth, who had previously informed her and council that he would install the cameras free of any charges.
“After meeting with him, he said that he couldn't do it at this time because is so busy with his business,” Shine-Hill said. “He told me that if we wanted to do it sooner rather than wait for him to do it, we can submit a bid. We'd be looking at almost $85 per hour.”
Simboli said that he understands that members of the community are pushing for the cameras to be installed, but added that the park will be closing earlier with the change of seasons and that council shouldn't rush to pay for work that was offered to be free.
“If someone is going to do something for free, especially with everything involved with the project, then we need to wait and do it when he's free to do it,” Councilman Jon Wasicek said. “Before you know it, it's going to be dark at 5:00, so we have time that we can wait until Mr. Wadsworth's schedule is freed up to do it.”
Council also reported that they will make contact to a resident at 428 Fell St. that has five vehicles parked on the street, four of which have expired registration, Simboli said.
“I think it would be difficult for emergency vehicles to get through there,” Simboli said. “It's a safety issue and we need to deal with it.”
Further discussion on the matter was discussed during an executive session following the meeting. Other matters of litigation were also discussed.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2667 or firstname.lastname@example.org.