Monessen to acquire properties
By Rick Bruni Jr.
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013, 12:16 a.m.
Monessen council will soon acquire 264 tax-delinquent properties from Westmoreland County — a handful of which will be targeted either for rehabilitation or demolition.
In one of the final actions under outgoing Mayor Mary Jo Smith, council is expected to approve the measure at Wednesday's regular meeting.
The properties include 27 homes sitting in county repository, according to city administrator John Harhai. Twelve of those homes can be fixed up, sold and put back on the tax rolls, he said. The other 15 will likely be put on the city's demolition list.
The Monessen school board last week approved the acquisitions from the county's Tax Claim Bureau.
Westmoreland County officials in October obtained $400,000 from Marcellus shale impact fees for the project, a procedure initiated during the administration's “Monessen Rising” project. According to Harhai, the county used the city's initial program request to apply for the money.
The county will receive $92,400 to cover administrative costs for the properties, he added.
“Part of the money must be used to demolish the unsafe properties and rehab the properties they choose to rehab,” Smith said.
The city will also budget $100,000 for demolition to come from 2014 Community Development Block Grant funds. The city receives a minimum of $300,000 annually in CDBG money, Smith said.
Part of the money must be given to the Mon Valley Initiative of Homestead to rehabilitate the old Eisenberg building on Schoonmaker Avenue, which it owns, Smith said. Harhai said there are tentative plans for six apartments to be installed on the building's top floor.
“Once we approve, the county will go in and start to deed the properties over to the city of Monessen,” Harhai said. “That will probably take two to three months to complete. That was their estimate.”
The administration had planned to acquire the properties for $1 apiece earlier this year, but Republican Commissioners Tyler Courtney and Charles Anderson rebuffed the proposal.
The vast majority of the properties are vacant, Harhai said, but the city has been maintaining the properties at its expense.
The incoming administration, including new Mayor Lou Mavrakis and council members John Scott Nestor and Patty Bukowski, will determine whether to continue the program.
“It's what we wanted,” Harhai said. “The problem is, if the next administration does not follow up, it's all for naught.”
Council on Wednesday is expected to approve the following retirements: Harhai, Monessen police Capt. Ed Lyons Jr., city clerk Rosalie Nicksich, meter maid Cindy Gernot and part-time city clerk Mary Hickton.
In addition, Nicksich is expected to be appointed to fill the remaining term of Marc Bellora, who recently resigned from the Monessen Library Board of Trustees. The term runs through Dec. 31, 2015.
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2635.
Show commenting policy
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.
- Pastor’s childhood tale, scar key to Easter message
- North Charleroi man to stand trial for car thefts, arson charges
- Drug suspect’s escape try fails
- Card theft claim lands Charleroi woman in trouble
- Electric heater blamed for Charleroi house fire
- It’s ‘Sammy Vasquez Jr. Day’ in Monessen
- Monongahela drug bust nabs 5
- Marion promotes autism awareness
- First Federal, Community Bank join
- Speers man wanted for probation rap arrested after chase
- Smithton native charged in Ohio with faking illness to raise money