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Saltsburg mayor supports three-way stop on Water Street

| Friday, June 13, 2014, 12:15 p.m.

After witnessing several near accidents, Saltsburg Mayor Elizabeth Rocco urged borough council to consider a three-way stop for traffic at the “T” intersection of Point and Water streets.

“That river is getting more and more traffic every week,” Rocco said, and the waterfront intersection has become clustered with vehicles and pedestrians.

She said she watched a woman crossing the street with a stroller who was nearly hit by a speeding truck.

“I realize that we have a lot of stop signs in town,” she said. “I realize that people either run them outright or they slide through them. But these stops signs will at least slow them down a little bit and maybe save a life.”

Rocco said police do watch the intersection, but drivers are more cautious in the presence of a police vehicle.

Council member Ed Ramsden said he would be in favor of a three-way stop at the intersection after nearly being hit there himself.

“I'm not saying I'm against a stop sign, but we need to police it,” and not just with a police car parked in the vicinity, but on foot if need be, said Council President P.J. Hruska.

Rocco also suggested that an officer be used for traffic control at Washington Street during rush hour through town.

Resident Dan Rose voiced concerns about the status of building ordinance citations for the Altman Feed Mill, which were still pending in district court; surveying of property lines and borough rights-of-way; and what he sees as selective enforcement by borough police.

Rocco said she has held several police committee meetings to address police matters, but urged patience for action to be taken. “It took a while for us to get where we are, and it's going to take a while for us to get where we want to be,” she said.

Rose also suggested again that the monthly police report be issued to the local papers. Hruska ensured with borough solicitor Wayne Kablack that the report is a matter of public record, said he would hand it over that evening.

“I have no problem with the people in town knowing that our police department is doing what they should be,” said Rocco.

The May status report for the police department reflected 21 incidents to which officers responded, including three traffic citations, five non-traffic citations and one traffic accident. Nine letters to homeowners with grass cutting ordinance violations were sent, and three letters were mailed regarding dangerous building violations. A total of five citations were filed.

The report also named three property owners to which letters were sent requesting them to attend the next council meeting to address bringing their properties into ordinance compliance, two of which dealt with tarps covering the roofs of outbuildings, and another regarding a property deemed not fit for human habitation, with missing windows and a broken water and/or heating system.

Owners Scott and Juliann Rager spoke about their property at Wood and Walnut streets. They were notified of ordinance violations for having an unsafe building and high grass.

The Ragers are currently in the process of foreclosing on the home, though, through Ocwen Financial Corporation. The Ragers noted that the bank is currently paying the taxes on the property and had previously taken care of property maintenance.

The foreclosure notice was received in August, according to Scott Rager, but the bank has made no move to close on the property after it was damaged by a fire in December. The Ragers noted that the bank is currently holding the insurance proceeds from the fire.

The Ragers maintained unoccupied residence insurance for more than two years on the property, and when the bank took it over, they were told the bank had also bought insurance on it.

The Ragers said they want to come to a “reasonable agreement” with council regarding the property. Police Chief Gary Walker will be given the information and will contact Ocwen regarding the issues with the property.

In other business, borough council agreed to donate $135 to the Indiana County Humane Society, an item that is budgeted every year.

Rocco put in a plug for the shelter, saying, “Anyone who's thinking of adopting a pet, by all means, go to the shelter. Those people could use the help. The pets could use a good home.”

Hruska noted that a recent cleanup to prepare the town for its Canal Days Festival, held June 6-8, was a success.

“We had a lot of people, a lot of volunteers,” Hruska said. “Thank you to everyone for showing up. We got a lot done.”

Hruska also thanked Center Township for use of its street sweeper in preparation for the festival.

Gina DelFavero is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2915 or

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