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Fox Chapel

Road improvements, equipment upgrades top east suburbs leaders' holiday wish lists

Tawnya Panizzi
| Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, 9:39 a.m.

As Santa’s elves work overtime to fulfill holiday wish lists, municipal leaders have a few requests of their own for the coming year.

Lists were less glamorous than functional, but municipal managers had fun dreaming big when asked what they’d ask for if money was no object.

“I would like all borough roads to be rebuilt with proper drainage controls and then paved,” Fox Chapel Manager Gary Koehler said.

Considering the borough spent $1.3 million in 2018 to improve 10 roads including Pasadena North, Fair Oaks and Chapel Hill, costs to redo the entire list of municipality-owned roads would be in the billions.

Koehler doesn’t mind dreaming though. In a perfect world, he’d throw in stormwater projects for good measure.

“I’d like to see innovative controls to protect Squaw Run stream and its tributaries from erosion and flooding,” he said. “Then…how about a community party?”

Preparation of municipal budgets can be painstaking. For every request — more police, better roads, faster technology — local government officials have to balance expenses and income, while making sure the burden to taxpayers doesn’t grow.

Monroeville Manager Tim Little was able to spout off his community wish list quicker than a kid in a toy store.

“That’s easy,” Little said. “Pave all the roads that need it, for about $15 million, and upgrade all the storm sewer lines and facilities for about $20 million.

“We could hire additional people in each department to do the work that needs done, for about $1 million, and buy new public safety equipment for another million.”

He estimated a property tax hike of 300 percent would be required.

“And that’s just off the top of my head what really needs done,” Little said. “Give me a day to think about it, and that could triple.

“Most municipalities across the country would tell you the same, I’m sure.”

In O’Hara, Manager Julie Jakubec asked for inter-governmental cooperation to resolve flooding issues plaguing the area.

In Blawnox, Manager John Stinner hoped for a splash pad to complement the new playground planned at the community park.

Scott Andrejchak in Penn Hills went out on a limb and asked for things even money can’t buy.

“I wish for no snow in 2018-19, or maybe forever,” Andrejchak said. “I’d also like to sell the old municipal building on Frankstown Road to a luxury condo developer.”

At the top of his list would be the chance to shine a light on Penn Hills and transform some misguided perceptions about the community.

“I would ask for more positivity and more realization that Penn Hills is a solid community with friendly residents and a good place to raise children.”

Staff writer Dillon Carr contributed to this report.

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, tpanizzi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tawnyatrib.

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