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Mayor focusing on four goals

| Saturday, Nov. 30, 2002

Monroeville Mayor Jim Lomeo is taking stock of his first year in office — and he's pleased with the results.

"I think my first year has gone well," Lomeo said. "I like the job. I enjoy it."

Lomeo, a Democrat who ran unopposed in the 2001 November election, succeeded Abe Communale, who was appointed mayor in December 2000 after former Mayor Sean Logan was elected to the state Senate.

When Lomeo took office, the real estate attorney and former chairman of the Monroeville Planning Commission laid out a list of goals he called "Monroeville Milestones." He identified four key areas:

= Developing a program for beautification of Monroeville that includes landscape, sidewalks and better signage.

= Developing a true community park, separate from the existing neighborhood parks.

= Developing a positive working relationship with Gateway School District.

= Maintaining property tax revenues at last year's level and refunding tax payments that, because of Allegheny County's 2002 property assessments, exceeded last year's collections.

Lomeo said he is well on his way to achieving his goals.

The municipality is close to purchasing property to build a community complex and recreation center; the Streetscape beautification program has garnered more than $20,000 in support from local businesses; he's been meeting and talking with school district officials; and he expects get figures about real estate taxes in March.

Lomeo is quick to point out that he is part of a team.

"Everyone is working together on this," he said. "Everyone has a part to play if we're going to improve the quality of life for everyone in Monroeville."

Other public officials have given Lomeo a passing grade. Gateway Superintendent Richard Domencic said Lomeo has lived up to his word about working on the municipality-school district relationship.

"I find Mayor Lomeo to be a very positive, communicative, people-oriented person," Domencic said. "We have had numerous contacts and meetings and I have always found him to be both a source of, and receptive to, new ideas.

"I remain optimistic that with the aid of his leadership we will be able to continue to improve the relationship between the municipality and school district."

Lomeo also has become popular among municipal employees. A "thank-you" note, a surprise lunch for an entire department and public praise are not uncommon.

"I'm real happy (with Lomeo) as far as a department head goes," said John Balicki, Monroeville parks and recreation director. "He's there for the right reason. He's very, very interested in the quality of life for the residents of Monroeville. "That's what he said when he was campaigning and that's what he's been doing since he's been mayor."

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