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Update on Vernon Avenue Landslide, Baldwin Police Promotions and More

These are notes from the Jan. 17 Baldwin Borough Council meeting.

Vernon Avenue Landslide Repair

The Baldwin Borough Council voted, 6-0, to accept a $447,125 bid from Plavchak Construction, of Jefferson Hills Borough, to repair a landslide on Vernon Avenue in north that occurred in the spring of 2011. Councilman Ed Moeller was absent.

Plavchak Construction's bid was one of eight turned into borough officials for the job. The accepted bid includes an additive alternative amount of $10,175, which would cover any changes to the scope of the project that would affect the original price.

Police Promotions Approved Again

officers Thomas Kearns, Craig Cavlovic and Matthew Kearns were promoted—again—by the Baldwin Council on Tuesday night, Thomas Kearns to sergeant and Cavlovic and Matthew Kearns to lieutenants.

The council without realizing that they had not gone through the proper procedure of physical and physiological testing. The promotions were since rescinded, and the men have completed that testing in order to be retroactively promoted. September's error will not cost the officers any pay.

There were no "no" votes cast on Tuesday in regard to Thomas Kearns' promotion—just like in September—but Councilmen Bob Collet and Michael Stelmasczyk voted "no" to the other two promotions—just as they did in September.

"As last time," Collet said, "my vote on these two promotions does not reflect on the officers' job or them personally. My vote will reflect the fact that, after two years, we were looking for one lieutenant, and after the oral and written scores (of tests) were posted, the plan was changed to have two.

"I don't agree with that, so I can't vote for either gentleman."

Stelmasczyk echoed Collet's opinion.

Nevertheless, both lieutenant promotions passed, 4-2.

County Property Reassessments Opposed by Baldwin Council

The Baldwin Council approved a resolution, 6-0, on Tuesday that asks the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas to "stop the process (of property reassessment in the county) immediately."

The resolution voices the council's position that Allegheny is being "singled out" in terms of property reassessment in Pennsylvania and asks Gov. Tom Corbett and the state General Assembly "to enact comprehensive legislation that provides for a uniform, statewide system for establishing property values among all counties in the commonwealth so that all residents, businesses, governments and school districts are afforded stability, certainty and fairness."

Collet Still Fighting for More Road Funds

Collet, whose plan to raise property taxes in Baldwin Borough by 0.33 mills and designate roughly $1.3 million for road repairs , tried another route for increasing road funds on Tuesday night.

The councilman made a motion to reopen the 2012 budget in order to institute a special road tax of 0.75 mills that would increase the borough's road funds to $1,324,618, up from the $750,000 previously approved to be part of the budget.

After a longer-than-usual pause, fellow council member Larry Brown seconded Collet's motion, but that motion failed, 4-2, with only Collet and Brown supporting it.

Moeller, Brown and Collet each voted against the borough's 2012 budget in December and the accompanying ordinance that fixes the borough's tax rate, saying that the $750,000 designated for road work didn't go far enough.

"I thought we could do more," Moeller said after a Dec. 20 meeting.

"It's tough times," Collet said in December, "but the raise that we wanted (in December) ended up at like $3 a month" for an average homeowner.

"It's a terrible time to raise taxes," Stelmasczyk said in December, adding that the 2012 budget increases spending on roads by $250,000.

"We have a 50-percent increase," he said. "We're going to be paving a lot of roads (in 2012)."

Another Police Promotion

Police officer Luke Sedar had the probationary status removed from his rank by a 6-0 vote on Tuesday and is now a full-time permanent officer in the Baldwin Police Department.

Borough Appointments

Each of the following Baldwin Borough appointments were approved by a 6-0 vote on Tuesday:

  • James Hamel (reappointment) to a three-year term on the board, expiring in December of 2014.
  • Paul Hayhurst Sr. to a three-year term on the Baldwin Library board, expiring in December of 2014.
  • Lindsay Pfister to a three-year term on the Baldwin Library board, expiring in December of 2014.
  • Donald Brown (reappointment) to a four-year term on the Baldwin Borough Planning Commission, expiring in December of 2015.
  • Daniel C. Sharek to a three-year term as an alternate on the Baldwin Borough Zoning Hearing Board, expiring in December of 2014.

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Billee January 20, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Robert - I see something that is constantly being requested by our community of the Baldwin Whitehall School Board in this picture. Who records the meetings? Where are the recordings stored? Who has the authority to view them?
Robert Edward Healy, III January 20, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Billee, good question. I don't believe that they are recorded, but we will find out.
Robert Edward Healy, III January 20, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Billee, Baldwin Borough council member Michael Stelmasczyk says that Baldwin Council's meetings are digitally recorded in order to be transcribed as minutes. The recording is copied over at the next meeting. B-W School Board Secretary Mary Ann Kraus says that the school board's meetings are not recorded.
Billee January 20, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Robert, Thank you for answering my questions. It seems to be standard practice for both meetings. They both have recorded minutes for public review. I have to admit - I like your meeting notes most of all. They include pictures and clips of live coverage. Some coverage is better than none. In my opinion to ask anything more of OUR Baldwin Whitehall School Board is a - INJUSTICE to all!
Robert Edward Healy, III January 20, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Thanks for the kind words, Billee.

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