Allegheny County's Vacant Property Recovery Program gets OK from Ross

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Ross commissioners voted unanimously Monday to participate in Allegheny County's Vacant Property Recovery Program, which will allow neighbors of a vacant property to acquire it for a fee.

Commissioners expressed concerns about the cost of legal fees or costs associated with placing advertisements in newspapers in an attempt to find the most recent resident of the property.

"I would hope the township would not have to assume any of those costs," Commissioner David Mikec said. "I guess we can try it out, see how the program goes."

The ordinance vacating a portion of Second Street will be the subject of a public hearing July 1. Vacating the road will allow a waterline to be installed on the property of the vacant strip mall on Three Degree Road, said township manager Doug Sample.

In other action, commissioners voted to enter into another agreement with Dollard Publications to publish a township magazine.

Dollard previously published In Ross Township in partnership with the township, but commissioners ended the agreement in 2009 because of "substantial disagreements," said commission Chairman Grant Montgomery. Those agreements have been resolved, he added.

The township has published its own magazine, The Ross Record, since 2010 under the supervision of Commissioner Gerald O'Brien. Proceeds from publication of the magazine have been used to fund recreation events.

Under the new two-year agreement, Ross will pay Dollard $312.50 for each page of township copy. The township will receive 50 percent of any revenue from ads sold, Mr. Sample said.

The agreement is subject to review by the solicitor.

Commissioners also accepted a proposal from Bizztream to redo the township's website.

Craig Linner said his company, which is based in Ross, will completely revamp the site, including selling ads for it, and also will include a database so officials can update the site.

"I like to make them so they actually do more than look pretty," he said. "It will benefit the community more."

He expects the "rollout" of the new site in a year.


Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer:


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