Source of flooding in Scott identified

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Scott engineer Larry Lennon reported last week that the water that sometimes floods the Glendale area is coming from a 4-foot-by-1 1/2-foot sewer behind the Patete Kitchen and Bath Center on Washington Avenue.

"That is the source of the water we've been talking about all of these years," he said at the March 12 meeting. "It appears to have been there a long time and discharges a lot of water."

For unknown reasons, water, including acid mine drainage, has stopped flowing onto Hope Hollow Road and started flowing onto Hope Street. Officials also don't know who built the sewer behind Patete.

When asked whether the water could be rechanneled to prevent flooding, Mr. Lennon replied that the land elevation in that area would prohibit such work.

Commissioner Bill Wells, who did some research into the former O. Hommel facility on Hope Street, said the company used water in its industrial process of making frits, a glassy material used in the ceramic business. The frits are fused at a high temperature and then cooled in water.

He theorized that the company, which dates back to about 1870, at one time must have had control over the water channel. Steam used to come out over Hope Hollow Road, he said.

But Mr. Wells added that he, too, has no idea what caused the water flow to switch suddenly from Hope Hollow Road to Hope Street.

"It sounds like something happened in the mine and it could change again," said Mr. Lennon, who suggested Scott keep its sewers free of clogs.

In other business, Mr. Wells brought up the matter of putting properties up for sheriff's sale.

Referring to a recent board action in which two properties in the East Carnegie section of Scott were put up for sheriff's sale at someone's request, he objected to "the public directing our lack of a policy."

"Homeowners should not acquire their neighbors' homes by asking us to sheriff sale them, businesses should not ask us to sheriff sale properties and residents should not acquire businesses by asking us to sheriff sale properties. This is very Orwellian and reminds me of the book 'Animal Farm,' " he said.

"Everyone should be on a level playing field, not just properties that someone wants to acquire," he said, adding the board also should adopt an ordinance allowing delinquent taxpayers to set up payment plans to pay delinquent bills.

"With our present policy, a person can purchase a home, pay no taxes, rent the property for 10 years, let the property become blighted and walk away, leaving the taxpaying residents to demolish the home and pick up the tab," Mr. Wells said.

Tom Castello, president of the board of commissioners, said he believes the Chartiers Valley School District "is not interested in aggressively pursuing residential properties."

"We have looked at the delinquencies and they're not as many as you think," Mr. Castello said, noting 10-12 properties appear yearly while the others are behind for a year or two.

Nick Morelli, Chartiers Valley's director of finance and support operations and school board secretary, said Monday that the district actively pursues delinquents.

"We pursue delinquent taxes on an annual basis [and] we do a very good job at it," he said.

He said the district has a lien placed on the delinquent properties as soon as possible so they cannot be sold without paying what is owed.

At last week's meeting, tax collector Lisa Riley suggested the township tack on a 10 percent interest charge after a year without a payment in the hopes of getting delinquents to pay.

Action on the handling of delinquent properties is expected at the end of April.

In other business, Commissioner David Calabria proposed that a policy be established covering the acceptance of gifts and favors by commissioners.

"There should be a policy for us," he said. "They don't have a policy in place for commissioners."

Manager Denise Fitzgerald said she would send the board copies of the state Ethics Act, which requires public officials to report a gift worth $250 or more.

But Mr. Calabria, who formerly worked for the state Department of Transportation, suggested more safeguards may be needed.

"I was groomed by PennDOT rules and I think differently," said Mr. Calabria, adding that he often does road and traffic studies for nothing.


Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer:


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