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Some Liberty residents are upset over the way the borough has implemented new parking regulations.
In response to concerns from police, firefighters and paramedics that emergency vehicles couldn't get through some streets because of cars parked on both sides, council in August drafted an ordinance that designated many streets as "no parking" zones on one side.
The ordinance was officially adopted at September's council meeting, but many residents complained that the borough had given them insufficient notice about the change.
Borough officials said the ordinance was legally advertised in the Mon Valley Independent newspaper and in notices stapled to street poles.
Residents said few people in Liberty subscribe to the Independent, and that most of them thought the paper notices were advertising garage sales or lost pets.
At the Oct. 9 council meeting, resident Dan McClelland asked why yellow lines were painted on some streets designating “no parking” zones before council officially adopted a parking ordinance.
Borough Solicitor Matt Racunas said that the state's “pending ordinance” doctrine covers that action.
McClelland asked if the painting process was complete yet. Council member Chris Ponchak said the borough is still working on the details of parking on some streets.
Residents asked officials to advertise future changes on the Liberty Borough Facebook page. They said it would likely reach more people than a notice in the newspaper.
A suggestion also was made to post such notices on the electronic sign in front of the borough building, or resort to the former stationary sign.
In response to requests, the borough also now makes an allowance for “handicapped” parking in no-parking areas; but a formal request has to be made to the borough so that a curb can then be painted blue, officials said.
In other business, council authorized payments of $31,000 toward repairs on Glenn Avenue and $41,000 toward sewer repairs on B Street.
Council awarded a contract to trim the trees at the veterans' memorial on Liberty Way to Original Tree Service.
A resident asked about a house on Jeffrey Drive that has been vacant for several years. The house was reportedly sold but borough workers are continuing to cut the grass and trim the shrubs. Racunas said although an offer was made on the house, the closing never took place.
A resident asked about the upcoming municipal election, in which three candidates are running for four open seats. All three won both Democratic and Republican nominations in the primary.
A fourth candidate, Jennifer Riley, also won both Democratic and Republican nominations for the fourth seat, but was forced to withdraw for health reasons. Her health has improved and she is now running as a write-in candidate.
Racunus said any write-in candidates will need to have their election to the fourth seat certified by the county's Elections Division.
Councilman Mike Zrenchak asked borough residents to be mindful about when raking leaves not to block sewer grates in the streets, because that has the potential to cause flooding.
Police Report: Mayor Larry Sikorski presented the police report. For the month, Liberty police answered 15 calls to assist the ambulance, made 20 traffic stops, answered 25 traffic calls, investigated seven criminal complaints, made 12 arrests and served eight warrants. Citations totalling $1,796 were issued.
Sikorski noted that because there is no longer an ambulance base in the borough, police are assisting on EMS calls. He is seeking to reduce the police response time to five or six minutes, he said.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13.
Marcy Cendroski is a Liberty Borough resident.
Originally published October 16, 2019.