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W.O. Council Limits Comments on Ordinance

By Sarah Turnbull
The Tube City Almanac
March 24, 2021
Posted in: White Oak News

People who came to White Oak’s council meeting this month to protest a controversial feral cat ordinance were sidelined.

Before the March 15 meeting, council instituted a rule restricting the public comment portion to White Oak residents only. None of the people in the audience were borough residents.

Council members said the rule was implemented to improve communication and focus during public meetings.

Recent council meetings have been heated and contentious as people have spoken out against an ordinance, passed in December, which requires residents to spay or neuter their pet cats and have their cats’ ears tipped. The ordinance also calls for fines against residents who feed stray cats.

Those who left the meeting without being allowed to speak said they were not happy with the change.

The council also provided updates on reopening local businesses for the spring and summer, namely Heritage Hill Pool and the borough building.

Michelle Gessner of the finance department is making arrangements for a clean-up day at Heritage Hill Pool on April 24, Councilman George Pambacas said.

“This year there will be only passholders at the pool, no daily admissions,” Pambacas said. “The passes can be scanned and used for contact tracing.”

The concession stands will not be open, Borough Manager John Palyo said. He suggested adding vending machines or advertising the menus of local restaurants.

“The Pennsylvania Parks and Recreation Society discourages having open concession stands (as well as) having food outside concession areas ... because of the COVID pandemic,” Palyo said. “We could put local businesses’ menus up and have pizza shops deliver to the pool.”

In other business, Councilman Ken Hillman announced the opening of the bids for 2021 street paving. Council awarded the contract to Tresco Paving Corp. and added Vermont and Auld streets to the previously approved list

Solicitor Patricia McGrail said contracts are being awarded for 2021 home demolitions.

The next council meeting will be held 6:45 p.m. April 12 at the White Oak Athletic Association. Members of the public are welcome, but social distancing measures are in place.

Sarah Turnbull is a freelance writer in Irwin. She can be reached at sarahturnbull323@gmail.com.

Originally published March 24, 2021.

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