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W.O. Council Divided Over Legal Fees

By Sarah Turnbull
The Tube City Almanac
October 12, 2021
Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak borough will consider adding three additional vacant homes to the list of structures already targeted for demoltion.

Under Pennsylvania’s Act 152, every county in the state can collect a fee for blight removal whenever a deed or mortgage is recorded at the courthouse. Borough manager John Palyo suggested using the revenue from that fee to tear down abandoned structures.

“If we’re budgeting funds for demolitions, why not do more? We could proceed with more properties even without grant money,” Palyo said.

2717 and 2736 Laurel Lane are currently marked for demolition. 1503 California Ave., 603 and 610 Osborne St. could soon be joining them, borough officials said.

Demolishing the average single-family home in White Oak costs $7,600, with an additional $500 fee for asbestos testing, Palyo said. The borough plans to set aside $10,000 for each demolition.

In other news, Solicitor Pat McGrail provided an update regarding an unsafe bridge along Jacks Run Road. The bridge is privately owned but provides access to several homes.

“[The bridge] is not safe. We’ve prepared an agreement with the homeowners and the neighbors that will allow the neighbors to travel over the homeowners’ property,” McGrail said.

“The borough has the right to permanently barricade that bridge. We need access for not only residents, but emergency vehicles as well,” she said.

Councilman George Dillinger, who chairs the finance committee, expressed concern about the borough’s involvement in the bridge situation.

“I’m concerned we’re setting a precedent on paying legal fees for personal property. Why is the borough getting involved in this?” Dillinger said.

In other news, the borough announced plans to advertise for a new animal control provider, and that trick-or-treating will be held Oct. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The next council workshop meeting will be held Oct. 18 6:45 p.m. at the White Oak Athletic Association. Members of the public are welcome, and White Oak residents can make public comments.

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

Originally published October 12, 2021.

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