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Public works department sets 2023 goals
Duquesne City Councilwoman Elaine Washington ironed out a few street department “goals” for 2023 at the governing body’s first meeting of the year.
“New street signs,” she noted. Some need to be installed, while others need to be replaced, she told council.
Washington said the post office gave the city a warning about subpar signage “a few years ago,” and she thinks it’s time that street signs should be a priority.
“We also need to look at overgrowth, especially on Route 837,” she said. “It is our [Duquesne’s] responsibility.” She hopes crews will tackle that project in the late spring.
In addition, Washington said the city will seek funding for a new Public Works garage.
In other business, city council voted to increase water and sewage rates. Last month, officials announced that water rates will increase from the minimum $9.70 per 1,000 gallons to $9.90. Any water bill over 15,000 gallons will increase to $11.80 minimum.
The water industry estimates that the average family of four uses 12,000 gallons of water per month at home. Based on that usage, their water bill would increase about $2.40.
In addition, waste and municipal fees are expected to increase from $20 per month to $22.50. The city uses County Hauling for its garbage collection. Those who use private garbage collection companies for dumpsters and the like will pay $11.50 per month, even if they don’t use the municipal services.
Mayor Scott Adams asked members of council to help write new job descriptions for a code enforcement officer and supervisor of the street department.
City officials said an existing street department employee is planning to retire, which could help open up funding for a code enforcement officer. Adams noted that salary funding could already come from the public works and water departments, and that rate increases would also help support a new employee.
That led to a discussion between Adams and Washington about the fiscal status of the Water Department. Adams said that it has been “in the red” for the past five years and Washington commented that this was “the first I am hearing” of the department losing money.
Solicitor Myron Sainovich said that if the water department is running at a loss, the problem will “need to be fixed.”
Tom Leturgey is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh and the editor of KSWA Digest, the online news and features home of the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance. His work also appears in The Valley Mirror and other publications.
Originally published January 12, 2023.