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Duquesne Residents Could See Sewer Rates Go Up

By Tom Leturgey
The Tube City Almanac
November 16, 2023
Posted in: Duquesne News

Duquesne City Council’s meeting Tuesday night was one of the quickest of this calendar year at 38 minutes, but officials went through some important items.

City residents may see an increase in their sewage rates next year. “We received a template from Pennsylvania American Water Co. with ‘here’s why,’” said Councilman Aaron Adams. He noted that there were no definitive numbers yet, but rates may increase.

Adams countered that there will still be assistance plans available for those low-income residents who may need assistance. “And there might be discounts based on income.” The council hopes to know more about the matter by next month’s meeting.

Following up on last month’s Water Department report, City Councilman Aaron Adams noted that contractor ACI has been out in the city “three or four times” to work on the pump station programs. “They are installing pump number 3 and working to make pump 1 run autonomously.”

Last month, Adams and Council expressed frustration with the lack of progress on its water department pumps and floated the idea of potentially selling the resource. Adams noted that he expects the new work to continue.

The city reports that the trash collection contract will need to be re-bid. A contract needs to be accepted and ratified soon, so the deadline for companies to re-bid for the work is by 11 on Dec. 1.

“We need to prepare for next year,” Adams continued. “We probably need to make an immediate decision [after that deadline.]”

New City Manager Douglas Sample reported that budget talks for 2024 are underway and a preliminary budget should be finished next week and presented to Council at the workshop meeting on Nov. 28 and a vote should be taken at the meeting on Dec. 5.

Mayor R. Scott Adams asked Public Works Director Steve Arbasak if the city has any recycling bins anywhere on premise because “some new residents were asking about them.”

During her Public Safety report, Councilwoman Elaine Washington noted that city crews are working to clean up and pick up trash from vacant land. She noted that there is another round of Action Housing grants for low-income residents looking for a way to renovate their home. “There are additional funds available,” she said. Residents can inquire and fill out paperwork at the municipal building.

The city is also working on grants to replace five fire hydrants in the city. Mayor Adams said officials, including fire department chief Frank Cobb, will review what hydrants need replaced.

She also noted that she was at a meeting with Allegheny County Councilman Bob Macey who wanted to remind interested parties that aspiring Volunteer Fire Fighters can go to Community College of Allegheny County “for free.”

The Community and Economic Development report included a motion to ratify the adoption of a resolution requesting a grant of $85,800 from CDBG Year 50 Program for the demolition of six properties on Erwin Street. The vote was 3-0 with Councilman Tim Caldwell absent and Councilman Derek Artim excused. The officials also ratified the adoption of a resolution identifying those properties as blighted.

There is a public hearing at 6:15 p.m. Nov. 28 at the municipal building for scheduled demolitions of nine other properties in the city, including four in the 600 block of Crawford Avenue. “We are checking off boxes in that process,” said Sample.

The city approved the appointment of Hermann and Loll as independent auditors to conduct the 2023 annual financial audit at a cost of not more than $150,000. The council also approved adding Sample to bank accounts for the city.

Council and the Mayor accepted the resignation of police officer Richard Dell. Mayor R. Scott Adams noted that Dell had accepted another position elsewhere.

Adams also credited the police department with taking 125 seized firearms off the street through the Gun Task Force. “It’s a pretty nice job,” he continued. “The department is doing a good job in keeping those guns off the streets.” Police Chief William Shaw was not in attendance Tuesday, but Adams gave the police report for the month of October.

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 November 16, 2023.

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