Updated: Jan 24
Photo by Lynne Deliman
Magistrate Bruce J. Boni shakes hands with new McKees Rocks Mayor David Flick after the borough reorganization meeting Jan. 3.
By Jamie Wiggan
In his inaugural address to council, McKees Rocks Mayor David Flick said he wants to “retire the phrase, ‘no one wants to live here.’”
During the 48 hours prior to the Jan. 11 meeting where he delivered his report, Flick said he’d spoken to two families that each refuted prevalent messaging about McKees Rocks as an undesirable destination.
One young couple Flick said he’d met with had lived there “about 45 hours,” while an elderly family he talked to shortly after had called McKees Rocks home for “about 45 years.”
Both, he said, showed people from across the spectrum are proud to call the town their own.
“People do want to come here,” Flick said.
To further propel this, Flick said he will devote his term to fighting housing blight across the town’s three wards.
“If you eradicate blight – it changes the game, that’s what I want to spend the next four years working on.”
A political novice who defeated incumbent Mayor Jack Muhr in the November election, Flick was sworn in during a reorganization meeting Jan. 3. New members Vince Corrie, Joe Lubas and Jeff Dusch were also sworn in during the reorganization. President Archie Brinza retained his leadership role, while Leslie Walker was ousted from the Vice Presidency in favor of Chas Maritz.
Also during the meeting, Controller Bill Beck said the borough has recently been reimbursed for two years of crossing guard salaries owed by the Sto-Rox School District.
Beck said the district had stopped contributing its share to the salary pool at the beginning of 2020, and so the borough, which fronts the entire amount before receiving a partial reimbursement from the district, had come to be owed about $34,000.
“I don’t know why that was allowed to accrue to that point but it did,” Beck said.
Beck praised the work of the borough’s administrators for “working diligently” to draft a complex invoice required to recoup the monies owed. To prevent future payment lapses, Beck said the borough will now start invoicing the district monthly.
At the instigation of Councilmember Nick Radoycis, borough officials said they will explore options to pursue unpaid sewage fees more aggressively.
“We seem to be very timid about taking legal action in collecting these funds,” said Radoycis, pointing to a high number of overdue accounts within the borough.
Substitute Manager LeeAnn Wozniak said many of the worst offending accounts are attached to rental units, which she said the borough’s collection agency won’t pursue.
She said she would schedule a conference call with the agency to explore alternatives.
Wozniak said, in the rare cases where the borough authorizes water shutoffs, account holders usually catch up quickly.
“It does work,” she said.
Solicitor Megan Turnbull noted, when pursuing unpaid sewage bills, municipalities have to weigh up the costs associated with filing liens in court and calling out the water company to shut off and turn on the water.