Questions concerning changes to the home rule charter will once again appear on the ballot in Bethel Park at the Nov. 5 general election.
Voters will decide on two ballot questions that will eliminate residency requirements for two municipal positions, planner and financial officer.
The home rule charter, which is essentially Bethel Park’s constitution, requires the municipal manager, chief of police, financial officer and planner all live within the municipality. The proposed changes would waive that residency requirement for the planner and financial officer, but the municipal manager and chief of police would still be required to live in Bethel Park.
Councilman Jim McLean said the residency requirement reduces the pool of potential candidates for those positions. Eliminating that requirement may encourage more qualified individuals from surrounding communities to apply.
“The residency requirement becomes a deterrent to Bethel Park getting the best candidates,” McLean said at the council meeting Oct. 14.
If a majority of voters approve the change, it will not affect the rules concerning police officers and some municipal employees who are required to live within a reasonable commuting radius of Bethel Park.
Voters decided on changes to the home rule charter in each of the last three general elections. Last year, voters approved a change to the process in which residents may challenge certain municipal ordinances.
In other business, council agreed to apply for a state Community Development Block Grant to upgrade the sidewalks, making them more wheelchair accessible, at Miners Park. Bethel Park is hoping to receive $45,000 for the project, which is estimated at $150,000.
Council also approved a revision to the sewage facilities plan associated with a planned Life Time Fitness center at South Hills Village. The fitness center straddles the line between Upper St. Clair and Bethel Park. Council approved the site plan a few months ago.
Council heard from Rich Pahler, who has long voiced concerns about flooding around his property on Logan Road.
Pahler said he has been dealing with flooding for years and now it appears his property is sinking. Pahler said an investigation from the state Department of Environmental Protection determined it was not because of mine subsidence, so Pahler is convinced the sinking is caused by a problem with the municipal storm sewer that runs under his property.