MOUNT CARMEL - Borough council passed Thursday night an amendment to the Quality of Life ordinance that provides the code enforcement officer and police officers more leverage when issuing tickets for code violations.

The new tool allows officers to cite property owners and tenants with public nuisance violations much like parking tickets are issued. The practice is also being used in Shamokin and Coal Township.

"It expands the scope of enforcement," said Councilman Joseph Lapotsky, who spearheaded development of the ordinance. "It gives us a little more ammo to clean up the town and provide quality of life to people who deserve it."

Effective immediately, owners and tenants are required to "remove any condition, structure or improvement which constitutes a danger or potential danger to the health, safety or welfare of the citizens of the borough, or cause a blight effect or disturbance in the borough neighborhoods," according to the amendment.

Fines are $25 for a first violation, $50 for the second and $100 for the third.

The original ordinance, passed in May, left "things open to interpretation," said Police Chief Todd Owens. "We want to make sure we're covering all our bases."

A public nuisance could be oil dumped in the street, a crooked sidewalk or a loud band, he said.

The goal of the ordinance overall is to eliminate blight and problem properties that keep the town looking shabby, and reduce costs to both the municipality and violators, Lapotsky said previously.

The tickets, if paid, can circumvent the need for court appearances and legal fees associated with citations. Also, it gives violators fair warning to get their properties cleaned up before higher penalties are imposed, officials have said.

West End truck

Borough council sold the West End Fire Company's 1984 Pierce Arrow pumper truck to Westside Volunteer Fire Department, Edgefield, S.C., for $4,500.

West End officials had considered selling the truck to Locust Gap Fire Company in order to keep it local, but the vehicle broke down when Locust Gap officials came to take it away. They ultimately decided they didn't want to put the effort into fixing it, said Shirmer, also a West End member.

Borough council also approved:

- A two-year rental agreement with Scott McCormick, with a six-month out clause, at $2,100 a month for the borough headquarters at Fourth and Vine streets.

- Borough Manager Edward Cuff III issuing a letter of support for the Saturday night route for the Lower Anthracite Transportation System (LATS).

- Selling a 2005 Ford Expedition to Asia Motors Inc., Chicago, for $3,265.