Mount Carmel Township ready to approve new blight ordinance
ATLAS - The three Mount Carmel Township supervisors, one of whom participated in Wednesday's regular meeting via telephone, voted to advertise a tougher blight ordinance for the township. The ordinance is scheduled to be adopted at the next meeting.
Called the "Mount Carmel Township Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Ordinance," it authorizes supervisors to deny permits and approvals for serious code violators until their violations are collected.
The ordinance, recommended by the Northumberland County Blight Task Force, is adopted from a state law by the same name that went into effect in April 2011.
If a code violation is left unaddressed by a property owner for six consecutive months, the law allows a municipality to take action, including having an out-of-state offender extradited for prosecution. Also, punishment can include placing a lien against other properties owned by the alleged offender, or against a mortgage lender, limited partner and others, to recoup costs.
"This is the same ordinance that Coal Township adopted last month," said attorney Vincent Rovito, who serves as solicitor for both municipalities. "Marion Heights will also be adopting it very soon."
The ordinance will be advertised and available for review until supervisors' Feb. 20 meeting.
Vice Chairman Reynold Scicchitano and secretary/treasurer Joseph Zanella voted in favor to advertise the ordinance in person, while chairman Charles Gasperetti cast his yes vote by phone.
In other business during a brief 10-minute meeting, the board voted to increase wages for part-time police officers from $11 to $13 per hour.
"It is getting hard to find quality people for the police department at the wage we were paying when other municipalities are paying more," Scicchitano said. "We could also utilize them to transport prisoners for hearings, which would still be cheaper than using a full-time officer."
The Kulpmont-Marion Heights Joint Municipal Authority informed supervisors by letter they have raised sewer rates $10 a quarter, from $70 to $80 a payment. They have also tacked on a $5 operations and maintenance charge, making the new payment $85 a quarter.
State Rep. Kurt Masser or a representative of his office, will be at the township building from 10 a.m. to noon Friday for any residents who wish to offer comment or receive assistance on a state-related subject.
A motion to sell two Ford Crown Victoria police vehicles for $200 each to the Schuylkill County Constable Association was tabled.