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North Apollo officials consider new regulations for rental properties

| Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

North Apollo officials are considering ordinances to regulate rental properties.

Concerns about the safety and conditions of rental properties were raised by a Dec. 17 fire in an apartment behind the R Bar, Solicitor Anthony Urti said.

Urti said the regulations are not intended to punish landlords but for the safety of the borough and to allow the borough to know what properties are rented.

A draft of a 25-page ordinance would require rental properties to be inspected before being rented. Fees would be charged but amounts were not stated.

Urti said he recommended council vote next month to advertise the ordinance. Advertising the ordinance is one of the first steps before council could vote to enact it and opens it for public review.

A second ordinance is being considered that would regulate the conduct and activity of persons in rental properties.

Urti said the requirements would be “common sense,” such as not engaging in criminal activity in rented properties or having “wild parties.” Violations would be summary offenses.

Council took no votes on Monday on either proposed ordinance.

Fire department funding

The North Apollo Volunteer Fire Department will get some of its money from the borough earlier than normal.

At the department's request, council voted on Monday to release $5,000 of its $15,000 annual contribution.

The department would normally get half of the money in June or July and the other half at the end of the year, council President Gene Burns said.

Burns said the department wanted to have the money spread out through the year.

Council will hold a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the fire hall to discuss collecting a fee or tax to support the fire department.

Because of financial difficulties, fire department leaders have asked the borough to consider collecting an $80 annual fee on every household in the borough.

Urti said the meeting is geared to public participation on the subject.

“Everything is on the table at this point,” he said, adding that no decisions have yet been made.

In other business

• North Apollo residents have a new day for their garbage pickup, starting this week.

Garbage will now be picked up on Wednesdays, meaning residents should put it out on Tuesdays.

The borough recently approved a two-year agreement with Shank Sanitation. Shank replaces Copney, which had picked up garbage on Thursdays.

The change in companies did not result in any change in cost. Residents still pay $35.75 per quarter to the borough for garbage collection.

• Residents are being given until April 1 to have address numbers displayed on their homes.

A 2003 borough ordinance requires that numbers be displayed, but many homes still lack them.

A reminder will be included in upcoming bills from the borough.

• Council approved a 3 percent raise for code enforcement officer Sam Ross.

That would increase his hourly rate from $10.33 to about $10.64.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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