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Oakmont considers raising fee for zoning board hearing

| Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 1:36 a.m.

It may end up costing 50 percent more to have a zoning board hearing in Oakmont.

Borough Manager Lisa Cooper Jensen told council members on Monday that Oakmont is losing money on zoning board hearings.

The fee to have a hearing before the board is $500, but it can cost the borough almost $2,000 to hold a hearing, Jensen said.

“I don't think we should put our prices too high,” said Jensen, who suggested raising the fee to $1,000 or $1,500 for a hearing.

So far this year, Oakmont has held four zoning board hearings at a cost of $7,960, based on Jensen's figures. If the $500 hearing fee is subtracted, the borough still spent $5,960 for the hearings.

“It costs us $160.50, for example, for a transcript,” she said.

When Jensen asked council members what they thought of a $1,000 hearing fee, she was immediately met with opposition by a majority of council.

“I would be hesitant to go over $750,” said Councilman Tim Favo.

At Favo's urging, council is scheduled to vote whether to raise the fee to $750 on June 9.

In other business

• Work is continuing on the borough's employee handbook, which includes specific job descriptions and clarifies what each employee's duties are, Jensen said.

As part of this process, council is examining whether to spend $25 on hearing and eye exams for new employees, said Jensen, who suggested running a credit check on them as well.

The “leaf and line” employees, who are seasonal workers, some auxiliary police and library pages would be exempt from the credit check, said Jensen, saying this check would be geared toward borough employees who handle money.

“If someone has bad credit, they might be tempted to embezzle,” she said.

• The borough received a $35,000 grant from Duquesne Light Co. for electrical equipment at Riverside Park that will allow the borough to install lights for night ball games at the park.

“If we have a night game now, we have to rent lights,” Jensen said.

Suzanne Elliott is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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