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New software will assist with Homestead code enforcement

| Friday, July 12, 2013, 2:41 a.m.

Homestead council on Thursday approved the purchase of new software to help streamline code enforcement.

The Land Management and Service Request software from Freedom Systems comes at a price of $12,475.95 from the capital fund.

Borough officials said the cost has come down through the years, and now is the right time to buy. The software is to cut down on paperwork and desk time.

“When I'm writing citations or doing property maintenance, everything's done on paper,” code enforcement officer Keith Evers said. “With this I can hop on, punch the address in and I can pull up a history of everything that's ever been done on it.”

“It will allow us to have our code enforcement officer out in the street more taking care of stuff,” Councilwoman Zaneta Hines said.

Borough manager Ian McMeans said the borough uses other Freedom Systems software for accounts payable and other money management, and the new purchase will work with the current programs to assist in tracking fines and citations.

“It will take what took five hours and do it in 10 seconds,” McMeans said.

“It will give us a better filing system and access to any particular structure we're looking at,” Evers said. “Whether it be a building permit or violation of some sort, it's at our fingertips.”

McMeans said of the $12,475, approximately $6,400 is the cost of the software. The rest of the funds covers installation and training.

Council hired Dion Daye and Kenneth Shipman as seasonal part-time public works employees at a rate of $8.24 per hour.

Council voted 6-1 to authorize McMeans to accompany Mayor Betty Esper to First Commonwealth Bank to withdraw funds for a bus trip to Idlewild Park in August.

Funds are to be taken from the Spirit of Christmas account that is currently frozen due to a dispute. Esper and former borough event coordinator Denise Kelly used those monies for various activities such as the Historic Steel Valley Christmas Parade.

Esper and councilors had heated discussions on Thursday regarding the account, prompting two executive sessions. More information about the account and investigations into its use will be released later this month.

Homestead fire Chief Jim Barca announced his department received a $109,650 Assistance to Firefighters Grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The grant will provide the replacement of all firefighter air packs for $108,000 and $1,650 will be used for training. Air packs will be purchased from Mine Safety Appliances and delivered sometime in August.

Community Day is set for Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. at Frick Park near the intersection of Amity Street and E. Tenth Avenue.

Activities include balloon artists, face painters and jugglers all dressed as clowns, live entertainment, a magician, horse and pony rides, and a variety of ethnic foods and vendors. The 200 block of E. Tenth Avenue will be closed during the festivities.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or