Trafford hires firm to do code-enforcement work
After struggling to retain part-time code-enforcement officers, Trafford Council is contracting with an Allegheny County firm owned by an experienced code officer to work on an as-needed basis.
West Mifflin-based Allegheny Building Consultants, owned by Mark Lazzaro, began providing code-enforcement services for the borough this week. Council voted unanimously on Jan. 21 to hire the firm at a rate of $25 an hour.
The firm employs a staff of code officers — including Lazzaro, who has worked part time in Trafford over the past two years. Under the agreement, the firm will conduct inspections on weekdays and provide office hours twice a week, but Trafford will not pay it for benefits or insurance.
“It's going to be on an as-needed basis, so during the winter, when it's slow, we may only need 10 hours of code enforcement,” Councilman John Daykon said. “In the summer, when it's busy, we may need 40 or 45 or 50.”
Trafford officials have been complimentary of Lazzaro, who now works full time as West Mifflin's code officer. Though Lazzaro worked full time in Trafford for only a couple of months in 2012, he continued on a part-time basis after two other part-time code officers resigned.
Unlike some other code firms, which earn a percentage of the fees generated in a municipality, Trafford will retain all of the revenue the code office makes, Daykon said.
“In our opinion, we think it'll be a much better alternative,” he said.
Council meeting dates are being switched to the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m., starting in February.
Council's change is accommodating the borough's solicitor, Craig Alexander, who now has a conflict with council's previously longstanding schedule of meeting on the third Tuesday of the month.
The only exception will be in November, when council will meet on the third Tuesday because the first Tuesday is Election Day.
An improved fire rating for the Trafford Fire Company should help to decrease the cost of residents' homeowners insurance, Chief Brian Lindbloom said.
The department recently underwent its first insurance-services audit in 18 years. Because of the results, residents might want to check with their insurance companies to renegotiate their rate if their renewal period is a few months away, Lindbloom said. The audit reviews a company's equipment, training and certifications, among other aspects.
Council awarded grants to six community organizations that applied for funding from the borough.
The grants went to Trafford Level Green Athletic Association, $3,961; Trafford Emergency Medical Services, $3,000; Trafford Economic and Community Development Corp., $2,700; Trafford Community Public Library, $2,500; Holiday Happenings committee, $2,000; and Trafford Beautification Club, $1,000.
The groups are required to file paperwork by the end of the year demonstrating how they spent the money and return any leftover funds.
Council is advertising to hire part-time maintenance workers who would clean the borough building, Manchester Room and park pavilions.
The job will pay $10 an hour, which officials said would cost less than the $10,000 Trafford had been paying for a cleaning service it recently stopped using.