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Kittanning targets blighted homes

| Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

KITTANNING — Council is getting serious about dealing with blighted homes and irresponsible absentee landlords.

Councilman Richard Reedy brought the topic up at the monthly meeting on Monday.

Reedy, chairman of the codes and planning committee, referred to a two-year-old state law that gives the borough more leverage when it comes to bringing a court action against property owners who are in serious violation of a building or housing code.

Personal assets

Now property owners' personal assets can be attached, said Reedy.

Borough solicitor Chase McClister said codes officer Rick McMillen has prepared a list of offenders.

McClister said he will keep council posted on those headed to court.

Reedy suggested the start-up of a special fund created from the fines of offending property owners to be used for demolition costs of derelict properties.

Council voted 8-0 in favor of setting up the fund by the end of the year and agreed to review current property violation fines with an eye to raising those fines.

In other business:

• Council has planned to meet with the finance committee to go over the budget on Nov. 19.

There is still a balance of $158,000 to be paid on the tax anticipation loan by Dec. 31. Council also will prepare a tentative 2013 budget that will be adopted at the Dec. 3 meeting.

• Jennifer Bellas, director of the county's community development office, stressed the importance of borough residents and commuters attending a public meeting to review various traffic flow options.

The various models are the result of a transportation study and the meeting is planned for Nov. 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the First Church of God, Fellowship Hall, at 629 Woodward Ave.

“This is our town,” said Bellas.

“If we want it to look better, everyone needs to be there. We need the public to be there so we can voice our opinions and look at our options.”

Bellas said if people have questions they can call her office at 724-548-3223.

• Police Chief Ed Cassesse said Kittanning police will enforce boat dock violations now that he has discovered through research that the borough property line extends to the middle of the Allegheny River rather than ending at the river bank as was previously thought.

• Kittanning Hose Co. 6 Fire Chief Scott Kline officially removed the company from the borough's insurance policy and said the fire department will be carrying its own coverage from now on.

• Council granted Kline's request for Ewing Street to be closed on Dec. 2 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. so that the company can engage in a structure burn training

• Resident Linda Hemmes announced the launch of a new borough website: www.kittanningboro.com.

• There will be no garbage collection on Monday, Nov. 12, Thursday, Nov. 22 and Monday, Nov. 26.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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