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Indiana OKs new building code

| Thursday, July 8, 2004

Indiana County commissioners on Wednesday approved contracts to establish the new construction code in the county, complying with state requirements.

The county had scheduled voting on the contracts for June 22, but activity in the Legislature prompted them to delay the vote until yesterday. The state House and Senate's compromise bill exempts certain existing residential buildings, recreational cabins and other structures as opposed to stricter regulations.

The county contracted with 18 of its 24 townships and 10 of its 12 boroughs to administer and enforce the code on the municipalities' behalf. The county covers all costs through fees paid by the builder.

Municipalities that chose to administer the code themselves included South Mahoning, Canoe, Banks, Washington, White and Pine townships and Blairsville and Cherry Tree boroughs.

The county also contracted with Middle Department Inspection Services, of Wexford, Allegheny County, to provide review and inspection services. That firm will also be paid through builder permit fees.

In other business, the county hired the accounting firm of Zelenkofske Axelrod LLC, of Harrisburg, to calculate indirect costs for 2003 and 2004. The county will pay the firm $9,500 to tabulate last year's figures and $9,785 for this year's.

The costs are those the county spent indirectly when administering a grant.

For example, on a grant from a state agency that the county planning office spent time administering, direct costs would be the hourly wages for a planner who spent time on the grant. Indirect costs would be the cost for electricity the employee used while working on the grant, county Financial Manager Randy Degenkolb said.

Degenkolb said the funds to pay the firm would come out of the general fund, but the county would make that money back through additional grant money obtained by citing the figures.

Until 2002, indirect costs had been configured by county employee Rod Zampogna, who works with the domestic relations office. However, state officials urged the county to hire someone outside the county to tabulate the figures because they thought it was a conflict of interest.

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