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Jeannette's code officer could be returning to work

| Thursday, April 26, 2012, 1:01 a.m.

Could there be a property maintenance officer back on the job in Jeannette?

Council is expected to vote on the item Wednesday.

With an eye on saving money in a city in financial straits, council in March voted 3-1 to suspend the duties of Tim Hoffman. Hoffman, who enforced city ordinances, including violations such as high grass and weeds, was working about 30 hours a week at a rate of $11 an hour.

Councilman Jeff DePalma said someone is needed for the job again. His concerns include portions of a deal approved in April with Building Inspection Underwriters Inc. for code inspection.

Mike Minyon, city clerk, told council Monday that Building Inspection Underwriters is to be paid $55 for any visit dealing with matters such as high grass and high weeds.

"It's cost effective. You're talking $11 against $55," DePalma said about having a property maintenance officer. "We have to address this issue, and we have to attack it hard. We have to clean up properties ... I think we need three property maintenance people."

Councilman Ron Dinsmore, who oversees accounts and finances, reiterated a point he made in March that property maintenance duties can be handled by the police department and Richard Ault, city foreman. He added that council members can even be on the lookout for such infractions.

Dinsmore stressed that every penny must be watched in a city that has entered into a shared municipal services grant program with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic development for Pre-Act 47 assistance. The arrangement aims to keep a community from being declared financially distressed and therefore subject to state oversight. Matching grant funds are provided to assist municipalities experiencing financial difficulties.

"(How) are you going to pay for all this• We're broke," Dinsmore said. "We should be looking at things as we go by and turning them in. We've got to save money. The money is gone."

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