Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
WILKES-BARRE, PA — Angela Marsicano and her daughter, Gina, know first-hand the benefits of the city’s Gateway Facade Improvement Program.
The two women live next door to each other and they took advantage of the program to improve the appearance of their Blackman Street homes. Angela lives at 246 Blackman St. and Gina is at 250 Blackman.
Gina had new stonework, front window, front door, porch rail, porch roof installed and aluminum siding painted.
Her mother had new windows installed, shutters, aconcrete foundation and porch steps put in.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mayor Lou Mavrakis drove slowly through Monessen, block by block, pointing out one vacant, blighted building after another in the city of 7,700 along the Monongahela River.
“That belongs to me,” he said, pointing to a house with a collapsing roof that has become the responsibility of the city and the mayor.
Tax records show the building is one of 264 structures and lots in the city that have been abandoned by their owners. More than 26 percent of the city’s 734 blighted properties are owned by people from 24 states and five foreign countries, beyond the legal reach of Monessen officials.
“It’s almost impossible to get in touch with these owners,” Mavrakis said.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
CONSHOHOCKEN, PA – Under a new residential rental policy that takes effect Jan. 1, 2014, landlords will have to live within 12 miles of the borough or designate a person to make decisions for them in case of an emergency.
The borough council in June unanimously passed the ordinance, rewriting what officials said had been a patchwork rental code.
Under the new ordinance, each rental property requires an annual permit, and code inspections will be conducted every other year.
Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Turtle Creek Mayor Adam Forgie said that in order to fix the problems in the borough of 6,400 people, he needs to see them.
Three weeks ago, he began what he calls the “Walk and Talk” initiative — residents can call the mayor’s office and schedule a tour of their street with Mr. Forgie, during which they can point out and discuss concerns.
Mr. Forgie, who grew up in Turtle Creek and is now a history teacher at the Woodland Hills Academy in the borough, said the complaints from residents range from unkempt lawns to drug deals in alleys.
While an overgrown yard might seem minor, the mayor said he understands residents’ frustration.
City council voted recently to reinstate a public-shaming program aimed at irresponsible landlords.
The new law requires the city’s Bureau of Building Inspection to identify the 10 most dilapidated structures and the Department of Public Works to put up signs with the owners’ names, addresses and phone numbers.
Under the “Operation Red” program, the signs will say, “Don’t Come Here. Don’t Invest Here.”
The signs are intended to shame landlords, but some critics predict they will embarrass tenants more. Other critics say the signs may hasten the demise of particular streets or neighborhoods.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Next year Berks County property owners can expect the first county tax increase in eight years: between about 5 and 8 percent.
The amount will depend on negotiations with labor unions that represent county workers, county commissioners said Tuesday during their workshop session.
Budget Director Robert J. Patrizio Jr. said that in a worst-case scenario a 2.5 percent increase in wages would cost the county $3.2 million in 2013. Covering that, plus an expected deficit this year of $9.5 million and cuts in state funding would require an 8 percent increase in taxes, he said.
Property owners currently pay a rate of 6.935 mills, or $693.50 annually on a property assessed at $100,000.
Our mission is to provide and maintain superior municipal services in a safe and controlled community setting, keeping within the designated financial constraints as set forth in our annual budget, in order to attract and retain responsible property owners, businesses and community leaders that will continue to assist in our improvement and growth for the future, while remembering our P.R.I.D.E.
P.R.I.D.E. Core Values
P – Plan - We will accept that change is inevitable, and PLAN accordingly for the future.
R – Responsible - We will manage our financial and human resources in a RESPONSIBLE manner.
I – Interests - We will consider the INTERESTS of the entire community in decision making
D – Deliver - We will strive to DELIVER superior services to the tax and rate payers.
E – Equity - We will treat everyone and every situation with EQUITY and fairness.
Adopted and approved by Pottstown Borough Council October 11, 2011.