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Haycock objects to state code enforcement proposal


Concerned about a state proposal to change a code enforcement method that has been working well for its small-town budget, while supporting its authority to protect its taxpayers, Haycock Township is officially opposing legislation that would require it to retain more than one third-party enforcement agency.

The proposed legislation is apparently driven by the needs of builders and developers to stay on schedule when a sole enforcement agency is not readily available.

The township’s opposition was expressed as passage of a resolution at its May 6 public board of supervisor meeting, against House Bill 349, which would require municipalities to utilize at least two enforcement agencies.

Referring to the Uniform Construction Code (UCC), which allows the township to use either a municipal employee or a third-party agency for administration and enforcement, the resolution states that the bill would “place cost, availability and popularity over experience, performance, and skill,” while “effectively removing our authority to administer and enforce the UCC.”

The resolution adds that “the UCC as currently written still allows us to pick more than one third-party agency if we so desire,” and that “we currently have the power to immediately find a new code enforcement official if we received complaints or are otherwise dissatisfied with our third-party agency.”

Having neither the wherewithal nor the need to employ its own enforcement official, the township has been served for about 10 years by an arrangement it has with neighboring Richland Township, which has a full-time enforcement official who is sufficiently available to also meet Haycock’s needs. That availability began when he didn’t have a lot to do during the economic crash of 2008, and the Haycock was happy to stop paying for an independent enforcement contractor.

While Richland’s employee has since become much more busy with Richland work, he has still been sufficiently available for Haycock.

“You have to pay to have those enforcement contractors to be available whether they are needed or not, and typically working for engineering firms, they command top dollar,” explained Supervisor Chair Kathy Babb after the meeting. “We weren’t having enough work to justify having even one agency.” She added the arrangement with Richland was similar to equipment-sharing that is practiced by many small towns.

Also during the May 6 meeting, supervisors approved hiring “a seasonal part-time employee to assist with grounds maintenance and other possible duties as needed.” The minimum age requirement is 16.

Inquiries are welcome through the township office.

An open house with new state Rep. Wendy Ullman and a PennDOT representative has been scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. May 23, at the Haycock Community Center. Information will be available on “Real ID” and other state services.