Thursday, October 11, 2012

Council OKs $33K Codes Office Review

After discussing for roughly 40 minutes and finally agreeing to absorb about $2,500 in costs that are not in this year's budget to help the Halloween parade Tuesday, Pottstown Borough Council then quickly and happily agreed to spend another $33,000 that is also not in the budget.

Only Councilman Tavis Gery voted against a proposal brought to council Oct. 3 by interim borough manager Mark Flanders, to hire a firm to conduct a top to bottom review of the codes department.

Flanders told council at the Oct. 3 meeting that the idea had been floated previously and “I’d like to see it get moving.”

Mark Flanders
He said the proposal calls for hiring Remington, Vernick and Beach Engineers, which the borough hired in March as the borough engineering firm and which also services the planning commission, to “conduct a review of our current services and conduct an analysis for improvement.”

The firm would “bench mark the department and make recommendations for best management practices” that would be issued in a written report, said Flanders. 

The firm already conducts many reviews for projects in the borough.

The examination period would last for 10 weeks and the cost “is not to exceed $33,546,” Flanders reported.

He also noted that “there is no line item in the budget to pay for this.” 

However, the idea was backed by council's Finance and Administration Committee.

Councilman Dan Weand, who heads the committee, endorsed the idea Wednesday and said Tuesday that the borough had put its finances in order and now would like to improve its codes office as well.

 "We want to make Pottstown a top rated town and codes is the places to start," said Weand.
Travis Gery

"We want to change the impression of doing business with Pottstown," said Mayor Bonnie Heath.

Afterward, Gery explained that he does not understand the rush, when the borough will soon have a new borough manager, as well as an assistant borough manager, "and those people could conduct an in-house review that wouldn't cost any money."

The vote comes in the wake of the revelation that the Codes Department is the focus of a Montgomery County Grand Jury investigation instigated after the arrest of landlord Frank McLaughlin. 

McLaughlin was arrested and charged with theft of service and other felonies after allegedly installing devices which would allow the water meters on properties he owned to be by-passed, thus avoid paying for water in those properties.

Those devices were never discovered in any of many inspections by the codes office, but by the West Pottsgrove fire marshal responding to a fire call.

No comments:

Post a Comment