Susquehanna lifts condemnation notices on two homes

BY STACI WILSON

Plans are in the works to bring two Susquehanna Borough homes back to a habitable condition.

Council lifted the condemnation notices on the properties – one on Broad Ave., the other on Washington St. – at the Oct. 16 meeting.

The notices had been placed on the houses for codes violations.

Councilman Roy Williams, who also handles code enforcement concerns in the borough, said the condemnations needed to be lifted by council in order for the property owners to begin the needed renovation work.

One of the property owners attended the meeting. He said he planned to live in the residence following the work. It is estimated the work will take about eight months to complete.

The other property owner, Williams said, had plans to fix up the residence and then sell it.

The borough now has a zoning board in place to handle property concerns over variances and allowed uses under borough ordinances.

At the meeting, it was noted the borough solicitor had recommended establishing the board as a mechanism to handle zoning appeals and that council moved forward with the suggestion.

Police Chief Robert sweet said he had been in touch with the county dog warden. Sweet said the dog warden had been responsive to the borough’s concerns over dogs running loose.

Council members also noted that there are still some issues with dogs roaming in the borough and reminded residents that there is a leash law ordinance that requires dogs be secured at all times.

The borough received quotes for repair work to be done on an interior door in the garage and awarded the work to Gallagher Construction.

The borough is also looking into a vacant building and parcel ordinance similar to one adopted by Carbondale.

The proposed ordinance could require property owners to register the vacant building once per year and pay a registration fee to the borough. In the Carbondale ordinance, Secretary Margaret Biegert said, the fee escalates each year.

Biegert said that when the borough had money for acquisition and demolition of blighted properties some of the owners of vacant parcels refused to sell.
Williams said that there are also owners that have several long-term vacant properties.

Reddon said she believed the ordinance was a good idea but emphasized the importance of enforcement.

The sample ordinance presented to council members will go to the solicitor for review.

Work on the 2014 borough budget is underway with preliminary numbers presented to council by the treasurer. With the current numbers, no tax increase is anticipated in the borough for 2014. The current tax rate in the borough is 23.10 mills.

The budget is expected to be completed by the November meeting and available for public review; then advertised for adoption in December.