Council will issue info on imminent inspections
OXFORD >> During its Nov. 21 meeting, borough council decided it will issue a news release advising residents that an inspector will be actively looking for property maintenance code violations and may come into yards to do so.
Ordinances against unregistered vehicles, vehicles parked on grass and accumulations of trash on porches and yards have been in effect for many years, but enforcement has been sporadic and only in response to complaints.
With the support of borough council, borough Manager Brian Hoover has directed codes enforcement officials to begin going through the borough to find violations and give notice that they must be corrected or fines will be imposed.
“It’s new, and we have to work on getting it better. It’s quality of life issues. It’s something that has been left go and now it’s going to be cleaned up,” Hoover said. He estimates that there are at least 500 abandoned vehicles in the borough plus many other issues. “We’re doing the right thing for the right reasons. There’s going to be pushback because nobody wants a violation.”
Hoover explained that the ordinances give borough officials the right to come onto properties to look for violations, but they do not have authority to enter buildings, open vehicles or lift vehicle covers.
Residents unaware of the new policy have been shocked to see an inspector in their yard or a violation warning on their door. They have particularly complained that the person checking for violations does not have ID showing that he is working for the borough. The response has been so negative that there have even been threats posted on Facebook.
Until proper ID is made, the enforcement visits will be suspended but will return. In addition to maintenance code vi-
olations, the contracted employee will also be in the borough on weekends checking off contractors working without permits.
In addition to discussing code inspections at the recent meeting, a major item on the agenda was the vote to advertise the 2017 general fund, liquid fuels and water fund budgets. The general fund budget totals over $3.4 million, with a surplus of $77,614 between revenues and expenses. The liquid fuels
fund comes in at roughly $124,000 in revenues and $92,500.
Hoover projects that there will be about $2 million in the borough’s capital fund, which can be used to run a new water supply line from the borough’s newest well to the water treatment plant.
There is no planned increase to the water rates this year, nor is there an increase in the borough tax rate, which will remain at 12.25 mills.
In other business, it was announced that the borough will receive a $578,000 Community Revitalization Program
grant from the county. The money is the first large grant toward funding a public transportation hub and parking garage project that is expected to total $5.75 million.
Mayor Geoff Henry received public thanks from the Oxford Area Recreation Authority for his service as chairman on that board. In October, Henry resigned from the recreation authority and the borough planning commission effective Dec. 1. During the meeting, Mary Lou Baily was appointed to replace Henry on the planning commission.