By Libby Rosequist
The borough meeting on Monday, Oct. 5, covered three new resolutions and how money will be distributed for them.
Under new business, a Cooperation Agreement between North East Borough and County of Erie for fiscal year 2020 CDBG program was approved along with all three of the resolutions: Resolution No. 10052020-1, 2020 CDBG Application and Submission to PA DCED; Resolution No. 10052020-2, Development of a Multi-Municipal Comprehensive Plan with North East Township; and Resolution No. 10052020-3, Authorization for Multitmodal Transportation Fund Grant through PennDOT.
“The cooperation agreement walks through the process of describing what the amounts are for each resolution, and it is the agreement we work together with the county to administer funds for this program which in this period is for single family housing rehabilitation,” Borough Manager Pat Gehrlein said. “The total allocation amount is $95,244.”
Resolution No. 2 is an effort to revise or recreate the comprehensive plan that is over 15 years old and to make it relevant to the North East area in concert with the township.
The comprehensive plan has to do with infrastructure, municipal services and other programs that may affect both the township and borough, and that each must agree to.
“It is a 12-month plan and we feel it is a strong possibility that within or prior to that we will have a comprehensive plan,” Gehrlein said.
The last resolution is the making of an application to PennDOT to provide streetscape amenities within the area as well as some gateway amenities.
“What we are really talking about is reimagining the downtown streetscapes along the corridors of Route 20 and 89 this will also include funding for the underpass which has been identified as the larger target priority area through our smart transportation plan completed in 2014,” Gehrlein added.
Council also approved Ordinance No. 916, Establishing a Residential Rental Inspection Program within the North East Borough.
“This ordinance details a set of parameters in which nonowner-occupied residential units will be inspected by the Borough Code Enforcement office,” Gehrlein said. “North East Borough has 43% nonowner occupancy and the concern is how do we maintain a standard of habitability and living for these individuals that are tenants, and we found one of the possible solutions would be a rental inspection program.”
The plan so far, will be an inspection per unit per year with a checklist of detailed items a landlord has to adhere to and will be given time to make adjustments to properties. If approved two years consecutively, the four subsequent years will not be required to have the inspection redone.
“There are grace periods built within the program so the landlords could test out of having their units inspected,” Gehrlein said. “We realize there is a wide spectrum of quality in our rental housing and the great landlords do not need to be burdened with inspections and we acknowledge that we are implementing this for the ones that are not rule followers and are not doing what is best for their tenants and the neighboring properties in the community.”
The rental inspections will cost $10 per unit.
A letter to advertise the new ordinance will be mailed to landlords and borough residents.