HERMITAGE Officials consider money for county agency

The agency is requesting $20,498 from the city's housing rehabilitation fund.
HERMITAGE, Pa. -- Commissioners are considering providing money to enable the Mercer County Association for the Retarded to make repairs to four of its properties.
The properties on Theresa Avenue, Highland Road, Victoria Drive and Clarksville Road house several retarded individuals.
The repairs include replacing windows, tiling floors and installing carpeting.
MCAR executive director Robert Beach estimated the cost at $31,495. He said his agency can come up with $11,000.
Commissioners discussed Beach's request during a work session Wednesday and agreed to meet with him during a special session at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 14 at the city building.
Gary Gulla, assistant city manager, said Hermitage receives more than $500,000 a year from a state Community Development Block Grant. He said 40 to 60 percent of that money is used to rehabilitate owner-occupied homes.
"Which means that to provide the money for MCAR, the city has to amend its existing ordinance" to include MCAR-type dwellings, he said.
Rehabilitation: The city has about $450,000 available in its housing rehabilitation fund. Gulla said the city has up to three years to use the money from each annual grant and normally rehabilitates 12 to 15 houses a year.
Gulla said the city could either provide MCAR with funding from its existing reserve, or include the project in next year's budget and use money from the 2002 state grant.
"The real question is whether the city wants to amend its ordinance to allow us to accept an application from Bob Beach," he said.
City officials said MCAR would have to go through the city's application process and adhere to city regulations, such as allowing Hermitage officials to inspect the properties.
Lease: Commissioners introduced an ordinance that would authorize officials to execute a one-year lease between the city and the Mercer County Intermediate Unit IV for office space in the Municipal Annex Building.
The intermediate unit is looking to begin renting the space by Sept. 1. Rent would be $7,344 the first year. Commissioners plan to vote on the measure immediately after a public hearing on the issue Aug. 22.
Commissioners also established a $250 fee for permits to drill gas or oil wells.

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