LAWRENCE COUNTY COG members set forum to explain forming council

The regional code enforcement should begin later this year.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The Lawrence County Council of Governments is planning a forum to help elected officials and others understand the newly proposed form of county government.
COG members agreed at Wednesday's meeting to set up a forum sometime before the November election to have the proposal explained to anyone interested.
They are looking, however, for someone unattached to the county or the commission recommending the change to explain it.
Recommended change
A nine-member commission is recommending that the government change from three county commissioners with legislative and administrative duties to a county council of seven members and a professional manager.
The professional manager would handle the daily administrative duties, and the council would set policy.
All other elected officials, except the controller and district attorney, would be eliminated and be replaced by department heads under this proposal.
Several COG members said they did not understand the proposal and wanted a neutral party to explain it. It falls under an optional form of government permitted by Pennsylvania.
Voters will decide by referendum in November if the new form of government will be implemented.
Code enforcement office
In other business, several COG members are close to setting up a regional code enforcement office. Hickory, Mahoning, North Beaver, Perry, Pulaski, Wayne and Wilmington townships and Ellport, New Wilmington, Wampum and Volant boroughs are participating.
A total of $21,000 has been pledged by the municipalities which will be matched by a state grant to pay for the project.
COG Director Robert Callen said they are now deciding whether to hire an individual or a firm to handle the code enforcement. He said they hope within the next three years to have common codes and procedures in all the participating municipalities.
COG members also approved the membership of Washington Township into the organization.
COG officials noted there are only four Lawrence County communities that do not belong to the council. They are Little Beaver, Scott and Shenango townships and SNPJ borough.

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