A study on regional policing also is under way.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Some Lawrence County communities are one step closer to forming a regional building code enforcement office.
A steering committee that will determine how the office is set up and the cost of using the service is meeting later this month.
The 10 communities participating are working through the Lawrence County Council of Governments to form a building code enforcement office in anticipation of new, more stringent building code guidelines state officials are expected to implement sometime next year.
Robert Callen, the COG director, said the group is receiving a $22,750 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to get the program off the ground. The municipalities have committed to putting up an equal amount to get the grant, something required by the state.
The communities involved are Ellport, New Wilmington and Wampum boroughs and Hickory, Mahoning, North Beaver, Perry, Pulaski, Wayne and Wilmington townships.
A representative from each municipality is expected to attend the July 24 meeting at the county government center.
Callen said the representatives will determine if one person or a firm should be hired for code enforcement. They will also create uniform forms and fees for the work.
In other business, a COG-generated study on regional policing is scheduled to start later this month.
Callen said the six communities involved are now gathering data about crime rates and numbers of police calls in their areas.
That information will be sent to a state consultant, who will determine if it's feasible for any of the police forces to combine.
The study will be separated into two regions because communities involved must be contiguous to make regional policing feasible, he said. In the northern end of the county Mahoning and Pulaski townships are participating and in the southern end, Wampum and Ellport boroughs and Wayne and Perry townships.
The study will be done sometime in October, but any recommended changes likely won't be implemented until 2004, Callen said.