NESHANNOCK TWP. Officials eye cost recovery

Supervisors also heard complaints about neglected homes.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The Neshannock Township Volunteer Fire Department may have found a way to raise money without affecting taxpayers.
Township supervisors passed a resolution earlier this week to enable the fire department to enter into an agreement with Cost Recovery USA. David Congini, township administrative assistant, said Cost Recovery USA is a fire department response cost-recovery company that can collect up to 100 percent of the cost that the department spends on motor vehicle accident runs.
Dr. Terry Henley of the Dayton, Ohio-based company said that 40 percent to 85 percent of motor vehicle accidents are caused by nonresident drivers. They cause township taxpayers to bear the financial burden for the fire department's response to vehicle accidents.
Congini said insurance companies bill their clients (the at-fault driver) the cost for the fire departments, but no one has been able to collect the money.
He added there is no cost to the fire department. Congini said there is a possibility of collecting $500 to $3,000, depending on the accident.
Also on agenda
In other business, township residents Arthur and Connie DiCola attended voiced concerns over a neglected home in their neighborhood.
"We're asking for help," Arthur DiCola said.
"It's frustrating. We are concerned about the health, safety, and welfare of our neighborhood," Connie DiCola added.
The couple told the supervisors that the siding is falling off the house, and septic refuse is flowing into adjoining properties.
Supervisor Chairman Gale Measel told the DiColas he would refer the situation to Roberta Sarroff, a planning consultant knowledgeable on zoning and ordinances, and to the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors.
Township Secretary Leslie Bucci said there is a fine line concerning issues of neglect. She said the township will have to find out if there is an ordinance that protects the people in neighborhoods without violating the property owner's civil rights.
Septic-system study
Bucci also said there would be a study done on the neighborhood's septic system. If there is a 51-percent failure rate, the state will force the neighborhood to install sewers.
The supervisors are also facing a problem of residents failing to mow their grass.
Bucci said there are about 25 properties in the township with grass growing more than a foot high. Some are vacant properties; others are residents who refuse to mow their lawns, she said.
The township has a weed ordinance. A certified letter is sent to the property owner when the grass reaches six inches high.
If there is no response, the zoning officer can file a citation. Bucci said the total process could take up to 45 days before any action can be done to correct the situation.
Supervisor John DiCola Jr. said the average lot may cost $100 to mow once it reaches more than a foot high.

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