Tyrone approves fees related to new Uniform Construction Code

Tyrone Borough has adopted an ordinance setting a fee schedule related to the state’s new Uniform Construction Code.
The ordinance was adopted at Monday’s meeting with councilman Bill Fink casting the lone “no” vote against the new fees schedule.
“The reason I voted ‘no’ is because of the cost associated with the new construction code,” said Fink. “The cost for permits, the cost for inspections and the cost for plan reviews-I just think they’re too high. I’m a firm believer taxpayers pay their taxes to receive services from a community.
“I can understand reasonable fees-but this is not borough-generated, this is state-generated,” Fink told The Daily Herald. “The borough has to conform with the pricing that is going on out there in order to get done what needs to get done through (a third-party inspector) contractor or their code enforcement officer.”
Thomas Lang of the borough’s code enforcement office explained he thought the new fee structure contained “moderate” increases from what builders and homeowners were used to paying for permits and inspections.
He said the biggest change concerns the need for inspection of mechanical, plumbing and electrical work and the new fees associated with those inspections.
He also said the new structure is based on flat fees versus a cost per $1,000 formula the borough previously used. He said there could be some cases when the fees could actually be lower than under the old fee structure.
In other news regarding the UCC, Fink agreed to represent the borough on a committee which has been set up to establish a board of appeals regarding the new code. The committee requires that each municipality must appoint an elected official to be a member.
It is designed to appoint members to the UCC appeals board which will service a number of Blair County communities in addition to Tyrone.
The other municipalities to be serviced by the appeals board are Antis Township, Logan Township, Blair Township, Hollidaysburg and Ducansville. Lang reported to council on Monday that representatives of the municipalities were due to meet yesterday to further the creation of the appeals board.
He and Fink attended yesterday’s meeting which Lang described as organizational in nature. He said another meeting has been scheduled for mid-August to further the appeals board process.
In other business at the Tyrone Borough Council meeting on Monday:
• council approved an agreement which lets it sell additional sewer capacity to the Northern Blair Regional Sewer Authority. The agreement calls for the borough to sell 450,000 gallons of capacity in return for $562,500 or $1.25 per gallon. Council also approved an addendum to the 1995 sewer services agreement with Northern Blair, Antis and Snyder Township in relation to the sale of the capacity;
• council approved an amendment to its budget to move $230,000 in funds from its “sewage collection” to its sewage treatment plant in order to pay for a heat exchanger replacement project at the plant;
• council also approved the advertising of bids for the Garden Alley/Kunzler waterline project. The project is needed to install a waterline at Garden Alley because of recent expansion at Kunzler’s plant in Snyder Township. The borough has received grant money from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development to pay for the project. The grant is expected to provide $158,200 in funding for the project.
Ray Myer of CET Engineering Inc. told council he expects the project to cost about $158,000 or about $25,000 higher than a-year-and-a-half ago. Myers indicated the increase are due to rising cost in materials and fuels. Myers envisioned the borough should receive about eight or nine bids for the project;
• council also approved a change order to the now completed Schell Run project. The cost of the project came in at less than expected necessitating the need for the change order. The final construction cost of the project was $27,653.99 versus $28, 935 or a difference of $1,281.01. The project was a combined effort between the borough and the Tyrone Area School District to repair banks along Schell Run which had suffered erosion near the school’s running track. The borough and the school district agree to share the cost of the project with the borough paying for the project and then billing the school district for its share which was about two-thirds of the project cost or around $18,628.43;
• council also approved the hiring of a full-time police officer, Jeff Barr of Altoona. Barr had previously worked as a part-time police officer for the borough and in North Woodbury Township. He also had been employed by the Blair County Sheriff’s Department. Barr is replacing a full-time officer who resigned earlier this year to accept another position outside the borough.