Edinburg Town Council members are forging ahead with plans to enforce town ordinances.
Town Mayor Dan Harshman said council members held a public hearing Tuesday evening on two amendments that deal with the town’s ability to hire a building inspector. The ordinance originally laid out the requirement that the town use the services of the county’s building inspector.
Some properties in town have been the subject of scrutiny for citizens and government bodies such as the Planning Commission. Although the town has enforcement systems in place to force property owners to maintain their properties, the town has been unable to enforce them for myriad reasons.
When the town requested to use the county building inspector's services, he told the town he was not authorized to enforce the town’s code.
Last month, citizens gathered at a town hall to discuss the rules around maintaining properties and whether they would support the town using taxpayer dollars to hire someone to help them enforce the town code.
Harshman said the amendments give the town leeway to go out and hire someone on a case-by-case basis when a building inspector is needed if the county building inspector cannot work on the case.
Harshman said the town didn’t discuss how much a building inspector would be paid and the ordinance doesn’t address that issue. But he said he doesn’t expect an inspector to cost more than $1,500 for purposes of enforcing their code. That price, he said, was an estimate from an inspector for what it would cost the town to hire someone to conduct an interior and exterior inspection of a property and produce a report.
The town will not likely move ahead on hiring an inspector until the new year, Harshman said, but council members wanted to make sure the town had the proper authority to do so when needed.
Council members also had the first reading of an ordinance that prohibits wells within the town.
The issue came up, Harshman said, in the course of a property transaction in which a family said they were planning on drilling a well for themselves rather than using the town’s water.
Harshman said he looked at other localities and that prohibitions on wells within town limits are a common feature but Edinburg did not have any rule prohibiting them.