City swears in Deputy Fire Chief, Fire Police Officer

City augments fire department, delays payment on uniformed, nonuniformed pensions

By Kyle CarrozzaStaff Writer, The Times


Steven Dobson is sworn in as Coatesville’s Deputy Fire Chief Monday night.

COATESVILLE – The city swore in Steven Dobson as Deputy Fire Chief and Polly Beebe as a fire police officer at Monday night’s meeting.

Dobson is set to replace Chief James Lentz who left his position as interim chief earlier this year.

City Council also received a resolution for adopting reduced amortization for the city’s police, fire department, and non-uniform pension plans. The resolution will allow the city to decrease the amount it currently pays into those pension plans. The interest rates could then change in the next few years to the benefit or detriment of the city. Finance Director John Maracarelli said that the city will reexamine the pension plans over the period of 2015-2017.

Related, the city also received and acknowledged the 2015 Minimum Municipal Obligation on Monday. Council President Joe Hamrick said that the exact numbers will be figured out later this week.

The city also approved an extension to the review period for a land development application at South 4th Ave. and Lincoln Highway. The extension will allow investors a longer period to examine the property where a dollar store is slated to go.

Council also received a proclamation to make Sep. 22 of every year Dr. Michael Margolies Day. In 1974, Margolies donated land and money for the Coatesville Area Public Library, which is still located on the land he donated.

During public comment, Paul Evans of the Coatesville Housing Association challenged policies recently implemented by the city. Evans said that the late fee for rental license applications is excessive. Whereas the standard fee is $25, landlords who are late with their applications will be charged $50. Evans believes the late fee should be 10-20%.

Polly Beebe is sworn in as fire police officer.

Polly Beebe is sworn in as fire police officer.

He and David Desimone also challenged the city’s requirement of biennial inspections for rented properties. Evans said that he was not sure that the inspections are constitutional, and he sent emails to council members citing cases where inspections were deemed violations to tenants’ privacy.

“We should talk about it, try to work something out,” said Evans.

Desimone was concerned that codes inspectors would come into homes under the pretense of looking for damages while they actually looked for codes violations. He also said that as a landlord, he did not feel comfortable entering into a contract where tenants’ rights are violated.

City Manager Kirby Hudson said that the landlords should look at inspections as a cooperative effort between the landlords and the city. Regular inspections would allow both parties to stay on top of concerns regarding living conditions.

“Family compositions change,” he said.

He also said that landlords who show concern for the maintenance of their properties should not be too concerned, but inspections would help ensure that tenants with absentee landlords are living in properly sustained homes.

Council Member Marie Hess also brought the possibility of charging banks different fees from regular citizens when bank-owned properties violate city codes. A recent decision in Evesham Township, NJ allows the township to notify lien holders when neglected properties violate codes. The lien holders then have 30 days to clean up the property or face fines of up to $1,500 a day.

City Solicitor John Carnes said that the regulations would have to be changed to fit county standards, but he does think such an ordinance would be possible to implement in Coatesville.

“I do think we have the tools here,” he said.

Such an ordinance would not affect residents but mostly properties owned by banks that have been abandoned for a long time.



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