To provide municipalities with the resources to reduce blight, Pennsylvania state Rep. Bob Merski, D-Erie, has introduced a bill that would create a grant program to fund new property maintenance code enforcement.
House Bill 1827, referred to the House Urban Affairs Committee, would give local governments the opportunity to apply for grants to launch new property maintenance code enforcement programs, hire inspectors for new programs, or increase staff to strengthen existing programs.
“We need to make it easier for municipalities to break the vicious cycle that occurs when vacant, blighted properties reduce tax revenues available for public services like code enforcement, leading to further vacancies, declining property values and more people leaving the area,” Merski said. “Even before the pandemic, municipalities were struggling to keep code enforcement programs funded. COVID-19 only aggravated those problems by stretching budgets to the max.”
Municipalities would be required to provide matching funds, and the program would be administered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development.