At the Nov. 13 Trappe Borough Council meeting, Councilman Paul Edwards proposed inspections on commercial buildings in the borough.
"It would support the safety of the people who use these commercial buildings," said Edwards. "There's ADA compliance, fire safety and general issues. It would also generate some revenue over time."
Borough Manager Jacqui Guenther suggested that if the borough was going to "go down this road", they consider purchasing a permitting management system to manage both the rental and commercial property inspections. The borough currently inspects about 200 rental properties annually and commercial properties would add approximately 120 more inspections per year.
"There is a program out there called Permit Manager," Guenther said. "It's a great program, a little pricey, but what they do is put in every property and every permit on that property, so 20 years from now we can look back and see when a new roof was put on or a fire safety inspection was done."
When pressed on the cost, Ms. Guenther acknowledged that the program runs between $9000-$11,000. Onorato added that you're also getting data collection from a program like this.
"Right now we use an Excel spreadsheet, which I'm sure was okay in its day, but it's now hard for just one person to keep track without things falling through the cracks," said Guenther. "A software program keeps track of dates and properties, sends out letters and offers account and data mangement."
"It sounds like based on just the permits we have today, that a program would be helpful," said Councilwoman Cathy Johnson. "It sounds like we need software help now since we only have a two-person office."
"If we're going to go down this road, a lot of our businesses are probably going to be required to make some improvements and I don't know how that will be received," Ms. Guenther said.
An audience member asked how Council planned to define "a business".
Solicitor Onorato said that probably any business that had customers would be included.
"What about a home-based business that has employees?" she asked.
"We'd have to define it. I don't know right now," answered the solicitor.
Council directed the borough manager to put a package together to include a proposed ordinance, a proposed fee schedule and the software information.
The next Trappe Borough Council meeting will be held on Tuesday December 4 at 7 pm at the Trappe Borough Hall. The public is invited to attend and comment on any item during the public forum.