CLEARFIELD – The word is still out on whether the Middle Department Inspection Agency of Wexford will accept a month-to-month agreement to do commercial inspections for Clearfield Borough.
Clearfield Borough looks like an attractive place to do such inspections, according to public comment received at Thursday’s Clearfield Borough Council meeting from Richard Hughes, engineer with Hughes Engineering of Clearfield.
The municipality will host a $270 million ethanol plant project at the site of the Clearfield Technology Park as well as plans to build a 15,000-square-foot Rite-Aid pharmacy near Bridge Street.
Clearfield Borough Solicitor F. Cortez “Chip” Bell III said the fees generated through such projects definitely make the borough a hot spot for commercial inspectors.
The borough’s current agreement with MDIA expires Saturday.
At Thursday’s council meeting, members were hesitant to sign another one-year contract for exclusive inspections from MDIA due to a pending matter being litigated in Pennsylvania’s high courts.
At issue is whether municipalities can hold exclusive contracts for such inspections. As the law stands, municipalities are required to have an exclusive contract to provide inspections, otherwise, the state will do the inspections.
This, Bell said, would result in a loss of permitting fees for the borough.
“This is a statewide issue, not just a little area issue,” he said Thursday.
As of Friday afternoon, Bell said he and a representative from MDIA had ironed out language that would be inserted into a one-year contract, should the borough have to sign one. The clause would allow for the contract to become a non-exclusive one should the high courts make a ruling against exclusivity.
What was not decided, he said, was whether MDIA would allow for a month-to-month agreement.
At Thursday’s borough council meeting, a motion to proceed with the one-year agreement failed with a vote of 2-5. Rodger Baumgardner and Barry Reddinger voted in favor. Larry Mack, Mike Errigo, Joan McMillen, Susan Reed and Jim Leitzinger voted against it. John Naddeo was absent from the meeting.
The next vote permitted Bell to negotiate with MDIA for a month-to-month agreement and to iron out the language in the contract. If such an agreement cannot be reached, Bell is permitted to carry out a one-year contract.
Read GantDaily on Monday for a report on the outcome of the negotiations.