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Carbon takes step to fight blight

Carbon County commissioners plan to combat blight with a two-prong attack, establishing a demolition fund and starting a pilot program to address double home repair.

The commissioners on Thursday authorized the Recorder of Deeds office to charge and collect a $15 fee, beginning in January, and designating the county Planning and Development office as administrator of the fund.

The county also put together a Double Home Rehabilitation Program as a pilot to address the needs of homeowners on the livable side of dilapidated double-homes, Commissioner Chris Lukasevich said.

“We have a multitude of double homes, and unfortunately, blight is associated with too many of them,” he said.

Through the pilot program, a municipality would be responsible to raze one side of the home, and the county would then use up to $50,000 to help rehabilitate “the livable side of that double home,” Lukasevich said.

That could mean creating a wall or building a foundation, or any other structure necessary to ensure that the other side of the home remains habitable, he said.

Jim Thorpe Borough Council considered the pilot program at its meeting Thursday night.

Commissioner Rocky Ahner said many times there is a 50% match required for funds to help homeowners, and if the repair totals $12,000 or $15,000, where are people going to come up with $6,000 match.

“I think this is one of the angles that the county is trying to make it better and get rid of the blight,” he said.

Job fair

In other matters, the county will hold a job fair for the Carbon County Correctional Facility, seeking to hire corrections officers, Ahner said. The event will be July 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the prison, 331 Broad St., Nesquehoning.

“The last time we had a job fair, I think we had nine applicants, and eight actually got hired on,” Ahner said. “So, it’s a very good thing.”

Applicants can learn more about the job and environment, he said. Those interested should be 18 years or older, have a high school diploma, valid driver’s license, a Social Security card and check for $148, which is a refundable deposit which returned upon hiring.

Those seeking more information can call 570-325-2211 or go online to carboncounty.com.