Saying only that the governing body wanted to "tighten up" the operations of the code office, the Hatboro Borough Council put in place a third party inspection and plan review agency recently.
Code Inspections Inc. fills the void left from Code Enforcement Officer Keith Fugate's departure last month. During Monday night's meeting, the Hatboro Borough Council discussed a proposed permit fee schedule under the new code inspection company.
"Their fee schedule may be more in line with reality than what ours was," Council President John Zygmont said of the fees that will be considered during the council's Jan. 28 voting meeting.
The firm is paid based on a percentage of permitting fees the borough collects, Zygmont said.
"I don't believe it's a cost savings," Zygmont said as to why the borough moved from having a paid employee to a third party agency.
While refusing to say if Fugate was fired, Zygmont told Patch following Monday night's meeting only that, "we needed to tighten up the operation of the code office" and that someone with a "more technical background" was needed.
Patch was unsuccessful in reaching Fugate for comment.
Fugate, the borough's code officer of nearly four years, could not do electrical, for instance, Zygmont said.
Zygmont said the council made the decision six years ago to hire an internal code enforcement officer. At that time, there was "a lot of construction activity" going on at the former Stoveworks site, as well as at Victorian Village.
Since it is unlikely for the borough to have so much construction going on at one time again, Zygmont said it made "more sense" to have a contractor on hand, as opposed to an employee.
Issues had been raised in July about Fugate's oversight of the long-overdue firehouse expansion project for Enterprise Fire Company. It is not clear if that project, which has been in litigation for some months now, had anything to do with Fugate's departure.
When a resident inquired during the December council meeting what happened to Fugate, Zygmont said only that he no longer worked for the borough.