Council may vote on codes changes

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The Common Council is expected to vote on some sweeping changes to the city’s codes in its first meeting of 2019.

The seven-member body meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the council chambers at City Hall,  198 N. Washington St.

One ordinance before the council will replace the entirety of the city’s existing electrical codes, which Code Enforcement Officer Mark Domenico has said are largely outdated. The current codes were written in 1966 with some amendments from 1997.

Another proposed ordinance, if passed, would spell out the process for releasing a stop-work order on a given project.

Existing codes state that the city may issue a stop-work order on construction work that is in violation of codes, that is “being conduted in a dangerous ... manner” or that is being performed without a permit.

The legislation would add language that keeps stop-work orders in place until the Codes Enforcement office determines that all violations have been remedied, and would add an administrative fee — $500 for residential violations and $1,000 for general building violations that result in stop-work orders.

Tweaks to the plumbing code are also proposed.

The city currently has a plumbing board made up of three mayoral appointees, the Commissioner of Public Works, and the “plumbing inspector.” New legislation would put the city’s Codes Enforcement Officer (“or his designee”) to the panel in place of the plumbing inspector.

The new codes would also allow for Limited Residential Plumbers within the city, who would be licensed to work on one and two-family dwellings, townhouses, and bed and breakfasts. Limited Residential Plumbers would need Plumbing Board approval to be licensed and would have to be renewed yearly.

Current ordinances allow only for licensed master plumbers, and changes to those codes are under review as well. As it stands, master plumbers applying for licensing need to produce a petition with signatures from at least two “reputable citizens of the city” vouching for their “good moral character and temperate habits.” The new code would remove the petition requirement.

Regulations on street vendors are also under review. Current code allows merchants to apply for either one-day or one-year permits, while new codes would remove the one-day permit and spell out violations that result in permit revocation. The legislation would add language forbidding vendors to do business at or near Chamber of Commerce events without permission from the Chamber.

Under state law, the Common Council has the authority to send city employees to conferences or classes relevant to the performance of their job. Three resolutions on the agenda would delegate that authority to the Public Works, Police and Fire department heads directly.

The council is also slated to vote on an agreement with the state court system. Under the contract, the city would perform “cleaning and minor repairs” to the Daniel C. Wilson Center for Justice, where the Police Department and City Court are based. Rome would be reimbursed $50,100 for its services.

Councilors are expected to sign off on a $20,000 state grant for the Police Department to buy a “total work station,” an optical tool that will help reconstruct and analyze accidents and crime scenes.

Also on Wednesday’s agenda:

The appointment of five commissioners of deeds, a notary-like position.

Authorization of the mayor to attend various confereces during the year.

Designation of the Daily Sentinel as the city’s official newspaper and of WKAL as the city’s official broadcast station.

Authorization of two sales of city-owned properties: 700 Massena Ave. ($500); 702 Massena Ave. ($1,000).

Authorization the sale of a city-owned property at 909-911 Batavia Ave. for $7,500, and entering a rehabilitation agreement with the new owner.

Creation of a sewer district on Martin Street.

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