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County discusses role in Renovo row house situation

LOCK HAVEN — At Monday’s work session, the county commissioners discussed the county’s involvement regarding the Renovo row homes on 14th Street which were declared uninhabitable last week.

Clinton County Planner Kathryn deSilva said the homes are unsafe and a hazard to the people living in them. She said most of the 16 houses are vacant due to neglect and aftermath from fire and that the entirety of the block is within the flood plain. Only three of them have people living in them, she said.

While Renovo Borough Council was hesitant to condemn these properties, the final decision came from Renovo’s Property Ordinance Officer and Building Code Enforcement Officer Victor Marquardt.

People living in the houses voiced their objections at last week’s Renovo borough council meeting. They feel that their structures are fine despite the surrounding structures being in such poor condition.

DeSilva said she and Gabe Caprio, assistant county planner, came to the realization soon after the decision was made that the Rapid Re-Housing segment of the emergency solutions grant funding might be useful in relocating the residents.

According to deSilva, this is federal money that comes through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to the commissioners. The commissioners would then award it to the Clinton County Housing Coalition who would then find those eligible for funding and wire the money to them. Those eligible would receive a security deposit on a new rental home as well as up to three months rent, though in dire need this has been extended in the past on a case-by-case basis, she explained.

In response, the commissioners voiced their opinions on the matter.

Commissioner Jeff Snyder said, “that while county government does not supercede borough government, we have help available through the Housing Coalition.”

Commissioner Paul Conklin added, “My concern foremost is that we are providing for the needs of those families that are being forced out of that facility. I want to make sure we’re taking care and getting those folks out of there and into a good and better situation.”

In other business, the commissioners also discussed a market update and bond refunding opportunity with Jay Wenger of Susquehanna Grp Advisors. Though an agreement could not be made at this time, reconsideration is expected at the next commissioners meeting this Thursday.

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