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BE Twp. considers ARPA fund use

MILL HALL — Citizens of Bald Eagle Township may soon be able to have full access to the township’s ordinances via an easier electronic route.

The township is trying to use a portion of their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, which they received as COVID-19 relief, in order to cover the expenses of a codification process.

The process, according to township secretary Marissa Morgan, would entail working with an online service called eCode360 that would take the heavy load off of the township. The service would not necessarily commit any action but will go through the entirety of ordinances that the township has and will send recommendations to them.

They would also organize and clean any possible duplicates or redundant ordinances, Morgan added.

The ordinances, if the process goes through, would be able to be accessed online on the eCode362 website under Bald Eagle Township.

Supervisor Chairman Tuff Rhine made a motion to get a legal opinion and ask if the ARPA funds could be used to cover the expenses of working with eCode360.

The price of codification amounts to about $15,000 for the process. On top of the $15,000, the township would also have to pay an annual amount of $1,000 as upkeep in order to stay with the service.

Morgan related that codifying has been “past due” for the township and is worth the price now.

However, due to the high expense of committing to codifying their ordinances, the board has been considering it for three years now, but could never afford to go through with it.

Now with the ARPA money, it is possible for the funds to be a loophole to committing to the service that many other boroughs and townships already use.

“We spoke about this a year ago. I am under the impression — if not legally — I think we can use the ARPA money to pay for it. What this is, and Marissa already did all of the footwork, copying all of our ordinances… and put them on electronically, so that they’re easier to find,” Rhine explained at Monday night’s meeting. “This is an old township and there are ordinances — this board hasn’t passed many ordinances — but there are ordinances that go back to the 60s. There is probably some even past that.”

He added how the process, in the end, would make it easier on everyone, not just the township members themselves.

Since going through with financing the codification, it is still up in the air about when or if the codification will go through. If the ARPA funds cannot be used to finance the $15,000, the board plans to fit it into their budget come next year.

However, Morgan believes that the funds are warranted to cover the expenses since it would give the ability for people to access the ordinances online in the safety of their own home. It would also be considerably more accessible and would take no time at all with the quick electronic access.

Supervisors Kenny McGhee, Jr. and Steve Tasselli accepted Rhine’s motion to see if they can use the ARPA funds and go from there. In order to do so, the township plans on trying to contact the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) to inquire if they can use the funds toward codification.

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