WHITE TOWNSHIP: Township ordinances to go online
August 29, 2013 11:00 AM
by JULIE MARTIN

Soon, White Township ordinances won’t just be on the books, they’ll be online.

As a 15-year project to create an electronic version of municipal ordinances comes to completion, the township supervisors moved Wednesday night to take the next steps in finalizing the updated version of the ordinances, which could be available on the Web by September.

The new version will feature user-friendly language, according to township manager Milt Lady. Rochester N.Y.-based General Code has been handling the project since 2006, removing legalese and preparing an online version of the document.

Solicitor Michael Delaney has reviewed the revisions to the ordinance, Lady said.

The ordinances have been restructured into topical chapters, rather than chronological order.

“It’s all in there,” Lady said. “It organizes and combines all our laws into one document, basically.”

The document will be available through the township’s website, which will provide a link to the online document on General Code’s site. Anyone will be able to access it. It will feature a search option to look up specific topics quickly.

“When they want to look up their laws, they can look up whatever their issue is,” Lady said. “Before, they had to come in here and ask us for a copy of it.”

Officials agreed to first advertise the updated ordinances. They will then vote on approving the new document at their next meeting. Not long after approval, the new version will be available online.

The project, Lady said, started in 1998 with Penns Valley Publishing. After that company went out of business in 2004, the township contracted with General Code.

The cost over that period totals about $1,600, Lady said.

General Code will handle site maintenance through an annual contract with the township. The company will be available to add any new ordinances that are put on the books.

The first year of maintenance is free, Lady said. The cost for subsequent years of maintenance or the addition of new ordinances wasn’t immediately available.

The township currently has 10 copies of the new document.

Staff will be trained how to use the online system. Officials such as the code enforcement officer and secretaries will be able to download the document, which will also be available at the township on disk.

In other business:

• Lady told the supervisors that he is holding off on a request from the sewer department to purchase a $16,000 ATV.

Those in the department had asked he consider purchase of a six-wheeled “top-of-the-line machine” so they could use it when traveling on right-of-ways to perform work like cementing around manholes.

“I’m just not sure we’re going to use it enough. I think we could spend the money elsewhere,” he said. “I just think we have other needs and other equipment we could spend on.”

Township officials briefly discussed the possibility of a smaller, less expensive off-road vehicle.

Lady said he will continue talking with the sewer department.

• Township officials, including the supervisors and those from the comprehensive plan committee, the planning commission and other entities, will hold a public meeting with representatives of AMEC Engineering at 5 p.m. Oct. 2 to discuss storm water assessment fees.

The meeting, at the township building, will follow a road tour.

Storm water system assessment mapping could help the township investigate options for charging fees for the systems. Lady said there are various options for such fees and could not say whether those costs would be passed on to residents.

He did indicate that such assessment could present a cost savings to the township.

Some storm water pipes are township-owned; others are under the ownership of homeowners associations or housing plans.

Lady described the first steps the township could take as “fact-finding” ones.

“It’s something we’re presenting to them to consider what the interest of the supervisors is,” he said.

The potential cost of such an assessment was not available.

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