Merski joins colleagues to promote blight-fighting bills headed for House chamber

Includes Merski measure to fund code enforcement

HARRISBURG, April 12 – State Rep. Bob Merski joined colleagues at the state Capitol today to highlight his bill to combat blight and similar legislation that was voted out of the House Urban Affairs Committee.

Merski, D-Erie, said his H.B. 1827 – which would provide a grant program cities could use to fund code enforcement efforts – was included as an amendment to H.B. 1791 – a vacant property registration proposal – as part of a bipartisan package of bills to address blight.

“Blight stalls progress – it invites crime, lowers property values and discourages new businesses, residents, and investment. But redevelopment encourages more redevelopment, and giving our municipalities more resources to ensure properties are up to code enhances entire neighborhoods and communities.

“Cities were struggling to keep these code programs funded even before the pandemic, and now, with budgets stretched to the max, those efforts are foundering. My bill would give them new life by funding grants that cities could use to launch new property maintenance code enforcement programs, hire inspectors or add more staff to strengthen existing programs.”

Merski said the competitive grant program would be administered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development, and municipalities would be required to provide matching funds.