Jermyn property owners with blighted properties can try to stave off significant fines by explaining their out-of-code buildings at tonight’s council meeting.

The borough chose eight properties that are in the worst condition, violating the borough’s maintenance code. The property owners were served with paperwork notifying them to appear at the council meeting at 7 tonight to explain why their properties do not need to be repaired, vacated or demolished, said Councilman Dan Markey.

The selected properties “pose a real threat to public safety and health and welfare” and range from abandoned buildings to homes with collapsed porches to a house with holes in the roof allowing rainwater to leak on electrical wires, Markey said.

The properties pose risks to the community, especially children drawn to explore abandoned properties, emergency personnel and anyone living in the homes, he said.

“It’s sad to say, but if there’s a fire in there, people might not make it out in time,” Markey said. “We don’t want that to happen to anyone.”

Jermyn Fire Chief Ray Rood said he will not send his firefighters into some of the borough’s worst properties that have rotted, unstable floors. “I’d let it burn before I jeopardize someone’s life,” he said. “They’re dangerous structures. They’re structurally unsound.”

Beginning in January, Police Chief William Arthur went through the town with the borough solicitor and code enforcement officer, William Aquilino, pointing out properties he felt posed the biggest dangers, Markey said.

The borough used process servers to deliver borough code violation notices and letters notifying residents to appear at tonight’s council meeting, Aquilino said. If the properties are not repaired within 60 days of being served and the owners haven’t worked with council, their violations will be forwarded to the magisterial district judge, he said.

The Council will work with those who offer a reasonable plan for remediation, Aquilino said.

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