Petersburg’s Borough Assembly has a hefty agenda for its noon meeting today. The Assembly is scheduled to do a final reading of an ordinance to change the safety code for local buildings. Then they’ll review ten items of new business. 

The sole matter of unfinished business is an ordinance to change the local safety codes for buildings. If the weight of snow overloads a building’s trusses, it can cause it to collapse.  

Assembly Member Dave Kensinger said the town has never set forth specific safety standards for buildings. That’s why the Borough abides by the International Building Code, or IBC. One issue the code addresses is snow loads — if the weight of snow overloads a building’s trusses, it can cause it to collapse. 

The ordinance going before the Assembly would decrease the amount of snow load a building would be required to withstand from 150 pounds per square foot — as required by the IBC — to 95 pounds of snow per square foot.

The second part of the ordinance would change how much insulation is required for roofs, which helps maintain a desired temperature of the building. As Kensinger explained on the April 17th episode of Borough Business, the Borough Assembly wants to require less insulation for local construction than the IBC demands. 

“The standard that they wanted to apply — it would have meant that you couldn’t build a traditional roof on residential houses in town,” said Kensinger. “You would have to spend a lot more money on a house if you had to go up to these higher insulation values. Everybody agrees that you want to have enough insulation in the house, but this was kind of going overboard.”

The first item of new business is an ordinance that would increase next year’s sewer utility rate from three to six percent. The Borough’s annual utility rate review determined that increase is necessary to keep up with increased costs and expenses.

The Assembly will also consider an ordinance to adopt a budget for fiscal year 2024. In an April 24th budget work session, the Assembly determined that Petersburg is looking at a $1.5 million increase over last year. A million of that is earmarked for Petersburg’s schools — the Petersburg School District is asking for a budget increase of a million dollars to offset a major shortfall from last year, and to ensure local schools can continue regular programming. 

Then, the Assembly will read an ordinance to allow harbor staff to enforce traffic and parking rules around Petersburg’s marine facilities. This would establish a $25 penalty for parking violations in Petersburg’s harbor.

The Assembly is also considering amending the Petersburg Municipal Code to allow federally-recognized Tribes, state and federal agencies, and nonprofit entities to buy Borough property for less than its assessed value. 

Finally, Assembly Members Scott Newman and Jeff Meucci are requesting Assembly approval to hire an independent specialist to review the Borough’s hiring procedures. At the last assembly meeting, Assembly Member Thomas Fine-Walsh reported on the safety and hiring procedures the Borough’s Human Resources Department implemented after a 2016 accident involving four Parks and Recreation employees.

On July 4th of that year, Parks and Recreation employee William Christopher Allen suffered a seizure while driving a Borough van. The ensuing crash took the lives of his fellow Parks and Recreation employees, 18-year-old Molly Parks and 19-year-old Marie Giesbrecht.

Petersburg’s Borough Assembly will meet at 12 noon in the assembly chambers. KFSK will broadcast that live and post the recording on our website, Anyone from the community can join the meeting in person, by phone, or on Zoom. There’s more information on KFSK’s community calendar.