Final budget move: Pay should match new city codes role

The codes department for the City of Williamsport is being counted on to become another level of safety net for residents, assuring safe, up-to-regulation housing that is crime-free.

City Council President Bill Hall wants to upgrade the pay scale to fit the added responsibilities.

And he wants to do it with adoption of the city’s no-tax-hike budget for 2014, which is set to be approved Thursday night. Hall wants to move $71,000 from debt service to increase salaries and benefits for codes department.

His thinking is that the city is asking codes personnel to do much more than their previous job descriptions called for. To get that upgrade in performance, Hall believes that existing and new codes personnel included in the budget will need to be paid more than entry-level salaries.

We think he’s on the right track and council should strongly consider changes in the final city budget for 2014 to make sure the beefed-up codes department is paid at a level that fits the responsibilities now attached to the department.

Everyone from Mayor Gabriel J. Campana to the majority of council members to regular citizens seems to agree that stepped-up codes enforcement, stricter housing regulations and a crackdown on drug activity in rental properties is desperately needed in the city. And everyone seems to agree that the codes department has to be at the forefront of those initiatives.

A higher pay scale to attract the quality of codes personnel the city will need for those initiatives seems like a wise investment to us.