Hughestown recently formed the Neighborhood Action Team to address blight, property maintenance issues and quality of life in the neighborhoods of Hughestown.

Jamie Merlino, chief of Hughestown’s emergency services department, modeled Hughestown NAT after the Pittston City Neighborhood Action Team.

“I saw all the great work they’ve done in the last two years in Pittston with their Neighborhood Action Team, and I wanted to do the same here. I worked with them closely and, with the support of Mayor Quick and others in the borough, we started the Hughestown NAT,” he said.

Currently, NAT is composed of members of the police department, fire department, emergency medical services, borough administration, including council members and Mayor Wayne Quick; code enforcement department, public works department and the street department.

Upcoming Neighborhood Action Team sweeps scheduled include Parsonage Street on June 24, and Center and First streets on July 22. Additional sweeps are to be scheduled in Stauffer Heights and the Bone Development. Keep an eye on the Hughestown Borough and Hughestown Emergency Services Facebook pages for updates.

During each sweep, NAT will look for high grass and weeds, accumulation of rubbish or debris, unsanitary pools and other code violations. The police also will enforce parking regulations and look for abandoned vehicles, and the fire department will service fire hydrants.

In just two sweeps, the NAT gave 36 notices of violation and three verbal warnings. They also checked and tagged a total of 16 abandoned vehicles to be removed or repaired. The fire department also inspected and painted four fire hydrants.

Any property owners who receive notices from the NAT are required to contact code enforcement within 24 hours of receiving the notice. They are given up to seven days to correct minor violations, such as high grass, and up to 14 days to address more substantial issues.

Abandoned vehicle owners are given 48 hours to obtain an inspection or they must remove their vehicle before further enforcement actions occur. Junk vehicle owners will be given 30 days to get their vehicle inspected or removed before further enforcement action occurs.

The team wants residents to know that no actual fines or citations are issued during NAT sweeps, with the exception of possible habitual or repeat offenders.

“When we’re doing our sweeps, we get to talk to a lot of residents while we’re working. They talk right with us and the mayor and we remind them that we’re making great progress in the borough, but it does take time,” Merlino said. “We’re all working together to make the neighborhood nice and safe. We’re making Hughestown beautiful again.”

To report a property violation in Hughestown, call the borough office at 570-654-2061 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Any resident who is concerned they may have a code violation and wants to work with NAT to address the issue before getting a citation, or anyone who has received a notice from NAT, can call code enforcement at 570-654-4188 and leave a message. Someone will respond and help create a plan to address any violations.

kdemace@pittstonprogress.com

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