City Moves On Building
New Martinsville Building Inspector Joe Hanna reported that the city will be “moving on” the property on Virginia Street, a duplex just east of state Route 2 that is literally falling down.
Demolition has been planned, but will be completed by members of the city’s street crew who have been busy with snow removal lately. Some city employees have been trained in Asbestos abatement in an effort to save money on demolition of dilapidated properties.
The property changed hands recently. “It was probably illegal to do that,” said Hanna, but added that the new owner is willing to comply with the previous agreement. The owner will pay the city the cost of asbestos removal.
Then the owner must haul the rest of the debris away in 10 working days.
“It’s sort of like the police with the drugs, it doesn’t look like we’re making progress with dilapidated properties, but we are,” said Councilman Joel Potts III at the Feb. 1 council meeting.
In other council matters, Police Chief Tim Cecil reported that of the 16 grand jury indictments, 13 had something to do with the New Martinsville Police Department. Detective Donnie Harris was part of nine investigations. Patrolman Steve Kastigar was the arresting officer in one case, and three of the cases in Paden City were assisted by Harris. They also assisted with a bust of $4,000 in heroin in Tyler County. “We’re trying to handle the drug situation,” said Cecil.
“We are making some really, really good progress on these drugs,” said Councilman Steve Pallisco, chairman of the police committee.
A new tool in the war on drugs has been obtained by the NMPD. A new drug dog, Kenny, was purchased through drug money and a donation from Chesapeake Energy.
Investigator Donnie Harris’ drug-trained dog, Tommy, is afraid of tile floors. “He’s scared to death, he’s nervous, and he doesn’t do his job,” explained Pallisco. That fear makes him unable to conduct searches at schools.
The department also noted that its remodeling is on course, to be tentatively completed in April.
Larry Couch, city judge, wants council to consideradjusting administrative fees to include a portion to go into a capital improvement equipment fund. He thinks it would encourage police officers to write more citations than they might otherwise.
“A lot of cities have a police equipment fund,” said Couch.
Also, he said the city could also tack on a finance fee for fines that are paid through a payment plan, approximately two-thirds of current fine payees.
“I don’t think we’re adversely affecting anyone with these fees,” said Couch. He explained the city is already removing a jail fee that would be equal to a finance fee, about $40. Plus, he said the city fines are already considerably lower than those in Magistrate Court.
The issue was directed to the police committee.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Pallisco, noting it might be a good incentive for officers.
Council approved the final payment of $28,000 for development of Snyder Ballfield project. It is through the 2009 Governor’s Community Participation Grant Program. Mayor Blum thanked Parks Director Beverly Gibb for always finding money for these projects and writing the grants.
“That one kind of found me, I’ve got to be honest,” said Gibb.
Also, The street department will be erecting gates on Harlan Drive to keep people off that road when it is flooded, a rather common occurrence. Street Commissioner Gary Willey had checked with the West Virginia Division of Highways. “We have the right to gate it,” said Willey.
The gates will be put at state Route 2’s entrance to the road and just east of the Family Community Church’s driveway.
Willey also reported that the new cinders the city crews have used this winter have been much better. They are able to clean them up and reuse them.
Finally, Recorder Bonnie Shannon said the Federal Emergency Management Agency buyout program is moving forward.