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Residents Demand Action From City

By Staff | Mar 16, 2016

Heated words were exchanged between the audience and New Martinsville leaders during Monday’s city council meeting over enforcement of the city’s ordinances.

Illegally parked cars, building codes and littering were chief among the issues residents spoke out on, saying slow response and ineffective punishments by the city have resulted in the deterioration of the Brooklyn Park area.

“The whole problem here is the city – they write tickets and tag cars, and they laugh at the city,” said one resident who declined to give her name. “They think the city is a joke. … There’s not one person in this room who would live like we have to live. You can see (these properties) from your house. I can’t even open my front door. Something needs to be done now. I’m not living another summer like this.”

The woman, after confirming that the city had taken steps to notify homeowners of unkempt properties, said the problem had only worsened in the intervening weeks. In addition to refuse and debris strewn around the property, she said other properties have gone abandoned for months, or even years.

“The vehicles get moved from one side of the street to the other, and then 30 days later, they go back,” added another resident, who also declined to give his name. “Five years we’ve been here trying to come to an agreement with you all. For God’s sake, please take pride in your town and help us out. … When I was a kid growing up in this town, this town was beautiful. Now I can’t hardly stomach it.”

The solution, council said, was to strengthen city ordinances.

Mayor N. Keith Nelson said the city’s committees would meet to find a proper way to enforce the violations and present their findings before the next month’s meeting.

Among the solutions was securing a property to keep impounded cars, which was authorized by the city council at a monthly cost of $350 through a lease agreement.

Police Chief Tim Cecil “can’t do too much until we get a place to put these vehicles, put the junk, whatever it is,” Nelson said. “We need to get that done and move forward with this and start cleaning it up.”

With the acquisition of the lot, Cecil said he will begin the process of enforcing the unlawfully parked cars.

In other business, council members approved the purchase of a $32,500 Ford Interceptor for the police force, replacing two aging vehicles which will be listed for sale.