Bath to cite owners of derelict properties
Recorder Vince Kidwell said three people have approached him over the past week complaining about derelict properties in town.
One property on South Laurel Street is so filthy cockroaches are invading neighboring houses, Kidwell said.
Kidwell, whose day job is with an exterminating company, said he has personally seen cockroaches marching up the road from the trashy house.
Another home near Ewing and Market streets that burned down has not been cleaned up, he said.
Kidwell spoke at the Tuesday evening, August 21 Town of Bath Council meeting.
“We have an ordinance in place that allows the police department to go by and cite people to clean up the property, and if they don’t clean the property up we have the town do it and charge them for it,” Councilman and Public Safety Committee Chairman Ken Easton said.
If owners don’t comply the cases will end up in Magistrate Court, he said.
Mayor Susan Webster agreed and said she will instruct police to cite the property owners.
Cecilia Youngblood, owner of the building at 110 Congress Street known as Joe’s Radio Shop, appeared before council to report the sidewalk in front of the building is collapsing.
The sidewalk in question is just east of the footbridge across Warm Springs Run. There has been a barricade set up there for some time.
Easton said there is a question of whether that portion of the sidewalk is located on land owned by the town, county or state.
Webster suggested the council ask Chuck Dawson of Berkeley Land Surveys to determine where the property lines are to decide which government entity is responsible for shoring up the sidewalk.
Youngblood said she was glad some action was finally being taken.
Webster reported she and Councilwoman Elizabeth Skinner attended the West Virginia Municipal League conference in Spencer earlier this month.
Webster said she was impressed with Spencer’s website and invited council members to look at the site and think about creating one for the town.
Both Webster and Skinner reported they attended numerous workshops and learned much about municipal government.
“There is nothing else in the state to help train municipal officials to do what we do,” Webster said about the conference.
Skinner suggested possibly bringing one or two of the workshops into town, such as the customer service and working with people workshops. She said the workshops would be beneficial for anyone attending.
Legal fees considered
Councilman and Finance Committee Chairman Andy Swaim reported legal fees incurred by the town over the sewer board’s proposed policy to bill vacant structures have amounted to $1,127.
Swaim said town’s Attorney Richard Gay has advised the council the Warm Springs Public Service District has the authority to impose the policy. He suggested the town not spend any more for legal fees on this issue.
Webster agreed, but said that if the policy is approved, the town will file another complaint with the West Virginia Public Service Commission.
An earlier complaint filed by the town was dismissed by the commission after the sewer board decided to review the policy again before implementing it.
A decision on the policy has been postponed until the September 12 board meeting.
Parking meter complaint
A resident complained about a parking ticket received for a meter with a lens so fogged it was unreadable.
Easton said Police Administrator Gene Kilduff has a regular schedule of maintenance on the meters which includes cleaning the lenses.
Webster suggested police take a look at the meters now and clean the worst of them.
Chief Water Operator Terry Largent said the town purchased a truck from the state’s surplus vehicle lot in Buckhannon to replace the truck stolen from the Myers Street water facility on Memorial Day.
The vehicle is a 2002 Dodge Ram Truck with 4-wheel drive. The cost was $3,500.
Largent asked the town to consider purchasing a reconditioned truck with snowplow and salt spreader from the state’s surplus vehicle lot. The cost is $9,000.
The state is buying new trucks and the old trucks are being reconditioned now and will be available in a couple of months, he said.
The council decided to revisit the request once the trucks are available.
Region 9 Chesapeake Bay Coordinator Matthew Pennington is scheduled to speak at the next council meeting on September 4.
He will instruct the council on changes needed to the storm water management ordinance to bring the ordinance into compliance with the Bay initiative and the state’s watershed implementation plan.
Meeting times changed
Largent asked the council to change the time and date of the monthly Water Committee meeting to 9 a.m. the first Tuesday of each month.
Swaim also asked to change the meeting time and date for the monthly Finance Committee meeting to 9 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.
The council approved time and date changes for both meetings.