NITRO, W.Va. -- Nitro resident Vera Boggs has some concerns about how the city will enforce a new ordinance requiring owners of vacant properties to register the structures and pay fines for those that remain empty.
Boggs, who lives on Bailes Drive and was the only person to speak during a public hearing on the matter Tuesday night, said there are four vacant structures on her street.
She said the owners of those properties pretend to inhabit the homes by setting our garbage for pick up and posting building permits.
She asked council members how they plan on targeting these property owners.
Councilwoman Betty Tyler urged anyone who has vacant structures in his or her neighborhood to contact a member of city council.
If a property owner has failed to register the property, the city building inspector can inspect it and deem the structure uninhabitable.
Councilman Andy Shamblin said, "Unfortunately there's always going to be people who try to circumvent the system, and we are just going to have to address that the best that we can."
Council members voted unanimously to pass the ordinance on second reading. It takes effect 30 days from passage.
It requires property owners to register structures with the city no later than 30 days after the city building inspector qualifies a structure as vacant.
Any failure of the owner to do so will result in a $1,000 fine per violation. Every 12 months that the owner fails to register a structure after the initial violation will result in an additional $1,000 fine.
The ordinance also states that an annual fee shall be assessed for each vacant structure an owner possesses. A structure that is vacant for less than 12 months will not be subject to the annual fee.
After 12 months the city will impose a $200 fee for each vacant structure. The fine doubles after two years and continues to increase each year a property remains vacant, up to $1,500 after 6 years. This fine will continue until the property is no longer vacant
Council members also:
* Laid levy rates for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.
The rate on Class Two properties, or residential properties, is $20.16. Class Four properties -- businesses or rental properties -- are subject to a $40.32 rate. The levies will be assessed on annual property taxes.
* Accepted the donation of the A-1 carpet building from Carl and Cookie Clendenin with the agreement that the business will vacate the property no later than July 1, 2013.
The city has since procured insurance for the property.
* Accepted a $9,400 bid from Absolute Roofing for the repair of fire department's roof. The bid also included an additional fee for metal decking of $1.75 per square foot. The additional cost may not exceed $1,600.
* Swore in two new firemen, Christopher Howell and Carl Price, expanding the city's fire department to 14.
Councilman Bill Javins also announced that Wednesday Movie Night, sponsored by 96.1, V100 and 98.7 radio stations, will begin June 12 and continue through July 21.
"This is a big deal for the city," Mayor Dave Casebolt said.
In the past, the event has brought 400 to 500 people each night.
One food vendor will be allowed, and 10 percent of the proceeds will be given to St. Jude's Hospital
The movies will be shown at the practice field at City Park and will begin about 9 p.m.