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West Point to discuss budget, unsafe buildings and fees

WEST POINT – A new budget, dilapidated properties and collecting fees on 911 calls will be on the West Point City Council’s plate Monday.

The council has hosted two public hearing for its 2019 budget with little public participation. During both hearings, one on Oct. 23 and this past Thursday’s work session, nobody provided public comment on the budget.

According to city documents, the total proposed 2019 budget for West Point is $19,518,495. The budget was reduced by four percent or a total of $849,307 without any reduction in service levels for West Point residents. 

Also within the budget was a two percent pay increase for all city employees and the purchase of two police cars. City Manager Ed Moon said the budget process begins on Aug. 6 and will finish Dec. 10.

Dilapidated Properties

The City Council will also discuss updating its language when it comes to dilapidated properties within the city limits. City Attorney Jeff Todd said Thursday the city uses a process to encourage residents to fix up or tear down such properties that is based on state law.

“It is a good practice every now and then to update your ordinance to make sure you comply with any tweaks the state has made,” he said.

The most recent update by the city was in 2010. In this most recent ordinance, the city recognizes such properties as structures that are unfit for humans to live or commercial use based on fire or city codes. The building could be a violation if it presents a health hazard or is a danger to the public and it is necessary to repair or demolish the structure.

The ordinance says it is the building owner’s responsibility to keep their property up to code. If the owner doesn’t, the mayor has appointed the public works director or whomever they designate to give out a citation to the owner.

When a citation is handed out, or at least five residents of the city complain about a property, an investigation is conducted, and a hearing will happen with 45 days of the filling. This hearing will determine if the structure can be repaired or not. If it can’t, and the owner fails to demolish the property, the city can act itself.

If the city has to demolish a property as a result of the owner not complying, there would be a lien placed on the property for the cost of the work.

911 fees

One final thing for the City Council to consider Monday night is two resolutions that must be passed concerning fees collected for emergency calls, Todd said.

The resolutions reads that those paying for wireless service with a contract through a provider will pay $1.50 a month toward 911 calls. The other says those who have a pre-paid wireless phone will pay $1.50 per retail transaction.

The City Council meets again at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday.