Dilapidated properties discussed at City Council

Jonathan Wright - [email protected]

VANCEBURG — A lengthy discussion regarding dilapidated housing was the main topic of discussion at Vanceburg City Council Monday.

Council discussed a few items of business from the renewal of Lloyd Spear’s contract to remain city attorney to a report made by the vacant property review commission. An open floor was held prior to invite requests from the community.

Rodney Ginn, a member of the Lewis County Fire Department, spoke to the council about one of the fire trucks in its possession. According to Rodney Ginn, the department intended to sell one of its oldest trucks only to find out the truck in question is owned by the city. Mayor Matt Ginn said this situation arose nearly two decades ago, when the city loaned the truck to a newly formed fire department.

“Years and years back, they tried to start a fire department out there by the middle school, and they were looking to get equipment,” Matt Ginn said. “The city of Vanceburg had an extra pumper truck, so they let the county use it. It remained in our name, title and everything else, as far as ownership.”

Matt Ginn went on to say the department received a grant to buy a new firetruck which led to a decision to sell the old truck. Only after looking at the title of the truck, after such a long time, did the department discover the truck’s ownership.

“That’s one of those ordeals where there should’ve been a paper trail or something else, but they couldn’t find anything on it,” the mayor said. “The only thing we have is just the evidence that it’s still in our name at the courthouse because that’s what the title says.”

Council decided to take the truck back from the department, where it will be refitted to become a work vehicle for the city.

In other business, council held a reading and renewal of a contract that will reappoint attorney Spear as city attorney. According to Spear, the contract has received no changes since the previous year’s contract.

Spear’s contract was approved by the council and is effective until June 30, 2019.

Patty Kennard, of the vacant property review commission, gave the council a report on properties in Vanceburg the commission deemed as blighted or dilapidated.

Kennard provided a list of 11 houses to the council and requested its approval to act on either giving the property owners a notice or hire a state inspector to investigate the properties for structural integrity.

After a lengthy discussion about the necessity of maintaining the city’s curb-side appeal, council determined that, unless the council wishes to tear down dilapidated properties, the commission has no need to report to the council.

“They can take care of a lot of the nuisance stuff, clean up stuff like that,” Matt Ginn said after the meeting. “They don’t have to come to the council, and what I was trying to explain to her is, unless they’re wanting to tear a building down, and it’s structurally unsound, then they can come to the council.”

Despite the misunderstanding, the council agreed with Kennard’s list of properties, recognizing many of the listed locations as severely run down.

The meeting concluded with the mayor advising the council to review the city’s properties for any areas which could become a liability for the city’s insurance, which may be discussed at another time.

Jonathan Wright

[email protected]