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Clarksburg Council has busy session

by Shawn Gainer

STAFF WRITER

Clarksburg City Council passed a budget revision, a change in the non-resident emergency service fee, a 2 percent pay increase for municipal employees and a license fee for exotic entertainment establishments during a Thursday night meeting.

Council often passes budget revisions to adjust for increases or decreases in revenue collections. Thursday's revision passed by unanimous vote, but Councilman Zeke Lopez said he wanted to go on record as opposing a $9,000 reduction in funds for demolition of dilapidated properties.

"It's one of my priorities to clean up neighborhoods," Lopez said. "We're preaching cleaning up the neighborhoods, and here we're cutting money for demolition."

Vice May-or Kathryn Folio suggested that Coun-cil revisit the issue at a later meeting because of a mandated deadline for submitting the revision to the Office of the State Auditor.

"Cleaning up neighborhoods is one of my pet peeves also," Folio said. "I'm not happy with this but we need to submit the revision in a timely manner."

Folio also suggested the city seek grants for demolitions because of the tight municipal budget and the large number of dilapidated properties in the city.

The change in the non-resident emergency services fee passed unanimously and without discussion. The fee was assessed on drivers from outside Harrison County who were involved in auto accidents in Clarksburg. Now the fee will be assessed on all drivers involved in accidents within Clarksburg who are not residents of the city.

When he recommended Council pass the ordinance change, City Manager Tom Vidovich said it was needed so city residents would not have to subsidize services for non-residents.

Clarksburg charges $50 for the first hour of service to non-residents if only the police respond to an accident. The fee increases to $75 for the first hour if both the police and fire departments respond. There is also a $60 fee for each additional hour or fraction of an hour of service, according to City Attorney Greg Morgan.

Revenues generated by the fee go to the city's general revenue fund, Folio said.

The license fee for exotic entertainment establishments was set at $3,000, the maximum allowed according to a state law passed this year.

In other business, Council approved a $6,710 payment to MSES Consultants Inc. to complete the second phase of a traffic study for Hart Street.

Also, Council received a statement of support for trapping loose cats from Samuel Perris of 1203 Penn St. Perris said stray cats have damaged his flower beds and defeated the purpose of having bird feeders on his property.

"I personally think it's very good," Perris said. "Every day, I look in my back yard and see four to six stray cats. We have a heck of a problem with cats in the Broadway area."

Staff writer Shawn Gainer can be reached at 626-1442.

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