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Brooke County Commission OKs property inspector hire

WELLSBURG — The Brooke County Commission has added a part-time inspector of dilapidated structures, illegal salvage yards and overgrown grass.

The commissioners, during their meeting Tuesday, hired Trevor Richmond, currently a driver for the Brooke County Solid Waste Authority, to serve in that capacity, setting his pay at $13 per hour for what they expect will be 10 to 15 hours per week.

Anthony “Butch” Rotellini resigned from a similar position in June.

County Commissioner Stacey Wise said the commission hopes to work with the solid waste board to find state funds that may assist with cleanups that property owners can’t afford.

A county ordinance approved in 2005 states property owners may be fined $100 per day for accumulation of debris, dilapidation, overgrown vegetation, fire hazard, toxic condition, accident/injury hazard or lack of ventilation, light or sanitary facilities as well as “other conditions which cause the dwelling or building to be unsafe, unsanitary, dangerous or detrimental to public safety and welfare.”

The county commission also may hire a contractor to address the problem, then place a lien on the property in an effort to recoup the cost.

The commissioners said complaints of property violating the ordinance may be submitted to them and they will continue to hear appeals from the property owners since a volunteer board established by the ordinance has been inactive.

The ordinance calls for the board to include a licensed contractor, a local fire chief and two citizens, all appointed by the commissioners; the physician appointed as county health officer by the county’s board of health; and as a non-voting member, the county’s sheriff.

In other business, the commission:

¯ Approved $39,675 for the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and renewal of a resolution acknowledging them as the lead economic development agency for the county.

The commissioners said the money will be used by the BDC for local matches required of grants it has pursued for the redevelopment of former industrial sites and similar projects.

Its work has included environmental remediation of the former Follansbee Steel, Brooke Glass and Wheeling Corrugating properties and redevelopment of the latter as the Beech Bottom Industrial Park.

¯Approved $8,000 for the Weirton Transit Corp., an increase from $6,000 it allocated for the public transportation agency last year.

Wise said the WTC, which serves Brooke and Hancock county residents, has been transporting more people to businesses on Three Springs Drive since the downtown Weirton Kroger store closed and the increase reflects the additional runs.

¯Learned $241,329 has been allocated recently to the Northern Panhandle Home Consortium’s First-time Homebuyers Program.

County Clerk Kim Barbetta notes the program offers a $10,000 grant to people seeking to purchase a home in Brooke or Hancock counties.

The grant may be used with most mortgage loan programs and is forgiven after the recipient has lived in the home for five years.

Wise said any funds allocated to the local program must be returned if unused.

For information about qualifications, call CHANGE Inc., the program’s local administrator, at (304) 797-7733 ext. 1405 or visit www.changeinc.org and click on the Community Services tab.

¯Agreed to accept letters of interest in a seat on the Brooke Hills Park board whose term is nearing expiration. The letters may be sent to County Clerk Kim Barbetta’s office.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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