Morgantown city council update

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Morgantown is closing in on establishing a Community Policing & Citizens Review Board. Third Ward councilman Zack Cruze told council members they are working with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) on a resolution they have drafted.

“We’ve sent that document back to the HRC who is going to redraft it with the suggestions,”Cruze said,”Their plan is to vote on it at their next meeting, and provided that is approved it will come before the committee of the whole at the end of this month.”

On Monday, August 10 the group will hold a regular meeting to finalize details of the plan.

“At that meeting we’ll be working on the ordinance to establish the Citizens Review Board,”Cruze said,”In terms of what the make up is going to be and some refining of the goals, priorities and abilities the committee will have.”

Council members also voted 6 – 1 to approve the first reading of an ordinance that would allow for a fine and possibly jail time for multiple, repeated violations of the Morgantown Building Maintenance Code. Jail terms of up to 30 days in addition to fines up to $500 could be levied to people who violate the International Property Maintenance Code provisions of the Building Code.

“A few property owners in town that we have taken to court multiple times for citations and they’ve been fined and have not paid the fine,”Director of Code Enforcement, Mike Stone said,”The property remains the same and there’s no way to move forward.”

Stone told council members the property become a safety issue for the residents and create neighborhood blight.

“People that live beside these derelict buildings are frustrated, code enforcement is frustrated,”Stone said,”And I’m sure the public is frustrated driving by these derelict buildings and see them in the same condition they’ve been in the last several years and nothing happening to them.”

For the last ten years the city of Morgantown has operated the Urban Deer Archery Hunt. During that time more than 6,700 pounds of venison has been donated for local residents in need and the deer population has been kept at a manageable level.

“This program permits bow hunting in specific areas of the city to help reduce deer population,”City Manager Emily Muzzarelli said,”And also help provide venison to local kitchens and shelters.”

Hunters are required to take the National Bowhunter Education Foundation course and an archery proficiency test before being approved to hunt. The hunt is scheduled to begin September 5.

Council members also agreed to create a special committee that will explore the role of bridge housing in helping those without homes in the community.