FAIRMONT — Council members approved the fiscal year 2017-2018 city budget and the demolition of three dilapidated buildings during Fairmont city council’s regular meeting Tuesday evening.

Council unanimously approved to adopt the city budget’s general fund, parking fund, coal severance and outside agencies.

Originally the budget had been set to $15.45 million, but council had expressed interest in adding funds toward BAD (Brownfields Abandoned Dilapidated) buildings. Because of council’s input, $400,000 was added, setting the current budget at $15.85 million.

Without hesitation, council has started making plans to remove dilapidated structures. Members unanimously voted to demolish three buildings; two buildings on Walnut Avenue and one near the water treatment plant.

During the meeting, Fairmont City Manager Robin Gomez said he estimated the time of the structures being demolished between 60-90 days.

Mayor Tom Mainella, an advocate for demolishing BAD buildings, expressed relief for having $400.000 earmarked in the general fund for demolitions.

“You feel good when the city is in a position to help out the neighborhood,” Mainella said. “Hopefully this is just the beginning of something that’s going to take off very soon.”

He added that with the extra funds, hopefully the process of demolishing the dilapidated buildings can be completed quicker than in the past.

“We’re going to go in and we’re going to tear them down. We’re going to use that money in the budget to do that,” stated Mainella. “And if can recover some costs that would be great. But if we can’t, it’s going to be money well spent to get rid of these dilapidated houses that are just an eye sore and a health hazard and a hazard to our first responders.”

He explained that once the contractors demolish the structures, the area is then filled in, smoothed out and grass is planted on the lot.

“It’s going to be an attractive lot. And it may grow up again, but hopefully the people next door will maintain the lot and if they don’t, it’s still going to look a lot better than it did as a fallen down house that Herman Munster wouldn’t even live in,” commented Mainella.

Mainella said he’s satisfied with the budget and the amount dedicated to BAD buildings.

“Hopefully we can spend that money in fiscal year 2018 and put some money in it next year and tear some more house down with that,” he said.

Also discussed at the meeting:

• Council approved the current replacement pages to the Fairmont city code.

• Council adopted a resolution proclaiming April 2017 Fair Housing Month in the City of Fairmont.

Email Sarah Goodrich at sgoodrich@timeswv.com

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