Johnstown’s City Council discussed a wide variety of topics at their meeting Tonight Crispin Havener was there.
Johnstown’s City Council quickly moved forward with two items getting a final vote approving wage increases for seasonal employees and making Juneteeth an official city Holiday.
But the longest discussion dealt with Property Management and a first vote on increasing fines for code violations. While the measure passed by a 6-1 margin. Much of the discussion was about the lack of code enforcers.
“I do applaud more the city for improving things in certain spots, but we are not being proactive in going after owners with crappy buildings.”
In a city with hundreds of blighted and rundown properties and issues having enough staff to keep up with enforcement some council members expressed trying to outsource the task to an outside group.
“The internal staff and the staff we’ve hired that quit, it isn’t working. And summer is coming, grass is getting high garbage will pile up and complaints will start coming in.”
“Perhaps looking into outsourcing is something to look into.”
Among those in attendance, those running Johnstown Capital Investments which has been working on rehabbing several rundown homes and businesses but who was criticized earlier in the meeting for listing their business address at a run down, burned up home.
“I’m here for full transparency and to answer questions you all have and lay the cards on the table.”
Council expressing a willingness to talk with them at a later date, but also expressing skepticism over past groups who made big promises, but later left town and leaving the city to hold the bag.
“We’re a little gun shy with people who come in like Citrona and Prospect houses up there.”
“I too have a sour taste in my mouth from people who have not brought it to fruition.”
Council also discussing going for a grant to improve local firehouses.
“Most of the city buildings and both my fire stations need upgrades. They were last done after the ’77 flood.”
There was also a protest from those supporting Lucy’s Place, a local gay bar that, along with another local bar, has run into enforcement problems regarding the city’s ordinance for sexually orientated businesses. Supporters of Lucy’s says their being dragged into the mess over drag shows the bar occasional holds.
“As unsolved murders continue to mount and drugs flow. What’s the city’s response? Target drag queens and strippers.”
Not discussed, a first of two votes on the city’s budget for spending the more than $30 million dollars the city received in American Rescue Act funding.
A framework was approved last month but City Manager Ethan Imhoff told me late arriving quotes for work on for work on the Pasquerialla Conference Center and for Parks work has pushed back that vote until next month with a final vote expected now in June.