KEYSER - Keyser City Council member Karol Ashenfelter recently asked her fellow elected officials during a government meeting, “What can we do about dilapidated properties?”

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - Keyser City Council member Karol Ashenfelter recently asked her fellow elected officials during a government meeting, “What can we do about dilapidated properties?”
She said that she had been to the Mineral County Assessor’s office to seek information on who the owners of abandoned houses are in Keyser, and she found out many are owned “by prominent people.”
She suggested starting with a resolution that allows fines to be given for the abandoned homes, and Ashenfelter said, “Let’s not just fine $100, but several hundred a month.”
“This would get their attention,” she said as she described a house on F Street that was dilapidated and, “The house next to me has no water or no electric services.”
Saying that starting with a resolution with backbone, Ashenfelter said that then a change could go toward an ordinance.
She wants the owners of vacant building to register their ownership to be part of the resolution.
Council member Eric Murphy said there are three different categories of vacant homes in Keyser, and they are abandoned, dilapidated, and blighted, which only needs a little tender loving care.
He mentioned there is a problem with some of these buildings, and “They are ready to fall down into the street.”
Randy Amtower, city administrator, had words to say about the condition of some of the buildings in Keyser by saying, “It is not what is on the front porch, it’s what is inside.”
He said that cost of putting a new ordinance into effect would cost the City of Keyser about $3,000 to $5,000.
Amtower said that he often hears residents say, “Keyser is the worst place on earth,” and the reason is because those residents “have not been anywhere else.”
Speaking of dilapidated properties, he said, “This is not just in Keyser, but it is all over.”
“We will meet with two of Keyser’s employees” about the concerns of the dilapidated building to see what can be done, Amtower said, naming the two as Patti Davis, tax clerk and blighted property clerk, and Jimmy Stewart, code compliance officer.
Amtower spoke briefly on another subject that dealt with the annexation of property on the east side of U.S. Route 220.
He said the hold up in the annexation process is on Route 220 and the determination of where the state highway boundaries are located.
Council member Sonny Alt said that he spoke to the county commissioners about two weeks ago, and, “they will do nothing” concerning the annexation.
Amtower gave an answer to Alt’s statement, and said, “They told us to do it.”