By Adam Pack
Ronceverte City Council met Monday, July 11 to discuss, among other matters, a letter regarding the property at 643 Edgar Avenue also known as “The Old Rexall Building.” The letter, written by City Administrator Pam Mentz and addressed to the owner of the building, noted the findings of the building inspector.
Mayor Deena Pack relayed to the council and the public that, “The building inspector determined the building to be unsafe to its occupants and the public due to its damage and the partial or complete collapse of the structure is imminent.” This letter was dated May 28, 2021.
“Our building inspector has noted that no improvements have been made to that building… to stop any kind of imminent danger or potential hazard to people walking by or people that may be in the building. As such, the city has asked the council to vote to condemn the building in order to have the power shut off,” said Pack. The supply of water to the building has been shut off since July 7, 2021. The owner of the building can protest the decision to a three-person board composed of the mayor, an engineering professional, and the building inspector.
Members of the council commented on the decision, saying that “It’s been a year, and nothing has been done. To leave power on, as well, is a fire hazard.” It was also explained that, “[By voting to condemn the building] Mon Power can be contacted and will then have the authority to shut the power off.”
Though the building inspector noted no improvements to the building, if any improvements had been made that the inspector wasn’t aware of, they were also not reported to council, said Mayor Pack. The council then voted unanimously to condemn the building.
In other portions of the meeting, the council passed three resolutions regarding the payment of invoices for the water system upgrade, the sewer system repairs project, and the design and construction of the stormwater infrastructure project.
The council heard an update regarding the construction work on the water lines. The city crew was able shut off water to old lines and replace 628 feet of line to date. By replacing the lines using city employees, the city saved a considerable amount of money and reduced daily water costs from $500,000 to $200,000. Water loss has decreased drastically.
The city also passed a budget revision and adopted the new state building code for the city.
Council also reviewed a letter regarding work to be done on the old City Hall building. The letter stated that another $25,000 would be required for a more thorough examination of the structure, and that an additional $200,000 may be required to fully remediate the issues affecting the building. Given the high costs associated with the project, council voted to table discussion on the topic until next month after members have had more time to review and discuss the matter.
The Ronceverte City Council meets on the first Monday of every month at 7 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.