NANTICOKE – City residents told council Wednesday they want action on abandoned properties they believe are being used as drug houses, especially one next to St John’s Church.
That building burned almost three years ago and the owners have promised to either fix or demolish the property numerous times, council was told.
Instead, it has become a site for drug use, church representatives said, and poses a danger to children attending the church.
The building is not secured, and anyone can gain access through either the front or back doors, although some of the windows are boarded up, they said.
When approached during the daylight hours by police officers, those inside the building said they had the permission of the property owners to be there, council was told.
The matter has been before the district judge several times and should be resolved by the end of the week, but if it is not, said Mayor John Bushko, the city will act to demolish the property.
Residents also complained about a neglected property on East Noble Street that was apparently being occupied for similar purposes.
The issue might be resolved next year with the compilation of a landlord database the city has developed.
As outlined by Councilman William O’Malley, the database will help alleviate the city’s expected financial shortfall by making sure all revenue sources, such as earned income tax, refuse and sewer fees, are properly collected. It will also impose some controls on absentee landlords.
The occupancy inspections are also expected to contribute to the city’s revenue stream, O’Malley said.
In another matter, council voted to accept a $3,000 offer for the American LaFrance fire engine it had available.
Questions were asked about the anonymity surrounding the bid, and after a resident asked who the bidders were and when the bids were placed, Bushko made the information public. The successful bidder was John Cochran, no address provided. One bidder was not named by Councilman Brent Makarcyzk as he did not have the name available, since it had been received at 5 p.m. Wednesday by phone at the fire station.
That bid, for $1,414.14, was unsuccessful.