Berlin News Briefs April 26, 2012
BERLIN — Houses that have fallen into disrepair beyond hope of rehabilitation are often demolished by the Berlin Fire Company during a controlled burn. The controlled burns double as practice for firefighters. There are several houses in Town, however, that the BFC as been unable to burn and the owners have been put on notice to have the homes demolished or face Town-initiated demolition.
Town Administrator Tony Carson told the Mayor and Council last night that several homeowners have been warned that the Town will demolish the homes in question if the owners are not more proactive. This is something the Town has done before and generally the cost of the demolition is taken out in a property lien.
Mayor Gee Williams instructed Carson to get in touch with the BFC and ensure whether the properties in question were slated for controlled burn and to arrange for demolition based on their reply.
In recent years the Town staff and administration has redoubled efforts to keep nuisance properties in check. In addition to being more aggressive on abandoned properties, the Town has been enforcing bans on boarded up windows and concentrating on property maintenance violations.
As part of that effort the Council asked Planning Supervisor Chuck Ward about the status of a vacant house along Main Street. Ward told the Council that he was in regular touch with the owner and that he found the owner responsive to requests about repair and lawn care.
Zoning Code review
Ward told the Mayor and Council that the zoning code review, which is underway, should be completed within a year.
Human Resources Director Jeff Fleetwood, announced changes to the Town healthcare plan that will save the Town only about $50 per month but allow the employees to earn extra cash by workout incentives. Employees who visit a gym 12 times per month will earn $20 from United Health Group, the Town’s new provider.
Fleetwood said it is part of the continuing emphasis both healthcare companies as well as physicians and other providers are placing on preventative care. The idea is that it is best for both the employees and the insurance company if everyone is a little bit healthier, reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Fleetwood said, in response to questions from the Council that Peninsula Orthopedics in Berlin accepts the insurance. He also said was still researching the eye care aspect of the plan but anticipated no problem finding a local provider.
Town Finance Director Lynn Musgrave reminded the Council and the Public that she would be presenting the proposed Enterprise Fund fiscal 2013 budget 6 p.m. Monday.
Take Pride in Berlin
Assistant Town Administrator Mary Bohlen reported on Take Pride in Berlin Cleanup Day which she said had lower than expected turnout but was still successful. Volunteers at Henry Park were able to complete all of the anticipated work. Bohlen also encouraged residents to come out to Trail Mix 9 a.m. Saturday, April 28 and continue to participate in Take Pride in Berlin Week. Trail Mix is the inauguration of several bike trails around Town.
Councilman Elroy Brittingham asked Carson to investigate partnering with a bank to provide a shredding day for residents who want to recycle sensitive documents. While the Town provides curbside recycling, some people are uncomfortable discarding bank statements and other documents containing personal information along with their regular recycling.