City Council To Vote On Fighting Blight Monday

The Jamestown City Council will vote on two resolutions Monday aimed at improving housing conditions.

One resolution will be to approve spending $30,000 on new software to make it easier for code enforcement officers to perform their job duties and to make it easier for residents to report possible housing code violations.

Earlier this month, Vince DeJoy, city development director, introduced the new software program that will allow residents to file housing complaints online. DeJoy said the Web-based government and community development software program will allow all involved in the city’s development office to access information easier because it will be streamlined. The program will also help mobilize code officers daily on what houses they need to continue tracking.

Not only will it help city officials, but it will assist residents in reporting possible code violations. DeJoy said people can take photos of a house with their smartphones or any computer device with Internet access to submit a photo of a potential problem property. He said there is an online action center where citizens can submitted complaints, which will be easier and faster than a resident calling a city official.

The implementation costs for the new software program is around $30,000, with an annual software subscription being around $20,000. DeJoy said it will take about 90 days for the new system to be operational. He said several programs were investigated, but the MyGov user-friendly system seemed to be the best fit for city officials.

Another resolution, will be to increase the administrative fees on properties in a state of disrepair. If a code enforcement officer determines that a property is in a state of disrepair that needs to be secured or prepared for demolition, the costs of securing and preparing the property for demolition will include a 20 percent administrative fee. The administrative fee will be included in the costs and will be part of the lien put on the property.

In other business, City Council will vote on enter into a contract with the Jamestown City Administration Association for the period covering Jan. 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2016. The bargaining unit had been operating without a new contract since 2012. Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, said earlier this week the contract calls for zero percent salary increases for 2012 and 2013; a 1.5 percent salary jump for 2014; and 2 percent raises for 2015 and 2016.

The new contract also states there will be an increase for how much employees pay for health insurance. Like the police and fire contract agreed to in December, the new agreement includes a wellness program. The Good Life Program is the name of the wellness plan BlueCross BlueShield is offering to health insurance groups. The goal of the program is to make individuals more accountable for how much they pay for their health insurance premium.

BlueCross’ wellness program was one of the main factors for city officials in reaching an agreement with fire and police union leaders last year. The contract agreement states that active and retired members of the union will need to participate in the Good Life Program in order to pay less for insurance. In 2015, if members participate they will pay 18 percent for health insurance. If they select not to participate in the program, they will pay 25 percent. In 2016, participants will pay 19 percent for health care coverage. Those who aren’t part of the wellness program will pay 26 percent.

City Council will vote to reinstate an advisory council to assist with matters along the Chadakoin River. Earlier this month, Teresi said the advisory council would assist City Council on all matters involving the reclamation, preservation, utilization, development, public access and management of the Chadakoin River within the city of Jamestown, and all other matters affecting the environment. The group would include a member of City Council; members of the Parks, Recreation and Conservation Commission; a representative from the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy; an official from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History; a member of the Jamestown Audubon Society and Sanctuary; a Jamestown High School faculty member and three student representatives; and three other citizen appointments. Members of the council would serve for a term of five years.