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Amusement device license fees lowered

| Saturday, March 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

West Elizabeth council decreased the license fees for mechanical amusement devices.

An ordinance adopted on Wednesday amends the costs to $100 for each juke box, nonvideo mechanical amusement device such as dart games, shuffle alley, claw machine and pin ball; $250 for each pool table; and $500 for each video mechanical amusement device and gambling device.

The previous fees were $150, $325 and $600, respectively.

The ordinance states, “Fees may be adjusted by council from time to time by resolution.”

Council changed the fees back to what they were in 1999 after considering comments by Russ Martin of Murray Amusement Inc. He told borough officials that bars would be willing to purchase more machines if the license fees were lower, and that would bring more revenue to the borough with fees from additional machines.

In other news, two residents complained about the state of West Elizabeth council vice president Frank Magill's vacant house along First Street.

Resident Scott Magill said his father's house attracts raccoons, rats and opossums that come around his house.

Frank Magill said his home is on the demolition list.

“It's a health hazard,” Scott Magill said. “What happens if that place falls in right now?”

Borough solicitor Matt Racunas said dilapidated structures are a common problem in many municipalities that he represents.

“Putting it on a demo list is the best thing that they can possibly do,” he said.

Borough officials said they are awaiting Community Development Block Grant funding to demolish the structure.

“Where does the homeowner's responsibility end and it becomes the community's responsibility?” resident Scott Pearson asked.

He questioned that if he allows his house go to the point it's falling apart and needs to be demolished, does that absolve him of any responsibility as the owner.

“The property is leaned so that if it is ever sold then that money comes back and it gets reimbursed,” Racunas said.

Frank Magill said he either will pay for the house's demolition or reimburse the borough for the grant money and no taxpayer money will be used.

Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or slee@tribweb.com.

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