WARREN City sets sights on junk cars

The city is considering a $150 fee for owners whose cars are towed.
WARREN -- The city is cracking down on junk vehicles.
In coming weeks, council will entertain legislation to impose a fee for towing junk vehicles from residential properties.
Alford Novak, D-2nd, said legislators are considering a $150 fee to cover costs.
How it works now: The city gives owners 72 hours to move the junkers. If they don't comply or file an appeal, the vehicles are towed to May's Towing on Chestnut Avenue S.W. and impounded.
Owners pay May's for towing if they pick up their cars right away. If not, they pay impoundment and storage fees. Vehicles are crushed if no appeal is filed and cars aren't claimed.
The city doesn't get any money from towing fees, Novak said. Under the proposed legislation, car owners would pay the towing company and the city's fee.
Budget cuts: The engineering, building and planning department issued citations, but that practice was suspended in January 2000 when other cuts were made and city employees were laid off because of budget cuts.
Voters approved a 0.5 percent income tax increase this month for police and fire operations, a move that should free money in the general fund and allow the resumption of issuing citations for junk vehicles.
If he walked through his ward now, Novak said, he would find 100 or more junk cars that should be towed.
Adult entertainment: Council will also address adult entertainment establishments in coming weeks.
Legislators are looking at a license fee for adult cabarets, video viewing arcades and adult bookstores.
Novak said officials and lawmakers don't want to see such businesses in Warren.
License fees will cover the city's cost of doing background checks on employees and owners of such places. Novak said the fee itself might deter owners from setting their sights on Warren.
The proposed fee is $765 a year for the business, with managers paying $640 initially to operate the business. Annual renewal for managers would be $65. Other workers also would also pay an annual renewal fee.