Chester Mayor Ed Wedgewood and City Council are aware that their picturesque hometown has detriments that need addressed and they took action to remedy those problems.

From feral cats roaming the neighborhoods to a growing population of rats on Virginia Avenue caused by unkempt properties Council discussion centered around the action necessary.

Joanne Kinney, a resident of Virginia Ave. for 50 years, expressed her frustration at the problems being created by dilapidated housing with high grass. In addition to the proximity of the homes, the rats seem to be taking over the neighborhood.

“I never saw anything like it in fifty years,” said Kinney. “They’re walking up Virginia Avenue like they’re going for a Sunday stroll.”

Chief of Police Chuck Stanley said the problem can be complicated if the State has taken the property for non-payment of taxes. Normally, the owner of the property will get a letter giving them notice and a time limit to have the property cleaned up. If that does not happen they are brought into City Court and fined and that process of fining per day continues. The City does have the option to put a lien on the house if the fines remain unpaid.

Feral cats populating areas of the community are causing problems and the city has called upon Floyd Schultz, human officer, for help. Traps are being set for the cats who are then taken to the Animal Shelter where a program spays and neuters them. The Shelter has so many cats that they are in an emergency situation and are working with Pet Smart to have the cats adopted.

The City is fortunate to have received a $2,245,000.00 State grant for paving alleys. City Clerk Tata Ayers stressed that the funding for the work will go directly to the contractor doing the work. It is expected the work will take eight weeks and Mayor Ed Wedgewood asked for the citizens’ patience as the work progresses.

In other business, Council

**Accepted receipts of $39,425 to be placed in the proper account;

**Paid bills amounting to $97,243.70

**Accepted receipts of $6,295.00 from the building fund;

**Paid bills of $2,059,90 from the building account;

**Was provided with an update on the 11th St. & Phoenix Ave. Catch Bassin Update;

**Leaned that Mayor Wedgewood has approached the State to have the Water Filtration Plant declared an emergency;

**Agreed to pay annual dues of $680.00 for membership in the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Planning Commission;

**Donated $5,000.00 to the Library from the Coal Severance Fund;

**Donated $5,000.00 to City Park from the Coal Severance Fund;

**Will continue to research the purchase of a mini excavator;

**Voted to purchase a new police cruiser;

**Voted to pay an invoice of $26,500.00 from Six Enterprises although the project had gone over budget.

**Paid an invoice of $19, 328.60 from Stantec Consulting Services;

**Heard from Fire Chief John Hissam that the City is ready for the 4th of July celebration.