In a letter to Afton residents, interim Mayor Richard Bend wrote that the Old Village improvements project is “now and will continue to be a significant task for the city” that could cost more than $14 million.
“The figures I was shown were an initial draft. A majority of the costs of the project are expected to be funded with grants from various sources with smaller portions to be paid by assessments on the benefited properties and by using funds which in the past have been paid annually into a fund for the City’s litigation expenses,” said the letter, which appeared in the city’s February newsletter.
The two-part project will include: upgrading the Old Village’s flood defenses to meet standards established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state Department of Natural Resources; and building a sewer system and treatment plant “to handle the load.”
Bend, a longtime political insider, was appointed interim mayor in December, a few weeks after former Mayor Patricia Snyder stepped down to pursue private business opportunities. He will serve the remainder of Snyder’s two-year term, which expires this year.
Bend describes himself as a lifelong Afton resident — leaving only to attend graduate and law school — who is “dedicated to preserving Afton’s rural environment, lean city government and responsible pay-as-you-go growth.”
Robbery, burglary lead crimes in report
The greater share of criminal cases prosecuted by the Washington County attorney’s office involve robberies, burglaries and thefts, according to a 2013 annual report issued last week.
Those cases accounted for 34 percent of all adult cases prosecuted by the county attorney’s office last year, followed by drugs (24 percent) and assaults (15 percent).
On the civil side, child support and paternity cases accounted for 51 percent of all cases prosecuted. Contract review followed at 19 percent and tax appeals at 8 percent. Numerous other classifications such as civil actions, land acquisitions and estate demands accounted for the rest of the cases.
Juvenile prosecutions somewhat mirrored adult offenses with robbery, burglary and theft leading with 18 percent. Drugs accounted for 14 percent of all cases, property crimes for 9 percent and assaults for 8 percent.
Violent crime fell sharply in recent years, the report shows, consistent with trends elsewhere, but County Attorney Pete Orput’s office remains busy with prosecutions. Attorneys also are involved in several initiatives to prevent crime, such as truancy, restorative justice and veteran programs.
“I am proud of the fact that for the third year in a row, this office has quadrupled the number of trials as compared to previously, resulting in more effective justice for victims and citizens,” Orput wrote in the report.
The full report can be read at www.wcattorney.info.
Updated security designed for jail
The Washington County Board has approved a contract with Elert and Associates to design a new security and closed-circuit television system for the county jail.
Current jail security is more than 22 years old and has reached the end of its service life, said Sheriff Bill Hutton. The systems are critical for efficient operation of the jail and to ensure safety of officers and inmates, he said.
Elert and Associates was chosen from four respondents to a county project solicitation. The contract is for $125,000.