WEST JEFFERSON —Sometimes you have to give a little to get a little.
In attempts to continue negotiations with the town of West Jefferson, Rainbow Recycling owner Mark Blevins has covered the controversial message that he painted on the wall of his local salvage yard earlier this year.
“The town was wanting to try and negotiate with me and that’s one of the reasons we painted over the sign,” Blevins said.
Blevins first painted the sign, which read “Town Hall Kiss My (expletive),” following a West Jefferson board of aldermen meeting held on July 6. The board had voted to make amendments to the town’s ordinance after receiving complaints – in some cases for years – about the salvage yard’s appearance.
According to the ordinance amendments, Blevins would be required to install an 8-foot tall wooden fence on top of a 5-foot “berm” of dirt with flowers, plants and bushes surrounding it within the next three years.
But Blevins says a berm is not the best solution for his business.
“That eats up a lot of property and we don’t have very much to begin with,” Blevins said.
According to Blevins, in a meeting with the town in September, he explained the issue with the berm and the town said it’s willing to negotiate.
“They kind of put the ball in our court and asked for us to make a proposal to them as to what we could afford or would be willing to do,” Blevins said.
Although the town requires a wooden fence, Blevins says a chain-link fence would be more appropriate for his business and would require less maintenance.
But with an appraisal value around $25,000 for an 8 foot tall chain-link fence, Blevins said it’s a cost he just can’t afford.
“Scrap prices are way down so therefore, my business has slowed way down,” Blevins said. “We really cant afford to spend money on a fence right now.”
According to Blevins, the town has offered his business a facade grant of $1,000 a year for three years, equalling $3,000 to help him build the required fence. But for Blevins, this still isn’t enough.
“$3,000 against $25,000 just doesn’t cut it,” Blevins said.
Blevins said he is waiting to get an estimate on a wooden fence with a local who will be able to make the fence the required height. For now, Blevins wants all his customers to know he is still in business.
“We are open, we’re still here,” Blevins said. “We’re still trying to make ends meet and get everything going in the right direction.”
“We’re willing to negotiate and are just waiting for him to get back with us,” Brantley Price, town manager, said.
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.