Introduced Version Senate Bill 519 History

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Senate Bill No. 519

(By Senator Chafin)


[Introduced March 11, 2005; referred to the Committee

on the Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]


A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §7-16A-1, §7-16A-2, §7-16A-3, §7-16A-4, §7-16A-5 and §7-16A-6, all relating to the establishment of countywide programs intended to remove abandoned and junked automobiles.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §7-16A-1, §7-16A-2, §7-16A-3, §7-16A-4, §7-16A-5 and §7-16A-6
, all to read as follows:

§7-16A-1. Establishment of authority to initiate and manage project.

The county commission of every county is hereby authorized to create and establish a public agency to be known as a "State and County Removal of Abandoned Automobile Project" (SCRAAP) to carry out the powers and duties conferred by law upon the county relating to seizure, removal and disposal of abandoned and junked motor vehicles.
§7-16A-2. Purposes.
The purposes for which a project is created are to provide for the necessary, dependable, effective and efficient seizure, removal and disposal of abandoned motor vehicles and to assist and cooperate with the state and local governments in achieving these purposes.
§7-16A-3. Management and control vested in project; appointment and terms of members; vacancies; removal of members; meetings; quorum.

The management and control of the project, its property, operations, business and affairs shall be lodged in an authority of the county sheriff and three persons who shall be known as "members of the project," each of whom shall be appointed by the county commission for a term of three years. Each member holds office until the expiration of the term for which he or she is appointed or until a successor is duly appointed. Vacancies are filled by appointment by the county commission for the unexpired term of the member whose office becomes vacant.
No member may be an elected official or employee of the county or engaged in the business of buying and selling scrap metal or repairing or restoring motor vehicles. Project members may be reappointed to serve additional terms. All members of the project shall be residents in the county where the particular project is situated.
The county Commission may at any time remove any member of the project and may appoint a successor.
The Sheriff shall act as chairman of the project and the sheriff's office shall keep an accurate accounting of the business of the project. Members of the project, other than the Sheriff, shall serve without remuneration.
§7-16A-4. Project to be a public corporation; name; power to contract and sue; seal.

The project when created, and its members, constitute a public corporation, the name of which contains the words "State and County Removal of Abandoned Automobile Project" (SCRAAP). The project has perpetual succession, may contract and be contracted with, sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded and have and use a common seal.
§7-16A-5. Powers, duties and responsibilities of project generally.

The project may exercise all powers necessary or appropriate to carry out and effectuate its corporate purpose. The project may:
(1) Adopt, and from time to time, amend and repeal bylaws necessary and proper for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its business and rules to implement and make effective its powers and duties.
(2) Acquire, construct, reconstruct, enlarge, improve, furnish, equip, maintain, repair, operate, lease or rent to, or contract for operation by a governmental agency or person, holding facilities for motor vehicles that have been removed, awaiting disposal by the county, and, adopt rules for the: (A)Use of the holding facilities; (B) procedures to reduce and recycle abandoned motor vehicles to salvage or scrap, to be resold in the market place, and to dispose of parts not amenable to reuse or salvage; (C) legal procedures for notifying known or unknown persons who may have an ownership interest in motor vehicles designated as subject to seizure, removal and disposal under the provisions of this article.
(3) Make available the use or services of any holding facility to one or more persons, one or more governmental agencies, or any combination thereof.
(4) Acquire by gift or purchase, hold and dispose of real and personal property in the exercise of its powers and the performance of its duties.
(5) Make and enter into all contracts and agreements and execute all instruments necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers in selling the salvage or scrap of abandoned or junked motor vehicles which have been removed.
(6) Receive and accept from any federal or state agency grants for or in aid of the purposes of this article.
(7) Purchase fire and extended coverage and liability insurance for holding facilities.
(8) Charge, alter and collect rentals, fees, service charges and other charges for the use or services of any holding facility as provided in this article.
(9) Develop and implement guidelines designed to identify abandoned motor vehicles, provide adequate notice to any possible owner or owners that an abandoned motor vehicle has been so identified and is designated for removal and disposal by the sheriff.
(10) Do all acts necessary and proper to carry out the powers expressly granted to the authority by this article.
§7-16A-6. Procedure for designation, removal and disposal of abandoned and junked automobiles.

(a) The sheriff shall direct the employees of his or her office to record any observations personally made by them or reports by others concerning the existence of abandoned and junked motor vehicles in the county. Upon ascertaining that a motor vehicle is abandoned, the sheriff shall place a sticker prominently in a conspicuous place on the body of the motor vehicle, clearly designating the motor vehicle for removal and disposal under the authority of the State and County Removal of Abandoned Automobile Project. The sheriff shall thereafter direct that the motor vehicle be removed to a holding facility to await processing and disposal in accordance with the provisions of this article. Within ten days after the motor vehicle is removed to a holding facility, the sheriff, in minimum lots of ten motor vehicles previously designated as abandoned, shall notify prospective owners, by Class II publication in a county-wide newspaper, of the intention to dispose of the motor vehicle. The notice shall include the make, model and color of the motor vehicle, the vehicle identification number - if ascertainable, and the location of the holding facility where the motor vehicle is currently held. The notice shall also provide that any person claiming ownership of the automobile must notify the sheriff within thirty days of their intention to reclaim the vehicle. In the event no person makes a verifiable claim within thirty days of the second publication of notice, the vehicle will be processed for disposal accordingly. In the event a person presents a verifiable claim of ownership to a motor vehicle, he or she shall be assessed all reasonable costs associated with the removal and storage of the motor vehicle before it may be released to him or her.

(b) The sheriff and project members shall take all necessary steps to convert abandoned motor vehicles, that are appropriately processed for disposal, to salvage, including any reusable parts, or scrap metal with intrinsic value, and offer same for sale on the open market.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to establish county-wide programs intended to remove abandoned and junked automobiles to be chaired and implemented by the sheriff.

This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
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