West Covina OKs More Money to Remove Graffiti

Times Staff Writer

Responding to a sharp increase in graffiti, the City Council has allocated an additional $6,000 to keep its removal program operating, raising the total for this fiscal year to a record $18,000.

The removal fund, which pays the San Gabriel Valley Boys Club for work and materials, was due to run out this week, according to a city staff report.

Under the program, owners of private property can call a graffiti hot line to have the Boys Club remove unwanted writing at no cost, often on the same day. City maintenance workers remove graffiti from municipal buildings.

In the 1986-87 fiscal year, the city paid $10,362 for graffiti removal, an average of $836 a month. This year, the city has spent an average of $1,300 a month. The cost for March alone topped $2,100.

Councilman Bradley McFadden suggested at Monday's council meeting that the business community, the primary user of the program, should foot more of the bill. McFadden agreed with a city staff recommendation to ask businesses for voluntary contributions but added that the Chamber of Commerce should be forced to pay part of the cost if response is low.

Saying the removal program is needed to maintain the city's image and retard gang activity, Councilman Richard Lewis said the council should allocate all the funds needed to keep the writing off city walls.

"It's a very important program, and I'd hate to see any changes in it," Lewis said.

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