The city would receive $1 million of Mahoning County’s $1,531,680 allocation from an attorney- general program for housing demolition, under the county Land Reutilization Corp.’s proposal.|
Also, the city plans to spend at least $1 million of its own money for demolition work, said Mayor Charles Sammarone.
The land reutilization proposal is expected to be approved about Aug. 1 by the attorney general’s office, county Treasurer Daniel Yemma, the corporation’s chairman, wrote in a letter to Rebecca Gerson, the city’s first assistant law director.
“My goal is to tear down as many vacant homes as possible,” Sammarone said. “I would have taken $20 million. If you’ve got $20 million in unused money, send it here, and we’ll spend it.”
In anticipation of the demolition work, the city’s board of control agreed Thursday to hire Environmental Protection Systems of Girard to remove asbestos from about 300 to 350 vacant residential homes as part of the state demolition program. Because the houses have yet to undergo inspections for asbestos, the city’s contract with the Girard company for about $550,000 could fluctuate, but the amount is a good estimate, said Charles Shasho, deputy of public works.
Also, city officials say a lot more than 300 to 350 houses will come down as the money from the program doesn’t have to be completely spent until Dec. 31, 2013.
Sammarone previously had said he wanted 500 vacant residential structures down by the end of 2013, but that was when he was expecting the county to give $500,000 to the city. He declined Thursday to estimate how many houses will come down with the additional money.
With one company handling the asbestos removal, the process will be better coordinated and move quicker, Sammarone said.
The city last month hired CT Consultants of Youngstown to do asbestos testing and construction inspections as well as serve as the city’s administrator of residential demolitions for $1,050 a structure. City officials gave the same explanation about using one company for this work as it did for asbestos removal.
There are about 2,000 to 4,500 dilapidated residential structures that need to be demolished in Youngstown, based on various estimates.
The attorney general’s office set aside $75 million for demolitions from the state’s $335 million share of a $25 billion national mortgage settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage companies over foreclosure abuse, fraud and improper practices.
The money is divided among the state’s 88 counties based on the percentage of foreclosures filed in each county between 2008 and 2011.
To make it easier for counties to get money through the program, no matching money is needed for the first $500,000 allocated to each county.
In Mahoning County, which received $1,531,680, Youngstown received $159,820 from the $500,000 pool of money without a need for a match. The remainder of the money for Youngstown, $840,180, requires a dollar-for-dollar match. The city will use at least $1 million of general fund money for this program, Sammarone said.
Some communities — Beaver Township, Beloit, Campbell, Coitsville and Springfield Township — will not pay any of their own money for demolition, but are being funded through this program, based on need and an inability to provide money.
On the flip side, Boardman is receiving $100,000 from the dollar-to-dollar match fund and none from the $500,000 no-match pot of money.
Boardman Trustee Chairman Brad Calhoun said he assumed most of the unmatched dollars would go to communities that couldn’t provide their own money for demolition.
“I’m thankful that a great majority of homes in Boardman that need to be taken care of, can be.”
The township plans to take down 26 houses with the money.
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