News and Tribune

August 5, 2013

Council to vote on demolition funds tonight

Brewer: About 18 properties need to be addressed

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY —

The New Albany City Council is slated to vote on a $150,000 appropriation tonight that would be used for building demolitions. 

Building Commissioner David Brewer told the council last month that $127,000 had been recouped through code enforcement over the past 18 months, but that money had been spent on forced cleanups and demolitions. 

The council last appropriated money for the unsafe building fund in June of 2012, and that amount was also $150,000. 

Councilman Dan Coffey is sponsoring the latest appropriation request, and he said last week razing blighted structures “puts banks and others on notice” that the city is serious about code enforcement. 

“I’m comfortable now that [the administration] is actually going after these properties and trying to get the money back,” Coffey said in reference to recouping demolition costs through liens. 

Tearing unsafe buildings down also helps combat crime elements such as drug trafficking and use, Councilman Scott Blair said last week. 

“It’s an investment,” he said. “We may be able to get a return once the property has been disposed of [and] we collect on the lien.” 

The appropriation would come from Economic Development Income Tax and/or Riverboat funds as cited in the ordinance. 

Brewer told the council last month there are roughly 18 structures that need to be addressed, as he added the expense of razing a house is a big factor when determining what buildings to remove. 

Brewer is expected to present the council this evening with a list of structures that could be razed if the funding is approved. 

The New Albany Building Commission also reviews and votes monthly on properties that need to be addressed. 

The appropriation for the unsafe building fund is the only ordinance or resolution slated for a vote at this evening’s council meeting. 

It will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the third-floor Assembly Room of the City-County Building.