10/01/07 — Official will ask for more demolition funds

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Official will ask for more demolition funds

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on October 1, 2007 1:46 PM

Roofs are rotting. Floors are falling apart. Windows are worn and wrecked.

And the dilapidated houses and buildings will stay that way for now -- at least until Chief Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra receives more money from the city to knock them down.

The demolition budget for the year came in at much less than Cianfarra requested.

"I'm broke," he said.

Originally, he asked the city for $100,000 for building demolition. Officials cut the budget down to $75,000, and then again to $65,000.

That amount lasted from July to September.

During the last Goldsboro City Council meeting, he brought four buildings to the council to be condemned and demolished, but he noted on the request that funds had not yet been appropriated for their demolition.

Cianfarra is expected to ask the council at tonight's meeting for $75,000 more to finish the work he began.

And this addition to the budget will have to last through next summer.

"I think that will do until next July," he said.

This is not the first time Cianfarra has had to ask for funds. He made the same request last year.

The same scenario occurred -- he asked for $100,000, and the city gave him $65,000.

From July to December of 2006, $54,164 was spent on demolition, and from January to June of this year, the actual demolition amount was $10,836.

"I could really ask for $100,000 more, and I could probably spend it all," he said. "But toward the end of the year, I try to be frugal and get the worst ones."

Most of the money involved with demolition on his end comes from asbestos abatement and removal, which can cost between $2,000 and $5,000 per house, he said.

Ten buildings have been demolished since January.

But Cianfarra is not in charge of all of the building demolition.

The city and the General Services Department are responsible for a portion of the demolition to help alleviate some costs.

Eleven other properties are ready for demolition by the city, but with other maintenance issues and storm cleanup, General Services Department workers get to the demolition when they can.

Director Neil Bartlett said he is hoping they can pick up the pace on getting the buildings torn down.

"The equipment and manpower resources have been assigned to storm debris cleanup, and it is the same equipment that is used for demolition," he said. "The equipment is also used to install drainage improvements, and we are trying to get caught up on that. It is just a matter of finding the time to re-allocate the equipment and manpower to demolition."

Since January, the city has demolished five dilapidated dwellings, and Bartlett said his crews are working on a few more right now that they hope to finish in the next couple of weeks.

Cianfarra said that he is asking for the $75,000 increase in the budget in case he has to bid out houses that the city isn't able to handle.

There are currently 198 buildings in the minimum housing condemnation process in different phases.

Fifty-eight of those have been through all of the enforcement steps and need only title searches before last chance letters are sent out.

Thirty-three houses have been repaired.

But there are still some that need to be cited and to begin the demolition process.

And once that happens, Cianfarra's job won't be over.

Tearing down eyesores is only the first step, he said.

"Once I get through these dilapidated dwellings, then I can really start to get the city cleaned up," he said.