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City gets funds for demo of structures

A grant administered through Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office will allow the City of Ironton to demolish more dilapidated homes.

Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship several months ago asked council for funds to demolish dilapidated houses throughout the city and said the program was working well.

“I’ve been working with several families and individual owners of some of the houses we have been targeting, so to speak, they have been on our list for quite some time,” he said. “We’re having pretty good luck with that and yesterday I was informed (the city has) received a $35,000 grant from the attorney general’s office.”

The money was made available from counties that exhausted demolition efforts but had leftover funds, Blankenship said, and using that money makes the process easier on the homeowner.

“We were going to tear them down and assess their property taxes,” he said. “When we do it this way it’s not on their property taxes since it’s a grant we received.”

Vice mayor Kevin Waldo asked if all the homes that are going to be demolished have been determined.

“We have prioritized,” Blankenship said. “We’ll have to see how far this $35,000 will go. There are some homes that will probably be lower costs than others.”

Successful contact of homeowners who live as far away as Texas and Florida has been a plus in the effort.

“Many of these people haven’t seen these homes in many years,” Blankenship said. “After they were deemed vacant (the city and the health department) inspected them and actually condemned the premises. We then notified the owners with pictures sent through certified mail and made contact with them. They were gung-ho about it.”

Also adopted at the meeting was ordinance 14-30 setting the salary of the vice mayor and members of city council. The ordinance increases the vice mayor’s monthly pay from $150 to $600 and council members’ pay from $120 to $500. The raises are less than one hundredth of 1 percent of the city’s overall budget, Waldo said.

The raises will not take effect until after the 2015 council election.