After 400 demolitions of condemned properties, the city of Monroe is on the verge of conquering three of Mayor Jamie Mayo’s six key focus areas, beautification, public safety, and housing and growth.
Mayo contributes the city’s new plan of action for this success.
“We have the 400 today, which compared to the other process where we were contracting it out, we would probably be at sixty,” says Mayo.
A few years ago contractors were allowed to bid on demolition projects, but the rate skyrocketed to nearly 10,000 dollars per property.
Now the public works department oversees all plans of action which benefits the city financially.
“The public works department had the resources in order to be able to take these houses down, and we did so without adding any additional employees to our crews,” says the director of the public works department, Tom Janway.
There are several steps in the process of demolition.
First, legal action has to be taken through code enforcement, tracking down property owners, and getting everything approved through the city.
Then, the public works department checks the house for any safety hazards.
“What we first do is we first have the houses inspected, approximately 60 percent of the houses have asbestos,” says Janway.
Mayor mayo says this is a landmark day for “Fight the Blight.”
Even though city council voted down the motion to “Fight the Blight,” the mayor’s office continues to move forward with the project with no problem.
“We are trying to implement ‘Fight the Blight,’ and of course the council voted against that, the majority of them, because they want to have the power to be able to say what happens with it, but that authority has been very limited because we are tearing the houses down ourselves,” says Mayo.