They City took possession of this house at 125 Woodlawn Avenue last October. Sure it could be fixed and the owner, well he booked South a few years ago. Rather than pursuing the owner for the demolition, the City has contracted with an asbestos removal company (on East Delevan Avenue, yeah right...) for $8600 to remove some siding! This, of course doesn't include the price of the actual demo. I'll make sure to take pics of the remediation at 125 Woodlawn Avenue.
Had this property been properly secured last fall, the copper plumbing and 5 year old heating system and new vinyl replacement windows wouldn't have grown legs and walked away. Why is the City taking over these sorts of properties and not pursuing the owner for the demolition cost. There's a really stupid pattern going on here where the City takes over a property liabilty and compounds the problem by spending tax dollars to remedy the problem. Doesn't the City have a Law Department that could pursue a few derelict property owners. Does the City of Buffalo need new laws to pursue old debts?
Sure, taxes should be paid. Yet in hundreds, perhaps 1000's, of situations like this here on the City's East Side, where the most the City could collect off a property such as this in a good tax year is $600-700, why are we spending 25x this amount (asbestos removal plus 10-12K in demolition costs) rather than pursuing these owners using existing means?
Last time I checked - last month - Hamilton and Lydia Woods of Redwood City, CA still haven't received a bill from the City of Buffalo for the demolition of 242 Koons Avenue - February 2005. City of Buffalo residents paid a demolition contractor $7800 for an emergency demolition at that address. How far would you go to collect? Most business owners I know would have filed a judgement long ago.