PDT Staff Writer
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Friday that he will extend the deadline for counties to use all of their Moving Ohio Forward demolition grant funds from Dec. 31, 2013, to May 31, 2014.
“I am pleased with the progress made by communities to raze abandoned and blighted homes,” DeWine said. “By extending the deadline through late spring, we hope that counties will continue to take advantage of the funds available to them to get rid of abandoned homes that have attracted crime and are community eyesores.”
Several counties have asked for the extension due to wet and rainy conditions this spring and finding qualified demolition contractors was also an issue in some areas.
Of Ohio’s share of the National Mortgage Settlement, $75 million for demolition was directed by the Attorney General to go to all of Ohio’s counties, based on the percentage of foreclosures filed in each county between 2008-2011. The National Mortgage Settlement that the attorneys general reached in 2012 is with the following mortgage servicers: Ally, Bank of America, Citi, JP MorganChase and WellsFargo.
To date the Attorney General’s Office has reimbursed counties more than $22.3 million and documented a total of more than $36.6 million in the demolition of more than 4,700 units. The average cost per demolition is $7,700.
“The city has approximately $23,000 left of $148,000,” Portsmouth Economic Development Director Tracy Shearer said. “And I have a bid opening this coming week on the (Aug.) 4th to do more houses.”
A list of counties, with the funds available to them and the amount they have been reimbursed for so far is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website. The chart shows a $70,485,494 allocation, not $75 million, as not every county has requested its full allocation. The list shows Scioto County being awarded $277,487 and having been reimbursed $202,571.50. With the extension, each county has additional time to spend all of their current funds, and also time to determine if they want to use their full allocation based on the demolition needs within their county.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.