Fulton To Tear Down Four Unfixable Homes

The city of Fulton will soon tear down four homes that were in such bad shape that they could not be saved.

The homes are located at:

  • 213 W. 1st St. S.
  • 270 W. 1st St. S.
  • 506 Utica St.
  • 108 N. 6th St.

The four properties were among 33 properties seized by the city in April for failing to pay back property taxes.

“On our tax foreclosures this year, most of them, we’re fixing. Four of them have to come down,” said Mayor Ron Woodward. “I’m sure two of them won’t survive the winter.”

Woodward is piloting a new program under which the city fixes up and resells at market rates some homes seized for back taxes. City employees do some of the repair work, while outside contractors do the rest. If the home is a multi-family apartment, the city reconverts it back to a single family home. Preference goes to owners who will live in the home and who are first time home buyers. Normally, local governments auction off seized properties to anyone willing to pay the back taxes and put the home back on the tax rolls.

The city just completed its first two homes under the remodel-and-resell project. Woodward said the two homes sold for slightly above market rates and returned a profit to the city. The profits will be reinvested in other homes, to try to widen the program.

Seized homes that do not require extensive repairs are often sold to first-time homebuyers through a program that has a long waiting list of willing buyers.

City lawmakers this week approved spending $130,000 to hire contractors to tear down the four homes. The buildings, said Woodward, “are too high for our equipment and too close to other buildings, so I’d like to shift that liability to a contractor.”

Surveys of the homes for asbestos will be completed by Friday, Woodward said, and then the city can ask for bids for the demolition. The Common Council may hold a special meeting next week to approve bid requests, so the homes can be torn down before winter.

City Aldermen also approved spending $140,000 on a new skid steer unit to plow snow from bridges and sidewalks to replace aging equipment and for blacktop, as well as $55,000 for two new police vehicles.

All of the money being spent is coming from what the city calls the unexpected settlement of the failed payment in lieu of taxes agreement with the now-closed Fulton Cogen plant.