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Portsmouth code enforcement officer requests doubling of demolition budget

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 7:01 PM EDT
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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) - Portsmouth Code Enforcement Officer Andy Gedeon says the job of keeping the city up to code takes a lot of effort, but he has a lot of support.

“We are lucky council is very proactive in this,” Gedeon said. “They want to get this taken care of. Unfortunately, we don’t have an endless supply of money so we have to basically work together, put our heads together and see what we can do.”

In order to help enforce those codes, Gedeon is requesting that the city double their budget for demolitions $75,000 to $150,000 and quadrupling the abatement budget from $20,000 to $80,000. He says that is necessary with all the red tape and cost of demolition reaching up to $15,000 per home.

“It has to be done,” Gedeon said. “There’s no way we’re going to correct this without demolitions.”

Gedeon says enforcing codes and keeping buildings safe has become an even bigger issue in the last several months, with a few fires since the beginning of the year.

One fire in March, even brought down an adjacent building.

“There’s usually no electricity on, so they use candles and other means to heat the house or light the house, so that’s what usually causes the fire,” Gedeon said.

Gedeon also says there has been a link between abandoned buildings and some drug activity.

“It’s for public safety,” Gedeon said. “The property I was at this morning, there’s used needles. Found some on the front porch. There’s some in the house. There’s kids walking up and down the sidewalk.”

Portsmouth city officials say they are looking to also add another code enforcement officer to the staff soon.

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