LISBON - Less than half of the 196 homes submitted for demolition will be razed under a program being administered by Columbiana County commissioners.
The good news is that every community that submitted a house for consideration will probably have at least one home demolished, according to Commissioner John Payne.
"I think it's only fair we give the townships a chance to be included in this and take care of some of their issues," Payne said.
The county is in line to receive $576,000 from the state, which represents a portion of what Ohio is to receive as part of a nationwide settlement with five mortgage companies that were sued by states for fraudulent and deceptive lending practices.
Commissioners plan to only take $500,000 of the amount because the state is requiring counties to contribute $1 in matching funds for every dollar received in excess of $500,000. This means commissioners would have to put in $76,000 of its own funds to make the total $652,000.
Payne, who is heading up the program for commissioners, invited communities to submit a list of homes they want demolished with the money, and to rank them according to priority.
Cities, villages and townships submitted a total of 196 homes for consideration, and Pam Dray of the county development department said they have enough money to demolish about 80 homes.
Commissioners had talked about spending the money where it was most needed, but this approach favored the larger communities. Payne opted for a plan to spread the money around so every applicant can share in the $500,000.
Dray said they may end up being able to demolish less than 80 homes, depending on the extent of the asbestos problems they encounter. Program rules require each home be tested for asbestos, which costs $500 to $700, and asbestos remediation can cost another $800 to $2,000 per home, depending on the extent of the problem.
The county just submitted the paperwork to the state explaining why it needs the money and the problems created by having all these deteriorated homes resulting from the high number of foreclosures. Approval to go ahead with the program is expected to be received in August.
Following is a list of cities and village that submitted homes for consideration: East Liverpool, 53; Salem, 46; Columbiana, three; Hanoverton, five; East Palestine, 11; Leetonia, 13; Lisbon, 19; Wellsville, six; Salineville, four.
Following is the list of townships that submitted applications: Butler, five; Center, three; Knox, two; Liverpool, five; Madison, four; Perry, three; Middleton, seven; St. Clair, three; Salem, one; and West, three.