At tonight's Casper City Council work session, to take place at the Lyric at 4:30 p.m., direction is requested regarding rundown structures.

A memo from City Manager Carter Napier recommends council consider a funding plan for condemned, dangerous buildings and demolitions proposed by staff.

Napier says that the Code of Enforcement Division presented five places they'd like to see improvements to City codes and policies.

He did not immediately respond to an email from K2 Radio asking for an example of which specific buildings are considered condemned.

"There has been a marked increase in the number of dangerous buildings the City has had to deal with over the last year," wrote Napier, which is costlier than previously expected.

In the past, dangerous buildings were "relatively rare," according to the City Manager. The funding came from the Code Enforcement Weed/Litter abatement budget, but during the first half of the 2024 fiscal year, that budget was depleted by "a rash of dangerous buildings and subsequent demolitions."

The hard costs of abating dangerous buildings include securing the building, posting the property, legal/recording fees, notifications, asbestos testing, asbestos abatement, demolition, and disposal costs.

Napier says the average cost to demolish a single-family structure ranges from $10,000 to $20,000. Commercial demolitions can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Property owners are afforded time to adequately repair or remodel dangerous structures, but when they are unwilling to cooperate, the City is left with the burden.

The City tries to recoup the funds spent on abating these buildings, mainly through property leins, but often they're not able to get the monies back for many years, if at all.

Napier says that, "Unfortunately, the number of dangerous buildings does not appear to be subsiding."

Code Enforcement has requested a dedicated funding source moving forward.

The 2024 Fiscal Year will be over at the end of June.

Napier's memo states that when FY25 starts in July, the City will establish a dedicated dangerous buildingn fund in the budget, not to be included in the General fund, as the chance for budget errors would be too great.

The funding will be provided on a reimbursement basis, as projects occur, with initial funding cominf from cash on hand.

Any cost recoveries will be put into the revenue of this effort to be used for dangerous buildings in the future. The funding will only be used on dangerous buildings.

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Gallery Credit: Michael Foth

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