CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. – The Cheektowaga Town Board is expected to award a demolition contract to raze 17 Yvette Drive at Tuesday night’s town board meeting according to Town Supervisor Diane Benczkowski.
“The [residents] should be very, very happy about this and we haven’t heard a word from the bank offering to fix it, so we have to go through with it,” said Ms. Benczkowski.
Sealed bids were opened on July 26th, and the Town Attorney’s Office is recommending the Town Board to award the $48,800 demolition and asbestos abatement contract to Apollo Dismantling Services, LLC of Niagara Falls, New York.
Former Town Attorney Kevin Schenk recently said at a July 11th Town Board work session that the house could be demolished around 60 days after the board awarded the bid to a contractor.
Ms. Benczkowski says the Town put demolitions on hiatus after the resignation of former Councilmember Charles Markel in 2014 and because several Town departments saw an unrelated change in leadership.
“Charlie was passionate and he figured out a way to make these banks more accountable by calling for these public hearings, calling these banks into a public hearing and answering to the board,” added Ms. Benczkowski.
The good news for Town residents living next to these unsightly and sometimes hazardous structures is the Supervisor is working with the Office of Community & Economic Development to go after the problems aggressively.
“We have to call the banks out and make them more accountable. The good news is we did finally receive the funding from the zombie grant and we’re putting things in place to start moving along under the zombie grant to address these vacant properties,” added Ms. Benczkowski.
Cheektowaga Chronicle spoke to the Richard Coburn, the Town’s Supervising Code Enforcement Office in June and he said the $250,000 grant would allow the Town to hire two additional inspectors and two clerks at the part-time level. The added resources will aid the Town in identifying zombie homes and help residents on the verge of foreclosure.
“The zombie grant is going to help counsel people who get a notice that says they’ll be foreclosed on, they’ll be able to stay in their homes and figure out a way to work with the bank to catch up with their payments or possibly do a short sale for them,” continued Ms. Benczkowski.
Residents can reach out to the Office of Community & Economic Development to learn more information about how the Town can help residents through this program.