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Changes Could Slow Demo of Some Vacant Properties, But YNDC Says Youngstown Is Much Improved - WKBN

The City of Youngstown is planning to make some changes to its water and sanitation fees that will impact demolition efforts. But Ian Beniston, who runs the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, is OK with decreasing the sanitation fee because he said it was never meant to be permanent.

Youngstown is considering raising its water rate by $10 a month and decreasing its sanitation fee by $10 a month.

The sanitation fee generates an extra $2.5 million a year for demolitions — so what happens when that money is eliminated?

Late last week, the old Rexall drug store building at Market Street and Indianola Avenue was demolished. It’s these kinds of demolitions — large commercial structures containing asbestos that require an outside contractor — that may be significantly reduced if Youngstown reduces the sanitation fee.

“The only thing we’re going to probably have to end up doing less of is our contract demolitions,” said Mike Durkin, demolition superintendent. “Roughly, we do a hundred a year but then we’ll have to cut back on that.”

The sanitation fee was increased in 2016, specifically to generate $2.5 million a year for demolitions — and it worked.

From 2014 to 2018, demolitions in Youngstown increased 59%. The number of vacant properties in Youngstown also decreased significantly, from 3,500 in 2016 to 1,800 last year — a decrease of 51%.

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