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Centralia City Council Approves Demolition Waivers

By Rob Sussman, WJBD News

The Centralia City Council held their first meeting of the year on Monday and has started the year off by highlighting one of the city's top priorities for 2014: The demolition of derelict and substandard homes. The city demolished around 30 homes during 2013, triple the number of buildings that were destroyed in 2012. 

City Manager Dan Ramey says the city aims to demolish around 40 buildings this year, and passed an ordinance to waive demolition fees for homeowners in order to make it more affordable for homeowners to demolish their own substandard property. Last year, the city formed an Image Committee in order to tackle several of the city's image issues, one of which being the demolition of substandard homes. Residents in neighborhoods with the derelict homes say they attract criminal activity and actively lower property values in the areas surrounding the homes. 

In keeping with the image-building-centric council agenda, the Council approved an agreement with the consulting firm Peckham, Guyton, Albers and Viets for $19,900. PGAV has assisted the city in the past in applying for loans and doing consulting work on image building projects in Downtown Centralia. 

City Clerk Tanya Bundy reported that she would be retiring effective in April. Bundy has worked for the city for over 30 years and has acted as City Clerk since 1999. She has given the council three months notice in order to help select and train her successor, who has yet to be named.

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