LISBON - Columbiana County commissioners are hosting a meeting next week to begin discussions on how to spend $576,000 available for demolishing abandoned and dilapidated homes.
The meeting is to be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in the commissioners' meeting room, and cities, villages and townships are asked to send a representative.
This is one of the first steps being taken by commissioners after learning last week the county was eligible to receive $576,000 as part of Ohio's share of a nationwide settlement with five mortgage companies. This was the result of lawsuits filed by states against these lenders for fraudulent and deceptive lending practices.
Commissioner John Payne was designated to take the lead on the project, and he reported at this week's board meeting being involved in a conference call with the Ohio Attorney General's Office to learn more about the program.
Payne said he did learn the county would be required to provide a dollar match for every grant dollar receive beyond $500,000. In other words, if commissioners want the full $576,000, they will have to contribute $76,000 in county funds.
"So we're probably going to go with the $500,000 at this point," he said.
Payne said there were few requirements beyond that the money must be been spent on demolishing dilapidated houses, and they do not have to pay the prevailing union wage when hiring contractors, which will save money and allow more homes to be razed.
"Luckily, there aren't a lot of strings attached to this," he said.
Payne has begun working on some criteria on how to decide which houses will be demolished, and the next step would be to have further discussions with his fellow commissioners on what approach they favor.
Several years ago, the county received $700,000 through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program to demolish abandoned and foreclosed homes. The money was used to demolish about 200 homes, including about 40 each in East Liverpool and Salem.