More Money Set Aside for Demolitions, Cops in Rockford

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Hundreds of homes sit empty around Rockford and next year, hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent to bulldoze them.

Council agreed Monday to spend an extra half a million dollars on demolitions in 2014; when each demo costs around $10,000, that'll bring down 50 homes more homes than planned.
Usually the city has enough money to take down about 20 abandoned homes a year. With a backlog of at least 2,000, many aldermen wanted to find a better solution. While going over the budget for 2014, they found one; they're taking extra money from the city's sanitation fund to cover more demolitions. In all, about 70 homes should come down next year.

"We’re behind in the demolitions, we have a great inventory of properties throughout the city that need to come down and frankly, we're just haven’t been able to keep pace with that. They’re vacant properties, they cause blight. It’s a safety issues, it’s a blight issue, and it’s a crime issue,” says Alderman Kevin Frost.

This plan is part of the overall 2014 budget, which aldermen passed Monday; however, they have to vote a second time before its set in stone. A second vote is also needed on a plan to hire 5 new cops. The city has been offered a federal grant that would help pay for the addition of 5 new officers to the department. The plan needs final approval.


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