City officials are considering hiring a consultant to help coordinate the city’s efforts to demolish derelict buildings.
The demolition committee has met at least five times in the last month with different consultants specializing in asbestos abatement and demolition, according to Alderman Daniel Roth, R-2nd Ward.
“We want efficiency,” Roth said. “We don’t want change orders. This is a big burden and it’s going to cost a lot.”
Dozens of properties need to be demolished citywide. There is no exact count, but estimates are in the range of 75, officials say, a number far beyond the city’s budgetary reach.
The committee is expected to meet again tonight to discuss the issue of hiring a consultant to determine the most cost-effective way to tear down the buildings.
The asbestos could be removed first and the building demolished and disposed of at the nearest MOSA regional trash authority transfer station, or the building could be demolished with the asbestos intact and disposed of at a certified disposal site.
The consultant would determine which would be more cost-effective: paying more to remove the asbestos and less to dump the remaining debris, or simply paying extra to dump contaminated debris.
Fire Chief Richard Liberti, who also sits on the demolition committee, said each building has its own requirements, so a consultant would be hired to determine the best way to demolish the building. Depending on how the city decides to proceed, it might have to contract with three different companies — one to do the asbestos survey, one to do asbestos abatement and one to monitor air quality. Then still another company would take the building down.
The consultant would also coordinate the efforts of the various companies and ensure that the city had all the necessary state permits and documents.
“It’s not like you can just bring in a bulldozer and demolish the building. It doesn’t work like that,” Liberti said.
Meanwhile, county officials are still working on coordinating a countywide demolition team with the goal of reducing the cost of taking down buildings and performing asbestos abatement.
We are still moving forward with the idea of having a countywide demolition team,” 2nd Ward Supervisor Barbara Johnson said.
Eight employees from the county’s public works department have been trained in asbestos abatement and demolition. The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors authorized spending $6,000 on equipment such as respirators and other accessories for the crew at its last meeting.
Johnson, who serves as co-chair of the shared services committee, said the first project the demolition team will tackle will be a property on Forbes Street in the city. Johnson said she hoped the crew would begin work in July, but now she is hoping for work to start in the fall.