MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas has circulated an online petition throughout the city urging the community and City Council to support the demolition of “zombie structures” in local neighborhoods.
Since taking office in January last year, Thomas has led a crusade to take down zombie structures that “haunt (Mount Vernon) neighborhoods, bringing down property values and spreading crime and grime.”
According to Thomas, Mount Vernon’s fund balance is higher than previous estimates indicated, and a small allocation of the $25 million in the city’s “rainy day fund” would allow the city to demolish the homes without any effect on the taxpayer. On Tuesday, Thomas said he was “calling on the City Council and Comptroller Maureen Walker to allocate those funds so they can tear down zombies.”
Thomas estimated that tearing down a zombie structure costs between $30,000 and $50,000. He also noted that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has awarded Mount Vernon $175,000 in funding solely to hire individuals that will develop a comprehensive plan to tear down the dilapidated properties.
“The zombie structures that plague the City of Mount Vernon must go,” Thomas said. “Not only are they hideous eyesores but many of them are a risk to public safety and health. Mount Vernon residents have lost an estimated $7.8 million in reduced property values due to the zombie buildings that currently exist in the city.”
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