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Mount Vernon Declares Four Houses Unsafe

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – The Mount Vernon City Council voted 4-1 Thursday to declare an emergency for unsafe building conditions at four vacant houses on the south side of the city.

The properties in question are 456 S. 1st Ave., 302 S. 6th Ave., 359 S. 10th Ave. and 153 S. 11th Ave. each of which is currently boarded up. Some of the properties have fencing around them just in case something falls from the building.

At the City Council meeting, Councilman Richard Thomas said that there is money in the fund balance and this is a “routine action” that will not burden the taxpayers.

Councilwoman Deborah Reynolds, the only member of council who voted against declaring unsafe conditions on the buildings, said that the money would need to be allocated to take care of the buildings adding that if the city doesn’t have the money it would be a hardship for the residents.

“There are a lot of buildings in Mount Vernon that need to be taken care of,” Reynolds said. “The residents are the ones who have to pay the taxes for the upkeep of Mount Vernon.”

Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Ratan said that the buildings were issued violations by the city before being declared unsafe by the City Council but at no point did they tell the owners in writing that the buildings would be demolished. Ratan said that no building will be taken down until the city’s Law Department notifies the owners.

Still, Reynolds said that the owners of the buildings should have been given notice before the emergency declaration was passed adding that many of the homes were there for years and should have been addressed a long time ago.

City Council President Roberta Apuzzo said that nothing will go into effect as far as demolition of the homes until every owner of the properties in questioned is notified.

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