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Village of Corinth Residents,
As you may already know from news reports, the Village Board last night passed an amendment to our current downtown renovation grants that will allow about $74,000 of that grant to be used to assist with the cleanup of the demolition debris downtown. Now that we have taken that action, The NYS Department of Labor requires up to ten days to issue the permits necessary for cleanup work to begin. This grant funding was needed to make cleanup possible as it helps bridge the gap between the approximate $120,000 clean up cost and the owner’s policy limits for debris removal, allowing them to use their remaining insurance settlement to rebuild or relocate in our Village.
One of the questions some residents brought up last night was “why didn’t the Village condemn the property and force the owners to clean up the property weeks ago”? The answer is that the Village Board has in fact been working with the affected property owners since day one of the fire to help them get through this disaster. A fire is a traumatic experience for anyone to go through. On the advice of our attorney, the Village Board felt it was much better to work with the property owners to find a mutually beneficial solution to cleanup and rebuild our downtown by offering assistance than to send out legal notices followed by threatened and costly forced municipal action if they did not comply. We were also advised by the NYS Department of Housing and Community Renewal, who awards and oversees our grants, that our grant funds could be used for this purpose. There was no guarantee that going the extreme route of condemning the property would have gotten the cleanup done any faster. Our attorney advised the Village Board in the very beginning that condemnation meant that the Village would take control of the property and risk taking on liability exposure as well as having to cleanup the property with Village funds. We did not feel then or now that that was the best alternative.
The solution our board developed to reallocate existing grant funds costs the local Village taxpayer nothing, avoids litigation and encourages the property owner to rebuild by requiring these funds to be repaid unless the buildings are rebuilt in the next 18 months.
I would like to thank all residents who attended our public hearing on May 7th and our special meeting last night to express their opinions on this important matter and we all look forward to rebuilding our downtown together.