With the deadline less than a week away, the city is prepared to take action on the crumbling building at 200 E. High St. if the owners don't demolish on their own by Dec. 9.
At Monday's meeting, the Jefferson City Council approved a supplemental appropriation of $300,000 to pay for a possible demolition of "one or the other, or both" 200 E. High St. and 202 E. High St.
Nearly 18 months ago, a west-facing wall of the 200 E. High St. building started crumbling into Madison Street. Structural engineers determined the wall had collapsed due to water infiltration and hidden decay of the mortar in the wall.
There are fears demolishing that building could cause issues for 202 E. High St. or even 204 E. High St., down the line, due to shared walls. In October, Cole County Presiding Judge Pat Joyce reaffirmed an earlier decision that the owners of 200 E. High St. also own the common wall between the two buildings.
The city ruled 200 and 202 E. High St. were dangerous buildings more than a year ago and both property owners were given deadlines to repair or demolish their buildings.
After they missed the deadlines, the city conducted administrative hearings and ruled the city could begin abatement if the property owners did not repair or demolish 200 and 202 E. High St.
Also in October, the city determined the owners of 202 E. High St. had until Dec. 9 to begin "meaningful on-site work to repair or demolish" their building.
Sonny Sanders, Planning and Protective Services Department director, told the council the funds will only be used if the owners do not take their own action to demolish by Dec. 9.
If the city spends the money to demolish either building, the cost could be considered a personal debt of the property owners, City Counselor Ryan Moehlman said, and will need to be reimbursed.
Ward 4 Councilman Carlos Graham expressed a concern to the council and city staff about the use of money from the city's general fund for the demolition.
Ward 4 Councilman Ron Fitzwater said the council's responsibility to the city may outweigh the financial concerns.
"I think we need to get on with this," Fitzwater said. "I think we need to do our due diligence, which I think we are doing, but it's time to move on this process."
Ultimately, the council passed the bill with a unanimous vote.
Also at Monday's meeting, Sanders introduced a bill to the council which would allow them to execute a $283,000 contract with ARSI, Inc. for selective demolition of 200 and 202 E. High Street.
Sanders said the contract and cost could change by the time council votes on it at their next meeting, due to some additional information city staff received from the owner of 200 E. High St. about work he has done to the property.
"We believe there is an opportunity to review that and continue working with the property owner of 200, whereas we might be able to have a more favorable contract by eliminating some items reflecting work that he has done, or come up with a better solution," Sanders said.
Sanders said, ultimately the decision regarding the shared wall will be up to the two owners of the buildings.
Also on Monday, a proposed construction contract was introduced to the council for improvements to East High Street.
The contract with Aplex, Inc., which is not to exceed $2,413,874, would pay for improvements and reconstruction of sidewalks in the area, as well as retaining walls and storm sewers.
Department of Public Works Director Matt Morasch said part of the funding for the project will come from the waste water fund, and the rest will come from the city and county's half cent sales tax and road and bridge fund.