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City of Delta begins environmental assessments of blighted properties

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Environmental assessments are being conducted on the five blighted properties targeted for potential acquisition and demolition by the City of Delta.

The project is being funded through a $507,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), combined with a city match of $104,000.

City manager David Torgler told council members last week the environmental assessments, a requirement of the federal grant, will identify hidden challenges in the targeted properties, all of which are over 50 years old. Some owners/agents have done their own analyses, and those are also being made available to the city, he said.

He added that it's unlikely the city will be able to stretch the grant dollars to acquire all five properties, but hopefully two or three can be cleaned up. The properties include West's Home Center, the old armory, the two-story brick building formerly occupied by St. Michael's school, the former home of Delta Care Center and the quonset building on Highway 92 that housed Odyssey Construction.

This project is being linked to the city's urban renewal efforts through DURA. There is a possibility the city match could be repaid with tax increment funding.

Torgler provided the update at the conclusion of a brief city council meeting. Prior to the regular meeting, the city met with the owners of rental properties to discuss reinstatement of a $75 security deposit for utilities.

"It was only $75, but it was a cushion [against unpaid utility balances]," said John Vigil, who manages the Windsors with his wife.

Other property owners said it would be difficult for renters to come up with the first and last month of rent, a damage deposit (often equal to one month's rent) and the $75 utility deposit.

While opinions varied on the utility deposit, all agreed there should be some way to prevent renters from running up utility bills on multiple properties/accounts.

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