Council condemns property

Published 6:44 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Washington’s City Council, by way of an ordinance, condemned the property at 221 W. Fifth St.

The council’s action came during its June 10 meeting, when it also awarded a $4,300 contract to B.E. Singleton & Sons to demolish the building one the land.

The owner of the structure had been given a reasonable opportunity to bring the building into compliance with the city’s minimum housing standards and the state’s building code, according to city officials.

If city money is used to pay for demolishing the building, a lien will be placed against the land. The lien will have to be satisfied if and when the property is sold. The owner of the property is Carrie E. Collins.

In recent years, the city has become more aggressive in dealing with structures that do not meet the minimum housing code and/or building codes.

Several years ago, the city adopted an ordinance designed to prevent property owners, particularly owners of significant historic properties, from allowing their properties to essentially be demolished by neglect.

In other business, the council authorized the mayor to sign an agreement between the city and the Mid-East Commission for the commission to administer the Oak Ridge Metal Works grant from the Community Development Block Grant program. The city will pay the commission $25,000 to administer the grant, which could be up to $320,000.

The grant is part of the Project Blue Goose development project at the Beaufort County Industrial Park.

In February, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners approved the county sharing up to $103,013 of the project’s cost. That same day, the Washington City Council approved the city sharing up to $97,183 of the project’s cost, estimated at $9.4 million.
The incentives come in the form of a 50-percent rebate that the two companies that are part of the project — Oak Ridge Metal Works and Pronamic Industries — would pay in real-estate and machinery taxes during a five-year period.
The county’s contributions are contingent upon Project Blue Goose generating $206,026 in new revenue to the county during the five-year period and generating $194,3667 in new revenue for the city in that same five years.
The rebates would come only after verification that Oak Ridge Metal Works and Pronamic Industries have met the conditions of their agreements with the local governments, according to Bob Heuts, the county’s economic developer, who appeared before the commissioners and council to explain the project.
The county and the city supported applications for grant funding to help Oak Ridge Metal Works expand at the former Brooks Boatworks building at the Beaufort County Industrial Park and locate Pronamics Industries in the Quick Start II building at the industrial park. That building has been dubbed the Blue Goose because of its exterior paint scheme.
The county and city are co-owners of the industrial park.
Oak Ridge Metal Works wants to create up to 35 new jobs during the five-year period. Pronamics Industries wants to create up to 65 new jobs during those five years.
Also in the mix to help the project move along are incentives in the form of grant funding from the One NC Fund ($150,000) and Community Development Block Grant program (up to $750,000 for Pronamics Industries and up to $320,000 for Oak Ridge Metal Works).

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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