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Dilapidated houses cause problems for residents

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BORGER, TX-Living next to a dilapidated home can be frustrating and chances are if you've complained to the city, it may appear as if they are doing nothing to solve the problem.     

In Amarillo, it can take years for building officials to tear down an unsafe property. However, it can take just as long in smaller cities including Borger.

Broken glass, a kicked in door, and living room with no wall is what resident Valery Ibarra has to look at every day.

 "I've lived here for 9 years and nobody's lived in the house next door for almost two years," Ibarra said.

The home Ibarra is referring to is located at 909 Nelson St. She says its upkeep has gradually declined over the years and wants it gone. 

"It's in crappy condition," she said. "The owner didn't take the time to fix it up."

The City is now stepping in.

"Our first hope is to get the building repaired," Director of Planning and Zoning Kenneth Petr explained when asked about their condemnation process. 

He says they try their best to work with the homeowner. However, the home on Nelson St. and another located at 401 N. Florida are homes that have deteriorated beyond repair.    

"It can effect the property values of other properties in the neighborhood," Petr said.

It can also attract crime and gang activity. We're told a squatter had been living in one of the homes. NewsChannel 10 later learned it was a house that had previous been put on the condemnation list a few years ago.
      
So why is the city now just taking action?

"It can be lengthy process," Petr said. "It all depends what comes before the building standards commission. By the time you get it there, it can be a year long process. Like I said, the first option is to repair. Sometimes the commission gives them 90 days to repair. Sometimes it gets repaired and sometimes it doesn't."

The process could be quicker, but the City of Borger only has one building inspector who juggles numerous duties.

"We don't spend 40 hours a week looking for dilapidated buildings," Petr said.

It's not unusual for small cities to have only one building inspector.

Petr says their inspector spends about a third of the time looking for unkept properties in addition to conducting construction inspections on new buildings.

The City of Borger agreed this week to demolish the home on Nelson St. and N. Florida.

Two more homes on the condemnation list are set to be brought to the city council's attention during their next meeting.

To help speed up an inspection of a property you believe is a danger to the community, you should file a formal complaint with your city's building department instead of waiting for an inspector to make his or her round about your neighborhood.

The City of Borger also adds there is help for homeowners who's property is up for condemnation.

Through a program called "Operation Facelift," homeowners can have the City demolish their property at a minimal cost. Pert says the City will only charge a "dumping" fee of $45 per ton of waste they have to transport to the landfill. All the homeowner has to do is contact the City at 273-0900.

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