DETROIT (WXYZ) - Big questions are being raised in Detroit's battle against blight. 7 Action News has learned federal investigators are looking into how the city is spending 100 Million federal dollars to knock down blighted homes.
The questions come as the cost for home demolitions have gone up. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has explained the increase to city council, but questions persist in the neighborhoods. People want to know where the money is going and why, in too many cases, a mess is left behind.
Across Detroit, vacant, blighted houses are coming down and neighbors are rejoicing. Mac McMillian remembers the day the day like it was yesterday. "It was beautiful. Beautiful. We waited five or six years."
Mayor Duggan went before city council this week to explain the rising cost of demo jobs. The price went from an average of $10,000 under Mayor Bing to $13,600 in 2014 and $16,400 in 2015.
Duggan says many things factor into the higher price tag, including higher standards and better quality work. "It's more expensive to follow the rules than not."
Mayor Duggan told City Council members during a recent presentation on the demolition program.
7 Action News has been analyzing the numbers and inspecting demolition sites. We discovered cracked sidewalks, top soil with rocks and chunks of concrete. At those same lots, the cost to tear down the homes cost tax payers well above the $16,4000 average. All were at or above $25,000. Contractors say asbestos abatement can drive up the cost of the project.
Click on the video player to watch Ronnie Dahl's full report.