Detroit to resume control of city demolition program by July

Posted at 10:24 AM, Jan 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-19 10:24:25-05

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit demolition program that depended on $263 million in federal money to raze thousands of vacant houses is moving to city control.

By July 1, the program will shift fully to city oversight, according to Mayor Mike Duggan's office.

Federal dollars have been administered for the past six years by the Detroit Land Bank and Detroit Building Authority. The last of that money is being spent.

About 19,000 vacant houses have been demolished in Detroit since 2014.

Duggan said LaJuan Counts will lead the city's new demolition department. Counts will develop a new organizational structure and a proposed budget. She had served as director of the city's General Services Department.

In November, the city council rejected Duggan's plan to ask voters to approve the sale of up to $250 million in bonds to continue demolitions.

Duggan's office wanted to put the question on the March ballot, with bond funding available next year if voters approved. The bonds would have been repaid over the next 30 years.

A federal investigation into the demolition program resulted in convictions of two demolition company employees who shared bid information with a subcontractor.