CIP BUDGET DAY TWO: Fire, Police, Community Development - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

CIP BUDGET DAY TWO: Fire, Police, Community Development

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© For fiscal year 2014, the Community Development Department is asking for $400,000 to remove blighted buildings deemed dangerous or dilapidated. © For fiscal year 2014, the Community Development Department is asking for $400,000 to remove blighted buildings deemed dangerous or dilapidated.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

Is Sioux City spending too much to demolish abandoned buildings? That was one of the questions raised Wednesday in the city council's second day of Capital Improvement Program budget talks.

For fiscal year 2014, the Community Development Department is asking for $400,000 to remove blighted buildings deemed dangerous or dilapidated.

CDD says they ask for money like this every year. In fiscal year 2011 they used it to remove 28 properties, in 2012, 29 properties. For FY 2014, they estimate they'll have to demo about 20.

"We're estimating based on averages. Sometimes they're higher, sometimes they're lower. A lot of it is driven off of foreclosures. People walk away from the properties, they become in disrepair because nobody is taking care of them," said Sioux City's Code Enforcement Manager Darrel Bullock.

Mayor Bob Scott questions whether CDD's request is too much. He says most of the time owners of blighted buildings are responsible for demo costs. Scott says owners should be the ones paying, not the city. He says courts will back him up.

"I want to actually go get a judgment over in the court house. I want to go have a judge to say we have a judgment, then pursue that judgment," said Scott.

Scott says the city may not win every legal battle over demo bills. But, he believes it'll save them thousands in the long run.

Parking is a problem at the Sioux City Police Department. In their CIP proposal, they're asking for $232,000 for a new parking lot in FY 2014.

They say the current lot is about 25 years old. Problems range from lack of space, to pooling water, and more.

"Our cars come in with salt and sand all over them. It's caused the concrete to spall, and also some of the panels have receded and cracked," said Sioux City Police Captain Marti Reilly.

The parking lot is part of a larger plan to reconstruct and repair police headquarters. In the FY 2015 and 2016, officials have plans to remodel the exterior of the building.

Sioux City's fire department says iPads could make fighting fires safer. The department is looking to buy about 20 devices, software, and licensing in the 2014 CIP budget. Cost would be about $83,000.

When responding to fires, crews could use the iPads to find out detailed info on buildings.

"If they pull up, and they know the layout of the building, and the hazards contained within the building, for preplanning, I can't think of a safer way to operate," said Fire Chief Tom Everett.

Everett says the devices will also make their crews more efficient. They save time when sending info to hospitals. Plus, officials will be able to conduct electronic fire inspections, eliminating tedious paperwork.

The city council will meet with heads of each department before approving the new CIP. They'll start on the operating budget January 29th. A public hearing to approve both is set for February 25th.

If you'd like to check out the CIP book yourself, click here.

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