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January 06. 2013 10:41PM

Manchester faces $30,000 bill to raze Central Street property destroyed by fire

MANCHESTER - The city will soon be hit with another bill, this time for $30,000, for taking care of a burned-out shell of a building owned by tax scofflaws.

The building at 333-335 Central St. was ravaged by fire on Aug. 13. As the Union Leader reported, the owner of the building, CGL Properties LLC, skipped out on all of its taxes, more than $107,000 worth, from the time the building was purchased through the night of the fire.

City code enforcement officers declared the structure to be a threat to human life and ordered the building razed. CGL did not respond to the city's demand. As a result, the city asked for public bids to do the job and received three, ranging in cost from $29,200 to $73,820.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will be asked to approve paying for the demolition job at its meeting tonight. The city can place a lien on the property to cover its expenses.

In other matters tonight, aldermen will give initial consideration to a proposal from Mayor Ted Gatsas to shut down Hanover Street from the Citizens Bank parking garage to Elm Street on Thursdays for the city farmers' market.

The market location became controversial last year when vendors split into two groups, one in the old location on Concord Street across from Victory Park, while a breakaway group eyed starting its own market in the Millyard.

Mayor Ted Gatsas and Alderman Pat Long brokered a settlement between the two groups.

"With a more centralized location, the market would see increased visibility and foot traffic," Gatsas said in a letter to aldermen.

Changes will also be considered in the city's standards for cutting people off of welfare for not complying with rules.

Welfare Commissioner Paul Martineau wrote the board to recommend deleting provisions of the eligibility standards allowing the city to suspend welfare payments for six months.

The state Supreme Court ruled the practice illegal in a suit brought on behalf of a family kicked off welfare for six months for not putting their car at the disposal of welfare department employees who wanted to check the odometer and gas gauge to figure out how much gasoline was used. The city had bought them five gallons of gas and had previously suspended benefits for seven days.

The family had been receiving a partial rent subsidy of $140 per week.

The Supreme Court noted state law provides that recipients must be given written notice, seven days to comply with the city's requests and the opportunity for a hearing. The justices said the state law takes precedence over the city's rules.

billsmith@unionleader.com


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