FALLS CITY – Falls City is directing $100,000 from  its federal pandemic relief funds to strengthen its push for housing rejuvenation.

City Administrator Anthony Nussbaum said a recent housing study contained some unsettling numbers for Falls City, like  15 percent of all housing units are  vacant and 12 percent are designated as blighted. He said many houses have been vacant for long periods of time and at least 70 are no longer connected to utilities.

The city has already established a full-time building inspector and is hiring a code enforcement officer.

 

The $100,000 will give the city some room to bargain with property owners. They city can tidy up or tear down at their expense with the idea that property owners will pay them back when able.

Nussbaum: “That allows us to get a little money to tackle some of those houses that need tore down and also set up a revenue or a stream of funding to pass that out to the citizen and say, ‘okay, we can loan that money for x-amount and you pay that back overtime rather than going through the full legal judgments and liening of properties.”

The  council also allocated $350,000 to restore the reed bed facility as the wastewater plant.

Nussbaum: “That was something that needed to be done. The city has put that off for quite some time. It’s about seven to eight years overdue. The reeds down there, they are at their capacity where they do need to be redone. … We can go ahead and revamp what we have down there and get it back to its original design capacity.”

ARPA funds will also pay $207,000 to implement new computer software to harmonize city services and engage the public.

Nussbaum: “It’s going to take all of our stuff and (the public) will be able to get it online.”

He expects a $57,000 recurring fee for Springbrook Software.