City will demolish Williams’ residence

City will demolish Williams' residence
In late December, Matthew Williams was given, according to a member of the Vermillion City Council a chance to make "one last effort to save his house."

It appears that window of opportunity is now closed. The city has given Williams 60 days to remove items from his home. The badly deteriorating residence will then be demolished by city work crews.

On Dec. 19, the council gave Williams until Jan. 16 to make the initial steps to rehabilitate his property.

When it became apparent, however, that Williams has done little in the past month to improve his home so that it meets standard building codes, the council eventually agreed that the Vermillion man has been given enough opportunities.

In the past month, the city had asked Williams to:

  • Vacate the premises.
  • Fix code violations so that he will eventually be allowed to move back in.
  • Receive a written loan commitment from the USDA that will provide funds to make the necessary repairs to the house.
  • Present bids from contractors to make the needed repairs to the city before work is allowed to begin that may eventually allow him to move back in his home.

    Comments made by aldermen and city officials Monday night suggest that little has been accomplished in the past month. Many community citizens have helped Williams move some items from his yard into the back of his truck. The truck remains parked on his property.

    The building, however, is still apparently riddled with code violations.

    An official from a local construction company has inspected Williams' home, and estimated that it will take, at minimum, $40,000 and nearly 800 man hours of labor to repair the residence.

    Alderman Jere Chapman was disappointed that Williams didn't seek bids from contractors, as requested. Alderman Mary Edelen added that the house is not habitable, and poses a liability risk to the city.

    Alderman Jack Powell read a lengthy, detailed statement that described the history of the city's dealings with Williams over the past two years. He admitted it is a topic that has weighed heavily on his mind during the past month.

    City Code Enforcement Officer Farrel Christensen reminded the aldermen that city crews have devoted many resources to hopefully bring about a solution to this problem.

    "I understand your desire to maybe add more time to this to maybe help the man out, but we've done that over and over and over again," he said. "If he had any desire at all to repair his house, it would have been done long ago. I would really encourage you all to look deep and do what you know has to be done in this situation."

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