PATERSON – The city paid private companies about $840,000 to knock down 28 buildings last year, an expense that has prompted Paterson officials to consider handling the demolitions in-house.
Eight of those buildings were demolished as part of the city’s firefighting efforts and 20 abandoned structures were knocked down because of safety code violations, officials said.
Fire Chief Michael Postorino told the City Council on Tuesday night that it would be more cost-effective if Paterson created an “emergency demolition unit” within the Fire Department.
The fire chief said the three pieces of equipment needed for such work — an excavator crane, a dump truck and a trailer — would cost between $500,000 and $600,000. Officials also estimated that the fees for dumping the debris from the demolitions would come to about $100,000 per year. Postorino said some Paterson firefighters already have the requisite license to work on emergency demolitions. He said the city could provide training to other members of the department.
Council members expressed strong support for the proposal. As a result, Postorino said he would take preliminary steps for starting the demolition unit.
The council eventually would have to approve the purchase of the equipment. The chief told the council that the city could use its federal Community Development Block Grants to cover the cost.
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