By Steve Patterson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Six-hundred.
Of the 25,000 crumbling, abandoned buildings in Philadelphia, that is the number city officials call “imminently dangerous.”
And every week, all around us, it seems some are falling.
One day after another came crashing down, Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Carlton Williams wanted to show CBS 3 a few the department is taking down.
He gave CBS3 an exclusive tour of recently marked and demolished buildings — while admitting the department is always playing catch-up.
“You feel like you’re behind the eight-ball,” Williams said. “To answer your question, it’s a challenge with the resources that our budget has.”
L&I currently has a demolition budget of $6 million with little more than about 120 inspectors, facing the crippling wear-and-tear fallout from a brutal winter.
In a few months, the Mayor promises more inspectors and more money. Williams says they’ll use more boots on the streets and power in the courts to re-focus.
“The department is moving from a call-complaint basis to try to get on top of them before we receive those calls,” Williams said.
Including getting scenes secured and properties taken down at a faster rate.
“So that we can take more properties like this down much faster. The ultimate goal is to get the property owners to take care of their properties in the first place,” Williams said.