Dilapidated house funds: Use it or lose it

It’s common knowledge that the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly, but when it comes to the City of Morgantown addressing dilapidated structures on Pennsylvania Avenue, the wheels have turned too slowly and now the clock is running out to use federal funding.

Morgantown has allocated $600,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to purchase and demolish dilapidated structures, focusing its efforts on Pennsylvania Avenue. Despite having those federal dollars for several years, the city has only purchased one building (for under $60,000). While there are several other potential transactions in the works, that has been the only finalized purchase. Which means $540,000 in ARPA funds remain — and will expire at the end of the year if they haven’t been formally allocated by Dec. 31.

That leaves the city just a little over five months to get its act together. We understand that things take time. Real estate transactions, in particular, tend to take at least two months. But the city has dragged its feet too much. Now it runs the risk of squandering hundreds of thousands of dollars. The work of purchasing and demolishing these unsafe eyesores won’t go away — but the federal assistance to get the work done will. It’s time for the city to kick it into high gear.