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ARSONS SPUR EFFORT TO QUICKEN PACE OF FORECLOSURES

A recent rash of arsons in the city has prompted lawmakers to work with Chautauqua County to speed up foreclosures on vacant buildings.

Fire Chief Samuel Arcadipane said during a meeting of the Jamestown Council on Monday night that there are 36 such houses in the city that have been taken by the county.

"I believe the county is going to try to have an auction to sell some of these houses off. Some of them are in pretty good shape," said Arcadipane, who added that they are boarded up to protect the windows and interiors from damage.

"I believe they're making every attempt possible to try to sell these houses so we can gain some taxes back. Of course, some of them are just in such deplorable shape that they do need to be torn down."

Arcadipane said current plans call for razing 10 of the buildings Friday.

The most recent arson occurred Jan. 14 at 202 Chandler St., where a 2 1/2 -story house was gutted by flames. The Fire Department had known that the building was vacant and that the county had assumed ownership.

In that case, Arcadipane said, the department used its "no-entry order" while fighting the fire.

On another issue, Mayor Samuel Teresi signed a law changing the number of monthly meetings for the City Council to two work sessions and one regular session. Teresi said the new format will allow the public to speak at all three meetings.

"(It will) leave the Council with a fourth Monday in which they can choose how best to use that time, whether it's meeting with staff, department heads, more informal meetings amongst themselves, added committee meetings, meetings with county legislators," Teresi said.

The new format takes effect next month.

The Council's Public Safety Committee also approved increasing the size of the Youth Bureau board of directors to 15 from 13. Committee Chairman Vincent Joy Jr. said this is because more people want to be active in the bureau. The proposal will go before the full Council on Monday.

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