Asbestos testing costs $300 per structure

Jeff LaGarce, Hannibal city manager, proposed a way to speed up the demolition process of unsalvageable structures that are to be torn down by street department personnel.

Before a building, whether it be commercial or residential, can be torn down it must first undergo an asbestos assessment. Typically such testing is done one structure at a time as it moves to the top of the city's demolition list. During Monday's meeting of the Hannibal Building Commission at city hall, LaGarce proposed having all the properties on the city's non-salvageable list be inspected and tested at one time, so that when city forces have the time to raze the structures they will be able to proceed, rather than wait for an inspection to occur.

There are currently 15 structures on the city's non-salvageable list: 2209 Gordon, 2009 Gordon, 1912 Settles, 214 Division, 1252 Lyon (garage), 707 Hayward, 2114 Settles, 907 Union, 415 Smith, 616 Church, 3606 St. Charles, 1908-10 Spruce, 1803 Hope, 2712 Hope and 2506 Hope.

It is estimated that it would cost approximately $4,000 to have all the non-salvageable buildings tested that are to be torn down by city personnel. However, Edie Price, management assistant for the department of public works and building inspector's office, reported that there are insufficient funds left in the demolition budget this year to cover such an expense. LaGarce proposed bringing the matter before the city council and asking if it would support a budget amendment that would provide the necessary funds.

Another hindrance in the inspection process mentioned Monday is a shortage of certified testers. Reportedly there is only one currently serving the Hannibal area.

It was suggested that a member of the building inspector's staff become certified to perform the necessary gathering of samples.

Joey Burnham, building inspector, expressed reservations regarding the proposal, citing potential conflicts of interest. It was stated that since the city employee would only be gathering samples, and not performing the actual asbestos testing, there would be no conflict.

The city will be looking into the cost of having a city employee trained to gather the samples.