SWEETWATER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — While a lack of rainfall this year has caused some major issues to parts of the Big Country, the City of Sweetwater said it’s making a positive spin on the drought. Because of the dryness, the City can begin its Abatement Project, which removes substandard structures and maintains its property.

Where is the City getting the funds for the project?

The City of Sweetwater approved an Abatement Fee for its residents in the 2021-2022 budget. Since then, residents have been paying an additional $2.00 on their monthly utility bills. That money was put towards the Abatement Project, a joint effort between the City of Sweetwater and Sweetwater Economic Development (SEED MDD).

Altogether, the City and SEED MDD has been able to remove around 28 residential structures and nine commercial.

What’s the process?

The City’s Code Enforcement team identifies the potentially substandard structures, and calls for them to be inspected. Then, City staff will inspect and decide whether or not the structure meets qualifications for demolition. Should the building meet those qualifications, Sweetwater City Council will make the final decision.

According to a press release from the City of Sweetwater, it’s identified more than 200 structures considered to be substandard.

How does rainfall come into play?

The lack of rainfall meant less mowing and yardwork on abated properties. Assistant City Manager of
Operations, Dana Schoening, says this saved the City of Sweetwater approximately $40,000
,” the press release read.

The funds that would usually be used for mowing were instead put towards the Abatement Project.

How is abatement done?

Within the next 45 days or so, the City of Sweetwater said will being the removal process of seven substandard residential structures. Three more structures are expected to be added to that list, making a total of 10 potential abatement projects.

An outside company is working with the City to complete these demolition projects. The City said a demolition is typically completed within a week, weather permitting.

Click here to see a map of removed structures, learn how they were funded and see the before & after photos.

If you know of a Sweetwater building that may meet demolition qualifications, you can report it to the Planning and Development Services Department at (325) 236-6313.