AUBURN, Maine — A federal mortgage program’s involvement in a burned-out Gamage Avenue tenement could delay plans to demolish the building.

That may be just fine with the city, according to Eric Cousens, Auburn’s director of planning and permitting.

“Because of where it’s located, it’s difficult to get at and that makes it an expensive demolition,” Cousens said. “It’s going to be $40,000 to $45,000 in taxpayer money.”

The 2½-story apartment at 9 Gamage Ave. was destroyed in a fire a year ago. It had been vacant for some time before the fire and thieves had looted the copper plumbing and electrical wiring.

City councilors approved a demolition order in June, but Cousens said the city has worked since then with owner Christopher Dymkoski and mortgage company SunTrust Mortgage to bring the property down.

“The lot next door has been for sale for $15,000 and it’s not selling,” Cousens said. “So we’re talking about spending more than $45,000 in taxpayer money and ending up with less than a $15,000 asset. For that reason, we’ve been making sure it’s secure but pushing the bank to do the demolition.”

The Federal National Mortgage Association, or Fannie Mae, took over ownership of the property in November.

“So we spent November and all of December trying to get Fannie Mae to take responsibility,” Cousens said.

Cousens said he’s working with a local real estate agent who represents the federal agency.

Cousens said the city is preparing to move forward, and the City Council is scheduled to vote on paying for the demolition at Monday’s regular meeting.

“The council might table this and give us another week to work something out and avoid spending taxpayer money,” Cousens said.

Distributed by MCT Information Services