claration of State of Emergency has been declared by Vandalia Mayor Rick Gottman, in regards to the collapsed downtown buildings, and they are now moving in the next step. The Vandalia City Council met on Friday night to decide whether or not to give Mayor Gottman extraordinary power and authority during a state of emergency. City Attorney Jack Johnston says this is taking advantage of an available statute to give the Mayor this authority to make decisions in a state of emergency. There were some questions about potential reimbursement for the demolition costs and questions about whether or not the city could move forward when one of the lien holders is listed as the federal government. Johnston said it was doubtful there would be anyone to collect any money from for what this will cost the city and the federal government—who is listed as one of 11 lien holders on the property—would also want to see action taken in this situation. There was also questions about the cost of this, but it was later expressed this was not the time to think about cost but more about safety and making sure the buildings were take to a safe level. It was expressed that every time a train passes by, that close to the buildings, the vibration causes some issues and Mayor Gottman says they would contact the rail road about potential slowing down thru Vandalia because of the danger. Among those on hand for the meeting were Steve and Kyle Barker who both expressed an interest in potentially salvaging the building for it to keep its historical markings for downtown—and their thought was the building could potentially be saved by taking it down to one story. The ordinance was passed by a vote of 7-0, granting the powers to Mayor Gottman, who talks about the next steps.
Mayor Gottman says they are going to get an opinion from a second structural engineer to see if the bottom floor of the building or buildings could be salvages, as was brought up by Steve and Kyle Barker—so the city will check to see if that is a possibility. Mayor Gottman says they hopefully will have a clear determination on their next step at the first of the week. The collapse was discovered early Tuesday morning at 501 West Gallatin and causing damage to 507, 503 and 501 West Gallatin.