National Expert Outlines How to Resolve Problem Properties
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Frank S. Alexander, co-founder and senior consultant of the Center for Community Progress, spoke Wednesday at Convention Hall about vacant, abandoned and dilapidated houses as well as adjudicated properties and the barriers cities confront associated with this issue.
Alexander gave the participants, who included officials from Alexandria, Pineville, Bunkie, Lecompte, West Monroe and Houma, a broad outline of how to approach the problem as well as the barriers that will likely appear. He offered tips for how cities can make more determined and consistent efforts to get owners to take responsibility for fixing their properties and/or cities taking a harder approach to taking down uninhabitable houses that cost the city money, devalue surrounding properties and become a hinderance to neighborhood safety.
He noted the process can be complex and involve systematic reform, legal changes and consistent approaches to tax liens and other issues. Alexander suggested cities pick a Top 10 Properties List where they identify and target a neighborhood or an area with properties that are unoccupied, dilapidated or burned, have significant back taxes and/or tax liens and multiple code violations and focus on the strategies needed to fix these first.
“These kinds of properties and the issues surrounding them are a problem in our city,” Mayor Jeffrey Hall said. “And it is something that we must address in order to improve the look of the city and our quality of life.”
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