City of LC wants to put adjudicated properties back to use - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

City of Lake Charles wants to put adjudicated properties back to use

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(KPLC) (KPLC)
(KPLC) (KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

The City of Lake Charles wants to move forward to get rid of unwanted property. It's a case of property owners not paying property taxes, in turn putting the burden to maintain it on the city.

It's called adjudicated properties. There's a process to purchase it, but for more than two years there's been a moratorium on the transfer of those properties in Lake Charles. With costs, concerns and more properties falling on the responsibility of the city, they say it's time to do something about it.

"It's just a stalemate right now. We are incurring a lot of expense. The property is not moving," said Luvertha August, Lake Charles City Council President.

There are hundreds of adjudicated properties all over Lake Charles. Most of the properties are in the North Lake Charles area. The city pays contractors to cut the grass every 30 days.

In 2009 there were 245 adjudicated properties with an annual maintenance cost of $45,000. In 2012 there were 370 properties with an annual maintenance cost of $65,000.

That is just to keep the grass cut. Others on the council want dead trees and trash to be picked up and hauled away. City officials said they don't have the staff to do that and hiring a crew to do the job would be too much. City Finance Director Karen Harrell said the start-up expense for a crew and equipment would be $285,000 with an annual recurring fee of $185,000.

Jerry Jones with the Lake Charles North Redevelopment Authority said they have been working to get the adjudicated properties back into use. 

"One of the issues that we are finally starting to get some grasp on is the adjudicated property that is in the Lake Charles North area," said Jones.

Jones said they're exploring options that have worked in other parts of the state called "The Lot Next Door Program."

"If there is an irregular piece of property next door to your property... You can purchase that small piece of lot, move your fence over and take it in to your property into your property line. In turn it helps out the city because they don't have to incur the cost to maintain," said Jones.

Sidney Pierfax likes the idea. He's been cutting the lot next to him for more than six years.

"First of all it will keep the value of your property up. Then again, it extends my property even more and gives me a little more room to do what I want to do," said Pierfax.

Pierfax said until he can take advantage of it, he'll continue to keep his yard and the neighboring lot clean.

"I'm going to do the best I can to help out. Plus, it's really not an inconvenience if I'm already doing my yard," said Jones.

Meanwhile, there are hundreds of adjudicated properties available all over the parish. To find out how to purchase the property click here.

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