DONALDSONVILLE — Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr. asked city councilmen for help in handling a large number of adjudicated properties within the city.
Adjudicated property is property that is placed under control of a parish or municipal entity if property taxes have not been paid.
Sullivan suggested during the council’s meeting Tuesday that the city hire someone who can assist with the backlog.
“We need to either get these property owners current in taxes, or get to a point where we can take ownership and sell the properties,” he said.
“These properties are just sitting there, and we’re not getting our tax dollars from them.”
The council placed the issue on the agenda of its next committee of the whole meeting for further discussion.
In Donaldsonville, property owners have three years to pay overdue taxes and reclaim the property.
If they do not, it is put up for public auction.
If it is not sold, it is then adjudicated to the city, City Attorney Chuck Long said.
The problem the city faces is that the properties in question — which Sullivan said total more than 100 — do not legally belong to the city, so city officials are limited in what they can do with the properties.
“The property owner still has ownership,” Sullivan said. “Some of them have abandoned homes that are being used as crack houses. This is becoming more difficult than we can deal with.”
Long said working with adjudicated properties is a “touchy situation with no easy answer.”
“It’s technically in our name, but we don’t have the right to go and tear down the structure,” he said.
Other items handled by the council included:
BOND ISSUE: The council unanimously voted to apply to the state Bond Commission for issuance of bonds related to two voter-approved tax initiatives.
In April, voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for road, sidewalk and street light improvements and renewed a 10-year, 5-mill property tax for firefighting equipment and facilities.
Bond attorney Jerry Osborne, of Foley & Judell LLP, told the council that the commission should take up the matters at its July meeting.
Part of the Fire Department tax plan will be to construct a new station on vacant land inside the South Louisiana State Fairgrounds near the fairgrounds kiosk.
The city is looking at obtaining the land from Ascension Parish government, which purchased the 13-acre complex off La. 3089 last fall.