City should address adjudicated properties

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 13, 2016

On Tuesday, the Bogalusa City Council will consider adopting an ordinance that should make getting adjudicated property back onto the tax rolls and into the hands of responsible property owners.

Adjudicated property is any real estate that has been abandoned and fallen into the city’s possession. These lots are often overgrown and they are frequently havens for vermin and illegal activity. They make neighborhoods less valuable and less safe.

To the extent that the lots are maintained at all, they are usually cared for by the city, and paid for by taxpayers.

It’s time to save taxes and improve home values in town, and this ordinance could do both of those things.

In addition, nothing in this ordinance is new. The ordinance the council will consider will include provisions already established in state law. For example, under state law, if a neighbor maintains an abandoned property for a year, he or she may then make a first bid for the property without a public auction.

With the proposed ordinance, city law will match state law, giving neighbors clear and explicit encouragement to clean up their neighborhood and enlarge their own property.

The ordinance update was suggested by Archon, the city’s tax auction agency, to better manage tax auctions for the properties. Archon manages tax auction and tax collections for cities across the state, and the company has asked that Bogalusa’s auction laws align more closely with those in other cities. This makes sense. It seems obvious our city would want to offer similar services and opportunities to homeowners here as in other cities.

Any way one considers the ordinance, it will be a win for everyone. We hope the council passes this ordinance.