LMA blight program stalls: City hopes for late 2016 start

Published 5:13 am Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A new method of code enforcement that was debuted in August is still moving forward, although slowly.

After months of complaints of weedy, overgrown lots in Bogalusa, city leaders reached out to the Louisiana Municipal Association for help. That assistance came from LMA executive director Ronnie Harris, who agreed to include Bogalusa among some test cities for a new LMA-led initiative that would use property tax bills to pay local contractors to clean up messy properties.

Mayor Wendy Perrette said she is aware of two properties submitted to the program, both from councilwoman Sherry Fortenberry’s district. But, to date, nothing has happened.

This is because Harris retired and the LMA has yet to replace him. However, Perrette said in the coming weeks the project could gain momentum.

“As they restructure things with the LMA board, our contact is Chris Palmer. Chris is getting situated and getting adjusted to his position,” she said. “He called last week or the week before last and he said he’d be coming in November before Thanksgiving to meet with the council and give a training on the program.”

Perrette believes that after that training is held, the city will begin cleaning up lots, starting with absentee landowners.

“We’re going to start with the people who don’t live here,” she said. “And hopefully, from going after those people, people will see us take action, and the local people will jump on board and fix up their properties before we get to them.”