Warren County Commissioner Carl D. Bouldin is pushing the cleanup of 4437 Yager Road and it looks like the effort will be successful.
“People in my neighborhood want this cleaned up,” Bouldin said. “We are always talking about tourism and beautifying our county. Get out there and see how pretty it is.
During Monday’s full Warren County commission meeting, Bouldin questioned county codes inspector Rich Thompson about an inspection he conducted on the property on the same day.
“Since the last time I drove by it has been burnt to the ground,” said Thompson, who cited 2016 as the last written complaint he received on the property. “I don’t know when it happened. As to what can be done about it, I am told that there are liens on the property.
County manager Jimmy Haley previously said the county does not have the authority to clean up the property due to the lack of property maintenance codes. However, Bouldin has provided evidence to the contrary.
Bouldin introduced the state’s criminal waste law as well as a resolution passed by the Warren County government in February 2008 that established the county codes department and it included the job description, procedures to monitor when owners endanger the health, safety or welfare of others by not maintaining the property.
“If the person fails or refuses to remedy the condition within 10 days of receiving the notice,” Bouldin said, “the appropriate department or person should immediately remedy the condition or eliminate it at cost and in accordance with reasonable standards and at the cost thereof assessed against the owner of the property. The cost will be a lien on the property in favor of the county. ”
That, Bouldin said, gives the county codes department the power to force a cleanup, and county attorney Robert Bratcher agreed.
“It’s something that we have the power to do,” said Bratcher. “The law clearly states that this is something we can do. We get a complaint, we go out and look at the property, issue a citation to the owners, they don’t respond, 10 days go by and then you have to clean up. It can be done. “
Bouldin added: “Your complaint will be there tomorrow. It needs to be written, I guess.
“Yes it does,” Bratcher said.
Thompson said there was no money in his budget to demolish the building and clean up the property. “Once you call something as a danger to public safety.” If they don’t do it within 10 days, the county has to step in and clean it up and do it. We have no one to do this. We don’t have the funding or the department to do it. This puts me in a dilemma. If I quote someone, it puts the county in a position of responsibility once it’s not taken care of. ”
Commissioner Gary Prater said: “Let’s do a cleanup estimate and go from there. Get an idea of what it will cost. Surely the county can find enough money to clean it up. We will have a lien against it, as well as the taxes due. We would be the first to get our money back. I’m sure the county can find the money. We have no problem finding money to spend in other areas. I’m sure we can find the money somewhere.
Property taxes on 4437 Yager Road have not been paid for several years. According to county records as of July 2021, the combined unpaid taxes on the property are $ 7,728.
In previous committee meetings, privileges and “legal issues” have been cited by Haley and county attorney Robert Bratcher as an explanation for why the property was not included in the last tax sale. Bouldin was also prepared to challenge these statements.
“I spoke with Congressman Scott DesJarlais’s office and there are liens on the property and all that, but it doesn’t matter, according to that office. Privileges are not against property. They are against the person who owns them. They said the IRS determines in what pecking order the money is distributed after the tax sale.
Bratcher said the property is expected to be included in the 2022 tax sale.
When contacted by the Southern Standard on Tuesday, Bouldin confirmed that the complaint was in writing, was signed by several landowners in the district and would be submitted to Thompson in the coming days.