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City to tear down dilapidated property

Troy officials took an important step in removing dilapidated buildings on Tuesday as council members approved the demolition of an abandoned house.

The structure, located at 201 Dr. L.C. McMillan Drive, is the first to be removed under the city’s efforts to remove abandoned structures without incurring additional costs.

“The heir has requested (the house) be demolished,” said Chuck Ingram, building inspector. “They don’t have the money to do it.”

Garrett Enterprises was the low bidder for the demolition at $2,750, and council members unanimously approved the removal.

“You’re going to be seeing more of these,” said Mayor Jason Reeves, adding that the city had identified 50 to 60 structures for potential removal, each of which must be addressed individually by council members.

Reeves said the removal is a “very in-depth process,” beginning with identifying the properties and contacting owners to try and have the structures cleaned up or removed.

“A lot of time these are absentee landlords or absentee owners who may have inherited the property and are a long distance away,” he said.

If the owner is unable or unwilling to remove the structures, the city will do so then attach the costs of the removal to the property taxes due.

“It’s not that big of a deal to pay $135 (in property taxes each year) but it’s a bigger deal to pay $3,000 (for the cost of the clean-up),” Reeves said, adding that the property tax liens likely will mean that owners may lose their property if they are unable to pay the lien.

“This is a prime example of due process,” said Robert Jones, District 1 councilman. “This is what we have to go through so we don’t just go in and tear somebody’s property down. This takes time and we ask that everyone be patient with us.”

In other business on Tuesday, the council:

•  Approved the purchase of a crew cab truck for the Environmental Services Department. Bill Jackson Chevrolet was the low bidder at $41,728.13

• Approved a services agreement with Healthy Contributions-Optimum Health Care Solutions LLC, which will pay membership fees for qualifying senior citizens to use the recreation department services. “This is a senior fitness Medicare reimbursement program, just like Silver Sneakers which we’ve used for 10 years,” said Dan Smith, parks and recreation director. “This program partners with United Health Care and reimburses us $32 per month per customer, at no cost to the city.”