Lauderdale County Wants Properties Back on Tax Roll

Lauderdale County supervisors and officials with the city of Meridian are asking the Mississippi secretary of state to allow abandoned property that the state owns locally to be put up for bid.

Supervisors sent a letter to Delbert Hosemann making the request. There are almost 400 pieces of property that fit in this category.

"What we want to do is go in and make sure that those pieces of property are presented in a form that they can be sold," said board president and District 4 Lauderdale County supervisor, Joe Norwood. "If need be, the county, the board of supervisors would have the authority to cut the grass or do whatever we need to do. Take those pictures, send them over to the secretary of state's office. They would come in and put a bid sign in front of them and allow anyone to bid on them within 21 days. And it would be up to the secretary of state's office to accept that bid or not."

Last year, Norwood says Greenville became the first city in Mississippi to have something like this done. He says Lauderdale County supervisors have been taking steps to make this happen for almost two years.

"We just want them back on the tax rolls because right now, the only thing they're doing is being an eyesore for us," Norwood said. "We're not getting any benefit out of it."

Norwood stresses that this effort is completely separate from the project which allows the city of Meridian and the county to work together to tear down condemned houses.

If Hosemann gives the green light for the effort, Norwood says that could add another $2 million to the local tax rolls.

"We don't want to make any mistakes on this," said Norwood. "We want to make sure we get it right going in and we're asking them (officials with the secretary of state's office) to walk us through this thing.'"

Norwood estimates that there are about 47 parcels in the county, and almost 400 in the city of Meridian that could qualify for this initiative.