Supervisors Discuss Demolition Costs

Demolition of dilapidated houses in Meridian is set to begin again next month.

That work has been ongoing for several years, through a partnership between the city of Meridian and Lauderdale County supervisors.

But the cost of the work was an issue raised during the county's board meeting Monday.

"We need to sit down and figure out something to recover that money," said District 5 supervisor Ray Boswell.

He said that's the bottom line. Boswell said he's concerned about how much money, if any, that the county has recovered so far from the demolition of dilapidated houses within the city.

:We have not tried to meet with the city to see if we can recover any of this money," Boswell said. "Now it's illegal to work on private property without recovering those funds."

"If the property is sold and the lien has been put on the property, then it can be collected when the property is sold," said board attorney Rick Barry.

"But we've been tearing them down for years," said Boswell. "We've never seen for sure that there's been a lien, have we? Show it to me. I've asked for that paperwork. I want to see."

According to Barry, it is the city's responsibility to place a lien on the property.
At this time, county attorney Lee Thaggard says he's now trying to arrange a meeting between city and county officials to address recouping concerns.

"There's a procedure there to recoup that money that is spent," said Thaggard. "What we're going to do is follow-up with the city and county and personnel that are involved to make sure that that's being followed through on."

Thaggard says that meeting will likely be held this Thursday or next Tuesday.

Since the city and county signed an interlocal agreement five years ago, almost 200 dilapidated and abandoned houses in the city have been demolished.

Officials say they still have about 80 or so more on their list of homes to be torn down.

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