Code Enforcement Liens in local counties

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 02:34 PM CDT
Code Enforcement Liens in local counties story image
LOCAL COUNTIES   --  You see them in so many neighborhoods.
Hundreds of abandoned and overgrown properties many already under a Code Enforcement Lien
   
In Escambia County these properties could eventually end up under county control.
There are blighted properties -- like this one on Wingate in Pensacola -- across Escambia County.

Code Enforcement has put a lien on this property, and after a certain amount of time it comes up for foreclosure.

The county then has to decide, can they either use or resell this land?
And in the meantime what's the cost to our taxpayer dollars to maintain it.

It's the focus of our WASTE WATCH report.
Some liens have been in place more for as many as 20 years growing to tens of thousands of dollars.

In some cases, the county acquires the property through foreclosure with the goal being to put the land to use or resell to recoup costs getting it back on the tax rolls.

Lumon May/District 3 Commissioner
"We're having to use our county resources through code enforcement one to police it, number two to clean it up and number three it kills the culture of a neighborhood."

We went out with District Three Commissioner Lumon May to check out a property that's been under a county lien for ten years.  A property that is adding to rodent and insect issues on St. Joseph Street.

Beaulah Stallworth has lived here for 20 years.  She watched the houses disappear and the blight set in.
"If they want to come back and buy that and that lot there...it'll be all right. Cause that be lonesome up in here."

In Santa Rosa County the liens stay in effect, rather than the county taking the land.
Santa Rosa has demolished 54 properties since 2006 costing the county more than 160,000 dollars.

We could not get information on code enforcement liens in Okaloosa County.
Escambia County residents we talked to think...
 Jean Stewart/Supports County Foreclosures
"If it's an eyesore. If it's a hazard to our environment. Then I would really consider them taking force and getting rid of it."

Tom Steinberg/Opposes County Foreclosures
"This is just a continuously fining all the time. I think it's like the IRS. No, I don't think they should do it."

Escambia County will continue to put liens on dilapidated properties like this one.

If you have a property in your neighborhood that you'd like code enforcement to check out, you can contact them. with your Waste Watch report

Code Enforcement Liens in local counties
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