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State and Local Officials are trying to Figure out What to do With Abandoned Properties

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 31 Jul 2012 07:24pm | comments
Jackson home about to be demolished

Thousands of abandoned properties across Mississippi may be demolished because their owners failed to pay property taxes. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports how state and local officials are combining efforts to rid communities of these so called eyesores especially those near local schools.

In a blighted Jackson neighborhood a block of old dilapidated homes are being bulldozed to make room for a new park and walking trail. The property sits directly across the street from Lanier High School,  the oldest black high school in the city. Principal, Shemeka McClunj says the new changes will bring marked improvement to student morale and academic achievement.

"You know our children are here in our classrooms experiencing everything that life has to offer. Learning about how they can be productive citizens. But to look out and to see that plight in life, it just wasn't a conducive environment for them."

Mississippi currently holds the deeds to more than eight thousand pieces of property from owners across the state who were unable or unwilling to pay their property taxes. But under a  law passed by state legislators  this year the price of the property can be drastically discounted and sold to bidders.  If a private buyer cannot be found the state can  give the property to local governments who may then develop it for public use.

"Well we're hoping to create a buffer zone."

It's an idea that Hinds County Supervisor Kenneth Stokes is already putting into action.

"You know other schools throughout the city of Jackson, throughout the state of Mississippi in most cases, You know you have green space and you have the elimination of eyesores and the elimination of threats and danger to children."

The campaign to clean-up blighted tax forfeited property is a statewide initiative by the Secretary of State’s Office. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says abandoned tax forfeited properties have the potential to become havens for crime. He says his office is committed to working with local officials to promote a safer cleaner environment for school children and communities. The Secretary of State's office says it currently holds nearly 40 million dollars in tax forfeited property Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.

 

To search tax forfeited properties in your area visit the Secretary of State’s website.



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