Distressed properties could be taxed

Complaints about distressed properties in the City of Eatonton sparked a recent discussion at city council to implement a blight tax to help curb some of the ruin.

Council Member Chuck Haley brought the item before the council Sept. 19 requesting the city to have a written procedure in place to allow officials to remove or repair properties that have been abandoned or are unsafe.

“It’s become a real issue in the city,” said Haley. “It’s not fair for people who live in these neighborhoods who try to maintain their properties to have to exist beside these properties.”

Haley’s statement came shortly after Georgia Smith spoke to council expressing appreciation that awareness about blighted areas in the community was being publicized.

“I live on the same street I was born on and right around the corner from me, on Mulberry, we’ve got one house that is completely falling in,” said Smith, noting there was also a resident in the neighborhood that was living in a home without utilities.

“He has no water, no sewage, no electricity,” said Smith. “I can sit on my deck and smell body waste.”

Smith asked council members to drive through that neighborhood and look at four areas that are in bad need of cleaning up.

City Attorney Chris Huskins noted that government entities are limited as to what they can do regarding someone else’s owned property. 


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