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Hard knocks ahead for abandoned buildings

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Gadsden Commission approves demolishing derelict structures, receives county audit

ROBERT ALLEN

Times Reporter

Gadsden County Commissioners considered abandoned properties and how to deal with them during their regular meeting March 18 in the commission chamber. 

Gadsden County faces the challenge of dealing with several properties in a condition deemed not suitable under county code, specifically ordinance 08-033, section 4 — within which item 6 prohibits “a structure which presents a hazard or is deleterious to the public health, safety and welfare.”

In accordance with Gadsden County’s nuisance and property management ordinance, the county can take action, correcting the violation. The commission voted 5-0 to spend $17,000 on the demolition and removal of three derelict structures. 

The absentee owners will be billed for all costs. If they do not pay, the county will place a lien on their properties. These liens will prohibit the owners from selling the properties without first paying the costs incurred by the county during enforcement of the code. 

In other business:

 Willie Scott of Quincy spoke about the condition of the park in the Scottown community. Scott said the park is hardly a park at all. He requested any help the commission could or would offer. 

“Whatever you can do for us, we want you to do,” he said. 

Robert Presnell, county administrator, said the county had funds to build a pavilion with four more picnic tables and grills.

Scott also asked commission members to attend a community meeting about the issue. The meeting was scheduled for April 8 at the church on Charlie Harris Loop.

 Commissioner Eric Hinson introduced a request for funds to support an April 5 pre-FCAT party on the courthouse lawn. Commissioner Sherrie Taylor said the purpose of the event is to help students shed some of the stress they feel when preparing for the impending test. The commission voted 3-2 to help fund the project, providing $1,000 of a projected $5,000 cost. 

Commissioners Gene Morgan and Doug Croley opposed this expenditure. 

Croley said he’d never heard of throwing a party for students before a test — after, yes, but before, no.

 The county’s audit for the 2013 fiscal year has been completed. Ron Whitesides of Purvis Gray and Co. presented it to the commissioners. It will be available on the county’s website.