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City to sue dilapidated property owners

The City of Demopolis will sue the owners of dilapidated properties that have gone untended over several years, beginning this week.

“I inspected every house,” said city attorney Richard S. Manley. “We took color pictures of every piece of property. We covered every piece of property that was on the list that I provided at the last council meeting, and we picked up one on Southmont.

“I prepared the suit. I’m going to get it filed when I get the color pictures ready to go, and then, the next step is getting people served. A lot of them are heirs living out of town, but we have addresses on most of them.”

District 2 representative Mitchell Congress asked Manley what the lawsuit entails.

“We are asking the court to condemn the property, allow us to tear the building down, assess the cost, and the court will assess that cost to the city, and we can sell the property for that,” Manley said. “The money will come to the city to reimburse us for the damages.”

Manley said there were some owners who had begun to take steps to improve their properties, but most of them have not.

Delia Campbell, a resident of Washington Street, said there was a property next to hers where vultures were perched on top of the house. She asked the city to add that property to the list of those whose owners were being sued.

The city issued a proclamation honoring longtime city employee Troy Martin Sr., who passed away on April 13.

The council voted 6-0 to build five speed bumps on Hilltop Circle to help slow down the traffic on that street. It also approved the public works department to post a one-way street sign there.

The council approved 6-0 the reappointments of Peggy Eddins and Kitty Eddins to the cemetery board. Their terms expired in September 2009. William Smith was nominated to fill the unexpired term of Willie Moore. Smith, who was present at the meeting, asked the council to table its vote to the next meeting.

The council approved a sign to be posted on Bell Grayson Road indicating the weight limit for vehicles.

The council voted to table decisions on its appointment to the Demopolis City Schools board and the catering ordinance.

Congress asked the council to consider naming A, B, C and D streets. District 4 representative Bill Meador suggested naming the section of First Avenue in front of the Theo Ratliff Activity Center after Ratliff, a Demopolis native who has played 14 years in the National Basketball Association. Both suggestions will be considered at the next meeting on June 3.

The council will have an open work session on Tuesday, May 25, at 5:15 p.m. at Rooster Hall.

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