City of Vicksburg places liens on 17 properties

Published 3:37 pm Friday, August 19, 2022

The city of Vicksburg has filed liens totaling $10,619 to recover the cost of cleaning and clearing 17 properties in the city.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the liens at its meeting Monday. Nine of those properties are owned by the state of Mississippi.

Under city ordinances, property owners are required to take care of and maintain their property. If they fail to do so the city, under its ordinances and state law can go on the property and cut and clean it or hire a contractor to do so and then charge the property owner to recover its expenses.

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If the property owner does not reimburse the city within a certain period of time, the board goes to the county tax rolls and places liens on the properties to recover the costs, which means the city has to wait until the property owner pays their taxes or sells the property to recover the costs.

The state of Mississippi, which picks up the properties that are not claimed at tax sales, is exempt under state law from paying taxes and the liens on the land. The state can make limited reimbursements to a city for property cleaning and maintenance costs, but the costs cannot exceed the amount of the property’s selling price.

Ward 1 Alderman Michael Mayfield, who is over the city’s public works and community development departments, said property owners refusing to clean their property is an ongoing problem.

“I’ve never seen a week in 17 years of being with the city where we didn’t have somebody in violation of the property code,” Mayfield said. “It’s non-stop and the problem we’re having now is that on most of the lists (of derelict properties) brought to the board a minimum of half (property owners) have not complied.

“The compliance rate is actually going down instead of up,” he added. “Being a citizen of this city and especially being elected it’s something that’s hard to swallow.”

With some properties, Mayfield said, the total amount of multiple liens placed by the city for cleaning is more than the property’s value.

“And always remember, you can’t forgive a fine,” he said.

The vacant and neglected buildings, he added, “Are destroying this city. Some people won’t even bring it up to code. I wish some of these people would hear what their neighbors are saying; they would do better. We’re in a sad situation the way these people are keeping their property up in the city of Vicksburg.”

The properties involved include:

  • 1215 Bodley Street, PPIN 17783; owned by State of Mississippi
    (Charles Doss)
  • 1601 Bodley Street, PPIN 17779; owned by State of Mississippi
    (Blanche Ella Hill Estate)
  • 1220 Filmore Street, PPIN 17796; owned by State of Mississippi
  •  1220 B Filmore Street, PPIN 17791; owned by State of Mississippi
  • Filmore Street, PPIN 17797; owned by State of Mississippi (Joe B. &
    Anna M. Dirago)
  • 1320 First East Street, PPIN 18662; owned by Helen Irene Smith
    Estate
  • 1218 Harrison Street, PPIN 18236; owned by Jerry Hall
  •  2954 Highland Avenue, PPIN 5593; owned by State of Mississippi
  •  723 Johnson Street, PPIN 15838; owned by State of Mississippi
  • 1601 Martin Luther King Blvd., PPIN 19162; owned by Keith McCarter
  • 1719 Martin Luther King Blvd., PPIN 19791; owned by State of
    Mississippi
  • 1843 Martin Luther King Blvd., PPIN 20555; owned by Mary Lois
    Thompson Et Al
  • 1612 Poplar Street, PPIN 17782; owned by State of Mississippi
  •  1804 Poplar Street, PPIN 17816; owned by Cynthia Gray
  •  1200 Second North Street, PPIN 17660; owned by Jeffrey Watts
    Estate
  • Third North Street, PPIN 17777; owned by State of Mississippi
  •  2400 Washington Street, PPIN 15207; owned by State of Mississippi
    (Rolando Zamora)

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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