By Doug Sanders Jr.
The Gordo Town Council on April 3 saw a tense exchange between the mayor and a councilmember over the town’s lack of action against dilapidated houses.
Councilwoman Floy Goode mentioned some places in the town in her district that have fallen into disrepair or are unsightly, but she specifically mentioned a residence on Preacher Street. She said she is halfway through her second four-year on the council with no results. “What can we do?” she asked.
Mayor Craig Patterson said he could contact the town’s attorney, but the problem with the Preacher Street house is it is being occupied, and it would cost a lot of money to start legal proceedings against the owners. Patterson said if the council directs him to start legal proceedings, “I’ll do what y’all want me to do.”
However, earlier in the meeting, during his monthly report, Patterson pointed out that halfway through this fiscal year (which runs from October 2022 to September 2023), the town had a $52,000 surplus when looking at all revenues and expenditures. With costs going up all the time, Patterson said, “I hope we can break even by the end of the (fiscal) year.”
Patterson asked if the council wanted to use that surplus for this case. Ms. Goode pointed out that the town recently took down an old house and asked how much that cost. Patterson estimated it cost $3,000 or $4,000, but fortunately, the town was able to do some of the work itself. He said one problem owners of these properties have is that it costs about $10,000 to demolish a home.
If the town were to start the legal process of condemnation, it would be lengthy and costly, said Patterson, and he said if the council started this, it would have “to stick with it.” He said the town could put a lien on the property to pay for any work done by the town, but that is hard to collect until the owner sells the property.
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.