By Ronda Wertman
RIDGELEY -- Dilapidated properties are more than an eyesore in Ridgeley, as they provide a home for pigeons and pose other risks.
After years without the monumental success that everyone hoped for in cleaning up these properties, the Ridgeley mayor and council are inviting their attorney to the August council meeting to explain the process to property owners and concerned citizens.
Resident Bill Shepherd, who served as the code enforcement officer in 2013, appeared before the council recently with photos of nearly a dozen properties which seven years later are still a concern.
"Something needs to be done. We’ve got to put some teeth in something," urged Shepherd. "What can we do, what are our options?"
"We’re working on a couple of these everyday as we speak," affirmed mayor Mark Jones, saying that the town has not given up on its efforts.
Jones estimates it would cost $50,000 to tear some of the properties down.
Commissioner Don McFarland questioned why the town can’t make the property owners pay the fines that they are assessed.
Shepherd also questioned why the properties cannot be purchased at the tax sale. "How can we be notified so we can buy?" he asked.
In other business, the town has been approached by residents wishing to purchase the alley adjacent to their property.
Commissioner Duke Lantz noted that the properties could be annexed and placed back on the tax rolls.
Jones noted that the property would have to be surveyed and that the neighboring property owners should be given a say.
Following discussion, the council agreed with concerns for access and other issues that no alleys should be sold or annexed.