For the second consecutive year, City-Parish President Joey Durel is pushing for state legislation that would give Lafayette a tool to deal with the more than 1,000 properties the parish owns thanks to unpaid taxes.

According to a report in The Advocate, a bill going before the Legislature in the upcoming regular session would create a local agency that has the authority to seize adjudicated properties and either sell them to adjacent landowners or use the property for other development — much like the successful Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority.

Durel told The Independent Weekly in January that adjudicated properties were one of his priorities when he took office in 2004, but the endless red tape associated with tax delinquent properties, resistance from previous councilmen and opposition from the Lafayette Economic Development Authority last year has stalled any progress.

The legislation filed last year on behalf of LCG was pulled before consideration at the request of Durel, who said at the time he was “stunned by the wide range of opposition.” A new bill with fine-tuned language and a more diverse pool from which to choose the redevelopment authority members has Durel hoping the issue can finally move forward, The Advocate reports:
As initially proposed last year, the redevelopment authority would have the power to buy and sell property, borrow money, partner with private developers and levy taxes with voter approval.

But Durel said the main focus of the new agency will be to redevelop so-called adjudicated property — land that local government tried to sell for unpaid taxes but which no one wanted.
Read more on the legislation here.

For more on the blighted and abandoned properties issue, click here

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