North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

August 20, 2013

Warrior residents complain to council about blighted properties

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

WARRIOR — Several residents complained to the Warrior City Council in Monday’s regular session about abandoned properties which had become nuisances — a problem that Mayor Johnny Ragland has heard about numerous times since taking office late last year.

“We simply don’t have the money to clean them up,” Ragland told the audience, adding that the city can do so and then file a lien, but might not be paid back for many years. Moreover, the process of identifying and giving legal notice to multiple far-flung heirs of a deceased property owner is time-consuming and costly.

“We’re applying for a grant from HUD [the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development] to help us clean up some of this,” Ragland said.

During the pre-council work session, real estate agent Terry Bullard also complained of a burned-out house on Church Street, which is across the street from a property he has remodeled and is trying to sell. Others voiced their complaints toward the end of the main council session.

The council also heard in the work session from Warrior Senior Center director Robbie Long, who had been informed by the Jefferson County Office of Senior Citizen Services that the center wasn’t serving enough lunches to local seniors.

“We’ve got to get up to 25 per day, or else the city has to pay for the meals [not used],” Long said. “It’s all about numbers to them.”

Ragland and council member James Jett suggested sending flyers to local churches, to let them know about the meal service available to those 60 and older. “A lot of people don’t know what’s there,” Jett said.

In other business, the council: