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Council approves liens on nuisance properties

News Staff Writer

Atmore City Council, sitting two members short, unanimously approved the filing of tax liens against properties that were recently declared grass and weed nuisances, but whose owners failed to mitigate the problem.
The trio of council members — District 2’s Jerome Webster, District 3’s Eunice Johnson and District 4’s Shawn Lassiter — also approved the city’s participation in a proposed debris removal fund and accepted the lower of two bids for five new police vehicles.
“Last year, the city council approved a resolution … that allowed Code Enforcement to enter property and address grass and weed nuisances,” Code Enforcement Officer Greg Vaughn told the council. “We came up with a list, presented the list to the council. You allowed us to abate the problem, to mow the property.”
Vaughn presented the council with cost reports on each property. He requested and received permission to file tax liens against the properties for the city’s cost.
“These amounts will be taken to the tax collector and they will be applied against that property,” he said. A list of the properties and their respective abatement costs was not immediately available.
The council also approved participation in the Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation’s proposed Municipal Debris Removal Fund, a voluntary measure under which members pay a “one-time, voluntary contribution” based on the number of square miles encompassing the municipality. After that, an annual contribution will be required, also based on square footage.
“What they’ll do, if we have a storm — they base this price on how many acres you have in the city — they’ll give us part of our match back (for debris removal by the state or federal government),” said Mayor Jim Staff. “This is a way to get part of our money back.”
Council members also accepted the lower of two bids, both from local dealerships, for the five new Atmore Police Department vehicles approved recently by the council. Johnson Ford won the contract with a bid of $34,966.14 per vehicle ($174,830.70 total). The other bid, from Jason Pilger Chevrolet, was for $44,898.50 per vehicle ($224,492.50).
City Clerk Becca Smith said Police Chief Chuck Brooks could expect delivery of the 2021 Ford Explorers, complete with police packages, “within 60 days.”