D'Iberville Proactive In Resolving Property Code Violations

Back in the Spring the city of D'Iberville decided it needed to do more to get its hurricane damaged properties cleaned up and overgrown lots mowed down. Months later, city officials say they're reaping the benefits of becoming more proactive. Most code violations have been resolved.

Crews are in the middle of renovating a house on Nadine drive, but not long ago D'Iberville officials say this was a public nuisance abandoned by its owner after Katrina.

"As we got more involved in it we found out there were two mortgage companies," said Building officer Hank Rogers. "What we had to do then is we had to get the two mortgages companies to talk to each other and come up with a program where they could find a way to market the home because if they didn't we were going to have to take the house down."

It took nine months and an ultimatum to tear the house down, but Rogers said a last minute agreement was finally worked out with the mortgage companies. That saved the city $7,000 in demolition costs and kept the house on the tax rolls. Building officials say most of the 600 property code violations so far this year have been resolved.

"I think about 85 to 90 percent of the initial contacts, people took care of property and corrected the deficiencies," said Rogers. "We still have about 25 unresolved cases, most of which are open and abandoned structures."

D'Iberville says a big part of its success is the more proactive approach started back in April.

Code enforcement officer Michael York said "For us to go out and take a stance of going and finding the problem before the problem is called into us that's what we do to stay ahead of the situation."

On average it costs $2,000 if the city has to step in and board up a home.  However, city officials say it's necessary for public safety.

"You have your kids playing around here in the evening time and they'll go around here and play around," said York. "Then you have your transients that will come through and they'll stay at night time. Then you have your problems with fire because they're going to sleep there so they'll light a candle or light a match, fall asleep and next thing you know it falls over and the place lights up."

D'Iberville officials say if the city does have to demolish, board up, or mow a property that expense is accessed to the property tax. That means the city has a good chance of recouping its money if the property is ever sold.