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St. Landry Parish Council member Ken Marks, center, receives an appreciation plaque from Parish Council Chairman Jerry Red at Wednesday’s meeting. At left, Council member Alvin Stelly looks on. (Photo by Harlan Kirgan)

Parish-owned properties in focus

By Harlan Kirgan
Tax-delinquent properties that end up owned by the parish may be on the agenda at a St. Landry Parish Council committee meeting on Jan. 2.
At the Council’s regular meeting Wednesday, Madelyn Duran, CivicSource investor relations manager, said there are 201 adjudicated properties listed on the CivicSource online auction site.
Adjudicated properties are those where taxes have not been paid. After five years, properties can be sold at auction. Once a property is online, an auction is started when a deposit is made on the property.
The advantage CivicSource offers is the buyer can get a clear title to the property
Since the CivicSource program started in 2014 in St. Landry Parish, Duran said 79 deposits have been made. Of those, 26 were redeemed, meaning the taxes were paid by the owner.
The result was more than $100,000 in delinquent taxes have been paid to the parish government, she said
Thirty-two properties were sold, 21 went to auction and 11 were bought by adjoining landowners, she said.
The numbers don’t add up and possibly that will be cleared up at the committee meeting.
There have been $364,000 in auction sales and $133,858 been returned the parish, she said.
Council member Harold Taylor asked that Duran return in two weeks to discuss the program.
Garrett Duplechain, Parish Council attorney, said at one point there about 900 properties in the parish with delinquent taxes. The number has been decreased, but he did not say by how much.
The Wednesday regular meeting officially killed to ordinances about pay.
An ordinance to reduce the parish president’s pay from $105,000 a year to $85,000 died for lack of a motion.
An ordinance to decrease the Parish Council pay by 20% also died from lack of a motion. Council members are paid $12,480 a year.
Parish Council Chairman Jerry Red presented several actions achieved by the Council this year. They included:
— An agreement with the St. Landry Parish School to pay $600 a month to lease the Head Start site in Opelousas.
— Ordinances to required neighbors approve commercial injection well disposal sites and setting a minimum distance for the sites from drinking water aquifer.
— Completing the sale of St. Luke Hospital in Arnaudville for $184,000.
Red recognized Council member Ken Marks for his four years of service on the Council. Marks lost a race for parish president to incumbent Bill Fontenot.

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