Council approves effort to get adjudicated properties back into commerce


It sounded too good to be true, but Civic Source’s process for adjudicated properties is 98 percent successful, according to Ronnie Harris, executive director of the Louisiana Municipal Association. Harris and Stephen Morel, chief legal officer with Civic Source, spoke to the City Council at a public forum held before its meeting Feb. 13.
After hearing the benefits of using Civic Source, the Council approved a professional services agreement with Archon Information Systems LLC (DBA Civic Source) for the administration of an online auction and sale of adjudicated properties program.
Each year tax titles to immovable properties are adjudicated to the City for the non-payment of ad valorem property taxes. These properties remain on the adjudicated property tax roll until they are redeemed or sold. Civic Source complies with all legal requirements to process the sale of these properties and markets them before holding an online auction, with the promise of title insurance. After the company’s fee is paid (which amounts to the minimum bid at the start of the auction) the surplus amount goes directly back to the City.

The goal is to encourage the redemption of these properties, bringing them back into commerce and productive use by returning them to the active tax rolls. This stimulates economic development, reduces blight and increases property tax and other tax revenue.
Parishes in South Louisiana as well as DeSoto, Bossier, Caddo and most recently Sabine have signed up with Civic Source. The Natchitoches Parish Council will cast its vote on service agreement with Civic Source at its next meeting, Feb. 21.
Juanita Fowler said there are at least 20-30 adjudicated properties within the City limits.
“I think this is an excellent way to get them back to where they nee to be,” she said.

Other agenda items included:
·      Resolution proclaiming February 2017 as African American History Month in the City
·      Lease with Med-Trans Corporation at Natchitoches Regional Airport
·      Amend ordinance to enlarge Local Natchitoches Historic District (SEE MAP BELOW)
·      Lease area under fence at airport, and a 25 acre tract in Industrial Park to James Russell Stacy for hay operations
·      Lease 29.7 tract in Industrial Park to M&M Farms of Cane River LLC for hay operations
·      Enter into agricultural lease of a 96.82 tract with Russell and Mary Edith Stacy Farms
·      Revoke dedication of portions of St. Denis, Sibley and Lafayette Streets, being a portion of each right-of-way beginning at their intersection with the eastern right-of-way of the Union Pacific Railroad and running back to the east for a distance, declaring said portions are abandoned and the dedications revoked, retaining an easement across the former street for public utility purposes
·      Approve utility easement and right-of-way for placement of electrical utilities along the west 10 feet of a 2.896 acre tract in the Industrial Park

This is a rough estimate of the area that will be added to the enlarged Local Natchitoches Historic District. Boundaries are not exact.

Johnny Barnes accepted the proclamation declaring February 2017 as African American History Month in the City on behalf of Lou Byers, who was unable to attend the City Council meeting.