A meth house on Higginbotham Road is one more step toward being demolished. City and county officials are taking steps to forgive past due property taxes which could help the process to remove the structure and find a buyer.
The county’s Budget and Finance Committee met Tuesday to consider a request from the city to forgive the property taxes associated with 131 Higginbotham Road.
“The county is owed $8,156.53 in taxes,” said Warren County Executive Herschel Wells. “The house was up for the sale at the courthouse and nobody bought it. The city’s got about that same amount of taxes on it. These are taxes that go back to 2005. Nobody’s going to buy it with the taxes owed on it.”
Strike two against the property is it was a site for the manufacture of methamphetamine. During a city Building and Grounds Committee meeting in June, it was estimated an additional $8,000 would be needed to remediate and remove the structure – making the initial cost to any prospective buyer approximately $24,000, not including the purchase price.
City officials have considered what to do about the house for several years. In the 2015-16 fiscal year budget, officials placed $40,000 in the budget of Planning and Zoning to remove several dilapidated structures in the city, including the one on Higginbotham Road.
Wells says he was contacted by Josh Baker, from the city’s Planning and Zoning Department, about the possibility of waiving the taxes.
“He seems to think if we forgive the taxes and they forgive theirs, they can sell it and get it back on the tax rolls,” said Wells.
County Commissioner Terry Bell was in favor of forgiving the taxes if the city is going to the expense of removing the structure.
“The taxes are going to keep accumulating and no one’s going to buy it,” said Bell. “The city is wanting to clean it up. I don’t think we want to pay to clean it up.”
Bell, as well as County Commissioners Carl E. Bouldin, Ken Martin, Michael Martin and Diane Starkey, voted to waive the county’s taxes associated with the property.