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February 27, 2013

Liens rise as New Albany addresses properties

More planters may be installed by Keep New Albany Clean and Green

NEW ALBANY — Twenty-seven structures were demolished by the order of the New Albany Building Commission in 2012, including 16 houses in the failed Linden Meadows subdivision. 

Building Commissioner David Brewer presented an annual report to the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety on Tuesday, as he touted the city’s enhanced efforts to hold property owners accountable. 

According to numbers provided by Brewer, the city filed 476 tax liens for code enforcement and demolition totaling $354,000 last year. In 2011, the city declared 100 liens on properties accounting for about $99,000. 

The collections and liens filed are up dramatically from previous years, according to the statistics presented. There were 23 liens filed for building and property issues totaling about $65,000 from 2007 to 2009. There were no liens filed by the city from 2003 to 2006. 

Brewer said the problems have always existed, but the city has been more aggressive in its efforts of late when it comes to filing liens. 

“If you go and look through the city, there’s a long way to go,” Brewer said. 

Now that the houses of Linden Meadows — which was a semipublicly funded subdivision meant for low-to-moderate income homeowners — have been razed, the administration is left with determining a plan for the property. But first, ownership of Linden Meadows must be determined and pending legal matters finalized. 

Mayor Jeff Gahan said he expects either a private entity or the city to develop the subdivision, which was once a park, by the end of the year. The New Albany Redevelopment Commission has proposed ideas for the property, and the body will be involved in any effort directed by the city for Linden Meadows, he continued. 

As for property issues for the entire city, Gahan credited the New Albany City Council for tightening code and building enforcement ordinances and Brewer and his staff for the improved results of 2012.

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