Blighted properties

Clayton officials are entering the fight against blighted properties in their corporate limits.

Aldermen heard from Mayor Wilbert Washington during regular meeting of the board of aldermen Tuesday night about the upcoming effort.

Clayton has established ordinances on overgrown properties and demolition of condemned structures, according to Washington.

“We just have to start enforcing (the ordinances),” Washington said. “We have some properties that are hazardous. We’ve been letting people get away with this for far too long.”

According to Washington, property owners who need to clean up their lot will receive a certified letter. Once they receive the letter, they have 10 days to take action. If owners do not, Clayton will then begin the process of having it cleaned.

Condemnation of a blighted building is a longer process involving papers being served if the property owner refuses to demolish the structure.

Meanwhile, aldermen introduced an ordinance authorizing Louisiana Municipal Advisory and Technical Services Bureau (LaMATS) to recover debt from unpaid tickets.

LaMATS, established in 1998, is a subsidiary of Louisiana Municipal Association and is designed to assist its members with day-to-day business. The group offers insurance premium and occupational tax collection, millage management, and capital outlay consulting along with other areas of municipal interests.

“We have a significant amount of money that needs to be collected,” Washington said.

Additionally, aldermen moved forward in the application process for Community Water Enrichment Funding (CWEF) and Louisiana Government Assistance Program (LGAP) grants.

Aldermen unanimously passed two resolutions in support of applications for CWEF and LGAP grants.

If Clayton receives funds from a CWEF grant, money will be spent to repair and refurbish an alternate water well.

CWEF was established in the 2008 Louisiana regular session. Its intent is to provide a source of funding to aid units of local government solely for the purpose of rehabilitation, improvements and construction projects for community water systems.

If approved, LGAP money would be used to purchase a new tractor for Clayton.

Community Development determines equal LGAP funding for all eligible parishes. Applications are accepted for fire protection, sewer, water, renovations to essential governmental buildings, police protection, land acquisition, demolition, equipment, roads and drainage.

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