Council considers blight database - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Council considers blight database

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

The city of Memphis is trying yet another tactic to deal with blight and abandoned homes. Some on the council are backing an ordinance that would create a registry of property owners. Others say it will not work.

One of the biggest problems the Bluff City has with blight is finding out whom to hold responsible. Oftentimes property owners are nowhere to be found, so the city has to foot the bill to solve the problem.

Council chairman Edmund Ford says there are more than 43,000 "problem properties." He points to a study of one percent of those properties, and their cost of about $7-million to the city and county. He calculates that to be $200 million problem to the city. It's a loss of tax revenue and a cost of demolition.

So, Ford is pushing for a property database. Property owners would have to register what they own. Ford says it will help locate deadbeat owners to pay their taxes and fix up the properties.

"It affects every district.  I have pictures from every district to where, if a registry existed, we'd be able to find the people who own these properties," says Ford.

But Councilman Jim Strickland isn't so excited about it, "Its not a good idea and I'm 100% against it.  It serves no purpose.  The only thing it will do is create more bureaucracy."

Strickland says several databases already record property owners, including the County Assessor's site.

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