Tenn. lawmakers to introduce bill to fight blight in Memphis - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Tenn. lawmakers to introduce bill to fight blight in Memphis

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

There's a new plan in the works to make it easier for Tennessee cities like Memphis to redevelop abandoned and blighted properties.

Mayor A C Wharton is going to the state Legislature in Nashville to ask lawmakers to pass a law that would change the way back taxes are dealt with on these types of properties.

Mayor Wharton's office announced two Memphis lawmakers are introducing a bill that would change the tax code and make it easier for the city to deal with abandoned property. The mayor told FOX!3 News he was seeking this legislation about a month ago after, the city was stepped in to help people living in the abandoned Avery Park Apartments on Park Avenue.

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Abandoned buildings and property is a major problem for the Bluff City. Millions of dollars are spent cleaning up these properties and millions of dollars are lost in tax revenues.

This new proposal would let nonprofits go in and fix up these properties, then they could get back their investments before any other parties are paid.

City leaders say getting the properties back in use is good for Memphis, unless these properties are fixed up the city is unlikely to ever get back the taxes owed.

State law needs to change to allow these nonprofits to move in. In January, Mayor Wharton talked with FOX13 News  about the importance of getting this done.
 
"We're going to the Legislature and ask that the laws be changed so that in situations like this we can step in and act much more expeditiously," Mayor Wharton said, who was talking about the situation at the Avery Park Apartments where the owners walked away, leaving the bills unpaid and residents still living in the abandoned building.
 
Mayor Wharton's office said state Sen. Reginald Tate (D-Memphis) and State Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) are carrying this legislation and will introduce it next week.

Memphis leaders are expected to travel to Nashville in two weeks to lobby for the law.

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