City commissioners take driving tour of blighted properties

The abandoned home sits on Jones Street in Cedartown

Cedartown City Commissioners got a firsthand look Monday at some of the most blighted properties in the city during a driving tour through some of the neighborhoods most affected by the issue.

Commissioners are considering an ordinance that would use the power of the purse to force blighted property owners to take action on those properties, whether fixing them or demolishing them.

According to city manager Bill Fann, the ordinance would be beneficial to those property owners who actually do take care and pride in their properties and aims to combat those properties that are either hazardous or not maintained to a certain standard.

“This ordinance allows for up to sevenfold property tax increase on these blight properties in order for the folks that are responsible for the issue to pay for the issue and not take that money from the good taxpaying citizens of Cedartown who take care of their properties,” said Fann

During the tour, commissioners observed several homes that had roofs falling in, foundations deteriorated, windows shattered, and underbrush that had taken over their yards.

City Commissioner Matt Foster says the blighted properties affect more than just those living there.

“It doesn’t just affect the quality of life of a person living in that house, it affects quality of life and the economics of everyone living in that neighborhood,” Foster said.

The City Commission will likely discuss the matter in their meeting next Monday and will soon vote on an ordinance that would use property taxes as a means of persuading owners of blighted properties to take action in bringing them up to standard.