Can this company help Rapides Parish with abandoned properties?

Rapides Parish has thousands of neglected properties that are not contributing to the tax base and, in many cases, are a blight on the neighborhoods where they’re located.

The Police Jury is hoping a private company can reduce that number.

New Orleans-based CivicSource auctions tax-distressed real estate on behalf of parishes and municipalities across the state. Since its founding 10 years ago, the company has handled more than 37,000 property sales.

A current estimate put the number of adjudicated properties in the parish at about 4,000.

“If we put 100 to 200 pieces of property back into use, where somebody is paying taxes on them and somebody is maintaining them, that’s a win,” said Police Jury legal counsel Greg Jones.

In addition to marketing properties and auctioning them online, CivicSource researches title issues and attempts to find and contact property owners and heirs. In about 30 percent of cases, the company is able to contact owners and the delinquent taxes are paid.

The company’s fees are collected from winning bidders.

The Police Jury’s Parochial Board Liaison and Legal Committee approved contracting with Civic Source during committee meetings Monday. The full jury must still approve it next week.

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