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Thursday, March 10, 2011 - 2:15pm

Bill Would Allow Cities to Charge Fees for Vacant Properties

Georgia cities may soon get some state help with dilapidated properties. The state Senate passed a bill Thursday allowing cities to create registries of vacant and foreclosed properties.

The empty homes often become eyesores and lower property values.

Amy Henderson with the Georgia Municipal Association says city officials spend a lot of manpower trying to find the person responsible for a particular property.

“If you have a registry that has the name of a person who’s associated with the property, then you can pick up the phone and call that person and say, ‘You know what, someone needs to come out and cut the grass or clean the pool or at least drain the pool,’" she said.

The bill would establish guidelines for what qualifies as a vacant property, and it would allow cities to charge a fee for registering a property.