I read the recent Herald-Guide article “Attorney General closes the lid on Parish’s free dumpster program” to which I feel I have the obligation to reply and to clarify for the citizens some of what was reported. The article states that the program was set up in such a way as to avoid court cost that are incurred when the Parish follows the ordinance relating to derelict structures.
There was no reason to do this since all legal cost associated with following the ordinance are added to liens when placed on property when the Parish removes a structure under the provisions of the Parish codes. The $365,000 that the article states the Parish estimated it saved was not a savings to the Parish. It is a cost that had it been expended, would have been paid by the private property owners whose homes would have been torn down by the Parish or gotten back at some point in time through the lien process. So the net effect of the program was the saving of the dumpster cost to private individuals and saving of legal cost to any individual who would not have demolished the derelict structures themselves.
Now the question is legally how far back can the Parish go or has to go back to bill the individuals who received the “free” dumpsters? Can the Parish go back at all? Or does the Parish have to go back no matter how far back in time it was and bill them all? And if there is a limit on how far back they can go, is the Parish President personally responsible to pay for the cost that was expended on those from whom he cannot seek repayment?
In addition to the cost expended on providing the dumpsters alone, does the Parish have to tack the cost the Parish expended in the process of providing the “free” dumpsters? I would think so.
The article goes on the state that it appears that the Parish will have to pay additional fees to try and capture the funds spent on the dumpster. Who pays for that? It should not be the taxpayers. That cost must be passed on to those from whom the Parish will be seeking reimbursement.In the end, there should not be a single cent that the Parish has to pay for which it will not be reimbursed relating to derelict homes. Had the ordinance relating to derelict homes been implemented, the taxpayers would not be out a single cent and that is where the Parish needs to be when the “free” dumpster issue is said and done.