City ponders ways to clean up tires

Source: Picayune Item (MS), March 2, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Officials with the city of Picayune are seeking help from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to clean up a large collection of used tires off of Neal Road.

Life-long Goodyear community resident the Rev. John Goss has been before the city council a number of times asking for help to rid the area of the eyesore and safety hazard. He’s has said before that the collection of used tires, left there by an out of town property owner, could create a real problem should a fire occur.

On Tuesday, city officials met with a DEQ representative to get details on any help the agency can offer. Picayune Fire Chief Keith Brown said that after the discussion, officials determined that DEQ’s representatives would take the information gathered and present it to other DEQ employees in Jackson, who will determine if funds will be available. Brown said if the grant funds are approved, then DEQ would bid the project out to a contract company that would remove the tires.

Tires are not the only eyesore in the area. A dilapidated building that once housed a gas station and grocery store and seven large trailers also sit on the lot and also hold the greatest portion of the large collection of used tires. Brown said once the tires are removed, the city will tear down and remove the building and trailers, the cost of which will be recouped as a lien on the property owner’s taxes.

Pubic Works Director Chad Frierson said that two years ago the city received a DEQ estimate to clean up just the tires for about $82,000. Frierson said the city is limited to a maximum of $20,000 per year to spend on property cleanup.

When asked, Goss said that neither he and any of the other city officials on site at the time could say with certainty who owns the property, only that the property owner lives out of town. No address was displayed at the property, limiting the ability to search public tax records for the name of the owner.

If the city cleans up the property, the city can place a lien on the property taxes to attempt to cover the expense, which the owner must pay within three years to retain ownership. If, after three years, the taxes are not paid the property can be sold or if there are no buyers, then the city can take over ownership of the property, Frierson said.

Goss said the building began as a grocery store and gas station about 50 years ago, but about seven years ago, the current owner began storing used tires at the location. Since 2008, the problem has escalated as the pile of tires grew in size, Goss said.

“It’s time to get rid of it,” Goss said.

With such a large collection of old tires stored in one place, Goss is concerned about the possibility of a fire breaking out since access to the community is limited to one road, though it does have two points of ingress and egress to Palestine Road.

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