Columbus City Council discusses resident’s continued hoarding issues

Columbus City Council discusses resident’s continued hoarding issues

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Columbus city councilors met Tuesday evening and nearly 20 people in the chamber supported a speaker pleading with the council for help.

Margo Truett addressed the council, backed up by a number of her neighbors to discuss the issue of hoarding in her neighborhood located on Abbey Drive.

“This is not allowed according to the city ordinance,” said Truett about the hoarding problem. “His house and vehicles became filled with trash. At one point, the furniture and trash ended up in the street.”

The neighbors presented pictures and video of cars, 14 of which are parked on the property filled with trash and rats roaming the property and mounds of trash inside of a home.

“My God,” responded Mayor Teresa Tomlinson after hearing the presentation. “We have the new ordinance that prevents this,” said Tomlinson.

Councilor Judy Thomas was the most vocal on the issue, even offering Inspections and Codes Director John Hudginson a ride to site the offender.

“If you go to court on October 3 and this guy is cited and he pays a fine,” asked Thomas, "can you go back on the 4th and cite him again?”

“Yes,” replied Hudginson.

“And October the 5th and cite him again,” asked Thomas.

“Yes” replied Hudginson.

“And October the 6th and cite him again,” asked Thomas.

“Yes” replied Hudginson.

“If you need a ride, I’ll take you out there” said Thomas.

“We have dealt with this on multiple occasions,” said Hudginson. “We have a new tool in our arsenal that we have gotten approved that is a court ordered abatement.”

But one problem that still faces neighbors and the council is the cars on the property,

“We cannot tow a car from a private property,” explained Hudginson.

Tomlinson and other councilors intend on discussing the issue with the area’s state legislative delegation.

“There is a lot of talk at the state legislative level about getting back to local rule, home rule,” said Tomlinson. “We need to take advantage of the changing winds.”

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