City of Decatur, Morgan County officials team up to make changes to eviction process

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DECATUR, Ala. - Being evicted is something most renters work to avoid. Recent curbside evictions have left litter and garbage strewn in Decatur streets.

The city said residents have complained and now they're implementing change.

Typically when there is an eviction, a judge sets a date for tenants to be removed. Then sheriff's department deputies enforce the order. Now the City of Decatur and the county are working together to coordinate the cleanup.

"When we have things that take place, that doesn't make it look clean and it gets publicized like it does, we try to find ways to fix that," explained Wally Terry, Economic and Development Director with the City of Decatur.

The city said when the complaints rolled in, they started researching city code and state law.

"We understood it was required to leave it out on the curb for some period of time," Terry added. "48 hours or whatever the timeline might be."

Terry said what he and other city workers found next changed everything.

"We had no city code that mentioned it had to sit out for any period of time. It really wasn't in the state law either," he explained.

The city said it appears that leaving a person's belongings curbside for a few days has just become common practice over the years.

"With that in hand, our city attorney Chip Alexander talked to our sheriff and we said it'd be great if we could all work together," said Terry.

Now, the courts will coordinate not only with deputies but city employees to make sure contents get cleaned up shortly after they are removed from a property.

"We wanted to get something that we could do immediately. And it would have an impact so we feel like this is the first step," Terry added.

A first step at keeping Decatur debris free.

City leaders are hopeful with effective communication, that eviction contents are taken to a landfill shortly after they removed from the premises.

That means less time for people to rummage through them, which often spreads items out.

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