County commission approves updated fire clean-up resolution

To ensure that residents in the unincorporated areas of the county don’t abandon their property after a destructive fire, the Jackson County Commissioners recently approved a resolution that allows the county to hold back a portion of a homeowner’s insurance payout on a loss claim on a house fire until the building site is cleaned up.

During a recent county commission meeting, the commissioners approved a resolution that now allows the county to collect 15 percent of a homeowner’s insurance policy payout after a “fire, explosion or windstorm.” 

The county will hold onto the 15 percent payout amount until the site is cleaned up, at which time, the funds will be released to the homeowner. 

If the homeowner never cleans up the site, the 15 percent payout will be used by the county to remove any of the remaining structure and to clean up the site.

“This is for homeowners who have no intention of cleaning up their property and just disappear,” County Counselor Lee Hendricks said. “State law allows cities and counties to contact the homeowner’s insurance and hold back 15 percent of the insurance payout. It’s a very common resolution.”

Jackson County Clerk Kathy Mick said she first heard about the resolution a few years ago from an insurance representative. 

“In the past, the county has been stuck with a couple of houses that were abandoned, including one in Denison and another in Netawaka,” Mick said. “We also keep getting complaints about the property east of Holton at the Soldier turnoff.”

There have been several instances when the damaged houses had to be torn down at the county’s expense, Mick said. 

The resolution requires that 75 percent or more of the structure must be damaged in order for the county to hold back any insurance claim payout, it was reported.

For more on this story, please log in to your account and select the April 7, 2021 e-edition.

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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