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By EMIL WHITIS
Daily Press Staff Writer

In a unanimous vote, the Artesia City Council moved to foreclose on their lien against the old Artesia Municipal Court building located at 611 W. Mahone Dr.

Council condemned the property at the Aug. 10 meeting based on a two-year-old engineering report which documented the structure’s north wall had settled approximately 1-½ inches. The movement caused the south wall to begin separating from the building and the east and west portions to diverge.

After the condemnation, the city had the building tested for asbestos. The test came back negative but incurred a cost of $1,603.60. A lien was then filed on the property for that amount.

Through Tuesday’s foreclosure, the city has entered into legal proceedings in District Court to recoup the money invested.

If the owner of the property, Frank Sturgis of Roswell, pays the city the money it spent on asbestos testing, the legal action will be dropped but the condemnation will still stand. If he does not pay, the court will auction the property and building to pay the lien.

“We have not heard anything from the owner,” said city code enforcement officer Cheryl Hinkle. “(Sturgis) has passed all his deadlines (for appeal of the condemnation).” … For the rest of the story, subscribe in print and on the web.