Thackerville family must surrender condemned home - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Thackerville family must surrender condemned home

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A judge decided that the Debord family's Thackerville home would be condemned. (KTEN) A judge decided that the Debord family's Thackerville home would be condemned. (KTEN)
Wilson and Jerry Debord were arrested Monday in connection with code violations at their Thackerville property. (Photos: Love County Sheriff's Office) Wilson and Jerry Debord were arrested Monday in connection with code violations at their Thackerville property. (Photos: Love County Sheriff's Office)
A judge decided that the Debord family's Thackerville home would be condemned. (KTEN) A judge decided that the Debord family's Thackerville home would be condemned. (KTEN)

THACKERVILLE, Okla. -- This Love County town is divided after a judge decided a local family is losing the property they've owned since the 1980s.

The Town Council determined that the Debord family's two single-wide mobile homes and property in the 11800 block of King View Street was not up to code and needs to be cleaned up.

The family owes more than $35,000 in fines, which led to the arrest of Jerry and Wilson Debord on Monday.  The property's value is assessed at less than $17,000.

Then on Thursday morning, a judge decided the family had to surrender their property to the city -- including their home -- to help pay the fines.

But local pastor Mike Sampson doesn't think it's right.

"They've been willing to help anybody any time they needed help," he said. "I don't know exactly what's going on with the City Hall, but a bunch of us just feel like they're being done wrong."

The Debords are said to have volunteered for the fire department for more than 30 years. They say they have only disability checks as income.

"I think they're treating us like we are poor," Katie Debord said.

Thackerville's municipal attorney David Blankenship offered the town's point of view:

"If they were multi-millionaires and build the school, we shouldn't enforce our ordinances?" he asked.

The town recently hired a code enforcement officer, and Blankenship said the Debords have known for years they needed to clean up the property. Now, he says enough is enough.

"I guess what needs to happen is everyone in Thackerville needs to play by the same rulebook," Blankenship said.

The Debords argue that since the town has code enforcement, they should also offer a trash service.

"I think it's crazy because we have to pay for our own trash," Katie Debord said. "I think it should be on the water bill.

Several community members told KTEN they would be willing to help the Debords bring their property up to code if the city will let them keep it.

But even after surrendering their property, the family still owes the town money and will have to work out a payment plan.

Thackerville officials say they will continue to enforce existing codes to clean up problem areas, so other property owners could also face fines.

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