City Council lists surplus properties for sale

Sean C. Morgan

Of The New Era

The City Council approved a silent-bid process for selling off two surplus residential properties last week.

During the council’s regular meeting on May 9, City Attorney Robert Snyder told the council that three Realtors placed the value on the properties at $25,000 to $35,000 for the larger of the two, located on the corner of 12th and Tamarack, and $20,000 to $25,000 for the smaller, approximately 4,000 square feet on the north end of 11th Avenue, near Poplar Street.

The council established minimum bids of $28,500 for the larger lot and $20,000 for the smaller.

The buyer will pay all costs for the transaction, and City Manager Craig Martin will set the sealed bid procedure, probably with a 30-day bidding period, Snyder said. If the council does not receive the minimum bid, then the properties will need reevaluation by the council.

In other business, the council transferred $50,000 from the street maintenance fund to the storm water fund. The money was budgeted that way in the 2005-06 budget, but it required council approval to finalize the transfer.

“The recent winter storms and resultant rainfall have once again raised the concern about developing some form of storm water utility to fund citywide operation and maintenance and improvements to our existing system within the public right-of-way,” said Public Works Director Mike Adams.

Adams is working under council direction to prepare information about how the city could develop a storm water utility, he said. In anticipation of establishing a utility, funds were designated to be transferred in the 2005-06 budget to provide seed money.

An additional $100,000 is budgeted for the storm water fund in the proposed 2006-07 budget, approved by the budget committee last week.

The money is unlikely to be spent this fiscal year, which ends on June 30, Adams said. It will go into the 2006-07 budget as carryover.

“I think we need a little more public input on where we’re spending,” Councilman Jim Gourley said.

After the last rain events, Mayor Craig Fentiman said, “we definitely have a need … to keep it (water) out of people’s homes.”

With this money, the city could hire a consultant to come up with a plan to develop a systems development charge and an ongoing utility to maintain the storm water system, Adams said.

Marilyn Taggart told the council that she bought her home on high ground so she would not have to worry about drainage.

If another utility is established, especially with water and sewer rates where they are, “the city’s going to bark and bite,” Taggart told the council. “You can only get so much blood out of a turnip. You’re going to have a whole lot of other people in a hard case. I think you should think about seniors and address it accordingly.”