Disposing of Town-Owned Properties Taken In Rem
The following comments were made at the February 4, 2014 Town Board meetinig.
I hope the Board can clarify some confusion over how the town plans to sell the five houses it took in rem last year.
As recently as last December,* the Board gave the public every indication that the houses would be sold at auction in order to get the highest possible price for the properties.
That’s why I was surprised to learn at last week’s board meeting that the town has already accepted bids for two of the houses.
Accepting bids for the vacant parcels, like the one you’re voting on tonight, makes sense because there’s limited interest in the parcel. Basically, the parcel only has value to abutting property owners. And I'm delighted to see that the town has been able to sell the parcel. **
But the bids for the two houses are a different matter. My guess is that a lot more people would be interested in bidding for the houses — if they knew they could submit bids.
As of January 28, one bid was for $30,000 for a house on a one acre lot. The second bid was for $50,000 for a house that sits on 4.81 acres in a half acre zone — and may be worth much more than $50,000, not necessarily as a house but as raw land.
Has the Board changed its mind? Is the Board now willing to sell the properties at any time, to anyone who submits a bid for them? If that’s the case, why the change in policy and when was the change discussed and agreed to?
Also, if the Board now plans to accept bids for the properties instead of holding a public auction, should the Board let the public know about the change in plans so that other people know they too can submit bids. Common sense tells us that more interest leads to more bids. And more bids mean higher bids. And isn’t that the Board’s goal: maximizing the revenue for the town.
· How can people find out more about what properties are for sale
· Has a list of the properties been an advertised – or has the list only been made available by word of mouth?
· How can bids be submitted?
· Are the bids open or sealed?
· Is there a deadline for submitting bids?
· And finally, has the Board set any minimum bid prices for any of the properties?
The last question about a minimum price relates directly to the $50,000 bid for the 4.81 acre parcel. As the Board knows,in 2012, there was a plan before the Planning Board to redevelop the parcel for 4 2-family houses for a total of 8 living units. If anything close to that plan was to be approved, clearly the parcel is worth a lot more than $50,000. A lot more.
* At the Decem er 10, 2013 meeting the supervisaor directed the town attorney to get proposals from auction companies.
** The Board did not vote to accept the bid. No reason was given.