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9/26/2012 10:04:00 AM
To buy or not to buy:
Dewey-Humboldt council ponders purchase of Town Hall property

Sue Tone

"An awkward position" is what Dewey-Humboldt council member Nancy Wright calls a potential sale of council member Mark McBrady's private property to the town. Part of the proposed building at Highway 69 and Main Street, Humboldt, now houses Town Hall offices.

"I think it's a bad idea. It puts council in an awkward position," Wright said at a Sept. 4 council meeting. "Even though it may be above reproach, people will look at this and say, 'You only did this because the owner is a member of the council.'"

Former council member David Nystrom questioned why the council was once again looking into the purchase after deciding several years ago not to do so.

Earlier this summer, McBrady told the council he was interested in selling part of his Humboldt Station Commercial Center to the town. He talked about splitting the lots, but was not specific about how he would do that, and he did not offer a purchase price. Town Attorney Phyllis Smiley said at the Aug. 14 special study session that the next step would be approving a resolution to authorize the purchase, which then would allow the town to pursue a title report, and she recommended the town get its own appraisal.

Smiley prepared a resolution for the Sept. 4 meeting authorizing the town manager and her to "obtain appraisals and legal descriptions and take other necessary actions preparatory to acquisition of certain parcels of real property on behalf of the town." The motion to approve the resolution failed by a 3-3 vote.

By law, McBrady must recuse himself as a council member during discussion and voting, but may speak to the council as the property owner.

Former mayors Earl Goodwin and Bob Greene spoke against the purchase. Goodwin said it was not good practice for towns to own its Town Hall. He said one reason to continue renting is so the town can budget for a fixed cost.

The matter returned on the Sept. 18 council agenda to discuss property splits prior to the town paying for an appraisal or going through a title search "so the town will know what portion they are purchasing," Wright stated in council's packet material.

She questioned whether the mortgage lender would allow the split, if a survey is necessary, and if council would enforce the code regarding lot splits for McBrady in the same manner they would for any D-H resident.

Nystrom said the town was starting at the back of the process, and asked the council to step back, assess the town's needs, look into what else the community has to offer, and then let the seller be responsible for opening negotiations with a price.

Wright moved not to proceed with an appraisal; council member Denise Rogers seconded, then later withdrew her second. The motion failed for lack of a second.

The council next meets at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Town Hall, 2735 South Highway 69.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Article comment by: Dewey Homeowner

If we need to purchase a property-there are many we can put into the mix. But do we? Does that good old boys club need us to tax ourselves more to fund their retirements or should we tax up anyway and build a real town? Just askin!

Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012
Article comment by: Art Castricone

It appears that the property in question shares a septic system. I would hope that this and other questions concerning shared utilities are thought through completely. A lot split is difficult when a property is developed as a single lot with multiple uses or occupancies. Utility easments is a good example, if you develope a single property with many individual occupancies, all utilities can be extended with little or no concern. If now there is a property line, how do public utilities pass through private property to serve a neighbor? If the town wishes to move forward with this I would hope that they required the seller to pay an engineer to figure it all out.

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Article comment by: Not Worried

I think it's fine if the council wants to discuss the possible purchase. After all, Mcbrady did bring it up. But I side with Wright. It is awkward and unless there's going to be a sizzling deal for the town, why should they buy? This talk about "back room deals" is just empty blabber unless they talk about paying more than appraised value. Then we can wonder. My money's on the "deal" fizzling out.

Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012
Article comment by: Tom -

Well it is 9/28/2012 the town still has not posted the meeting agenda online for 10/2/2012. I guess they do not want the residents to know about the back room deal to buy Mark McBrady buildings for the town hall.

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Article comment by: Nancy Wright

Sorry I left out a word. It should have said people will look at it and say ...

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Article comment by: A Dewey Resident

Lets see if I got this right. Who cares what the public wants. Long enough the six of us on the council gets our way. It brings new meaning to vote them out.

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Article comment by: A Tax Payer

Just another case of we know what is good for the public and the good old boy system!!!!

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Article comment by: Nancy Wright

I think it would be helpful if the Tribune gave the whole quote instead of leaving out parts. Here is what I said, "I think it is a bad idea, not only for the reasons I gave tonight [included in the agenda packet] but also [because it] puts us in a very awkward position as a Council when the person we are going to purchase from is a council member and I think that makes it very suspect even though it may be above reproach. I think people in the town will at it and say you only did this because heís on the council and I donít think it is a good idea."

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Article comment by: Larry T

This group is part of the good old boy system. It does not matter what the public wants. They will do what is a benefit to themselves and friends. Spending money on Main St is a waste. The people who own the buildings will not invest in there own properties. This makes the third Mayor and council who want to spend money on Main ST. Still waiting to see something on the east side of the highway! The sad part is no one wants to run for office because of this group. I would say not all members have some type of personal agenda. But some where in time some hope there is some type of financial reward. If you do volunteer to serve on any committees only people who support there opinion get on them. Then if you rock there boat you out. If ask people who they voted for in the last election. Most reply did not bother to vote it is the same old group and I can say it was the reason I did not vote

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