Morenci city council approves real estate listings 2013.09.25


Morenci city council agreed Monday on the sale prices for five properties owned by the city.

Council member Ron Apger stated his opinion that some of the prices were too high, but he joined the others in approving the measure.Councilor Tracy Schell was absent from the meeting.

The properties will be listed with the Gil Henry and Associates real estate company.

The former Morenci Area Hospital land, measuring 7.78 acres, will have a listing price of $39,900. Council member Jeff Bell explained that a committee worked with real estate agent Brad Frederick of Gil Henry to set prices based on potential uses and the value of comparable property.

Apger said the prices were too high and he thinks the city will remain in possession for a long time without any tax revenue coming in.

Mayor Keith Pennington said there is frontage for 10 lots and he doesn’t think $4,000 for each is unreasonable.

He added that he doesn’t think it’s council’s intent to sell it cheaply and then let someone else sit on it.

Councilors next approved a lease price of $2,000 a month for the former NWD building on Chestnut Street at the back of Wakefield Park. The building measures about 8,000 square feet.

Vacant land at the corner of Mill and Union streets will be listed at $15,000, and the green space next to the Observer office—created through the recent parking lot project will have a price of $5,000. Pennington said the committee discussed restricting the type of structure that could be built on the property.

Apger asked if the city would still be responsible for cleaning the Observer wall if someone buys the lot.

“I don’t think the city has ever claimed responsibility for the wall,” Pennington said, “but we’re going to try to get it fixed.”

An effort is being made to get approval for a state façade grant.

Finally, council approved a price of $45,000 for the former skating rink on the east side of town. Earlier in the meeting council approved an amendment that allows the city to list the property for sale. The building and land is owned by a private trust, but the city has an option to buy it.

“How much would the city pay for the building?” Apger asked.

“That discussion would require moving into an executive session,” Pennington answered. “We don’t intend to lose money on it.”

All of the listings were approved for one year and Pennington said he expects council to consider any offers presented.

LIBRARY—Council voted unanimously to appoint council member Brenda Spiess to a conditional three-year term on the Stair Public Library board of directors. If she were to leave council, her term would end. Veteran board member Kathy Schiermyer was appointed to fi ll a one-year vacancy on the board.

Council had its first reading of a revised library ordinance to make the city’s ordinance align with state library law, however, the attorney aiding the library in the process is not in full agreement with the revisions written by the city’s attorney.

FENCE—Council had a fi rst reading of the fence ordinance that was revised by the planning commission.

The revision would allow fences to be erected along a property line rather than the current law requiring an 18-inch setback from the property line.

ELECTION—Council approved Gail Johnson as supervisor for the Nov. 5 General Election. Other election workers are Tonia Hoffman, Leasa Slocum and Laurie Schisler.

BRUSH—Letters were sent last week to eight residents with piles of brush at the curb. The letters reminded the owners that city workers no longer pick up brush.

City supervisor Barney Vanderpool asked if a timeframe to remove the brush was included in the letter and he was told it wasn’t.

Councilor Brenda Spiess said she would like to see a second letter sent that includes a deadline. If the brush isn’t removed by the deadline, city workers should do the work and the cost would be added to the property owner’s taxes, she said, as it is with lawn mowing. The charge for the city to mow is $250.

“We want it to be a deterrent,” Spiess said.