Regarding the article from May 11, 'City gets low offer for historic house'
The city's original objective was to recoup mowing costs. Ideally the city should return the property to private ownership so that it can resume collecting property taxes and avoid further mowing maintenance. Commissioner Charles Paiva said he was disturbed that a single offer of $10,000 was made given the property appraiser assesses the land and structure at more than $97,000. Mr. Paiva also refers to the property as an asset. I disagree. The property is a liability to the city because it contributes no taxes and it also exposes the city to claims in the event someone gets hurt on the property. Fair market value is also set by the price someone is willing to pay (not the appraised value) and unfortunately it appears that $10,000 is that amount.
In this situation the role of the city is not to maximize profit from the real estate sale. Since the single offer presented likely will cover the mowing and acquisition expenses the city should accept the offer but retain the right to re-advertise the property to solicit additional (higher) offers within a 30 day period. If additional offers do come in then Mr. Shuttleworth should be afforded the opportunity to match the offer.
The current state of the structure is such that after proper repairs are made the cost will likely exceed the appraised value. The assistant city manager was quoted in the article acknowledging the high cost of restoration so it would be inappropriate for the city to expend limited resources to retain and restore the property then sell it at a loss. If the property has strategic value to the city such as future parking or if it can be adjoined to existing city property (for some other purpose) then it should approach the retention from that angle. Otherwise it should hope that Mr. Shuttleworth can make good on his statement that he would restore the structure and turn it into rentable space which would then make the property an asset to the city as a tax contributor.