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Property woes

Sale of 100 S. Fillmore St. causes frustrations between city, county

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:53 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 10:58 a.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 1)

There were property woes during a July 16 Osceola City Council meeting.

The property, in particular, is located at 100 S. Fillmore St.

It all started during a July 2 city-council meeting with the sale approval of city-owned 100 S. Fillmore St., to Clarke County Supervisors with an offer of $67,600. The county is currently leasing the building, and would like to own it.

However, an amendment was made to the motion stating the sale of the property would be void if it affected a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Façade Grant.

The façade grant would revitalize the exterior of buildings in the downtown Osceola area. It could have a $1 million impact on the downtown area.

Problems

As it turns out, if the city building was sold to the county, it would negatively affect the application for the façade grant.

"I do have some procedural concerns, as well, that if we really are serious of disposing property, we need to do it right. And, we need to do it in a manner that's fair to all potential buyers," said Councilman Dr. George Fotiadis.

Councilman Glenn Schaff said he didn't agree with Fotiadis.

"I feel that it's more than fair that we go right ahead and do what we started out to do — sell it to the highest bidder — and that's what we did," Schaff said.

Councilwoman Sarah Truitt said she would hate for the entire square in Osceola to look awesome, and then have one building not look as great because ownership changed hands.

"It's right there on the corner. It would be a huge eyesore," she said. "That's really my issue right now. I mean, other than the fact we could have done a better with this whole thing."

Potential solution?

City Administrator/Clerk Ty Wheeler made the suggestion for the city to continue owning the building and extend the county's lease for the duration of the CDBG project, which could be three or seven years.

An additional suggestion was made to sell it to the county after that time period.

"The county would like to own the building. We also would like to see the facade done on the front of it. We feel like there are state offices in there, that's not a county office." said Supervisor Marvin McCann, "We would be interested in allowing you to lease us that building so the facade can be done with the purchase price that we gave you. Plus, cost of the façade renovation on top of that purchase. We have the first right."

Basically, this means delaying the sale of the building, so it could participate in the grant project. However, it was unclear if this future-arrangement situation would work with the application for grant funding.

Tied votes

A motion was made to proceed with the sale. It ended not passing because of a tie with Fotiadis and Councilman Dave Walkup voting no and Truitt and Schaff voting yes.

Councilman Chris Dorsey was absent from the meeting.

A motion was made to not proceed with the sale of the building. That motion didn't pass, either. There was a tie vote between Fotiadis and Walkup voting yes and Truitt and Schaff voting no.

"It'd be really helpful if we had a fifth person here," Truitt said.

It was suggested the city and county attorneys get together to see if something could be worked out to benefit both sides.

"It's an opportunity that we've never seen in this downtown," Fotiadis said. "It's been years since we've seen that kind of an aggressive building opportunity. I don't want to mess that up, and I really don't want to get into a legal fight with the county. That serves no one, and they don't need the headache either."

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