Windfall for city

Windfall for city
The Vermillion City Council found itself approving what best can be termed a financial windfall for the city at its meeting Monday night.

What had one day been termed as simply surplus property by the city will bring in $865,000 to the community.

That amount is slightly $200,000 above the appraised value of the property.

The city council declared three lots in Block 2 of the Lotuswood Addition as surplus on Feb. 21. Deed covenants for lots 6, 7 and 8 were adopted at the July 17 city council meeting. This property is located south of Vermillion's Wal-Mart.

At that same meeting, the city council authorized the appraisal by the Surplus Property Appraisal Committee and the sale of the lots by sealed bids.

The committee determined that the appraised value of Lot 6 is $62,000, and the total appraised value for lots 7 and 8 are $299,500.

The committee also agreed that the lots could be offered for sale via options to buy all three, combinations of two lots or all three lots individually.

Bid information was prepared and provided to the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and Development Company as well as to individuals who had made inquiries with the city.

"There was, in my opinion, a strong partnership between the Surplus Property Appraisal Committee and the VCDC," City Manager John Prescott said, "to establish a unique idea with respect to the bidding of those lots. There were six different ways people could bid on them."

Packets of information on the property were sent to over 20 different people who had contacted the city or the VCDC about the land.

Only one bid received

A bid opening for the property was set for 2 p.m. Aug. 31. Only one bid was received, from Marketplace Development, LLC, a Memphis, TN, limited liability corporation.

Marketplace Development submitted a bid of $865,000 for all three lots. The minimum bid that could be accepted with this purchase option was $661,500. A cashier's check in the amount of $86,500, which is 10 percent of the bid, was submitted by Marketplace Development as required.

The balance of the bid is due within 30 days at the closing.

"I think that the city council and the people of Vermillion owe a great deal of debt to Lisa Ketcham and the members of the board of the VCDC," Alderman Mary Edelen said, "and the surplus appraisal committee for working for the city on this partnership, to be able to bring this sort of proposal to the city council.

"This is going to be a wonderful development for the people of Vermillion, and we really thank you, Lisa," Edelen said to Ketcham, who was seated among Monday's audience at Monday's meeting. "We really do have a wonderful partnership with the city and the VCDC in working for economic development for Vermillion, and I think this is the end result of our working together."

Before the city council formally accepted the bid, Alderman Roger Jeck asked, "I know we don't have the money, but when is the appropriate time to talk about how to allocate the spending of this windfall?"

"We'll put that on a future agenda," Mayor Dan Christopherson said. "I don't think it (discussion of spending the money) is appropriate here. We're just accepting the bids."

Christopherson asked Prescott to place a staff recommendation on the expenditure of the funds that will eventually be received on a future city council meeting agenda.

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