Living Here

Purchased, sold and then repurchased?
What is the city secretly planning for the property at 120 Sheridan Springs road? As listed in the city council’s agenda for Sept. 11, the city went into a closed session for the express purpose of negotiating the purchase of the property at 120 Sheridan Springs road. After the discussion in closed session, the city council reconvened in open session and unanimously authorized the city attorney and city administrator to gather additional information. So what is going on? Does the city want to buy back the land that it bought from the gas company and then sold to JBST LG LLC, which is the property that Servpro currently occupies? If so, was the city in error when it sold it in 2011, and will the city be paying more or less than it sold it for?

Is Servpro planning on moving out? Does the city want the land back for a planned expansion of the fire department and its EMS? In reviewing the property’s value and taxes it was found that despite the clean-up and remodeling of the building the assessed value of the property has decreased every year, so that the listed property owner, JBST LG LLC’s taxes are 10% lower in 2016 than they were in 2013. This reduction seems strange, especially when most property taxes have climbed during the same period. So, what went on with the assessments, and what was being considered behind closed doors? What goes on in a closed session is hidden from the public. But it is obvious that in the discussion there was sufficient questioning or disagreement among the aldermen such that there was a unanimous agreement that there was insufficient information to make a decision, and that more information was needed. Since there is no for sale sign on the property, one can only wonder what is going on with the property, and why the city is even discussing it?

But if the city is seriously considering buying that property, then why is it being done completely hidden from the public’s view, and away from their input and comments? Especially when the residents of the city (not the city leaders) will be the ones that will be paying for it. Something just doesn’t seem right. The original purchase of the land by the city was discussed in closed sessions, and the actual purchase of the former gas company property was done without proper authorization. The selling of the land was done in closed session without any prior public notice that the city land was available for sale and now, with no (known) public notice that the land is for sale, it appears as though the owner wants to sell it back to the city, and/or that the city wants to buy it back from the owner. Secrecy breeds suspicion; whereas, openness leads to understanding, and although the city has the authority to hide this in a closed session, it is not required that it do so.

What’s going on?

Cartoon of the Week

Terry O’Neill

Cartoon by Terry O'Neill Lake Geneva

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