|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Friday, 27 May 2011 00:00|
The Town of Camp Verde is moving forward with plans to potentially sell town-owned property as a means to raise money in the midst of an economic downturn.
The town owns many parcels of land throughout town limits, but not all of them are suitable for sale.
“Essentially you have properties you have acquired in several different ways,” Town Manager Russ Martin told the Camp Verde Town Council at its regular meeting May 18.
Many of those properties are out near Verde Lakes, property that can’t be built on because it lies in a flood plain. The town holds on to the property to prevent it from being sold to someone, in part in case a purchaser happened to think the land is usable.
“That’s a significant portion of the list,” Martin said.
There are many other properties that are “underutilized,” Martin said, properties that could be sold.
Martin mentioned land off of Oasis Drive and State Route 260, five acres of land in The Views originally designated either for a library or for sale to support a new library, a piece of land off McCracken Lane and others.
Martin said that other land, like the Rio Verde Plaza intended to eventually serve as town office space, may not be for sale right now, but the economic downturn has put any plans for its development on hold.
The council agreed that the town would potentially entertain land swaps for some of the property, if another land owner wanted to make an outright trade. The Town Council would also consider employing a real estate agent to sell property.
The Internet could be a powerful tool in marketing property for sale, Martin said. The council members were in unanimous agreement on that point.
“It’s a low, low price,” Martin said, “a cost of nothing.”
One thing the council didn’t feel was necessary was to hire an appraiser to value any land before putting it up for potential sale.
Martin pointed out that the town may suffer some criticism by entering into the property market alongside other private landowners looking to sell land.
Mayor Bob Burnside said he felt the pros outweighed the cons.
“I think the benefits are that this would be a great asset to us to show how we can fund capital improvement projects,” Burnside said.
Selling land could potentially alleviate criticism that the town gets for holding on to unused land, Councilwoman Carol German said.
“You never know, though,” German said.
Putting land back into private hands could also help other government entities like the Camp Verde Fire District and Camp Verde Sanitary District.
That’s because as a government entity itself, the town doesn’t pay property taxes to other agencies on land its owns. Private owners would.
In other business, the council extended the term of the vice mayor position to two years to coincide with the two-year term of the mayor. The vice mayor, a council member previously selected every June to serve in the spot, formerly served for one year at a time.
Councilwoman Jackie Baker said she had been trying to have this changed for years.
“That term is the same as a the mayor’s term in other municipalities,” Baker said. “We can change it so it’s less confusing for the people.”
Burnside said that this change was a good example of how the council is reading through the new town codes and making changes where needed.