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Sale of City Property – 10 June 2013

On Monday June 10th the Lincoln City Council will hear testimony regarding the sale of five parcels of property at a $129,000 loss.

The City of Lincoln has purchased several deteriorating or low quality houses within the North 27th Street Redevelopment area with the intent of demolishing the house and encouraging redevelopment of the properties.  With this intention the city purchased four properties ranging in value from $14,900 to $37,000 and a fifth property for $105,000. Before the Council today is a resolution approving the sale of all five properties for a total of $90,000.

LIBA appreciates the attempt to improve Lincoln’s neighborhoods However, LIBA would encourage that caution be exercised in any transaction where there exists such a disparity between purchase and sale price.

The $105,000 of surplus money used to purchase the property at 2800 Y St., if returned to the taxing entities, could have resulted in almost $65,000 for Lincoln Public Schools and $15,000 to the City of Lincoln. Though this amount is small compared to these entities’ total budgets it is large enough to make a significant difference in the lives of some Lincoln citizens. For example $15,000 to the city could be used repair a rundown street or enable the Parks and Recreation Department to mow more park ground.

LIBA is not suggesting the city stop improving blighted neighborhoods but that any transaction as imbalanced as this should require a heightened level of scrutiny.  Therefore LIBA recommends the council establish guidelines which would identify similar transactions, perhaps transactions of over $50,000, and require each to come individually before the council for justification and approval.