Archive for Wednesday, May 24, 2006

City OKs purchase of property for use as new city hall

House on land could be rented

May 24, 2006

On Friday, the city of Tonganoxie will become the proud owner of a three-bedroom, two-bath home near downtown.

Exactly what the city will do with the 1,666-square-foot home won't be clear for several weeks, not until the Tonganoxie City Council has a chance to discuss its fate.

But the council actually is more interested in the lots on which the house sits.

The home at 626 E. Third is just north of the city shop. And it's on the same block as city hall.

Purchasing it is an excellent investment in the future, city officials said.

"We could either use it for a new city hall or use it to swap for other downtown property," City Administrator Mike Yanez said.

On Monday, council members met in executive session for about 10 minutes and, after emerging, voted 3-1 to purchase the property for $127,500 from Scott and Brandi Lynn. The council agreed to buy the property with proceeds from the countywide one-cent sales tax that currently is in the city's capital projects fund.

Council member Velda Roberts, the lone dissenter on the purchase vote, questioned using cash to buy the property, which is at the southwest corner of Third and Main streets.

"The council feels this is the best way to pay for this, rather than a short-term financing tool?" she asked, saying the city is working on several projects and it might need the financial flexibility that cash would provide.

Roberts said she favored buying the property, but was not in favor of the funding mechanism.

"I'm very much in favor of acquiring the property," she said. "I do not necessarily approve spending all of that money out of the one fund."

The city and the Lynns are expected to close on the deal on Friday, and the city will take possession June 5. The Lynns are moving elsewhere in Tonganoxie.

Yanez said he would ask the council at its June 12 meeting what the city should do with the house.

"We could sell it to move it, rent it or tear it down," he said.

The city currently is looking at moving its public works shop from Main Street to land near the sewage treatment plant and then moving into a new city hall building downtown.

It's possible more complete plans for a public works shop will be discussed at the June 12 meeting, Yanez said.

"The city leaders are intent on keeping a new city hall downtown," he added.

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