The City of Warren wants to sell excess property.
The first step? Developing a committee to review all properties under the purview of the city.
City Council took that step during a special meeting held on Monday night, appointing council members John Lewis, Sam Harvey and Maurice Cashman to serve in the new, temporary post.
The discussion on selling properties started when Dr. Howard Ferguson brought up the piece of property, and adjacent buildings, that the city owns at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Liberty Street which currently houses construction trailers for the Northwest Savings Bank expansion.
"Have we considered trying to sell that property?" he asked.
"I think that's a great idea from a revenue generator standpoint," Mayor Mark Phillips noted.
Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz noted "I don't think you want to entertain selling the property until Northwest construction is over."
Vice-president Maurice Cashman said that in selling it, the bank could be given the option to purchase it. Councilman Sam Harvey also noted that it could be sold for the lease amount to someone who is willing to wait to develop the property after the Northwest project is completed.
Cashman noted that the property "has been sitting there for quite a number of years."
"It goes back on the tax rolls. The city doesn't need excess properties," Harvey said.
"Rather than do this piecemeal," City Manager Nancy Freenock explained, "We have a list of all the properties owned by the city." She said that she was "asking for a committee to be formed to look at everything."
Harvey made the motion to create the committee to "examine all property that the city owns that can be drilled, sold (or) leased."
He explained that, for budget purposes, the city "can't count on that money" but noted that any revenue generated from the sale, lease or drilling of city property could be added to the city's fund balance.
"I am completely in agreement," Councilman Chris Park said.
However, Park brought to council's attention a couple of properties that may need action more quickly.
"Unfortunately, the lease we have with the oil wells is expiring in the next couple of weeks. That needs to be taken care of immediately," Park said. Council has approved multiple extensions to companies who are contracted to drill three wells on city property.
While the wells still aren't complete, "(It's) possible they could start work in the next three weeks," Harvey said.
Park also brought to the floor an agreement that the city has with Experience, Inc. for the use of a parking lot behind their building that the city owns. The agreement, which is due for renewal in February, will automatically review for $1 without council action. Harvey noted that there are companies who are willing to pay for employee parking.
No definitive action was taken on either of those issues on Monday.
Harvey summarized the purpose of the committee.
"Go through the tax roll and look at all city properties. What is their current disposition? Is that disposition maximizing (potential) for the owners." He expressed a desire to see the committee come back to the full council by the end of the first quarter of next year with a presentation that includes each property.