FAIRMONT — The Fairmont City Council on Monday authorized the sale of 11 properties the city had acquired through tax forfeiture. Seven of the properties will go on public auction, with four being sold to neighboring property owners.
Since acquiring the properties, the city has razed the blighted buildings on the lots and been mowing and maintaining the sidewalks. By selling the lots, the city will put the properties back on the tax rolls.
City Administrator Cathy Reynolds told the council that four of the properties were not considered to be big enough to sustain a home so the city, as is its practice with selling small lots, solicited bids from adjacent property owners wishing to expand their lots.
The council accepted bids of $5,000 from Sara Pittman and Manuel and Olga Rojo for 103 S. Orient St., Margo Zanke and Rebecca and Nicholas Weisbeck for 850 S. Park St. and Vincent Vaughn Jr. for 532 N. Elm St. A bid of $1,500 from Andy Lucas was accepted for 1030 N.Elm St.
The council approved an ordinance to sell the seven remaining properties at public auction. These properties are located at 406 N. Elm St., 1206 N. Elm St., 714 N. North Ave., 614 N. Orient St. and 719 E. Sixth St. The two lots at 606 and 610 N. Prairie Ave. will be merged into one lot for sale.
“These units are bigger lots and have the opportunity to build on them so these lots are being offered for sale at a public auction. We will publish notice when we have the auction date set,” Reynolds said, adding that the auction will take place after the holidays.
During the staff reports, Paul Hoye, city finance director, itemized the usage of $776,000 in CARES Act funding received by the city: $10,000 for administrative expenses; $220,000 for alternative schedules; $226,000 for grants to offer economic support to small businesses; $288,000 for public safety payroll; $15,000 for personal protective equipment, plastic shields and sanitizer for city property and personnel; and $15,000 for additional fuel due to operating additional vehicles when only one employee per vehicle was allowed.
“We will continue to have expenses whether or not there will be any additional funds,” Hoye said. “At this point, we don’t know if any will be approved.”
In other business, the council:
q Congratulated Sgt. Jaime Bleess for his promotion to his current rank with the Fairmont Police Department. Bleess has been a member of the FPD since 2003 and served in various capacities including school resource officer, patrol officer and field training officer.
q Approved a conditional use permit for Britney Kawecki for a kennel at 1041 Marcus St., which is located in a light industrial zone.
q Set a budget work session for 5 p.m. Dec. 7 and the truth in taxation hearing on the budget for 6 p.m. Dec. 14.
q Heard a report on the Lake Avenue construction from Troy Nemmers, city engineer/public works director. Signage and striping is finished on the completed areas. Work has begun on installing street lights, with completion on that project set for next week. Sodding, final asphalt, paving and striping will be finished next spring.
q Went into closed sessions to discuss contract negotiations with the city’s three labor unions and also for the six-month performance evaluation for Reynolds. The council will issue public reports on the closed sessions at its next meeting Dec. 14.
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