2018-09-13 / News

City properties being sold differently to prevent problems

By Tanya Terry
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

BURTON —The process in which city properties will soon be sold has changed. The reason is because in the past, out of state bidders bought five or six properties and did nothing with them. Then, the city would get the property back in a few years.

“Right now, we’re spending over $80,000 on these lots just trying to maintain them,” said Deputy Department of Public Works Director Charles Abbey.

“That’s a lot of bleeding,” Abbey said. “We need to get these properties back into private ownership and back on the tax roll.”

At the Sept. 6 city council meeting, Councilman Danny Wells said residents were calling him saying they wanted to buy the properties next to their homes. He asked Abbey where the city was with the properties.

The properties are listed on the city’s website and in the Burton View newspaper and bright orange for sale signs directing interested parties to the website are placed on the properties so people can bid on them. The bids are typically opened publicly in council chambers where all the bids are read. According to Abbey, on Sept. 25, whoever the high bidder is will be brought before the council.

“When they’re opened on that day they’re sealed bids so nobody knows what another person is bidding,” Abbey said. “They have a minimal bid price. They can get that off the website. We have lots and houses. The highest bidder will be brought, as long as they meet the qualifications and have the necessary down payment, before the city council for your approval of the sale.”

Once approved, a lawyer can move for the closing of the sale, along with the purchasing director and Amber Abbey, zoning official.

Wells asked if Charles Abbey was talking about vacant lots or houses with vacant lots next to them.

“Vacant lots, houses and combinations of each,” Abbey said. “That’s what we talked about all along. If you remember we talked about changing our thing and we were going to be trying to package some of these things because it made the houses more marketable and more attractive if they had a side lot. The ones that had adjacent lots next to them were added.”

A lot of these lots have been up for a long time, according to Abbey.

“They’ve been up there on their own,” he said. “They did not sale. They’ve been up the first two or three times on our website. So, you combine them with an adjacent house.”

Wells asked when the properties went up for bid to which Abbey told him the properties went up for bid that day, on Sept. 9, after the required 28 days after council voted to sale them.

“If we don’t have a house adjacent to them that we could combine in the sale, we would like nothing more than for those adjacent neighbors to have those lots,” Abbey said. “It’s in the city’s best interest. There is less chance the city will get them back that way.”

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