Now they're talking about possible property purchases.
Mayor William Stortz said he's bringing up Lepore property behind City Hall for discussion.
Frank Nicastro said council already voted 4-2 not to pursue it. That was in July.
Stortz said City Hall is "running short of space" and acquiring space may alleviate space woes and perhaps make it possible to combine fire inspection and building inspection in one area.
The mayor said a bigger lot is for sale than before that includes office building and homes. Moving the building office there would give it 25 percent more space than it has now, the mayor said.
Initial inspection found the building sound, the mayor said. Some renovations would be needed, he said.
The mayor is asking if city is interested in talking about it.
Art Ward said that by pursuing it, "we're Band-Aiding the situation. It's coming back again to ... how many things we're going to have on our plate."
Ward said that with mall redevelopment, this area of downtown may be more commercially desireable. "I would be looking for more permanent locations," Ward said.
The mayor agrees it is a Band-Aid in some ways but could be worthwhile for four or five years.
Nobody wants to pursue. No vote.
Now talking about the Chic Miller property. Recently sold under foreclosure, the mayor said. "We have been unable to find out what the price was," he said.
"It is available" and could be used to replace Engine 1, Stortz said.
Or it could be used for an additional firehouse with more emergency equipment, he said. Could also be a new police facility or a combination public safety buiding, Stortz said.
"It could have an awful lot of possibilities," Stortz said, even using it for vehicle maintenance by public works.
"It has a lot of potential uses. Depending on the price, it could be worthwhile," Stortz said.
There is interest by developers in buying firehouse. Renovating existing one is $2.1 million, at a minimum, and a new one is about $3.5 million, the mayor said.
Asking if council wants him to pursue more information.
Nicastro said, "We have an awful lot on our plate." He also said we don't have a plan for this property. "We're taking a valuable piece of property off the tax rolls if we buy it," Nicastro said.
Nicastro called it a "nice piece of property, commercially zoned" and said it would be "wrong" to purchase it without a real plan.
"We're taking too much off the tax rolls and the taxpayers don't deserve that," Nicastro said.
Minor said he would like to hear from fire and police chiefs about it.
Ward said there have been general discussions among fire officials, but nothing formal. He said it's not much closer to southwestern corner than the central firehouse.
"I would be in favor of continuing discussions or looking into potentials" for the site, Ward said.
Minor said it likely won't be available for long.
Stortz asked if the council wants a more complete report in a couple of weeks if officials are interested in exploring it.
The mayor said police department says it is running out of space, too.
Ward said we spent $4 million in police renovations a decade ago. Southington built new one recently for $7 million.
So, Ward said, he would like a more in-depth report in the future.
Zoppo wondered why we don't know the sale price.
"We've asked around. Even the real estate people aren't aware of the details," Stortz said.
City attorney Edward Krawiecki said city had a foreclosure action pending but Chic Miller and a bank had a deal a couple of years ago. In court, they entered into agreement with blank deed to be held in escrow by trustee in bankruptcy. The trustee could fill in the blank with buyer.
Krawiecki said bank had rights to the deed. He said the city thinks part of new owner's deal was that he had to pay our taxes so $290k in back taxes paid. Not sure what other numbers were a part of it. The bank attorney said his client doesn't want to disclose terms.
"I continue to nudge him," Krawiecki said.
"It would be interesting to know the price," the mayor said, but the city would offer what it's worth.
Nicastro asked about environmental studies of the property.
Krawiecki said a preliminary environmental report done six years ago and found minimal concerns. But it was not a formal phase one study.
Nicastro said he is "very cautious" about that.
"We don't have a plan in place. We're moving in the wrong direction," Nicastro said.
Stortz said he agrees we should have a plan. "I can't disagree with that," the mayor said.
But, he said, he felt obligated to raise the issue so council could decide whether to look into it.
Ward made a motion to have the mayor keep looking into it. Rimcoski seconded it.
Stortz, Rimcoski and Ward voted yes.
Minor, Zoppo and Nicastro voted no.
So the motion failed.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org