The city is, once again, trying to sell off surplus property.
The problem is figuring out what’s surplus and what’s worth keeping.
As the three-person Real Estate Committee slogged through a long list of municipal property this week, its members tried to figure out what could be sold.
One piece consisted of just 85 square feet.
“We could plant a tomato plant there,” city Councilor Mike Rimcoski said.
A city lawyer, Edward Krawiecki, Jr, said the city could try to sell it to neighbors, but in the end it might make sense to give it away so it would wind up on the tax rolls.
Every little bit helps, after all.
Elsewhere on the list, officials discovered one piece listed for possible sale contained Jennings School. Another had a city pump station.
Those wound up on the must-keep list, of course, but the exercise wasn’t entirely fruitless.
The panel had no trouble deciding that a three-bedroom bungalow at 406 Broad St., taken in a foreclosure action last month, should go out for sale right away.
“Right now, we’re not getting taxes on it. We’re not doing anything with it,” said city Councilor Frank Nicastro, who chairs the committee.
Krawiecki said the boarded-up Broad Street house -- taken because its former owner didn’t keep up with taxes -- is worth $75,000, according to a recent assessment.
The city is likely to seek buyers for it within the next couple of months.
Over the past few years, the city has hauled in hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling off surplus property, but as the best sites have been sold off, what’s left isn’t as attractive.
Much of the land is swampy, steep or right beside parks or open space and perhaps best kept in its natural state for the long haul, officials said.
One thing that they’re looking for, though, are parcels that may be attractive to neighbors who could use them just to expand their holdings.
Sometimes, for example, the city owns tracts alongside a stream that can’t even be reached from the street. They probably can’t be used for homes or other structures.
But, officials said, the people who live beside the parcels might like to buy them anyway just to make sure they stay the way they are. That would put the property on the tax rolls at least, councilors said.
Meantime, the panel is continuing its review of what the city owns.
One piece on the list is a vacant lot on Dutton Avenue, beside Rockwell Park.
“We own that now,” Nicastro said, following last year’s decision by the council to buy it for future use by the park.
“So now the question is: do we want to sell it?” Krawiecki said, smiling.
Councilors just laughed.
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Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org