The price tag for a Dutton Avenue house that city councilors aim to buy next month may be more than $40,000 too high, according to an appraisal done this year.
The city’s Real Estate Committee, which has been eyeing the property for almost two years, recently recommended the city buy the 15 Dutton Ave. house for $218,000, a price set by a state judge in 2007.
But the house is only worth $175,000, according to a March 17 appraisal prepared for Campbell Mortgage of West Haven by Louis Buccini of East Haven’s Style Appraisal Services.
City Councilor Frank Nicastro, who heads the real estate panel, said the new information will have to be considered. He said the attorney who represents most of the family selling the house needs to talk to his clients.
Mayor Art Ward said the “new knowledge” provided by the appraisal makes sense given that home values have generally declined over the past couple of years.
He said he “would have to conceive” the council wouldn’t pay $43,000 extra for the property unless there was something wrong with the appraisal.
“I see some problems,” said city Councilor Mike Rimcoski. But, he said, he want to talk to city lawyers before taking a stand.
Salvatore Vitrano, who represents three of four Bevivino siblings who own the house, could not be reached Thursday.
The other sibling, Jan Bevivino, secured a mortgage offer based on the new appraisal. She said she would like to buy the house if her siblings acknowledge the city won’t pay the original asking price.
According to the judge’s order that all four Bevivinos agreed with in 2008, the city gets first crack at purchasing the house for $218,000. If it turns down the deal, the house is to be sold like any other real estate.
Ward said the city has good reason to buy the property even in the midst of hard economic times because it is crucial to Rockwell Park.
The city has spent $7 million overhauling the historic park and would like to get the house and an old gasoline station beside it on Park Street “to complete that entire section,” the mayor said.
The council meeting is slated for September 8.
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