October 13, 2009

City selling more property, but not without dissent

The city sold $85,200 worth of surplus property Tuesday that will help fill dwindling municipal coffers during a tight budget year.

Councilors also agreed to sell a handful of other parcels, including one by Stafford School that city planners urged officials to keep.

City Councilor Frank Nicastro, who heads the city’s Real Estate Committee, said the city has managed to sell $800,000 worth of property in the last couple of years.

That money, he said, has helped hold down taxes while also increasing the Grand List by adding more taxable land and buildings to the rolls.

The biggest sale was a decrepit house at 406 Broad St. that the city acquired in June when its former owner fell way behind on taxes.

Councilors agreed to sell it to Michael Baillargeon for $55,200 on the condition that he keep it as a single-family house. Officials said he plans to restore it.

The only other bidder offered $30,000, Nicastro said.

The city also sold Lot 199 on Main Street, near the High Street library, for $30,000 to Joseph Geladino, a former Republican candidate for public office.

“This was the best offer we had,” Nicastro said.

What proved most controversial, though, wasn’t the sale of the two parcels.

It was instead whether to overrule the Planning Commission’s recommendation to hang on to a building lot on the east side of Morris Avenue.

Nicastro and other councilors said they are confident the city can sell it to someone who would build a house on it.

But planners said the city ought to keep it as a pathway from Morris Avenue to Stafford School, a route that children used in the past with some frequency.

As recently as 18 months ago, the Board of Education urged the city to keep it.

But this summer, educators said they didn’t care if it was sold because children don’t use it anymore and the addition of two new schools makes it exceedingly unlikely that Stafford School will ever be expanded.

Planners said, though, that the city ought to keep it anyway because conditions could someday change.

City Councilor Craig Minor said he thought selling it would be fine. But, he said, he was “really troubled” at the notion of overruling the planning board.

In the end, he voted to keep the land, a decision that city Councilor Mike Rimcoski also favored. Rimcoski said he hated going against the planners.

But on a 5-2 vote that saw the rest of the council reject the planning recommendation – more than the two-thirds required to overrule the panel – councilors agreed to try to sell the lot.

“Let’s get the money,” said city Councilor Ken Cockayne.

Mayor Art Ward said that officials have been eyeing the lot for possible sale for at least four years and because there is “no future use anticipated” it made no sense to keep it.

“It’s time to let the property go,” said city Councilor Cliff Block.

The city also intends to try to sell property on Belmont Street, Kilmartin Avenue, and Brewster and Town Line roads.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...

Nice deal: Geladino, Cockaynes buddy, gets prime land on Main street for 35K.

Isn't politics wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Frank, wish you would run for mayor and get this town back on course and stop us from going backwards.I know that you can`t stand the way things are going in this town but have a heart and come on back we need you.

Anonymous said...

I hope that they don't take the same approach for the Mall: sell foe ANY price, just to look good TODAY!

Anonymous said...

As usual, Remkowski doesn't have a clue what he is really voting against. I watched him during this vote and he seemed confused as to what was going on. You're a nice guy, Mike, and your funny but to me that doesn't make for a councilman who is up to the job. I'm not sure you're able to continue to be as effective as you once were. No disrespect to you, sir.

Anonymous said...


Frank is partially responsible for the hole we are in: he would love to be mayor to cover up the mess he left.

And Frank emotions, heart or otherwise, are based on what is good for HIM.

Unfortunately he looks for today, and has no thought for tomorrow, intil the problems evolve.

Anonymous said...

If I were Artie, I wouldn't be running again. This city is going to be severely screwed because it's consistently kept taxes down by using every play from the Book of How NOT to Balance a Budget! This includes liquidating assets, using fund balance, deferring capital needs, shrinking administrative staff, and so on, and so forth. Very nice, but these tricks only work once. Then once stuff starts breaking down, once there's no property left to sell and no fund balance to raid, then what? You ultimately either have to hike taxes to the roof or stop providing essential services. Neither choice will make the next mayor very popular. The city shoul dhave hired a Chief Operating Officer years ago, but a strong mayor would have put him or her out on his backside anyways the day he came in and said "we can't defer tax increases any longer." Fiscal conservativism is essential, but there is such a thing as penny-wise and pound-foolish. Just watch and learn, kids.

Anonymous said...

Why is administration rewarding slumlords?

Anonymous said...

No one else bid so... Geladino wins. It has nothing to do with politics. You or I could have bid a dollar more than 35K and we would have won. It's called going to the highest bidder. At least someone was interested enough to put money into the City (which by the way he will be taxed on). Thanks JOE.

Anonymous said...


How and when was this advertised?

And, we did not have to sell at an undervalued price.

Anonymous said...

October 14, 2009 2:23 PM

Market demand sets the price. You call it undervalued? Based on what?
There would be a cost of keeping and maintaining the property in this economy and now someone steps we develop it and again pay taxes on it. Win win.

Anonymous said...

Steve - check this out - query on City as the owner and look at them all. What's the deal with 290 Mechanic St?

Anonymous said...

If there is no "demand", is the price zero?

Would this not be worth more once the Mall effort gets under way.

Might the city not have a use for it as they shuffle things around?

Aghain, advertised where and when?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

What is the deal here? How much money is invested in properties that could be collecting tax money and helping during this economic crisis? Why did the City pay $616,000 for 290 Mechanic Street?? Is it because D'amato is shown as previous owner? Or is it because it has a whirlpool? Is the whirlpool open to the public?? Yeah - let's raise taxes and cut jobs while we're sitting on that kind of money. Who made these deals and why????

Anonymous said...

Bristol politics at its best!

Anonymous said...

not getting your facts straight at its best!