To the Editor: Balks at city land sale

The City Council at the last meeting made one of the most ridiculous decisions I have seen in years. It decided to sell 12.1 acres the city purchased about four years ago as part of longterm planning to ensue that we had property in one location for future park expansion — a location that already has restrooms and utilities. Keeping this property is money in the bank for the future of our city that costs the taxpayers nothing to hold onto for possible future city needs. Putting in the utilities and restroom alone on another property would unquestionably cost at least four times more than the proposed sales price of $105,415.20, excluding the cost of buying property. Only a fool would think selling his property is a good deal.

Holding onto this property could save the city 5 to 8 hundred thousand dollars in the future at a minimum. It is a good location, even if it was used by the city for something other than park expansion. The measly $105,415.20, which in reality will probably be less $100,000 after costs, is money not needed by the city. The only justification presented by the city staff was that we did not have an immediate use for the property, a fact that was understood and intended by the council when we bought the property, a fact that was somehow not presented to the current council by the city staff. The fact that the city received an offer to buy the 12.1 acres to build residential units is irrelevant; it not like it is the only location [where the buyer] could build in the city.

To make the situation even worse, the council is considering selling the 12.1 acres at 35 cents on the dollar. We paid about $700,000 for it and now the city wants to sell half of the property for $105,415.20, a loss of about $250,000. (This does not pass the smell test.) Apparently the council does not worry about keeping its promises to the citizens, planning for our future or spending our tax dollars wisely.

This is just another example that the city rarely keeps its promises to the citizens. For Measure L the city promised 90 percent of the sales tax revenue would go to roads, with no money for police salaries; in reality about 60 percent of it went for police salaries.

This is additional proof the city and council do not care about being frugal with our tax dollars, and proof they believe they have the right to keep dipping further into our pockets. They have already raised our taxes twice in the last few years and are seeking another tax increase.

Personally I don’t know why the citizens even bother to go to city council meetings. The  citizens who take time read the agenda, do their homework and present relevant information and facts to the council for the most part are summarily dismissed with no consideration. This occurs even when citizens present information and facts that any intelligent and logical person would realize demands further investigation and answers before any action is taken, but the council passes the item anyway.

It is my observation that the city council is nothing more that a rubber stamp for the wishes of the city manager and staff. Call me foolish, but I thought the vity belonged to the people, not to our employees. Even when the majority of the citizens that show up at a council meeting speak in opposition to an issue before the council, the mayor dismisses their concerns, identifying that the majority of people she spoke to her outside the meeting had different wishes.

Citizens who care about our city and take the time to do their homework and attend council meetings should not be dismissed in favor of a highly questionable silent-majority claim.

Please email the city council and tell them that this way of doing business is not acceptable.

Ronald L. Porter

Story First Published: 2018-06-15