Council upholds veto of property sale
The Common Council has upheld a veto by Mayor Steve Noble that blocked the sale of the property 416 First Ave. to a city employee without a competitive auction.
The council on Tuesday voted 6-2 to uphold the veto. Alderwomen Deborah Brown, R-Ward 9, and Maryann Mills, D-Ward 7, voted to override it. Alderwoman Nina Dawson, DWard 4 was absent.
The council last month authorized Noble to allow 15-year city employee Allen Nace to buy the property for $15,000. A review by city lawyers, however, found that the property had not been subjected to a competitive process of either putting it on the market or selling it at auction.
“As far as I’m concerned, we screwed up,” said Alderwoman Lynn Eckert, DWard 1. “We did not correctly go through the process properly.”
Council members and Corporation Counsel Kevin Bryant met for about 20 minutes behind closed doors under a claim of attorney-client privilege to review the veto prior to voting.
City officials acquired the property in March due to $26,430.84 in unpaid taxes. Nace offered to pay $15,000 for the property, which is assessed at $95,000 but has been vandalized since it was aban-
doned about two years ago.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, Nace said the failure to override the veto was “a joke” because a day earlier,
several council members said they should stand by the decision to sell the property. He blamed Bryant for pressuring lawmakers to change their minds.
“You see the difference one night, and several advisements from corporation counsel,” he said. “... They
made a decision, and then he changed that decision.”
Bryant on Monday had advised lawmakers that property sales need to be done through a competitive process.
Following the meeting, Noble said Nace, who owns nearby property, would
have another opportunity to buy the First Avenue site.
“We’ll discuss with council members whether we want to put it in our public auction that we’re having this fall or to offer it up again at a Finance Committee meeting,” the mayor said.