City likely to advertise sale of First Avenue property
KINGSTON >> The city could solicit bids for the sale of a property it owns at 416 First Ave. by advertising it in the newspaper and online.
How to sell the property was a topic of discussion during a meeting of the Common Council’s Finance and Audit Committee on Wednesday. The matter became a committee issue after Mayor Steve Noble vetoed a proposal to sell the property to a city employee for $15,000. Noble told the council he vetoed the deal because of what he called a “gap in procedure,” meaning the property had not been publicly marketed for sale.
“The concern of our office is there has to be a competitive process,” Assistant Corporation Counsel Daniel Gartenstein told the committee. He said the committee could choose what that process was, so long as it was open to the public.
Alderman Anthony Davis, D-Ward 6, suggested the committee follow a process it has used before by advertising the property for sale, soliciting bids and then meeting with the bidders to discuss their plans for the property. After meeting with the bidders, the committee could choose which one to sell to, he said.
Council Minority Leader Deborah Brown, R-Ward 9, said that process would put Allen Nace at a disadvantage because his offer for the property already has been made public. Other lawmakers said, though, that Nace would have a chance to change his bid and the committee would not necessarily choose the highest bidder.
The city 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 abandoned about two years ago.
Nace, who owns property nearby, said he wanted to renovate the home for his daughter.
Ultimately, the committee agreed to advertise the property in the newspaper and on the city website and solicit bids for a period of two weeks after the ad is published. The matter still must be voted on by the full council before the property can be advertised. The council meets next on Nov. 1.
The committee also discussed setting out a consistent policy for selling cityowned property.
“We’re all over the map even when we have rules on our books,” said Alderwoman Maryann Mills, D-Ward 7. She said some properties had been sold the way the committee outlined for 416 First Ave., while others have been auctioned, and one was sold for $1 to a group that wanted to preserve a home.