City Ap­proves Land Pur­chase

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - NEWS - By Lynn Kutter

(Edi­tor’s note: re­port taken from a video record­ing of the meet­ing)

— The city of Farm­ing­ton now has land for a new pub­lic works build­ing.

Farm­ing­ton City Coun­cil voted last week to pur­chase seven acres of land from Farm­ing­ton School Dis­trict. The prop­erty is along Broyles Street in the north­west cor­ner of un­de­vel­oped land next to Wil­liams El­e­men­tary School.

Farm­ing­ton School Board ac­cepted an of­fer from the city at its Feb. 26 meet­ing. The city will buy the land for $157,000 or $22,500 per acre.

Mayor Ernie Penn said the lo­ca­tion is close to Creek­side Park which will help with main­tain­ing the park. It of­fers ingress and egress on an im­proved street.

The city al­ready has a de­sign plan for a new pub­lic works build­ing and this de­sign will fit in the Broyles Street lo­ca­tion, Penn said in a memo to City Coun­cil mem­bers.

Con­tract de­tails show the seller will pro­vide a sur­vey to the city so a lot split can be ap­proved be­fore the trans­ac­tion closes. The seller will pro­vide owner’s ti­tle in­sur­ance and the buyer will pay for any other costs as­so­ci­ated with the trans­ac­tion.

Farm­ing­ton will re­quest a wa­ter tap from the city of Fayet­teville and a sep­tic sys­tem will be used for dis­pos­ing of waste­water.

After quite a bit of dis­cus­sion, the Coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved an or­di­nance to al­low the city busi­ness man­ager and mayor to make pur­chases up to $20,000 with­out the ap­proval of the city Fi­nance Com­mit­tee.

The new pol­icy is in ac­cor­dance with a new state law that gives more au­thor­ity to city of­fi­cials in mak­ing pur­chases. Pre­vi­ously, the city Fi­nance Com­mit­tee had to ap­prove any pur­chases from $10,000 to $20,000.

The or­di­nance states the mayor and busi­ness man­ager must act jointly in mak­ing these pur­chases but makes an ex­cep­tion if one of them is un­avail­able be­cause of ill­ness or other tem­po­rary in­ca­pac­ity if “prompt ac­tion” is needed to make a pur­chase.

For any pur­chases over $20,000, the city will be re­quired to seek com­pet­i­tive bids. The city man­ager or mayor will be able to ap­prove one of these bids upon ap­proval from the Farm­ing­ton City Coun­cil.

Sev­eral Coun­cil mem­bers said they still would like to know what pur­chases are made each month that fall within the $10,000$20,000 range. City Busi­ness Man­ager Melissa McCarville said she would pro­vide this in­for­ma­tion on her monthly re­port to the Coun­cil.

Penn said hav­ing to get the Fi­nance Com­mit­tee to­gether to ap­prove pur­chases from $10,000-$20,000 is in­ef­fi­cient, es­pe­cially “to do some­thing we know we’re go­ing to do.”

He added, “We ei­ther need to get ef­fi­cient with our busi­ness or for­get it.”

The Fi­nance Com­mit­tee’s only job is to ap­prove such pur­chases and there­fore will be dis­solved as a com­mit­tee.

City At­tor­ney Steve Ten­nant pointed out to Coun­cil mem­bers that state law al­lows the Mayor to make these pur­chases on his own. State law also al­lows the mayor to ap­prove bids on his own. Farm­ing­ton has al­ways put in an­other layer of ac­count­abil­ity, Ten­nant said.

In other busi­ness, the Coun­cil ap­proved a $25,000 ap­pro­pri­a­tion to Farm­ing­ton Se­nior Cen­ter. Of this amount, $10,000 will be ded­i­cated to the cen­ter di­rec­tor’s salary, $5,000 for a part-time van driver and $5,000 to hire an in­struc­tor for the Sil­ver Sneakers pro­gram.

Coun­cil mem­bers also ap­proved $40,000 for a new 2018 Dodge Charger for the po­lice depart­ment. The ve­hi­cle is in the 2018 bud­get.

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