Evart adopts surplus property policy

City to sell off properties

Evart City Council held a special meeting June 30 during which they adopted a surplus property policy setting guidelines to sell off city-owned properties. (Herald Review file photo)

Evart City Council held a special meeting June 30 during which they adopted a surplus property policy setting guidelines to sell off city-owned properties. (Herald Review file photo)

EVART -- The Evart City Council adopted a Surplus Property Policy to establish guidelines for the sale of city properties at a special meeting June 30.

City Manager Sarah Dvoracek told the council her staff has been collecting information on all the city owned properties to determine marketability.

Working with the assessor, they have determined the values for the properties, she said.

Residential vacant parcels are assessed at $70 per front foot, and commercial and industrial property values range from $70,000 to $100,000 per acre, depending on the location.

"After researching other communities, many cities have a policy in place for guiding potential developers through the process of purchasing city owned property," Dvoracek said. "This policy determines what the process will look like once an interested party puts an offer on a parcel. It gives more clarity to developers and helps protect the city."

Mayor John Joyce said he had reservations regarding some of the properties listed, but overall was in approval of the policy.

"I think it would be to the city's advantage to lease rather than sell certain properties," Joyce said. "I've run the numbers a little bit, and I think a 20-year lease would be to our advantage at this point."

Council member Mark Hildebrand said leasing has long term benefits, but also has its risks.

"Right now, if you have potential parties interested, we should see what their long-term development plans would be," Hildebrand said. "We can have the property on the market for sale or lease. We need to see all the options we have, and one of the ways to do that is to get it on the market."

"The problem I have with that, is that the entity that is leasing one of the properties right now has been a good partner with the city, and we could be cutting their knees out from under them, and I don't like that idea," Joyce said.

Council agreed to approve the policy, but withhold the marketing of the properties until further discussion on what properties would go on the list for sale.

In other business, council adopted its 2020 Poverty Guidelines Resolution.

The guidelines resolution is adopted annually to allow for property tax exemption for homeowners living under the federal poverty level, and for the Assessor and Board of Review to determine whether applicants qualify for the exemption.

To be eligible for an exemption, an applicant must be an owner, and occupy as a principal residence, the property for which the exemption is requested.

The applicant's total annual household income must not exceed the Federal poverty guidelines established by the US Department of Health and Human Services, which is $12,760 for an individual, $17,240 for a family of two and $26,200 for a family of four.

In addition, an applicant's total assets, other than the property being exempted, can not exceed $7,500. Total assets may include any additional real estate, motor vehicles, recreational vehicles, retirement funds and other financial assets.

A medical or extraordinary hardship may be used to qualify applicants who do not meet the income and assets requirements.

Applications will be reviewed by the Board of Review in making a determination to grant or deny an exemption, and if an exemption is granted, what percentage of the taxable value will be exempted.

Applications and information on filing for exemption can be found on the city website at evart.org.