Holcomb City Council considering sale of house
By SCOTT AUST
HOLCOMB — Before the Holcomb City Council decides what to do with a house the city bought several years ago, some members want to take a tour of the home to see what kind of shape it's in.
The city bought the house at 207 N. Henderson St. in December 2006 for $110,000, intending to possibly use it to help with a space crunch for city offices. According to City Administrator Robin Peña, the city's lack of space hasn't improved, but the direction of the council now is to consider selling the house.
During Wednesday's council meeting, Peña said the house has had at least four different renters, and the city has not done any maintenance work inside the home other than a few minor repairs to the bathroom plumbing. City employees painted the outside in 2010 and re-shingled the roof in 2009.
Mayor Gary Newman said the council asked to have a market analysis performed on the property, which was done by MBA Real Estate. If the council wants to sell it, the analysis recommended listing the house in a range between $99,000 and $110,000. Finney County appraised the property at $128,000.
"Instead of taking any action, I felt it was best to take it to the council to see what direction we want to give. Do we want to make improvements to the home, list it and just get out of it what we paid, keeping in mind their might be some commissions we'd have to pay unless we sell it privately?" Newman said.
Newman said the current resident is interested in the house and is trying to get a Rural Development Loan, but the city really doesn't have the manpower to try to show and sell the house itself.
The ranch-style, 1,541-square-foot house with a two-car attached garage was built in 1967. The condition is listed in the analysis as poor to fair, but no explanation was provided about why, which puzzled council members.
"I've never been in the place. I've never even been on the property, so I guess I'd like to know what's wrong, what brought the property value down," Councilman Rob McCallister said. "Someone needs to go over there and find out what's going on. I don't think we need to take a loss on it, but we need to find out what's wrong with it, too."
Councilman Greg Cox said the city shouldn't sell the house unless it can get back what it paid to buy it.
Newman said the current tenant is cooperative and probably won't have a problem if council members wanted to take a tour of the house. Peña will work on scheduling visits.
"Is it totally out of the question to ask EMS to vacate the space they have here and utilize our space?" Cox asked.
Newman said the city could go to the Finney County Commission to discuss it. However, the county owns the building that EMS occupies so Holcomb would have to buy it, McCallister pointed out.
After council members tour the house, Newman said, the next step, if the council is interested in selling, would be to have an appraisal done. But there would be costs associated with having the appraisal performed.
"If we can get those visits scheduled between now and the next council meeting, we can have it back on the agenda and discuss what we want to do," Newman said. "One of the questions we can answer at the next meeting is whether we want to have an appraiser come in and actually appraise it."