Pierz Council and lone bidder negotiate sale of Peter Avenue lot

By Terry Lehrke, News Editor

Just one bid was submitted for the property owned by the city of Pierz on Peter Avenue — that from Bernard (Bernie) and Marian Brisk of St. Joseph. The Brisks want to build a home on the lot and offered $10,000.

City Administrator Anna Gruber told the Council the bid was made with the understanding that a driveway on the south side of the property be eliminated as part of the sale, with the ownership of the driveway going to an apartment complex nearby. The driveway is the only access apartment residents have from the street to the parking lot.

In addition, an easement on the lot’s west side on Faust Street would be given to the city, approximately 15-feet by 150-feet.

The Brisks also asked that the tarred area within the main lot be excluded and a revised south line legal description be documented, which would decrease the total lot area.

The Council declined the initial offer of $10,000 for the property the county has valued at $20,400 for 15,000 square feet, or $1.36 per square foot.

With the reduction in lot size to 12,150 square feet, due to excluding the driveway and tarred area, at $1.36 per square foot, the valuation would be $16,524, Council Member Stephanie Fyten calculated.

The Council opened the discussion to negotiations with Bernie Brisk for the lot.

Brisk said he felt $10,000 was a “pretty darned fair quote” and initially wasn’t ready to negotiate his price.

Brisk did offer $14,000, providing a new legal description was printed to show his attorney and provided it was satisfactory.

Council Member Mike Menden moved to accept Brisk’s offer of $14,000 with the conditions.

“I wanted to see this (sale of lot) 15 – 20 years ago. It costs the city money to maintain it and what he proposes to build will bring taxes into the city and school district,” said Menden.

Council Member/Clerk Mary Korf felt the maintenance costs couldn’t be that much. “It’s worth $20,400, now we would be getting $14,000,” she said.

Korf felt the city could find another use for the property, such as a new food shelf or a park.

“We could use it as a food shelf, but the city has another lot to use,” said Menden. “We can’t add on to the fire hall because it’s next to a park. To take a park away takes an act of God. It’s almost impossible once it’s designated as a park to change that.”

A list of yearly maintenance showed it cost the city about $860 per year to maintain the lot.

On the other side, the benefits to the city on a yearly basis were estimated at $726 per year, including the city’s portion of property taxes, profit on electricity, storm water and solid waste.

“How long do we want to keep it and cost the taxpayers money?” asked Menden.

Council Member Adrian Welle calculated a $1,586 per year difference between what the city pays for maintenance and the financial benefits to the city if the lot were sold and built on.

“Over 20 years, that’s $17,000 (it costs city to maintain),” he said.

“Let Bernie put a nice house on it,” said Menden.

Fyten said she felt that the lost should be sold for at least $15,000 or $15,500.

“We figured in that the sewer and water were not hooked up to the lot. Another lot, with sewer and water, would cost more,” said Fyten.

Mayor Toby Egan agreed. “A lot of lots are valued between $40,000 – $60,000,” he said, specifically noting lots in Pond View Estates.

Brisk said if he didn’t get the lot, there was no guarantee he would build or buy in Pierz.

“We want you here,” Egan said.

The motion to approve Brisk’s offer of $14,000 failed, 3-2. Menden and Welle voted to accept the offer and Korf, Fyten and Egan opposed, feeling the lot should be sold at a higher price, based on the county’s valuation of $1.36 per square foot.

“It’s important for people to realize how the numbers came about, that they were based on the county’s valuation,” said Egan.

Because Brisk wants to build this fall, and because the Council will not meet again until Aug. 13 to approve the sale or not, a motion was made to accept $15,500 from Brisk, contingent upon his attorney being satisfied with the legal description and his willingness to pay that price.

The vote passed 4-1, with Korf being the lone “no” vote. Egan voted yes, despite saying he was not comfortable with the price.

Pierz City Council Briefs
In business at its Monday’s meeting, the Pierz City Council:

• Heard a Princess Kay of the Milky Way corn feed would take place at Pierz Park, Monday, Aug. 13, from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. Princess Kay Mary Zahurones of Pierz, will melt her butterhead for the corn;

• Learned Monday, Sept. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, was the date and time for the public hearing regarding the Small Cities Development Program;

• Were reminded of the budget meeting scheduled for Monday, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall; and

• Tabled a decision on a donation to the Initiative Foundation until after the Council met to work on the city’s budget for 2013.

The next regular meeting for the Council will be held Monday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.