Pierz industrial lots sold for $1 on 3-2 vote

By Liz Verley, Staff Writer

Three industrial park lots were sold for $1 each with a waiver of assessment fees, by the Pierz City Council Monday. Although approval was given, the vote was 3-2. The motion was opposed by Council Members Mike Menden and Don Bujalski.

Originally, the lots had been purchased by the city in the early 1990s. A grant to cover putting in a road and other infrastructure was provided with the city covering 40 percent ($169,000) and the grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce/Rural Development covering the remaining 60 percent cost.

Requests to purchase the lots came from Tom Smude, for expanding his business; Premium Concrete owners Chris Young and Matt Seppelt and Jack and Laurie Hoheisel, owners of Pierz Sanitation.

“What are we going to do with these three requests?” asked Mayor Toby Egan.

Clerk Matt Bell said, “That park has been sitting there idle for years. Where I am now, I think the city should look at developing these lots. There is an estimate of $4,000 (in assessments) to be collected on these lots and one-third would go to the city.”

The first original lot had been sold for $1 plus $10,625 for assessments to the Banner Bus Company. The following lots were sold under the same arrangement.

“I think that set a precedent and there should have been something besides the $1. The city bonded for the 40 percent and should be able to recover part of the money (in assessments). I am not saying it needs to be $10,625. I would have been willing to negotiate. I will continue to vote no on giving them away. You can’t give the farm away,” Menden said.

“I want to promote business but we need to do something about this. Giving them away with only verbal stipulations is jumping the gun,” he said.

Egan said the assessment fees varied with the size of the lot and that over the past 18 years, it hasn’t worked for the city to collect the fees.

“This is the first time the city has ever done this,” he said. “It spreads out the tax base and makes it cheaper for everyone. It’s a win-win for everybody, the way I look at it.”

The Council told those purchasing the lots that they must start construction within one year, cannot use it as personal property, cannot live on the site and the use can only be for commercial purposes.

Pierz City Council Briefs

Other business that came before the Pierz City Council Monday, included:

• Approving a request by the Pierz Fire Department to develop specifications on an new fire truck. It takes approximately 18 months from the time a truck is ordered until it is delivered;

• Approving a variances for Fred Underhill and Richard Talberg to each build a garage; and

• Upon the recommendation of the Park Committee approved a change to personnel policy to 340 hours of compensatory time for all non- exempt employees.

The next regular meeting of the Pierz City Council will be held Monday, April 28, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.