After the Cadiz City Council discussed the issue at its evening meeting last Tuesday, Council Members Todd King, Manuel Brown and Regenia Wilkerson-Jasper voted to purchase the building, while Council Members Susan Bryant, Bob Noel and Frankie Phillips voted against the purchase.
Cadiz Mayor Lyn Bailey made some comments why the city should purchase the property and then cast the tie-breaking vote, and the measure passed.
“The positive thing about this is … it could help clean up the downtown,” Bailey said. “We’ve got the money to do it, and there’s just a whole lot of possibilities.”
Brown, who along with King and Jasper is on the city council’s finance committee, said the city has until Thursday, Sept. 30, of this year before they have to send that money back.
At the finance meeting late last month, Cadiz City Clerk Lisa Rogers said the city had also applied for $20,000 grant for the Renaissance Program but didn’t get it. Bailey said since the lot, owned by Frank Wade, is for sale for $65,000, they’d only need another $16,000 to purchase it.
Phillips asked what the lot would be used for, and Brown said it could be used as extra office space or for storage. Cadiz resident Harry Todd also said the lot could be used as storage so that city equipment wouldn’t have to sit outside when it isn’t being used.
Bryant said she hasn’t had enough time to think about the issue and isn’t impressed with the idea as a whole. She also said that the $16,000 could be used better and suggested giving that grant money to charity, though she realized that probably wouldn’t happen.
“I don’t have the mindset right now of, ‘I’m going to spend it just because I’ve got it, because I’m going to have to turn it back,’” Bryant said. “I just don’t see what we’re going to do with it.”
Bailey said the grant money has been earmarked for the purchasing of property and can’t be used for anything else. He also said that before the lot in question was up for sale, the city had run out of options as far as using the grant money goes, adding that the building just came up for sale.
“We don’t have to spend it, we could send it back,” Phillips said. “If we buy that building, it’s probably going to cost the taxpayers over the years hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
King argued that if the city keeps returning grant money, the city will eventually no longer receive any more grants. Bryant said she didn’t like that either.
The Porky’s Barbeque stand currently sits on that lot, and the owner is paying $500 to be there, and if the owner agrees to stay there if the city buys it then the city will get that rent, said Bailey, who added that they hope they can keep him because they’d like to keep the barbecue place.
Bailey said there will need to be an environmental review of the property, and added that the fuel tanks and excess dirt on the site will need to be removed.
In other business, the city council unanimously voted, on second reading, to amend the city’s 2010-2011 budget. Rogers said the budget was amended to include a $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which will be used for low-income housing.
The city council also agreed, on first reading, to keep the motor vehicle tax at $26.20 per $100 of assessed valuation for each motor vehicle licensed in Cadiz for the next calendar year. Rogers said it’s the same kind of tax they’ve approved each year, and added that the amount hasn’t changed.
The council also agreed to have Cadiz City Attorney Allen Wilson draft a resolution about expenditure limits, which the council will vote on when it meets again on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
Brown said that anything that costs more than $10,000 should be offered up for bid and advertised in local media, and anything that costs less than $10,000 should be purchased in Cadiz if possible. There might also be items that cost less than $10,000 that should still be bid on, but there wouldn’t necessarily be a need to advertise it, Brown added.