City to sell acreage

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, July 5, 2014

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Property previously purchased by the city of Bridgeport will soon be back on the market.

In March 2008, the city purchased the 311-acre Rutherford Ranch in anticipation of a runaway extension at the adjacent municipal airport.

In August 2013, the city dedicated 85.15 acres for the project and an additional 62.81 acres as an avigation easement.

With the project bid and construction anticipated soon, staff advised council to start marketing the remainder of the property.

At its meeting Tuesday, the council voted 4-1 to authorize staff to advertise to sell approximately 225 acres. Councilman David Correll cast the dissenting vote.

“Do we have a projected plan or vision for a greater need later on where we might need the land?” Correll asked.

City Administrator Brandon Emmons advised that there weren’t any plans in the next 20 years to extend the runway any farther.

In a text message to the Messenger Friday morning, Correll elaborated on his concerns about marketing the property without conducting an “actual appraisal in current dollars” – much like the outgoing council handled the purchase of a building for a veterans museum earlier this year.

“We purchased it but should’ve had an appraisal like any of us do when we purchase a home or commercial property,” Correll said. “Without an appraisal how can we know real property values before we buy and sell property?”

In April, the council approved by a vote of 3-2 to purchase the property at 1308 10th St. for a veterans museum. The city will pay the $275,000 price out of the unrestricted general fund balance.

The Bridgeport Economic Development Corp. purchased the same property in 2007 for $225,000. Later that year, the city sold just the building for $40,000 to David Welch, from whom the city purchased it this year.

In other news, the council:

  • awarded contracts to ABC Professional Tree Trimming Service in the amount of $48,000 for the 2013-2014 year and $43,890 for 2014-2015. “This is one of the areas that we have been falling behind,” Emmons said. “I know James (Elliott, director of utilities) and the rest of the electric department greatly appreciates this … They can now concentrate on some of the other repairs.”
  • granted a 90-day extension to a previously granted masonry exception requested by BEFCO Engineering Inc. on behalf of Holt Cat on U.S. 380. However a delay in acquiring the necessary easements for waterline extensions has slowed the project.
  • conducted an annual review of the city’s investment policy and approved it as written.
  • proclaimed July as parks and recreation month.
  • in a consent agenda, approved the June 17 meeting minutes.
  • scheduled a budget workshop for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, at City Hall.

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