Village may sell one building and a couple of lots
BUCKEYE LAKE – Selling a few Village of Buckeye Lake lots may not be extremely profitable, but it’s worth considering, concluded members of the Buckeye Lake Public Service Committee Monday night.
They met to discuss the possibility of selling some lots whose structures were demolished through a federal Neighborhood Stabilization grant administered by the Licking County Planning Commission. In most cases, the owners of the demolished homes still own the lots – some 23 homes have been demolished – after they gave permission for demolition, but the village took ownership of a few lots through forfeiture and village officials are wondering if selling them could help the village afford to clean up more Buckeye Lake properties.
“We need some money to continue the clean-up process,” said Mayor Rick Baker. He said he thought about the village keeping the properties for future development, but he believes the village could really use the income. He was adamant that the village receives a fair price for them. “We’re not going to give them away,” he said.
Council member and committee chair Kaye Hartman said she’s concerned the village would be stuck maintaining the properties, particularly the site of the Buckeye Lake Library, which the village owns and will be responsible for maintaining when the library moves to a new location most likely at the end of the year.
Director of Development Valerie Hans said maintaining the library building costs roughly $6,000 per year to cover utilities and other expenses. She warned committee members never to sell any of the properties until the home is demolished because the new owners may not see fit to do so and these houses need to come down.
Hartman said people may not understand that the village only pays property taxes on forfeiture properties once, then it receives an exemption. “We’re not going to pay any more taxes on them,” she said, adding that the village does have to pay property taxes on any property it owns with tenants, such as Lee’s Fried Chicken and the Lake Drive-Through next to the Village Offices. “You can’t (tax) exempt anything with a tenant,” said Hartman.
Committee members to decided to appraise four properties they are considering selling: 129 Stewart, 52 Seymour (after its house is demolished), 42 6th Ave., and the Buckeye Lake Library building, which is soon to be vacant (its sale would be a package deal with a small lot across the street).
“We’ll get the appraisal and then go from there,” said Hartman. The appraisals do not mean that the village is committed to selling the properties, she said. Hartman said she believed there were more forfeiture properties than there are. “We may not sell any of them,” she said. It would depend upon the appraisals and if the real estate market is good enough to sell them at a fair value to the village. It may be advantageous to wait until the market improves. Each property must be publicly advertised (i.e. in a newspaper) five times before it can be sold, which could be expensive for the village. Committee members didn’t decide whether to sell the properties through an auction or sealed bid process. Baker said he thinks the village could make more money through an auction.