Buyers for city-owned property must pay taxes

Council approves new policy allowing the city to refuse bids from those who owe back taxes
May. 12, 2014 @ 09:29 PM

The Henderson City Council approved a new policy that would allow the board to reject offers for property from people who owe taxes to the city.

Board members voted unanimously at their meeting Monday night to implement a new procedure about the purchase of city-owned property that specifically includes conditions about taxes being paid in full on all other properties owned by the potential buyer.

One section of the procedure drafted by City Attorney John Zollicoffer Jr. allows the city to refuse bids from those who owe taxes on any property within the city.

The new policy came after the council received a bid for the Savings and Loan Bank Building from Kenneth G. Stevenson, of Prestigious Housing Inc., who owes significant back taxes to the city.

The council also voted to keep Stevenson's bid under consideration and refer his offer to the land planning and development committee for review.

Board members decided to table a vote on a North Carolina Department of Transportation project to widen Chavasse Avenue until the council’s next meeting.

The city secured funding for the widening project in 2007 in the amount of $700,000, with the stipulation that the city obtain the necessary easements.

The widening was proposed between Young Avenue and Raleigh Road.

There was a delay in 2010 when the state introduced a high-speed rail project, said Assistant City Manager Frank Frazier.

He said the city was notified in late 2012 that funding was still available and the project could proceed, but by that time the existing easements obtained by the city had expired, requiring new easements to be obtained.

He said the city has permitting for three of the four easements required by N.C. DOT.

City Manager Ray Griffin said he was concerned with a few areas of the agreement drafted by the state, including a provision that the city would be responsible for any cost of the project that exceeds $700,000.

Frazier said there could be a shortfall of $50,000, but the city has not yet requested bids for the project.

Another provision states N.C. DOT will not be held responsible for any damage or liability during the construction of the project.

"Putting money in a non-city street system when we cannot even afford to take care of our streets is what causes me some heartburn," Griffin said. "I have some serious concerns about the liability, and I have concerns about paying for something that is going to have cost overruns because of state policy."

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.