City Council reviews process for possible sale of municipal land

Although the discussion of a possible sale of land in the city of Grand Marais was not on the agenda of the municipal council on Wednesday, February 9, the subject was discussed in session during the minutes of the council. . Councilor Tracy Benson addressed the subject, noting that she had heard “a few people” express concern about the city’s process on the matter. Some citizens were surprised that the council was in negotiations for a sale of land at 1800 West Highway 61 which was not widely known to the public.

There was discussion of a possible sale in July 2021, when former councilor Tim Kennedy attended a council meeting to say he might be interested in purchasing this property. At that time, the council instructed city staff to research methods to sell the property and obtain an investigation.

Since then, the only mention of city-owned property was in a December 8, 2021 report by City Administrator Mike Roth who told council the city was awaiting an assessment and engineering for the sewer service before proceeding. begin the discussion on the placement of municipal property. for sale. Roth told the council that the value will be based on usable space.

The next mention of the land sale on the city’s agenda was the closed session to discuss the January 26 land sale denials.
At the Feb. 9 meeting, councilors expressed concern that the city does not have a property sale policy. But they also noted that it is very rare for the city to be in this position. There was some discussion about whether having a single buyer brings the best return for the city. Mayor Jay DeCoux said he believed the offer made and considered by the city council was fair and gave the city a good return on the property it purchased on which to build its public works facility.

Mayor DeCoux also spoke about the benefits to the community of having a new business in the Highway 61 Corridor. City Administrator Mike Roth also said one of council’s goals is to put back property on the tax lists.

Roth also pointed out that the sale of the property is not complete. He said anyone interested could contact the city with an offer to purchase. It is expected that an offer to buy Tim Kennedy will be on the agenda for the next city council on Wednesday, February 23.

City Attorney Chris Hood said the city has not broken any laws in the actions taken so far on the lot sale.

Rhonda Silence from WTIP shares more about this City Council discussion in this report.