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Hillsboro rejects merchant's land proposal

News editor

Hillsboro City Council reaffirmed Dec. 23 that lots in Hillsboro Heights are for sale now by rejecting a $500 option to purchase the lots anytime in the next two years.

“If we do it we’re sort of setting a precedent you can tie up a lot for two years and use it for $500,” council member Shelby Dirks said.

Chisholm Trail Outfitters owner Craig Dodd proposed a two-year option to purchase the lot, secured with a $500 escrow payment. If another buyer came along, Dodd would get the chance to buy the $6,750 property first.

The major sticking point for the council was a clause in the proposal allowing Dodd to use the lot for portable building displays without owning it.

“The question is whether we would allow that property to be used without rent, with rent, or not at all, or to be able to have him just pull the trigger and say buy the piece of property,” City Administrator Larry Paine said. “That’s the only clinker that I see in that contract.”

“I think $20.83 a month for use of a piece of property that he apparently needs is pretty darned cheap,” Mayor Delores Dalke said. “I’ve never heard of anybody being able to lease something at that price, so I cannot be in favor of this.”

The council debated various counter-offers, including charging rent, but ultimately voted to reject the offer.

The council passed a year-end budget adjustment that included $250,000 more for fire equipment and $300,000 more for the electric fund.

Lease proceeds for the payments on two fire trucks accounted for the $250,000 increase. Paine said depositing funds in the bank in the city’s name was a change from past leases that were paid directly by the bank, thereby requiring the amount to be reflected as revenue in the budget.

Two factors influenced the electric adjustment, Paine said. The fund balance at the start of 2014 was $67,165 lower than expected when the budget was prepared the prior summer. The balance of the adjustment was due to increased electric costs resulting from a change in the way South West Power Pool bought and sold electricity.

Last modified Dec. 30, 2014

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