For the second time in as many meetings in 2013, the Hannibal City Council on Tuesday night tabled the proposed sale of city-owned property at 422 N. Main St. to Bill Martin and Lance Smith.
On Jan. 2, it was the buyers who sought a delay so their attorney could review the details. On Tuesday, it was City Attorney James Lemon who recommended to the Council it hold off on taking a vote until he had a chance to go through a counter proposal that he received just before the start of the meeting.
“I’m not prepared to give an opinion tonight,” said Lemon, who suggested some of the items in the latest proposal might be best suited to review in closed session.
Martin indicated he was prepared to answer any changes the Council members might have in regard to the latest proposal. He added that he preferred a discussion with the Council to a review of the contract.
Mayor Roy Hark told Martin that the Council would not move forward with the sale until the city attorney first reviewed the proposal.
“If he (Lemon) is happy with something, we normally are, too,” said Hark, who assured Martin the Council was not trying to “snowball” him.
Short of staging a special meeting, the earliest the matter will come back before the Council is at its Tuesday, Feb. 5 meeting.
It appeared that an agreement had been hammered out following a lengthy meeting on Jan. 9 between Lemon and Martin. Among the revisions was the amount of money the city would receive for the former Murphy Motors property, which the city agreed to pay $220,000 for at its Oct. 16 meeting.
It was initially announced the sale price would be $225,000. However, that amount was reduced to $223,152. That total still met the stated requirement by Mayor Hark that the city not take a loss on the property if it was sold.
According to an e-mail from Lemon, Martin sought the reduction because of damage to the building.
Lemon also reported amending the insurance clause and the covenants and restrictions “to make them more palatable to a lender and also to provide for maintenance issues on the bus lane.”
The sale agreement included giving the city a “right of first refusal” if the new owners received a bid to sell the property. The city would also have the “right of repurchase” if the site remains vacant for four or more years.
The new owners would be required to provide an off-street area specifically for loading and unloading buses. However, the city would be responsible for repairing the bus site should it become deteriorated.