March 18, 2015 Edition

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Hoxie to foreclose on property

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Hoxie City Council presented a counter offer in regard to the former Save-A-Lot property that is undergoing foreclosure.

During its March 10 meeting, the council heard an offer on the property in the amount of $350,000 from an individual out of Kansas. While not in writing, the buyer indicated his intention to use the property as the site of a new grocery store.

The city's reuse committee reviewed the offer prior to the council meeting and recommended to reject the offer. The main reason for the recommendation was the deficit that would remain on the mortgage owed to the city. Also, after foreclosure is complete, the city will be able to purchase the property back on credit and market it, potentially getting a higher offer.

Several visitors called for the council to accept the offer as it stood, even though it leaves a $226,000 difference on the mortgage, due to the need for jobs in the city.

The council also discussed that the property has been on the market for two years by its previous owner, Wayne Black, and has not been sold yet.

Alderman Tim Taylor said while contemplating the offer that it was one of the hardest decisions he's been a part of during his time on the council.

After discussions were complete, the council voted to reject the offer at a 4-2 vote and then made a motion to counter stating the city would release the mortgage on the property for $400,000 if paid within 30 days of it passing, which was approved with a 5-1 vote.

While councilmen were divided on whether to sell or not. The counter, if accepted, would allow a lower deficit and for a grocery store to reopen in Hoxie sooner.

However, Mayor Lanny Tinker said there is no guarantee that a grocery store will be what the property is used for since it isn't included in the offer.

Alderman Larry Couch suggested they include a clause in the counter offer stating the property had to be used for a grocery store but City Attorney Lance Owens said, since it doesn't own the property and only holds the mortgage, the city cannot enter that type of negotiation. The only thing the city can do is to counter with the amount it would be willing to release the mortgage at.

Included in the counter offer was a section stating the city would continue with the foreclosure of the property during a hearing held Monday, March 16. The public auction of the property has been set for April 8.

Should the counter offer not be accepted, the property will be available for public auction in about a month, at which point the city can credit bid up to the amount still owed on the mortgage, approximately $600,000.

Also at the meeting:

  • Tinker said that the sewer main has been reconnected at Kelly and Carolina. All lines have been reconnected but he said there are at least two occupants who will have to do work to their sewer on their personal property. Some clean up is still needed in the area that will be done as the ground dries.

  • Tinker shared his monthly "Mayor's Report," which focused on recycling and its benefits for the city. He also announced that the grain-bed truck drop-off point has been moved from City Hall to the City Shop and will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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