City was required to pay ‘premium’
An editorial recently published concerning the city’s purchase of the BISCO building used inflammatory, “bold” language in describing the Commission’s actions. In another, guest columnist Ed Clark asked no fewer than 30 questions. These were both inaccurate and misleading and should be recognized as such by everyone who has ever attended or bid at any auction.
The city was required to accept the terms and conditions, which provided that a 10 percent “buyer’s premium” be added to the final bid price. The city had neither the ability to avoid paying the 10 percent nor any control over the commission paid by the auction realty firm to the realty agent. Standard practice is to pay a 3 percent commission to the registered realty agent of the successful bidder. The only thing the city could do was to register a Realtor and use their services. The auctioneer was then required to pay the 3 percent commission to the realty business.
Realtors are paid a commission that rarely relates directly to the time spent on site. Many hours are spent for a Realtor to even get to a “closing,” and it often never happens. By law, Realtors are required to work through a licensed broker. All the brokers in our community maintain significant and attractive office locations to better serve their customers. It is our Realtors who are creating that “first impression” for people moving into our community. It was Realtor fees that made it possible for the recently completed and significant facade renovation on the broker’s main street building. These large improvements add to our downtown appearance and to our quality of life.
Should local governments legally be granted favored status to be exempt from paying a buyer’s premium when buying property at auction? While that would save taxpayer dollars, to do so would give governments an unfair advantage over private business. Accordingly, this idea is really too “bold” and does not merit support by anyone. But absent such a provision, the city had no recourse but to pay the 10 percent buyer’s premium — just like everyone else.
Building purchase justified by city
Recent accounts of the city’s purchase of the BISCO building were inaccurate to the point that any attempt to correct those is fraught with difficulty. So, let’s consider the issue anew.
Citizens deserve answers regarding the actions of their government. Comprehensive information is available pertaining to both the legality and practicality of the city’s efforts to secure a permanent facility for public works and other city departments. I urge anyone who has questions to review the city manager’s report, which was presented during the Aug. 27 City Commission meeting — and then to draw their own conclusions. This report is posted on the city website or a copy is available at city hall.
The acquisition was a specific recommendation of the Master Facilities Study published in 2005. In that year, the city first attempted to implement the study’s recommendation and to purchase the building but was unsuccessful due to price. The city manager’s report documents repeated efforts from 2005-2012 of the city to acquire land, construct a building, or purchase a building (all unsuccessful primarily due to cost) for a public works facility. The result was the ultimate conclusion that it was more cost-effective for the city to purchase and renovate rather than build.
The recent auction of the BISCO building was a potential opportunity to acquire a long-needed facility at a favorable price. It is important for the public to know that the commission discussed the acquisition in executive session as permitted by law (KRS 61.8101(b)) and with the guidance of our city attorney. All commissioners were in agreement to purchase the building.
Our city attorney was involved in the entire process, and specific questions were asked of the special circumstances presented to the city by an auction and deposit paid as required following the auction on Aug. 10. All city commissioners affirmed the purchase of the BISCO building by unanimous vote on Aug. 13 during the regular City Commission meeting.
I sincerely believe that our actions to acquire this property have achieved a critical and long-standing goal at a price consistent with the public interest.
Thanks Heart and city staff
I simply want to thank Vicki Darnell and Bill Pollom publicly for the Heart of Danville article published Aug. 31.
This article recognizes the day-to-day activities by our city staff and HOD members that have worked cooperatively to help our community achieve national recognition.
I would like to also specifically mention our public works staff that works day and night to maintain our streets and facilities. Our preparations for the vice presidential debate demonstrate our continued commitment to keep Danville as one of the best small towns in America.
Bernie R. Hunstad