Cass County Road Commission may sell property on Fox StreetPublished 1:00am Saturday, December 12, 2009
By NORMA LERNER
Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS – The Cass County Road Commission is not in the business of selling property but it does have property under consideration to sell.
During a regular meeting of the road commission last week, it was brought to the attention of the commissioners by Manager Louis Csokasy that an offer has been received to buy the Sibley property on Fox Street. In fact there have been discussions with a couple of people about the sale of the property, he said. One large gravel hauling business owner was not interested in it. Another potential buyer didn’t want to buy it but pay a royalty fee instead of purchasing it for its gravel content.
The property has been leased to a nearby farmer for crops at a cost of $22,000 a year, but it is not known if he will renew the lease that is up in February 2010. During the meantime, a potential buyer offered approximately $400,000 for the 100-acre piece of property.
Csokasy said he researched farm property sales in the county that has sold for about $3,600 per acre this year.
The Sibley property was purchased in two parts four years ago for about $515,000 for its gravel potential. In 2006, 59.1 acres were auctioned off for $3,950 per acre. Remaining is the 100 acres that is not being used.
Vice Chairman Robert Powers questioned why they should sell the property when it is making about 5 percent on the lease agreement.
Csokasy’s idea was to turn the asset into cash and use the money to construct a building to buy and store salt. He said it would be more efficient to store it and mix it with sand than the way it is handled at the present time where the salt is purchased as needed. He added, “Today’s environment is extremely different than four years ago when we purchased it.”
After further discussion on the pros and cons of selling it and the cost of building a salt barn, trustee Cliff Poehlman proposed holding an auction sale on the property with a $4,000 per acre reserve on it. He said he will give his decision about the potential sale at the road commission’s next meeting at 9 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 17.
In other matters, Csokasy reported on a meeting held with Calvin Township officials about plans to repair its worst roads or to do work on its best roads first. The township elected to keep its best roads in good shape and will request a 3.2 mill road tax on the May 2010, ballot for road reconstruction.
Csokasy also reported that $298,000 was received from the state which is $9,000 over budgeted. He said this was some progress for September from gas tax funds. He said the good news is there will not be a negative balance this year.
Road Superintendent Rick Janssen said the grinding up of pavement on Pioneer Street in Marcellus Township started Monday, Dec. 7. The work will be done east of M-40 and will be the first road in the county to be reverted from asphalt to gravel. This is being done to improve the road base since its pavement was in rough shape and the gravel base is good.
The road commission is in process of doing an analysis of all paved roads in each township, something that is required to be done every three years by the state. Seventy percent of the roads have been evaluated. Chief Engineer Joseph Bellina III said next roads in Howard Township will be evaluated, and Gumwood Road in Milton Township will continue to be improved this year.