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Council left owing state for building lot

Article Date: 
28 March, 2014 (All day)

After selling off Lot 55 of the Wasatch Shadows subdivision, the Morgan County Council is left owing the state for its original purchase.
The state originally purchased the lot about eight years ago for $105,000 with Community Development Block Grant money.  Morgan County’s intention was to use the lot for affordable housing.  Without paying for the land, the cost to rent a home would be significantly reduced and more affordable.  Since the original purchase, a home was never built on the lot.
No current members of the county council were in office when the transaction was made.
“There was a time limit that the lot had to have a house built on it, and the time limit expired before the current council took office,” Councilman Robert Kilmer said in an email.  “We were not aware of any of this until we were approached by a member of the community who wanted to purchase the lot.”
The Council assumed the county had purchased the lot and could sell it.  However, when the council discovered the state purchased the lot, they also discovered the county would have to reimburse the state for the original purchase price since they had missed the construction deadline.  The state would also not allow the county to construct a house on the property in the near future.
The opportunity to purchase the lot was advertised, and two bids came in.    
John Cannon of Rocky Mountain Home Builders bid $62,100 for the lot.  Scott Mecham of RSM, LLC, bid $55,250.  The Council awarded Rocky Mountain Home Builders with the final bid at its March 4 meeting.  The difference between the original purchase price and the March bid price is $42,900.
“The lot was purchased at the height of the construction cycle, or high,” Councilman Ned Mecham said.  “The lot is being sold at market value, which is low.”
“We’re the ones left owning,” said Council Chairman Logan Wilde.