The selling of these properties
concerns unused and unneeded parcels of city land. Mayor Fiorentini
wants to expedite the sale of these properties through widely
advertised public auctions in an effort to bring in money needed
to close the $4 million budget gap.
Mayor Fiorentini's home rule
petition will effectuate two changes in state law to help the
City speed up the sale of public property. The petition will
first allow for the sale of any city owned property that the
City Council feels should be sold at public auction. Under the
current system, the City is only allowed to auction public property
that has been obtained through tax title while property obtained
through other means would require RFP's (request for proposals).
In his letter to the City Council, the mayor stated "it
is generally well accepted, and I believe strongly, that small
parcels of land generate more money and the property is sold
more quickly if done by auction."
The second change in the law
would allow for numerous properties to be prominently advertised
in bulk in one advertisement. The current law requires that prior
to auctioning lands, small legal notices are to be printed in
the newspaper. These duplicate advertisements, which contain
the same verbiage and only different addresses, require significant
costs in advertising even when dealing with the smallest parcel
of land. Mayor Fiorentini's home rule petition would allow the
City to do what real estate brokers normally do by permitting
a large display advertising the properties.
Figures from the Treasurer's
Office, the City Hall office that oversees the procurement and
sale of these properties, there are roughly three hundreds sellable
properties with a total assessed value in the millions of dollars
range. The sale of even a handful of these properties can net
the City millions of dollars when auctioned to the public. And
this is Mayor Fiorentini's intent as his office fields daily
requests for information on City owned properties.
If the Council accepts Mayor
Fiorentini's home rule petition, the matter would then move to
the Massachusetts State Legislature and become law with the approval
of both houses of the Legislature and the signature of the Governor.
Once the Mayor's home rule petition becomes law, the onus would
be placed on the City Council to declare the land surplus and
then an auction could be held.
"I am committed to seeing
that everything possible is tried, without cutting essential
services, to narrow this budget deficit. The City stands to earn
significant money towards this budget deficit and we must consider
all possibilities for saving and earning money when facing a
budget deficit such as this one. I hope that my home rule petition
will receive the endorsement of the City Councillors so that
we can continue to address this enormous budget deficit,"
Mayor Fiorentini commented.
*Source: City of Haverhill,
Massachusetts Web Site: www.ci.haverhill.ma.us 1-26-04