The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

October 18, 2013

Council makes offer on former pharmacy building

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CAMANCHE — City Administrator Tom Roth has received the approval of the Camanche City Council to move forward on an offer to purchase the former Camanche Pharmacy for the new city hall location.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the City Council talked about many issues surrounding the purchase, but ultimately made a unanimous decision to approve the purchase agreement.

“I think that’s a wise choice at this point. I think it gives us a good opportunity,” City Attorney Tom Lonergan said. “Hopefully that will be a successful bid.”

Lonergan has been a strong supporter of the city’s decision to purchase the pharmacy property, and he felt it played well in the city’s favor to make the offer now, before it loses the opportunity. He also added that the property itself is an ideal location and the price will not stay low forever.

Roth has been negotiating the deal with property owner Bob Richeson since being approved by the council at an Oct. 1 meeting. The asking price for the property had been set at $180,000 by Richeson, but after Roth made an offer for $170,000, the two came to an agreement for $5,000 less than asking price at $175,000 for the property’s four lots.

“I met with Bob shortly after our last council meeting to see if we could negotiate it a little bit and I asked him if he would consider $170,000 for his property,” Roth said. “He said he put a lot of thought into it and thought it was worth what he’s asking but that he wants it sold so he would accept $175,000.”

Concerns still troubled the council on Tuesday though, the main concern being where the funding would come from. Once again, Roth highlighted the city’s reserve fund, which has enough money to cover the property purchase and any renovations that will be required to make the building suitable for city hall.

“Have we figured out how we’re going to pay for this, if the offer is accepted?” asked Councilwoman Linda Kramer, concerned that if the city uses its reserves it will end up regretting it in the future.

Roth explained that the city has accumulated an adequate reserve fund to spend the assumed $300,000 for the property and any ensuing renovation costs without compromising the city’s financial position.

“I am pretty confident that you can take it out of reserves,” Roth said. “Obviously you can spend it and obviously you don’t have to spend it.”

The other issue that came up at Tuesday’s meeting was whether the city would wait to have the building appraised until the offer is made, or to have it done prior to the offer.

Roth and Lonergan agreed that if the city chose to have the appraisal done prior to the offer, it would waste the city’s money without knowing if Richeson would accept the city’s purchase agreement.

“It’s kind of the chicken and the egg situation,” Roth said. “Which comes first?”

Although some members of the council felt reluctant to make the decision on Tuesday, there was a consensus that the decision would need to be made as soon as possible. Because of that, the council agreed and made the unanimous decision to go ahead with the offer.

“We have an offer for him prepared,” Lonergan said. “We need to get this project moving forward if we really are going to move forward with it.”