Council members not holding up sale of Faline building

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It is unfortunate that I must write this letter to correct Mayor Shortway’s numerous and erroneous statements about the sale of the Faline building. Mayor Shortway is telling anyone that will listen that I am blocking the sale of the Faline building, along with Councilmen Rizzuto and Wetzel. Nothing could be further than the truth. The building, located in the Town Center, was purchased by the town approximately 10 years ago for over $400,000. Mayor Shortway’s and Council President Murphy’s plans for the building has ranged from tearing the building down and making the area a pocket park, at the taxpayer’s expense, to selling the building for a firm $90,000.

I feel it is my responsibility that the taxpayer gets the best return on their dollar, so along with Councilmen Rizzuto and Wetzel, we requested an appraisal to set a sale price. We also wanted to actively market the building. No homeowner would sell their home without an appraisal and no bank would commit to a mortgage without one. Why is the Mayor and Council President Murphy being so cavalier with taxpayer’s money?

For nearly 10 months we have been asking for the status of the appraisal, and in response, we have been told “it wasn’t ordered” and “we can’t afford it”. It wasn’t until September 25, 2017 that I noticed on the bills list that the town paid $2,100 for an appraisal on the Faline building. The appraisal was done March 30, 2017, six months ago. The council was never notified of the appraisal by either the Mayor or Council President Murphy. Were they hiding the appraisal because it didn’t meet their $90,000 price tag?

After obtaining the documents associated with the appraisal invoice, it was found that the Faline building was certified at a value of $296,000.00. After sending a certified appraisal to the town, the appraiser contacted the town and withdrew the appraisal due to not having access to the interior. In a follow up letter the next month, the appraiser requested up to another $4,500.00 for a complete appraisal. Now after 10 months, we have a useless appraisal that we paid $2,100.00, and are no closer to a sale.

Lack of transparency and disregard for fiscal responsibility has caused the sale delay and not the actions of Councilwoman Ooms or Councilmen Rizzuto and Wetzel.

It is my hope that whoever wins the 3 open council seats in this upcoming November elections brings a belief in the value of the checks and balances of government.

Sandra Ooms

Vernon Councilmember

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