Vernon trying to get back property sold in error

Vernon. Vernon Township accidentally auctioned and sold a property - 6 Mondamin Road - with township communications equipment on it. Mayor Howard Burrell said he learned about the error on March 31 and is in discussions to buy it back.

| 18 Apr 2022 | 05:25

Vernon Township officials accidentally sold by auction a piece of property that contains one of the town’s five repeater devices and now they’re looking to find a way to get it back.

Mayor Howard Burrell said on April 11 that he learned about the error on March 31. The property, located at 6 Mondamin Road, had one of Vernon’s five repeaters, which are used to extend the range and quality of the township’s overall communications.

Burrell said township officials are in discussions with the property owner to buy it back at a price “that’s reasonable and cost effective.”

If that’s not possible, Burrell and Business Administrator Charles Voelker are working with Police Chief Daniel Young to find an alternative solution to update the town’s extender equipment.

“As I end, let me be clear, in no way do I view this error to be a good thing,” Burrell said. “It simply should not have happened.”

So far, township officials have received written confirmation from the new property owner that township officials and vendors will have free and unrestricted access to the equipment.

Burrell also said most of the equipment at the site is at least a decade old and may have reached the end of its useful life.

Burrell said the property was on a list of 306 municipal properties to be sold. He said the list was created from the same database the town uses to identify all vacant and non-vacant properties within the township.

Burrell said the list of vacant properties was not accurate because the addition of equipment like the repeaters was not listed as “property improvement.” He also said the property was only listed by Lot, Block and street address, with no other identifying information, making it impossible for those using list to identify the property as being needed to be removed.

Due to this error, Burrell said he has postponed the township’s vacant property sale that was planned for June until the issues that led to the error are corrected.

Burrell also said the database will be updated to remove any municipal properties that have had “property improvements.” He also said the auction list will be reviewed by each department head and key members of the township’s volunteer service who may have knowledge of improvements or location of communications equipment, making it unsuitable for sale.

Young has developed an Emergency Services Radio Tower/ Communications Equipment spreadsheet containing the name, coordinates, physical address, plus lot and block number where each piece of township communications equipment is located.