City to Sell Buyout Homes

Not all homes that the city has acquired through the voluntary acquisition program will be demolished.

During Monday’s meeting, the Valley City City Commission voted unanimously to sell some of them for relocation.

After some discussion, city commissioners decided to go ahead and sell at least seven of the 29 homes the city will own that they deem to be in good enough condition to sell.

“There are some properties that people have either expressed an interest and has passed an initial inspection by Dave Andersen, our city inspector, or we believe are homes that are in good enough shape, i.e.
the windows meet certain federal requirements for efficiencies—things like that—to be sold,” City Administrator David Schelkoph said.

The properties will be put up for bid after being advertised in the Times-Record and elsewhere. There will be no minimum bid.

“If they go for a dollar, it’s still cheaper than taking them out,” City Commissioner Matt Pedersen said referring to the money the city could save on demolition costs.

The city will inspect the properties for asbestos before selling or demolishing them. Any properties that are contaminated will be pulled off the market.

Although the city will check for asbestos, it wants buyers to know that they cannot check everything.

“There is an affirmative duty on the part of (bidders) to inspect the premises to see if they’re suitable for the purposes for which they intend them,” City Attorney Russell Myhre said. “What that means is that they need to go in physically, take a look at them, and determine if they suit their purposes.”

Upon approval of the bid, the buyer must move the entire house and attachments to another site within 30 days.

“We are not guaranteeing or warranting these homes for anything,” Myhre said. “It’s as is, where is—and then move it.”

Buyout properties deemed unsellable and the basements and fill of the sold houses will be demolished by the winning contractor this fall.

Before being demolished, though, the public is allowed to work with the contractor to search the house for items, like historical artifacts.
There’s a certain amount of limitations there, both on time and convenience, Schelkoph said.

In other business, the commission approved final recommendations from city engineering firm Kadrmas, Lee and Jackson for a “Safe Routes to School” program that is ran through the North Dakota Department of Transportation.

“The purpose of the program is to encourage kids to walk and/or bike to school by providing funding to provide safe routes for kids to get to school,” Chad Petersen of KLJ said.

The project will establish routes along Sixth Street Northeast going west to Central Avenue, then north and south along Central Avenue up to Jefferson School and then down south to the Junior High and Senior High School.

“Along the routes, what we’re looking at are basically providing ADA ramps in locations where there are none and increasing visibility of crosswalks by doing pavement marking if needed,” Petersen said.

Another part of the project is to enhance messages for school zone speeds, which will likely show drivers how fast they’re driving.
Moreover, the project will include educational courses that teach children the rules of the road as a pedestrian or biker.

The estimated $318,000 project will be put up for bid in February of 2013 for construction that season. The project is paid for partially by a $200,000 grant, and the remainder will need to be funded by the city.