Bid for former Arlie’s building tabled

Staff writer

Marion City Council members declined to act Monday on a bid from Ditch Diggers Inc. of Salina to purchase the former Arlie’s building and three adjoining lots in Batt Industrial Park.

The $160,000 bid is nearly $75,000 less than the $223,160 the city owes on the property, about $100,000 less than the city’s total investment. The price offered for the building, $128,028, is $70,000 less than the asking price of $198,500.

The company already has two equipment storage locations in Marion County. The company’s headquarters is in Salina. The three locations would move to Marion if the bid were accepted.

Because the company already operates in Marion County, economic development director Terry Jones said, only one or two additional people would move or be hired by the company. Most employees already live in the area.

“They have a clerk that lives and works at the Salina office,” Jones said. “I assume that person will move but that’s only conjecture.”

After questions about selling the building for a loss, the council agreed to table the bid. Jones will show the property to another interested party Friday.

To facilitate lease and sale of the Bown-Corby School and the former Arlie’s building, the council gave Jones and administrator Roger Holter power to negotiate acceptable bids, and present them to the council.

After some discussion, the council voted to purchase a backhoe from Murphy Equipment for $79,978.

The current backhoe, which is 24 years old and has 3,500 hours on it, will be traded in for $10,000.

“That’s not many hours for a machine bought brand new in 1990,” council member Jerry Kline said.

After the meeting, public works director Marty Fredrickson said the hour meter had been replaced. He is trying to determine how many total hours are on the backhoe.

Kline said he would have preferred to see options for used equipment or repairing the current machine.

Fredrickson said the current machine lacked the power to open a grave efficiently because it needs a motor rebuild, pins and sockets replaced, and hydraulics replaced. Fredrickson did not get an estimate on the cost to repair the machine, but said costs likely would be more than the machine is worth because of its age.

With a $10,000 trade and $15,000 government discount, the council, minus Kline, voted to purchase a new backhoe. Financing on a 60-month lease-purchase agreement was approved through Central National Bank. The loan will require monthly payments of $1,061.99 after a $20,000 down payment.

In other business:

  • Payments of $5,704 to EBH Engineering for work on a grant application and of $51,588 to Vogts Parga for work on the streets were approved.
  • Mayor Todd Heitschmidt advised council members not to speak to the public or press about personnel issues discussed in executive session.

 

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