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City Council rejects Stockwell's plan for selling surplus property

Sunnyside City Manager Bob Stockwell is going to have to go back to the drawing board with plans he had for making the city's ordinance regarding the surplusing of property more reflective of current state requirements.

Stockwell told the Sunnyside City Council this past Monday night that the city's ordinance for surplusing property is not reflective of the current RCWs.

"This ordinance brings the city code up to date," Stockwell said of the draft he prepared for the Council.

Under the ordinance Stockwell proposed Monday night, the Council would have to hold public hearings and set a minimum price for all property in excess of $50,000.

The exceptions to the competitive bidding process include the city manager being allowed to negotiate the sale of real property less than $5,000. Other exceptions include if the property is being surplused as part of an intergovernmental transfer, negotiations with adjacent landowners or part of a declared emergency.

The draft Stockwell presented on Monday also covered the disposal of personal property. For property valued at more than $2,500, the city manager could negotiate the sale, trade or other disposition with permission of the Council. For property valued at less than $2,500, the city manager would be authorized to negotiate the sale, transfer or exchange.

Councilman Bruce Ricks said he was concerned with how Council would be kept notified of items disposed of that were valued below $2,500. Stockwell said the Council wouldn't have to be concerned with such items, as the city manager would be the one in charge of disposing of the property.

Mayor Pro-tem Mike Farmer was adamantly opposed to the proposal.

"This is property the citizens of Sunnyside have bought," said Farmer. "I think we are cutting out the opportunity for our citizens to participate."

Stockwell clarified that any items the city would be disposing of, valued under $2,500, would be equipment that is no longer needed. Stockwell said often times the city spends a lot more money advertising property to be surplused than the actual items cost.

Ricks interjected and said just for accountability purposes he would like to see some sort of financial declaration to the Council of items surplused that are valued under $2,500.

Councilwoman Bengie Aguilar agreed with Ricks, suggesting the Council see some sort of list. She also suggested the idea of bringing the amount down from $2,500 to $2,000.

Sunnyside resident Don Outhet, in attendance at Monday's meeting, agreed with the idea of letting residents see the items that are to be surplused.

"I know there are cases where city equipment is being borrowed by city employees," said Outhet.

Councilman Don Vlieger said he sees nothing wrong with the current process the city is implementing now to surplus property.

"I don't think the process is messed up right now," he said.

Mayor Ed Prilucik said he has an enormous amount of trust in the city manager, but added the process of surplusing property doesn't take up much of the Council's time.

Council didn't make a motion on the proposed ordinance and no official action was taken. Prilucik did direct city staff to go back and review the proposed ordinance before bringing it back before Council.

. Mike Kantmancan be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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