Scott City continues negotiations with Union Pacific

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Scott City will make a last attempt to strike a deal with Union Pacific to purchase a piece of railroad property the city has leased since 1965.

At the regular meeting of the Scott City Council Monday night, council members heard an update on the progress of negotiations with the railroad. The city hopes to purchase a 90-by-600 foot plot from the railroad. The property is primarily occupied by a municipal parking lot and caboose the city has kept as an historical piece.

Union Pacific billed the city in August for its annual $1,500 lease payment on the property, but the city government held off on paying the lease to pursue purchase of the property.

Mayor Tim Porch said the city initially offered Union Pacific $10,000 per acre for the nearly two-acre plot, but the railroad said the offer was too low. Porch said city administrator Ron Eskew contacted the railroad several weeks ago with a revised offer of $15,000 per acre, but hasn't heard from UP since.

"You don't just keep ignoring the offers," Porch said.

Porch said he will contact UP today to see if he can get more information. The city has until Dec. 1 to pay the bill or go in default on the lease. If the city defaults on the lease, all improvements made on the lot will have to be removed, including lights, planters and the caboose.

"We won't allow those improvements to be lost," Porch said.

Ward I Councilman Jeff Curnell said if the railroad won't accept a reasonable offer the city should cut its losses and give up the lease, instead of continuing to pay every year.

In other business:

* The city council approved an application for a Community Development Block Grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development for $200,000 for improvements to the city sewer and storm water drainage system which will cost $250,000. The funds would help bring in a new company that would be housed at 503 Main St. and bring 50 new jobs into the city over the next two years. City officials have declined to name the company so far, but have said the improvements are required before the company will start operations in Scott City. The city will match 20 percent of the total project cost, or $50,000.

* The council approved a bid by Drury Co. of Cape Girardeau to replace the roof on the police department and city hall for $24,919.

* The council approved a contract with the Scott City Youth League, a not-for-profit that administers youth sports at city parks. The contract now requires the signature of Youth League representatives.

* The council voted 8 to 0 to abandon a section of Fifth Street just north of East Olive Street, with the property to be absorbed by private residents.

* The council approved an application by Jummie Ready for volunteer firefighter and an application by Aaron Hill for reserve police officer.

msanders@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 182

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