W’bago unsure of policy
The Winnebago City Council was not so sure how to handle a request from a Winnebago citizen at their meeting held Tuesday night.
Darrel Robertson, of Winnebago, was at the meeting to voice his concerns after learning a property he wanted to purchase had some additional charges attached.
“I’ve never dealt with anything like this and I want to get a feeling for what the city’s policy is on this,”?Robertson said. “This is more to get some information to find out where the council sits.”
Robertson provided the Winnebago City Council with a letter explaining his situation after having recently purchased a property on First Avenue S.E. in Winnebago.
“I have made a purchase agreement with Castle Rock LLC for the property,”?he said.
He goes on to explain that after entering that purchase agreement, he learned of several additional charges attached to the property including; water and sewer, mowing charges, and a construction assessment.
“I am willing to pay the $7,281.51 due to the street construction assessment,” he said. “I am also willing to pay the $987.40 for unpaid property taxes and penalties.”
However, the hang up came when Robertson learned he was also thought to be responsible for the prior owner’s unpaid bills and mowing fees.
“I do not feel I should be responsible for other people’s unpaid bills or for mowing property that I did not own,”?he adds.
The unpaid water and sewer bills were more than $1,000 with additional bills to be added on to that as well. The mowing bill was $100.
“Someone was living there at the beginning of the year,” city administrator Chris Ziegler said.
However, the house was eventually foreclosed on and purchased by the Castle Rock LLC with Wells Fargo being the trustee who foreclosed on it.
“The property management should be mowing that lawn or paying that fee,” Ziegler added. “I think if we waive these fees we would be setting a bad precedence.”
Other council members wanted a legal perspective on this situation before making any type of decision.
“I wish we had a lawyer here because if he signs a contract with the property company, is he saying he will pay all of these?” council member Dean Johnson asked.
However, the city’s interim attorney was not present at the meeting to answer any of the legal questions on the matter.
“I?think this is a unique situation, though, since it is a foreclosure,” Robertson added.
Council member Rick Johnson also felt that waiving any of the fees would set a bad precedence.
“This is the city’s last resort to collect some of this money. It has got to be attached to that for a reason,”?Johnson said. “If it isn’t, the fees go to everybody else.”
Council member Scott Robertson suggested the council table the matter and look into the situation a little further.
“I think we need to try to find a solution that works for everyone,”?he said. “Because it is not doing anyone any good how it sits now.”
The rest of the council voted in favor or tabling the issue.
“We need to do some more delving into this,”?council member Jean Anderson said. “We need to get some more information.”