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BE Council ponders what to charge for lots

By Staff | Jan 7, 2018

At their meeting last Monday the Blue Earth City Council spent a lot of time puzzling over a big question.

Now that their new housing development project has gotten a start, and will be completed this coming spring, it will soon be time to start marketing the building lots.

The question is, how much should the city sell them for?

“I would like to see the council make a decision on this by February,” city administrator Tim Ibisch said. “I think it is important to make a determination so when we start getting inquiries from folks who want to buy one of these lots, we have a price to tell them.”

The council did a lot of discussion of the possible pricing techniques, but did not make a decision last Monday.

Looking at the overall cost of developing these first lots, and bringing in the sewer and water lines from a distance, the cost of a lot could be anywhere from $59,000, to nearly $100,000.

However, the council wants to sell them much lower than that amount.

City engineer Wes Brown presented a chart that showed what the cost of the street and utility cost would be for each lot, using the same assessment policy that is in place for redoing the streets in the city.

That would create a wide variety of assessment charges across the project, from $4,000 to $18,000.

Mayor Rick Scholtes suggested a plan that would figure the costs on a per foot basis which he said would be a much more fair way to figure it.

That would bring the cost of assessments on one of the average sized lots to about $7,900.

City Council members expressed a variety of thoughts and concerns about the lot prices, wanting to keep the costs low, perhaps at $10,000, at least no more than $25,000 per lot.

Another question that came up during the discussion is what happens if someone wanted to purchase two lots and build one house in the center. Would there be a discount on the second lot, asked one councilman.

“We need to decide those kinds of questions,” Mayor Rick Scholtes said. “Also the question of putting a time limit on how long before construction would start, say like 18 to 24 months.”

The council members agreed to think about it and come back to the next council meeting to further discuss it.