Friday, March 03, 2006
An Arresting Development
It looks like the city is taking another step in the process of selling the old police station located on Bedford Street near the Government Center and this time it's a step back to square one.
Several months ago the city started the process to sell of two city owned properties, a parcel of land on South Main Street near the Tiverton line and the former police station vacated over a decade ago.
In the past it was the city's policy to sell municipal owned properties through an open bid process awarding the sale to the highest bidder. However, the city recently stated that instead of awarding the sale to the highest bidder the property would instead go to the bidder and proposal that best matched the city's intended use for the land as spelled out in the RFP (Request for Proposal) as allowed by Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 30B.
The process has made it as far as the City Council Real Estate Committee where the bids were reviewed on both properties. In both cases the committee voted 2 to 1 to except the lower bid. The committee’s vote has angered City Councilor Joseph Camara, who does not sit on the Real Estate Committee, but has been very vocal that the city should continue to award property to the highest bidder and should do so now.
To complicate matters further the mayor is now considering asking the City Council to restart the bid process on the former police station because both submitted bids were below the assessed value. According to Director of Municipal Services, James Smith, the city should have established minimum bids with appraisals on the RFP as stated in Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 30B.
If the city were to restart the process it would also reword the RFP to ensure the bid proposal was binding, something that may not be the case with the way the RFP's are currently written.
Despite the objections of City Councilor Camara and some obvious mistakes along the way I have to say that I like city's new stance on selling off city owned property. Too often in the past we have sold our futures for the promise of a quick buck, now it is time to realize that less now could indeed mean more later.