Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bellevue close to completing land deal

Deal will help expand sewer treatment plant

Express Staff Writer

The Bellevue City Council has authorized Mayor Jon Anderson to execute an exchange of real property as part of a deal that will serve to expand the city's wastewater treatment facility.

At a special meeting Monday, Dec. 3, council members approved an ordinance that allows the city to trade 1.53 acres of land for an equal amount with property owner Dan Brown.

City Attorney Jim Phillips, on his last day holding that position with the city, said both pieces of property are adjacent to the facility, but that the city will no longer need the parcel they now own once planned improvements to the sewer treatment plant begin.

The city plans on acquiring a total of 4.3 acres from Brown, paying $65,000 per acre for the 2.77 acres not included in the exchange.

Phillips said the approximately $180,000 required for the purchase will be funded by the $6 million bond that voters approved in November 2005 in order to replace the city's 14-year-old wastewater treatment plant with an up-to-date "membrane bioreator plant."

However, the council was unable to authorize the purchase of the land, as both parties had yet to agree to the final contract.

Phillips said that he expected the council should be able to make a final decision on the purchase at its next meeting, which will take place on Thursday, Dec. 13.

During Monday's meeting, the council also passed an ordinance adopting an urban renewal plan, which allows the city to receive funds through taxes collected on any increase in the value of properties within the designated area. This district is composed largely of the homes that lay within Old Bellevue, between Spruce and Chestnut streets on the north and south and Main and Eighth streets on the west and east.

Planning and Zoning Administer Craig Eckles said that as property values in this area increased, a portion of the tax would be put to projects aimed at improving parts of the city's infrastructure that have been determined to be deteriorating. This included, but was not limited to streets, sidewalks, sewer lines, parks and lighting.

In addition, Eckles said that the adoption of such a plan would also make it easier for the city to receive alternative sources of funding, such as government grants, to help implement these improvements.

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