The Monett City Council has successfully bid for property formerly owned by Olympia Foundry in an effort to improve flood control downtown.
The Olympia property, located south of Broadway at 10th Street, has been in arrears on taxes since the manufacturing operation went bankrupt.
During a closed session on Feb. 17, the council voted to approve an offer of $2,500 and $7,500 for two parcels of real estate offered for sale by the Barry County collector. Bids were opened on Feb. 23, and the city submitted the highest bid for each parcel.
Back taxes were owed to Barry County totaling approximately $23,000 and $31,000.
"The city's objective in purchasing these parcels is related to the long-term flood mitigation plan for downtown, since some of these buildings have been targeted for removal in order to construct a diversion channel," said City Administrator Dennis Pyle. "These parcels also include a bridge and a cross-channel structure that connects two buildings that have contributed to flooding problems in that area."
The Olympia property is divided into several lots. The city successfully bid for the property north of Kelly Creek and the main building west of the bridge on the south side of Kelly Creek. Another lot east of 11th Street and south of Front Street was not included in the sale.
"Purchasing properties for delinquent back taxes, and especially those like Olympia that are subject to various other liens against the property, always presents some risk," said Pyle. "But the City Council believes the potential benefits associated with removing structures that may contribute to the downtown flooding issue and owning the property for a future diversion channel is worth the risk."
A 90-day redemption period is offered for paying the overdue taxes. If the owner or any lienholder chooses to redeem the property, the city will recoup the amount of their bid and all back taxes will have to be paid. The city was also one of the lien holders on the property, having been owed approximately $13,000 in unpaid electric bills at the time the plant ceased options.
Under the flood control plan designed by Olsson and Associates for the city, a bypass channel for Kelly Creek would start in the vicinity of the Olympia property. The channel would run parallel to Front Street, or if no railroad property could be obtained, the channel would include Front Street in an effort to divert water that spills onto Broadway.
Pyle confirmed that federal taxes are still due on the property. Federal officials would be notified of the city's intent to acquire the deed held by the Barry County collector.
"We're still reviewing the options available to us [over remaining outstanding taxes]," Pyle added.