March 2, 2023
RE: Bass Eminent Domain
The town office building was started in the fall of 2020. We worked off a survey provided from the previous owner of the property. Mr. Bass was present on-site numerous times during layout and construction and indicated the fence was on the property line. The contractor asked Mr. Bass if he could take down the fence to allow better access for equipment and Mr. Bass agreed with the stipulation that fence be put back up upon completion. All went well until building was almost complete. Mr. Bass informed contractor that he was of belief that we had encroached on his property. Mr. Bass came to town board meeting and informed us we had built over the line. The Town Board indicated that we would work with him and rectify the situation. After meeting with Mr. Bass and his son Rickie, we left with an agreement that work could continue, the contractor would provide proof of insurance to Mr. Bass, and the Town would work with them to resolve the issue.
The next morning Mr. Bass informed us that they had changed their mind and we were not allowed on the disputed property. They also called the State Police about workers behind the building hooking up gas lines to provide permanent heat to the building. Soon after we were served with court action to remove the building from the disputed property. That court action has since been dismissed.
The Bass’s provided a survey that differed from the one we had which showed the building over the property line on the southwest corner by 8”. In the interest of avoiding lengthy legal proceedings, we offered to pay Mr. Bass for any land within 10’ of building foundation which amounts to 0.03 acres and to put up a new fence at a cost to Town of 8 times what the property would be worth. Mr. Bass refused the offer and said we needed to buy his whole property. The Town had an appraisal done and offered Mr. Bass $5000 more than appraisal but Mr. Bass counter offered purchase price at 4 times the appraised amount.
An offer may have been extended to us at a reduced amount but is still over 2 times the appraisal. We estimate another $75k- $100 thousand would be needed to make the property usable by the town and we simply don’t need this property. The Town Board believes this would be a foolish use of taxpayer’s funds. We again extended our offer to buy the 0.03 acres with a new fence to no avail.
Thus, we have begun eminent domain proceedings to procure land needed to complete the building and to maintain it in the future. We see no other course of action at the present and this will not have an adverse effect on the Bass property as this building does not extend past the aforementioned fence location. Most of the land in this acquisition is piled with debris and cannot be built upon as the Village has a right of way across the property in this location for their pump station. We believe we have acted to the best interest of all parties involved.