WALKER -- The Cass County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to have a purchase agreement drafted to sell 81 acres of land to Wilkinson Township for $500 per acre or $40,500.
The agreement terms are contingent upon review and recommendations by the county land, auditor-treasurer, assessor and environmental services departments.
Cass County Assessor Steve Kuha appraised the property at $44,500. He found 40 acres worth $700 per acre, 30 acres worth $550 per acre and 11 acres of road and depleted gravel pit worth nothing.
Township officials and gun club members who propose to share use of the site told the board they believe consideration should be given for time and money they spent to clean up the site. After it served as a gravel pit, it was used for dumping demolition debris, stumps and slash and old culverts, they said.
They contend the assessor's current value reflects the improvements they made and that their cost should be based on pre-cleanup valuation.
Wilkinson Township hopes to build a new town hall on the site, with the gun club developing the balance into a shooting range.
Tuesday, the board also received a written memo from Land Commissioner Norm Moody indicating a private party from Bloomington has offered to buy the land from the county for $750 per acre.
Commissioner John Stranne suggested the county might set a precedent for land sales elsewhere in the county if this property is sold below appraised value and might risk legal ramifications if it is sold below another person's offer.
Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Anderson told the board transferring the land from state-owned, county managed land to county-owned status changes the state law under which the county can sell the property. This possibly will change the sale process, she said.
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