Lemhi County Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate's picture

The Lemhi County Library District Board has informed the city it would like to begin official discussions concerning the purchase of the property beneath the old Salmon Public Library Building. The city owns the property on which the library was built and has a $1 per year lease agreement with the district.

A letter to the city dated August 2, 2017, states the Library District is in a position to purchase the ground without the need for any levies or additional tax burden on the people of Lemhi County.

The Salmon City Council immediately asked City Attorney Fred Snook to research the legalities of such a transaction. He reported his findings at the September 6 council meeting. 

Snook quoted State Statute section 50-1403 as saying, “When it is determined by the city council to be in the city’s best interest that a transfer or conveyance be made, the city council may, by ordinance duly enacted, authorize the transfer or conveyance of any real property owned by such city to any tax supported governmental unit with or without consideration.” 

He told the council that step one will be to determine if relinquishing ownership of the property is in the city’s best interest. If the decision is to give up ownership step two will be to decide whether the transfer will be made with or without financial consideration and if it’s ‘with’ how much will that be.

Snook said the County Assessor is currently in the process of re-evaluating the value of bare land along Main Street. He said values are varying between a high of $15 a square foot to from $4 to $7 a square foot. The approximate size of the old library building is 4,000 square feet therefore; $40,000 would be a rough estimate of value.

Snook’s research shows that procedurally the council has the power to convey property and to be paid for it. If the decision is to proceed with a sale there would be a public hearing. 

It was decided the topic will be discussed by the full council rather than be referred to one of the city teams. City Clerk Mary Benton will invite library representatives to meet with the council at a regularly scheduled City Council meeting. 

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