By REID TUCKER
The DeFuniak Springs City Council decided last week to accept the offer of a little more than $3 million for the City Hall property. On Dec. 19 the Council voted to accept the terms of the agreement, though there were a few caveats.
The councilmen voted 4-0 in favor of authorizing the mayor to execute the agreement, provided Crim Development, Inc., of Atlanta, the prospective purchaser of the property, made changes to some of the agreement’s finer points.
Principally, the Council, under the advisement of City Attorney Clay Adkinson, requested that the agreement be amended to show that the purchaser and not the city would cover the closing costs associated with the state property transfer tax, which comes in at approximately $21,000. Florida statutes specify that municipal governments and other political subdivisions are exempt from paying the so-called “doc stamp,” in which case the purchaser is responsible for paying for the tax.
Additionally, the Council requested that Crim Development amend the provision that the city would waive rights to sue on the basis of specific performance of the agreement. Adkinson opined that, ideally, both parties in the land deal either retain or waive the right to sue on those grounds.
Steve Yuel, Crim Development’s broker in the land deal, told the Council that he would take their requests back to the developer and its attorneys and return with their word on the matter. Both the councilmen and Yuel expressed their excitement regarding the possibilities afforded by the pending sale of the property, which, if it goes through, will pave the way for four new national retail business locations in the city.
The Council had no further issues with the agreement, which stipulates that the city will pay a monthly rent of $600 for the main city hall building and parking lot during the six-month inspection period or for a period of time to be determined. In the meantime, the Council and city staff will finalize their plans to build a new City Hall elsewhere in DeFuniak Springs. The agreement requires the city to pay non-refundable earnest money totaling $10,000 within 21 business days of its final approval and execution.
Other items on the special meeting agenda included the unanimous hire of a new utility worker for the water and sewer department. Also, it was decided to hold the regularly scheduled Jan. 13, 2014, meeting at the Community Center in order to accommodate the public. The main item on that meeting’s agenda is discussion of an amendment to change the land use and zoning of property on State Highway 83 being eyed as the new home of Magnolia Terrace assisted living facility.
By REID TUCKER