– Story highlights:
* This evening at the Yelm City Council –
* Councilor DePinto asked City Administrator Grayum about 640 acres the city acquired,
* DePinto: The mayor signed an agreement for foreclosed Highlands property, [12/29/17]
* DePinto asked Grayum if that sounded familiar, Grayum paused, asked what was the question.
* DePinto: “Does the city own outright the 640 acres, or are we like holding it?”
* Grayum: “There’s alot of moving parts around that.”
* Grayum: “Let me get back to you with a comprehensive memo”…”there’s alot of sensitivities.””
* DePinto: Requested the council get that information.
* Why are the council and public not informed when documents exist? (see all of these docs below)
Click here for the council session’s video.
This Blog entry’s research is designed to let Yelm constituents learn and decide for themselves, rather than awaiting the city administrator’s “comprehensive memo” [where]…”there’s alot of sensitivities” about property the city now owns, in addition to the recent Fairpoint Building and land purchases that clearly had limited public process. However, key questions require public answers!
This city council rests their laurels on transparency, open government and public process.
WHY ARE THERE “SENSITIVITIES” ON THIS ACQUISITION, ACCORDING TO MR. GRAYUM?
* Terrific the city has had the deed via a lien of 640 acres for 6+ months, yet why was this hidden?
* How many councilors knew about this land acquisition and the public documents?
* Why has this land acquisition deal not been presented to the public in a council session?
* A July 26, 2016 council motion only gives approval to enforce the city’s rights on this property.
* No follow-up council ACTION item gave the mayor the authority to accept this land.
* What further information was provided to councilors after July 26, 2016, if any?
* Has the city adjusted their revenue budget for the loss of this land’s immense LID income?
* Council’s vote occurred under the previous mayor and city administration, Harding’s last council session (except one last Study Session). Why has the current mayor not updated the council?
* Mayor Foster was present as a councilor the only time this was publicly discussed July 26, 2016.
* The July 26,2016 Executive Session needs to be made public now that city signed a statutory deed.
* The city acquiring a land deed via a lien under the new mayor requires a separate Action item, public disclosure.
* Seattle’s Foster-Pepper negotiated the Statutory Deed? Does council know their legal billings?
* What does the city intend to do with the land if acquired? What is the city’s plan?
* Has a council committee and/or city staff discussed the land’s future, without public process?
* There is no doc. showing the council gave authority to Mayor Foster to sign the agreement.
* Yelm City Council Protocol Manual — Chapter 2 states:
+ “It is also important to note that policy is established by at least a majority vote of the Council.”
+ “It is staff’s responsibility to ensure the policy of the Council is upheld.”
* Then why did Mayor Foster sign and take possession of 640 acres of the land’s deed without council’s Action item and discussion, and if there is one, where is that recorded? Council only gave authority to take action, yet did not approve this deed process.
– Here are the public documents on the 640 acres Yelm has owned for 6 months:
* Parcel number: 21727000000
* County Assessor document showing City of Yelm as owner, click here
* County Assessor document showing City of Yelm acquired land on 12/27/2017, click here
* Geodata document showing City of Yelm the official owner, click here
* Agreement for Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure
Editor’s Note: Signed by Mayor JW Foster, Dec. 29, 2017, pg. 15.
* STATUTORY WARRANTY DEED IN LIEU OF FORECLOSURE
“This Deed is intended to be an absolute conveyance of title to said property to Grantee and is not intended as a mortgage, trust conveyance, mortgage, or security instrument of any kind. It is the intention of Grantor to convey to the Grantee all of Grantor’s right, title, and interest absolutely in and to said property. Possession of said property has been surrendered to Grantee.”
DePinto’s question is answered – yes, the city has been holding this land outright for 6 months because they have a lien that will defer full title to the city within two years of the agreement’s date if the grantor defaults!
There is no ambiguity, this IS comprehensively detailed.
* This is the only public documentation of this property from July 26, 2016 Council Minutes:
YELM CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2016 MINUTES
Executive Session At 6:34pm Mayor Harding announced that Council will go into a 30 minute Executive Session to discuss potential litigation (RCW 42.30110 (1) (i)). City Attorney Steve DeJulio was present by phone.
At 7:04 pm, Mayor Harding reconvened the regular meeting.
16-090 MOTION BY TAD STILLWELL TO AUTHORIZE THE CITY’S SPECIAL COUNSEL TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY STEPS, AND TO FILE SUCH ACTIONS AS ARE APPROPRIATE, TO ENFORCE THE CITY’S RIGHTS UNDER THE KILLION ROAD LOCAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT AND THE 2012 KILLION ROAD LID
REPAYMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY AND DDD WASHINGTON LLC.
SECONDED BY TRACEY WOOD. MOTION CARRIED.
Councilmember DePinto stated these are steps necessary to prevent the City from losing money in the LID Fund. More information will be made available as time goes on regarding this matter.
* The City of Yelm’s website on the City Council’s responsibilities:
Yelm City Council Protocol Manual — Chapter 2
2.01 City Council Generally
“Fundamentally, the powers of the City Council are to be utilized for the good of the community and its residents; to provide for the health, safety and general welfare of the citizenry. The City Council is the policy making and law making body of the City.
State law and local ordinances grant the powers and responsibilities of the Council.
It is important to note that the Council acts as a body. No member has any extraordinary powers beyond those of other members. When it comes to establishing policies, voting, and in other significant areas, all members are equal. It is also important to note that policy is established by at least a majority vote of the Council. While individual members may disagree with decisions of the majority, a decision of the majority does bind the Council to a course of action. Council Members should respect adopted Council policy. In turn, it is staff’s responsibility to ensure the policy of the Council is upheld.”
Stay tuned, more to come!