Sunday, August 17, 2008

Selling City Parks

I intended to write a balanced piece regarding the Mayor's suggestions regarding the Parks, but I see my fellow blogger over at Advance Indiana beat me to the punch. I could not have said it any better. The mayor's proposal regarding selling the pocket parks probably does have merit in some situations. There are some pocket parks out there that are problems for the communities they serve and should be sold off.

The problem as AI reports is the execution by the Mayor's Office. Giving Venture Real Estate Services both the job of identifying properties that should be sold and the exclusive right to sell the property, creates an obvious conflict of interest situation. Of course, the history of public-private partnerships in Indianapolis has been conflicts of interest, and a lack of oversight and scrutiny by public officials Again, public-private partnerships are not per se bad. The problem is when conflicts of interest are ignored and public officials do not their job and exercise oversight. I don't normally tout Dan Carpenter, but he nailed the issue perfectly in his column today.

Back to the sale of park land. One wonders if the city's lawyers researched the idea. It's not that simple to sell off city property, especially park land. First, professional appraisals have to be done. (IC 36-1-11-4). Second, there has to be notice and a public hearing about the sale of the property. (IC 36-1-11-3). Third, the selling agent has to accept bids. (IC 36-1-11-4). Fourth, while the law would only require Council approval if the value of the property was over $50,000 (See IC 36-1-11-3), Indiana has a law specifically saying that the sale of any park land, regardless of value, has to be approved by the Council. (IC 36-10-4-18). Sixth, proceeds from the sale of park land have to be kept within the parks department to maintain the remaining park land or buy new park land. (IC 36-10-4-18). Finally, probably many of the properties have deed restrictions which limit the ability of the city to sell the property.

The major obstacle though is council approval. While the council might approve some sales where the local communities do not want the park in their neighborhood, it's hard to see how the council would support a wholesale disposal of park land.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Paul, the city lawyers are ill-prepared to advise this administration.

The Mayor implemented a "setaside program" for veterans, which is unconstitutional. Veterans are not a 'Protected Class' and the disparity study, as required by the Supreme Court of the United States, has not been conducted to show that veterans meet the requirements for setaside public contracts or what percentage of disparity, if any, to determine the percentage of public contracts that MAY be setaside for veterans.

In fact, those who served in the military often fair better in life and business than those who haven't due to the rigorous training and discipline they aquire and there is NO WAY there will be a disparity if the MANDATORY expensive study is conducted.

Ballards doesn't understand the separation of state/city government and federal government and he is turning our city into a "police state". I envision, just like he had the marines training in our neighborhood parks, he'll have all his military buddies relocating here to take our city contracts under an illegal setaside program.

The Sh-t is getting soooo thick in this city under Ballard and his incompetent advisors. The city will become bankrupt in 3 years from the litigation. Of course, thats what Ballards handlers are attempting to accomplish, unfortunately he dosent' realize it because they've surrounded him with those who will not properly advise him.

Of course, his handlers will represent the city too...