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Residents unhappy with RM decision

Posted on November 20, 2013 by Maple Creek

The Piapot School building is now being put up for sale by the village, but the way the RM council has approached the tendering of the property has upset local taxpayers.

The reeve and councillors discussed the sale of the property, which has been in tax arrears for four years, at their regular meeting on Nov. 12.
It was decided the land would be divided up and sold separately. The property includes 12 lots. Six of them are tied together with the school building and will be sold as one, while another two lots on the south end of the schoolyard and four lots on the north end of the schoolyard will be sold separately.
This has frustrated some local residents, who hoped the former school property would be sold all together. They feel the separate sales of the property do not reflect how they as taxpayers would have liked to see the property sold, as there are already interested buyers who have done work to preserve the property.
Reeve John Wagner said the decision was made to allow for a fair sale.
“In government, you can’t pick winners and losers. You have to make things available to everyone,” he explained. “By doing this, council felt it was fair to have at least the six lots tied together underneath the school, and it gives a fair property base around the school.”
Wagner noted this option allows anyone interested in buying the six lots tied in with the school building to buy the other lots as well.
Under the RM’s tax enforcement policy, any property that is in arrears for four years is repossessed by the RM and put up for sale. If a sale is not made within a year, the RM may make a private sale.
In this case, the process took five years to be tendered because the four owners of the 12 lots are deceased.
“Because it’s an asset of the RM now – which is basically the public’s asset – we have to offer as many opportunities as we can to be fair to everybody in case somebody wanted some of those outlying lots,” Wagner added. “This means they don’t have to buy the entire package, and it leaves the school intact with a fair block of property surrounding it.”
Tenders are being accepted by the RM until Jan. 7.

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