A recent edition of the Oregon Observer provided village taxpayers with scant details regarding the sales of the Waterfall Motel property. From what we and others know, the motel was purchased by the Village of Oregon for a whopping $550,000! After incurring additional expense to remove the shingles and asbestos, the village burned the structure down. The village has now invested upwards of $600,000 in the property.
After two closed sessions, the Village agreed to sell the property to a developer that owns the adjacent property for $36,754. We, and many other village taxpayers, believe the Village took it in the shorts for $563,236!
Village President Jeanne Carpenter called it “win-win” and Trustee Jerry Bollig described it as “very positive.” While the village elders praised the deal, we and many others, believe otherwise and will continue to do so until the following questions are answered:
Why were closed sessions only needed to discuss the matter?
Why were competitive bids not sought for the sale of the property?
Were any safeguards built into the agreement to protect the taxpayers from absorbing the future expenses in revitalizing the property?
What did the village do to ensure the developer keeps his end of the bargain?
The only answers we know of came from the village president who stated the deal did not involve any direct compensation to the developer and that no TIF funds would be involved. We believe these arguments alone do not justify the sale the village made.
The darkness of a closed session is no place to decide the spending of $600,000. The sunlight of an open meeting is the only way any purchase or sale of this size should be conducted.
Present us with the facts and maybe our minds will be changed.