City officials acquire certificates for Dunbar property

Authored by Jim Langham on Apr 28, 2014

A representation of Berne City Council purchased five plot certificates covering all of the ground currently occupied by Dunbar Furniture Company at a special certificate sale at the Adams County Courthouse Annex on Friday.
By doing so, the city has placed itself to be in a position to acquire the actual property in 120 days if owners don’t step forward, pay back taxes, and seek to reclaim the property.
In acquisition through the certificates, there would be no taxes to pay because county commissioners have waived the taxes in lieu of disposing of the property.
The total cost of the purchase of the certificates was $3,650.
“There is no one that bid on the building at all,” commented Berne Mayor Bill McKean.
McKean said that the only interest of any other plot was concerning a parcel that involved a parking lot north of the building that was hinged between the back of houses on Fulton Street and the old railroad bed, stretching to the back of the city garage.
Officials ended up paying $2,500 for that property certificate.
“We can’t do anything for 120 days,” said McKean. “If this does work out for us, the first project before we can do anything else is cleaning out the asbestos. This opportunity opened up a good move for us, but there are still a lot of hurdles to go through in all of this.
“The asbestos is an environmental issue so we are going to have to hire someone in here that knows how to do that professionally,” said McKean, who stressed that none of that could be done until after the 120-day grace period.
“It is going to have to be done by somebody that has the permit to do it,” said McKean.
The certificate sale occurred because there were no interested buyers at a sheriff sale which had taken place a year ago. City officials met in special session on Thursday and purposed to attempt to acquire the property. Those who bid on the plots were Mayor Bill McKean, Clerk/Treasurer Gwen Maller and solicitor Dave Baumgartner.
McKean said that officials debated whether or not there was a need to bid for the parking lot area, but decided that acquisition of everything was better in the long run in order to have control over the cleanup completely and to totally protect the neighborhood.
“We are heading in the right direction,” said McKean. “Now we have to patiently wait through this step. It was a good move for Berne; but there are still a lot of hurdles to go through.”

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