Council approves buying property for court

By Curtis Riggs | December 17, 2008

CAREFREE – Town council last week approved a $500,000 loan to purchase an $850,000 downtown property for a new home for the Carefree Municipal Court and possibly a future town hall site.

The council voted 6 – 1, with Councilman Bob Coady dissenting, to purchase the near 1-acre property at 8 Sundial Circle from the Dennis Lyon Family Trust. Most objections to the purchase, other than Coady’s argument the town should not be spending an additional $850,000 in these trying economic times, concerned why the council is moving so fast to purchase the property (it must be completed by the end of the year).

The court leasing month-to-month and the opportunity to purchase the .895-acre property, which houses the Al-Chemix business in the 3,600-square-foot building on the lot, are the reasons the town wants to finalize purchase of the property within a couple of weeks.

Councilman Greg Gardner was responsible for securing the $500,000 loan for the property from the Municipal Services, Inc. company. The loan will be for 15 years at 6.952 percent interest. Carefree will make a $350,000 down payment toward the purchase.

“The best thing for the town would be able to stay where we are at and have the tenant stay there,” Gardner said. The Al-Chemix rent will cover the town’s loan payments.

Mayor Wayne Fulcher said, “The time is right” to buy the property.

Vice Mayor Lloyd Meyer said, “By every measure there is no question this is an incredible real estate deal that is good for the town.”

Downtown Carefree Realtor Harry Vardakis said, “Considering the price of the property it doesn’t matter what you do with it,” he said. “Any investor would buy it for $850,000.”

Coady disagreed with the council proceeding with such a large expenditure.

“Before we take on a $850,000 project we should take a hard stand on new expenditures,” he said. “We should act like we are spending our own money, not the people’s money.”

Gardner explained the council is seeking a loan to pay for the property, outside of the $350,000 down payment, because purchase of the property was not included in this fiscal year’s budget.