Tonasket agrees on price for old fire hall

TONASKET – The Tonasket City Council began the process to sell the Old Fire Hall to the Tonasket EMS District during a special meeting on Tuesday, March 15 when they wrapped up negotiations with the district on the price of the building.

Based on the age of the building, which City Clerk Alice Attwood said was built in 1950, the current condition the building is in and the value the city council placed on having the EMS district based in city limits, the price for the building was set at $65,000. The EMS District agreed to pay a lump sum of $5,000 in interest to the city if they pay the building off in five years and $7,000 in interest if they pay the building off in seven years. However, the county has assessed the building and property at $184,600.

City Attorney Mick Howe quoted RCW 43.09.020 which requires that a transferring government body receives full value for any property sold.

“Without a court opinion, the city can use an unofficial Attorney General’s opinion and in 1997, a similar sale occurred and the attorney general issued an opinion stating the full value can be interpreted as more than just the price,” Howe said.

The Interlocal Agreement, which the council approved at the end of their meeting, quotes Attorney General Opinion 97 AGO No. 5: “It is not necessary to read ‘full value’ in its strictness sense…the term ‘full value’ is applied flexibly and practically, taking into account the circumstances of a particular transaction…two governments can conduct negotiations concerning an item of property and arrive at a bargain by which the property will be transferred in exchange for some consideration (which could be a monetary payment, other property, services performed for the transferring government, or perhaps even relief from a burden).”

Bearing this in mind, the council decided the importance of having the EMS district based within city limits was worth a price reduction and also that removing the Old Fire Hall, located at 21 E 5th Street, from the city’s property and its insurance policy would be removing a burden from the city.

The district, which exists due to a 2004 levy, agreed to offer the city first right of refusal should they decide to relocate and sell the building at a later date and when the levy is up in 2014, if another one doesn’t pass and the district is disbanded, the city will retain the right to take possession of the building again and to sell it to a different party.