Last week, the Hollister Free Lance broke the story of how the Hollister City Council agreed to a deal to develop the 400 block of San Benito Street using an outdated appraisal of $390,000 when a second appraisal, that had not been not publicly disclosed, valued the vacant downtown plot at $690,000.
How should the city council react to this news?
Mary Zanger: Fortunately the 400 block sale is on hold until November 2018 when voters decide the issues and the Hollister City Council can sort out the choices. Interim questions to be asked are: How did Steve Loos arrive at his first appraisal which seemed too low? And why didn’t the city council pursue a second appraisal with another appraiser in 2015, which is standard procedure? What could cause such a discrepancy in just one year? Remember, no one should be favored, and all tax-sharing entities will benefit with an increased sale price.
Nants Foley: This was such a behind-doors, handshake deal. Anyone in real estate could have told you that was not market value. Welcome to the Good Old Boys Club.
Bill Mifsud: This is simply a city council not doing their homework. It was a rush to judgment and now it looks fishy. My original store—Bill’s Bullpen—sat on the 400 block. I would hope the 400 block gets more attention than the rush to judgment from council that voted to sell it to developers.
Keith Snow: We are always losing out on deals all the time with the city and county—it’s nothing new. The taxpayer always loses out and the city and county always end up making deals that are more than they bargained for. They are not focused and need to pay attention to details. These types of things are a really big deal. We already pay and deal with so many agencies and consultants for everything. How could this kind of discrepancy even happen? We have real estate agents and other professional people on the council who deal with businesses, land and properties all the time. Wouldn’t they catch that? Honestly, I am not surprised. I just hope they make the right and honest decision for the sake of the city, downtown and the community. Take accountability and correct the issue. They spent $3 million dollars just to tear the old building down back in 2010.
Question of the Week was sent in an email and posted on the Hollister Free Lance Facebook page on Monday, Oct. 23. Thank you to all who contributed comments.