Lowball Watch – Missouri

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that the City of Hallville set out to acquire a 148-acre farm property by eminent domain to “resolve sewer system violation.” Accordingly, it offered the owners $550,000, whereas the owners demanded $1.9 million. As is the custom in some states, before going to a valuation jury trial, the matter is decided by a board of commissioners (usually three well informed laymen). In this case, the board of commissioners awarded $1.25 million, or over twice the city’s offer. This is probably not the end of the story because in states using the commissioner system, a party dissatisfied with the commissioners’ award can usually demand and get a jury trial in court, and here it remains to be seen whether the city will avail itself of this option.

The wrinkle in this case is that according to this report, the owners have repeatedly presented an alternative solution for the city to increase the the size of its wastewater cell at a cost of about $400,000. The city refused the offer.

For the Columbia Daily Tribune story (Jodie Jackson, Jr., Panel Values Hallsville Farm at $1.25 Million, Feb. 6, 2012) click here.

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