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Price tag for Troy property too high for ambulance service

| September 18, 2020 7:00 AM

Troy City Councilors continued to mull over a potential plan to sell or lease a piece of city-owned property to the Troy Volunteer Ambulance during a Sept. 6 meeting.

Mayor Dallas Carr told councilors that Pam Tallmadge, vice president of the volunteer organization, deemed the price tag on the property too high for her group.

During an Aug. 19 city council meeting, Tallmadge had asked councilors to consider selling the city-owned lot at 303 N. Third Street to her outfit as the group was quickly running out of space at its current facility. While the organization has struggled with limited space for a few years, Tallmdge said volunteers have recently had an especially difficult time as they bring in new equipment to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The organization has outfitted one of its ambulances to serve COVID-19 patients, making it the main emergency transport for coronavirus cases in Lincoln County.

Carr presented the preliminary assessment of property during the Aug. 19 meeting. The evaluation was done by Lynn Ward, an agent with Northwest Montana Real Estate. According to Ward’s report, the city property and the four buildings it houses are worth between $180,000 and $200,000.

In the assessment, Ward stressed that she was only offering her opinion as a realtor. Carr said the city would need a more formal report from an appraiser to determine a fair market value of the lot.

Councilor TJ Boswell suggested Sept. 6 that if the price of the property remained too high for the volunteer group after the formal appraisal, the city could rent the property to the organization on a long-term lease. Under this form of agreement, he said, the city wouldn’t have to pay for repairs or maintenance on the property.

“It seems more reasonable because they wouldn’t have to come up with a big fund to pay,” Carr said. “Then some of the money that they have extra they could use to remodel.”

Carr also said he would be willing to offer the property to the volunteer group for a lower price. He noted though that the city is bound by law to sell the property for a fair market value.

Tracy Rebo, city clerk, said that the city may also be required to hold a public auction for the property if they intend to sell it. Rebo said she would look into the procedures for this kind of a sale.