We have received a couple inquiries regarding the purchase of private property by government and specifically a concern that the city of Marysville overpaid for a property acquisition.
When a public agency acquires property it is required by state law to utilize a fair market value for purchase. Fair market values are established by utilizing an appraisal process. The intent of this is to protect the public, and ensure the property purchase is conducted in a fair manner. This protection is to ensure that government neither under or overcompensates the seller.
It has been suggested that the city of Marysville should have compensated based on County assessor’s values, instead of utilizing fair market appraisals and in doing so, would have saved taxpayers considerable money. That would have been illegal. In addition, the city of Marysville, like most public entities tries to treat the seller fairly and equitably when pursuing a property purchase.
While government has the tools of eminent domain and condemnation available to it, we are loathe to utilize these methods, instead wanting to reach a settlement where the seller is treated fairly and receives a value supported by market appraisals. County assessor values have been historically lower than market values and in an unstable real estate market, as we are currently experiencing, are frequently out of sync with real time market conditions.
If any citizen has any questions about a specific property acquisition, please feel free to contact me.
Gloria J. Hirashima
Chief Administrative Officer