Pierce Co. Taxpayers Outraged By Board's Property Purchase | News
Some taxpayers in Pierce County, Wisconsin aren't happy. Their county board voted to buy two homes and pay more than twice what the county itself says they're worth.
"I don't think they understand real estate," said Sanjeev Dhawan, who lives in the county.
The two houses share a lot on Grove Street. Dhawan says he's seen the houses on Grove Street in Ellsworth up close and describes them as dilapidated. They've been vacant for years and don't appear to be inhabitable.
"There's no way this is worth anything," said Dhawan, pointing to a picture he took of one of the homes.
The Pierce County Board of Supervisors voted to buy the houses for $360,000. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS checked property tax records. Just last year, the county said the fair market value was $156,500. The Pierce County Herald reports the people who sold the house to the county purchased it just a month earlier for $35,000.
"I feel the amount of money spent on these two properties was in excess of their value," said Ben Plunkett. Plunkett is a member of the Pierce County Board of Supervisors and was the lone vote against the purchase.
Plunkett told us another thing that might disturb taxpayers. "There are no specific plans that I am aware of for the use of this property," he said. Plunkett added the county also doesn't know what it will do with three other properties on the same street it's bought since 2003.
"This is a small government. Pierce County. How much land do they need?" asked resident Sanjeef Dhawan. He added, "Unfortunately, government entities are not business-minded, because it's not their money."
All the purchased properties are adjacent to the Pierce County Fairgrounds. In a written statement, Pierce County Board of Supervisors Chair Paul Barkla told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "although the exact purpose for the property has not yet been determined, the need was identified in the Fairgrounds Master Plan."
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS asked repeatedly by phone and email to see the county's Fairgrounds Master Plan. As of late Wednesday, no one had responded.
Click here to see Pierce County's Fairgrounds Master Plan, received Friday, July 23, 2010.