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Chillicothe Times-Bulletin - Chillicothe, IL
  • Mayor sets time limit for Small Engine Specialty building contract

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  • Chillicothe officials are putting a time limit on their deal with Small Engine Specialty owner Terry Lee.
    The Chillicothe City Council held a special meeting Tuesday for the sole purpose of reconsidering the sale of the building the company currently leases from the city, and Lee has until noon Thursday to make the council's agenda for Monday night's meeting.
    The former Four Seasons Hardware store, located at 227 W. Cedar St., became home to the business after the city bought the building in April 2008 for $150,000. About $15,000 more was added to fix the roof and make other repairs since that time.
    City officials said they thought the deal was complete with the terms of Lee purchasing the property for $110,000. He was to sign the documents at the Feb. 11 council meeting and pay $1,000 earnest money.
    That did not happen as Lee told Economic Development Director Rachael Parker he wanted his lawyer to look at deal. Lee was in attendance at both the Feb. 11 and Tuesday meetings but did not speak to the council.
    Aldermen normally do not vote on selling city property unless all the paperwork is complete and been signed by the other party, Mayor Troy Childers Sr. said.
    “We would not, had we known that prior to the meeting (Feb. 11), we would pull it off the agenda. We would have never approved it because we wouldn’t approve it and let it hang out there until he knew whether he was going to accept it or not,” said City Attorney Mike Seghetti.
    Additionally, Seghetti said if Lee and his attorney, who has had not quite two weeks to look at the agreement, make a “substantive” change to the agreement, then the building could be put back up for bids again.
    Childers also expressed concern about setting a precedent.
    “We’re really bending over backwards for him more so than we really should be doing, a precedent for other things, really,” said Childers.
    The council unanimously passed two motions after their discussion. They approved a motion to reconsider the motion to approve the contract.
    By making that motion, the aldermen then voted on the contract again, with a unanimous “no” vote. Alderman Gary Sharp was the only alderman not in attendance.
    Childers told the aldermen that Lee had until noon Thursday when the agenda is set for Monday’s night’s council meeting to decide if he wanted to buy the property or not.
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