By Shereen Siewert
A deal to sell 1.92 acres of land in Wausau’s Business Campus to Diversified Companies for $1 was rejected Wednesday, eight months after being approved by former members of the Economic Development Committee.
The proposal called for Diversified to build a $350,000 fleet maintenance facility at 1078 S. 84th Ave. for the company’s fleet of 5o vehicles.
Members of the Economic Development Committee on Dec. 17, 2019 approved the sale contingent on the results of wetland delineations conducted on the property, completed in July. Diversified also agreed to create five full-time equivalent positions as a condition of the deal, which did not come up for a vote by the full council until after the election.
Dist. 3 Alder Tom Kilian voiced concern about the city’s consistent practice of selling land for $1 or less than the asking rate.
“These things all add up and with the city’s expressed concerns about the budget, if you look at the agenda this evening…we say we don’t have the money to pay for closed caption to help the hearing impaired,” Kilian said. “Yet, time and time again, we’re selling city-owned land for a dollar. I think if we continue to undercut our revenue opportunities with city-owned land, we may continue to face challenges when it comes to the cost of other needed services.”
Kilian asked that the city instead sell land at market or asking rate. The value of the land sought by Diversified is roughly $23,040.
Dist. 7 Alder Lisa Rasmussen, who voted to approve the project, said the ED committee calculated the city would realize a return on its investment within about four years depending on the final assessed value of the building.
In addition to Rasmussen, Pat Peckham, Mike Martens, Tom Neal and Jim Wadinski voted to approve the sale.
But Kilian, along with Dawn Herbst, Debra Ryan, Lou Larson, Becky McElhaney and Sarah Watson voted against the deal, which failed by a 6-5 margin.