The Cody City Council narrowly rejected awarding an .87 acre lot previously owned by the Yellowstone Regional Airport to Musser Bros. Inc., despite finding owner Harold Musser did nothing illegal.
During its Feb. 21 meeting, three council members — Lee Ann Reiter, Jerry Fritz and Emily Swett — voted in favor of awarding the bid to Musser, while the remaining members — Andy Quick, Don Shreve and Kelly Tamblyn — voted against it. Mayor Matt Hall broke the tie by casting the deciding vote against the bid.
Concerns about awarding the property to Musser for $26,610 were initially raised during the council’s Feb. 7 meeting.
At that time, they expressed concerns about whether the sale of the property benefited the city, whether the appraisal value of the land was too low and whether Musser, who currently serves on the YRA board, had knowledge beforehand of what the other applicant, Cody KOA, was going to bid.
The land sits between the Park County Animal Shelter and the Cody KOA campground. It was relinquished by the Federal Aviation Administration, listed as surplus property and then advertised for sale to the highest bidder in December of last year.
During its Feb. 21 meeting, the council reiterated the opinion that Musser did nothing wrong in bidding on the land.
“After very extensive research and talking with every individual YRA board member, there was no prior knowledge of any type of bid amounts that could potentially come in,” Reiter said. “Anyone who had interest in this property ... had access to the same information.”
“Everything was followed according to the rules and regulations surrounding this type of transaction,” she added.
Hall also agreed that Musser did nothing wrong, saying “He did everything legal.” Still, the mayor voted no.
“I just think that all along, the YRA board and even the city council to some degree thought that there was probably only going to be one logical bidder,” he said. “So there was really no discussion about other factors.”
The one logical bidder, Hall said, would have been Cody KOA.
In prior work sessions, the Cody KOA owners said they had leased the property from the airport for several years as part of the campground and had paid to install water and sewer infrastructure on the property.
“We should rebid it again and move forward,” Hall said. “I know there’ll be costs involved in that ... but that’s just how I feel about it.”
Council member Tamblyn also voted against awarding the bid.
“I just want to reiterate what I expressed in our work session,” she said. “I do not feel comfortable voting to approve this, so I will be voting no.”
Quick questioned if it were in public interest to sell the land.
“The fact that it has infrastructure going right through it seems like it’s something that is potentially a benefit to the city,” he said. “I would prefer to reject all bids and just sit on it.”
Shreve made a motion to reject all bids, which passed 4-3, with Hall breaking the tie.
The council will meet again Feb. 28 for a work session.
What a dog & pony show! The mayor really showed his lack of leadership in this process. So, they thought there would be only one logical bidder...DUH! Why would they expect that? That appears what they were hoping for, so if they had only the one bidder, they would have accepted the bid and thought they had done a great service! WRONG!! This was a sham promoted by the Mayor himself! Perhaps he was going to receive something under the table? Who knows!
The high bid did not pass the smell test. The Musser cabal should rejoice, since the high bidder was trying to say that this parcel was a wortless property with, what, only 2/10 of an acre usable land?, there should be a sigh of relief that they don't have to pay for this land
A whole bunch of people caught that comment that was used to downplay the parcel of land. Why would someone want the property so bad if it's basically worthless? The councils decision should be considered a 'get out of a bad purchase free' card
While I love to see the big guy knocked to the ground on occasion, I agree with your point. A bid process really only works when there are 2 or more bidders. To start off this sale and only plan on one bidder is odd, well, plain wrong. It takes 2 to tangle and set a market price. One lone bidder, which apparently the City was anticipating, doesn't accomplish anything in discovery of true value
Do you have evidence the mayor received a bribe? After reading your shameful diatribe of immaturity, it sounds like they made the right decision.
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