AUBURN, Kan. (KSNT) – There was a heated exchange between city council members and Auburn residents who say a house should’ve went up for bid before the city sold it for $5,000.
KSNT was contacted by the family of the previous tenant who says other family members would have liked an opportunity to bid on the house. They say the city never put out a bid or published that they were going to sell it.
Counsil members expressed that they had done nothing wrong. KSNT looked into the matter and found the city had not violated any state law.
According to Larry Baer, general counsel attorney for the League of Kansas Municipalities, there is no state law governing a city’s disposition of public property. That is not the case for counties or school districts. Auburn’s list of ordinances online does not show any which concern the sale of public property. While there is no state law, Mr. Baer said that it is not necessarily best practice not to notify the public and place properties up for bid or auction.
We asked Auburn Mayor Tim Cochran if the city might adopt any ordinance to avoid situations like these in the future.
“At the time when this thing was done, we thought this was the right thing to do,” he says. “And maybe in hindsight; it might’ve been different if we had done it and put it out for bid. But you know what, we did nothing illegal and we followed the law.”