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City of Williamsport trusted legal team on land swap with Lycoming County

A few veteran City Council members say they are comfortable with their decision to swap land with Lycoming County.

Earlier this week, county Commissioner Rick Mirabito noted several concerns he had on a deal to swap land owned by the city beneath Executive Plaza with land owned by the county at Third Street parking garage. Mirabito voted against the proposal and said he also wanted to see the plaza building sold but said the council was not given all of the facts or misunderstood the details.

Chief among his concerns was that council didn’t get to see the appraisals on either site and that the plaza parking lot had economic value. The proposed deal can’t be consummated without Commissioner Tony Mussare’s vote.

The county is interested in selling the plaza and a private developer who purchases it could provide a tax revenue for the city, Council President Randall J. Allison said. The council didn’t see appraisals on either site, he said. The council was told the assessed value of the properties was similar, he said.

Councilwoman Bonnie Katz also questioned whether council should see the appraisals and was told by Mayor Derek Slaughter and Norm Lubin, city solicitor, that getting them would be very expensive.

Instead, the county did an appraisal and Katz said was told there isn’t much different in the cost with the appraisals.

“We listened and we didn’t take a vote until we heard the details from Norm Lubin,” city solicitor, he said.

“The county paid us $1 a year to rent the land at the plaza,” Katz said.

“If the plaza building is sold with the parking lot to a private developer, the city is going to reap the benefits with a taxable property,” she said.

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