Lewiston council disagrees about fairness to taxpayers for port property

LEWISTON, ID - If everything goes as expected the City of Lewiston will buy land from the port for about two and a half times the appraised value.

The City of Lewiston has been leasing land from the port since 2002 for $27,000 a year. The land is home to the city's transfer station and is valued at just over $230,000. However the port is asking that the city fork over $600,000, a third of which would be used to improve the current road if they want to own it.

Councilor Clinton Daniel and Mayor Pro-Tem RJ Johnson voted against it, saying it wouldn't be fair to Lewiston taxpayers.

"Years ago the port which is made up primarily of the city of Lewiston, purchased that land that the City of Lewiston leased the land that the public already owned." said Councilor Daniel. "And now that same public is being asked to buy that same that they already own, plus that they've been leasing for 12-years at have paid $312,000 they being asked to pay two and a half times the appraised value. What episode of the twilight zone does that make sense."

"I agree with councilor Daniel, I have a problem with the price," said Mayor Pro-Tem Johnson. "The cost is $600,000 total. I entertain some amendments to re-negotiate the contract."

While the council disagreed about fairness to taxpayers, they agreed that the port should not be able to dictate the looks of the property if owned by the city. The port will have the final say on whether or not they'll accept the offer.