The Bonne Terre City Council met in regular session Monday evening and during the meeting they discussed a piece of property that runs through the industrial park.
Bonne Terre City Administrator Jim Eaton explained that looking at the map, with Young Street facing forward, there is a striped or hash marked area and Union Pacific Railroad says they may have some interest in the property above it.
“We have done title work and can’t find anything where they released their interest in it. Yet several years ago St. Joe Lead Company deeded this piece of property to Community Services Corporation,” said Eaton. “Then they turned around and deeded it to the city. If you look to the left of the hash mark, this is a part of the railroad property.”
Eaton said if you look down a little distance, you will find St. Joe or Bonne Terre Cattle Company had deeded off property to individuals. He added Union Pacific said they can’t find anywhere where they released their rights.
“They haven’t paid taxes on it for any number of years and there is one parcel the county says no one is taxed on,” said Eaton. “What I am trying to find out is if we had this piece of property, you can see the lines where the proposed road is below the hash marks. When you get down there it is real steep incline, so if we had this property we could move the road over on this rail bed which in the long run would save us some money.”
Eaton said he is looking for guidance from the city council. He said their surveyor feels there is a 75 percent chance the St. Joe Lead Company or Bonne Terre Cattle Company did own this or they wouldn’t have deeded it off.
“I think the key would be, if we can get, for a very reasonable fee, Union Pacific to deed it to us as a quick claim deed, it would simplify things,” said Eaton. “I am asking the city council to think about and consider what they would feel would be a reasonable amount to consider paying. It will be a total of six acres. The problem is we have taken this to the assessor’s office and they think it is more trouble than it’s worth.”
Eaton said the assessor’s office told him Union Pacific hasn’t turned this specific piece of property in to be assessed so they don’t know why they are maintaining they have some ownership. He added they probably haven’t paid taxes in some 25 years.
“The easy way to settle it in my opinion would be if they are willing for a very reasonable fee to quick claim deed it to us,” said Eaton. “Then I think we can go to Doe Run and they would quick claim deed it to us for nothing, based on our past history. That will be the easy way to resolve.”
Eaton said the city has already spent around $2,500 to $3,000 for title work, surveying cost, researching records, and they asked Doe Run to go back in their records.
“It’s the railroad that says they didn’t give up their rights to the right of way,” said Eaton. “Further north they did give up those rights, but not in the area where we are looking at. This does run all the way through our industrial park. “
The city council decided to give it some thought and in the meantime Eaton will try to see how they can move forward with obtaining the property.
Also during the meeting the council approved the purchase of a backhoe for the city maintenance department and will review the bids for the purchase of a dump truck. They also approved an ordinance to allow Eaton to execute a contract with FS Leasing, LLC, for the lease of a new sanitation truck.