Bay City Commission Fails To Over-ride Mayor's Veto of Unity Park Sale
4-4 Vote Means That Unity Park Will Go Back On The Market
April 16, 2007
By: O. J. Cunningham
Bay City Commissioners Upheld Mayor Mike Buda's Veto On The Sale of Unity Park for One Dollar
The Sign Over Unity Park Against The Bay City Night Sky
Maybe Bay City Mayor Mike Buda should consider a career in real estate. It seems that Buda's veto of the sale of Unity Park for $1 may end up bringing increased revenue to city coffers.
In an about-face from the 7-1 vote at the April 2nd City Commission Meeting, commissioners voted 4-4 and could not overturn the Mayor's veto of the sale of Unity Park. The vote Monday night effectively blocks the sale of Unity Park to Tim Socier for one dollar.
Before the regular commission meeting, Commissioners listened to presentations from both Tim Socier and Dentist Don Sabourin concerning their plans for Unity Park. Sabourin is in the process of buying the "Tanner Building" which houses Mulligan's and a number of upstairs apartments.
Sabourin's proposal is to buy Unity Park and expand the food facilities at Mulligan's into the now vacant lot.
The proposal made to Commissioners by Sabourin during the Monday night Finance meeting explained how Sabourin plans to knock out the back wall of Mulligan's and then connect the existing bar and restaurant to Unity Park around the back of the adjacent building.
An outdoor Tiki Restaurant facility is the planned motif and the restaurant would have walk-in access from Center Avenue and would seat up to thirty.
Two weeks ago, Tim Socier offered the City $1 for the vacant lot and Commissioners accepted the offer by a vote of 7-1 (Charles M. Brunner voted NO).
Socier, the owner of Timothy's Fine Cigars told commissioners that he planned to invest $10,000 into the pocket park and upgrade a cigar festival that he has run in conjunction with the Be Cool Car Show for the past two years.
But Mayor Michael Buda vetoed the sale saying that the City was not operating like a business and that the City should not be giving property away.
The veto is the second veto Buda has issued since becoming Mayor
last September when Buda replaced previous Mayor, Robert J. Katt. Buda also recently vetoed the privatization of the City's operations at Liberty Bridge and at Harry S. Truman Bridge.
City officials said that the next step would probably be to put the sale of the Unity Park property out for bids. "It generally takes about a week to get something going."
The 4 Votes To Stop The Sale of Unity Park To Tim Socier for $1:
M. J. Gorney
: "I got 50 to 60 calls since the first vote," Gorney said. "Since we had no bids, I'm changing my vote." Gorney also apologized to Socier for changing her vote.
James F Flannery
: "I commend both presentations," Flannery said. "But I will change my vote to what (I think) is best for the city."
John F Davidson:
"I will change my vote," Davidson said. Davidson said he had the interest of Bay City citizens in mind. "It's best if I change my vote."
Charles M. Brunner:
"My vote has nothing to do with cigars," Brunner said, noting that both the Mayor and himself were known to smoke a cigar from time-to-time. "It's about the value (of the property)," Brunner said. Brunner went on to say that the City should involve the private sector in the sale of City property.
The 4 Votes In Favor Of The Sale of Unity Park To Tim Socier for $1:
Commission President, Michael E. Wooley:
Wolley stuck to his position and supported the sale to Socier. "Sabourin's proposal is good but it punishes Socier's unsolicited proposal." Wooley also said that whatever course the vote took, "It would be a win-win for the City."
Wendy A. Legner:
"I will stand by my previous vote for the $1 sale (to Socier)," Legner said.
Socier went through the correct process," Newsham said. "I will stand by my previous vote. I will stand by Socier."
Christopher J. Shannon
: Shannon also supported Socier's proposal. "It's about the process," Shannon said. Shannon also said that he saw similarities in the proposals by Sabourin & Socier. Shannon said he would like to see the two parties perhaps operate together.