We're just simple, unfrozen, cavemen bloggers. The government world is complex and scares us. Talk of public hearings, bring-it-on litigation, grant money...it all frightens us. We don't know what the Mayor is talking about or Conroy or the Council or Mitchell. It's confusing and it makes us ascared.
We do know that various statutes address the municipal sale of real property. The starting point is General Cities Law Sec. 23.
b. No sale or lease of city real estate or of any franchise belonging to or under the control of the city shall be made or authorized except by vote of three-fourths of all the members of the common council or corresponding legislative body of the city. In case of a proposed sale or lease of real estate or of a franchise, the ordinance must provide for a disposition of the same at public auction to the highest bidder, under proper regulations as to the giving of security and after public notice to be published at least once each week for three weeks in the official paper or papers. A sale or lease of real estate or a franchise shall not be valid or take effect unless made as aforesaid and subsequently approved by a resolution of the board of estimate and apportionment in any city having such a board, and also approved by the mayor. No franchise shall be granted or be operated for a period longer than fifty years. The common council or corresponding legislative body of the city may, however, grant to the owner or lessees of an existing franchise, under which operations are being actually carried on, such additional rights or extensions in the street or streets in which the said franchise exists, upon such terms as the interests of the city may require, with or without any advertisement, as the common council may determine, provided, however, that no such grant shall be operative unless approved by the board of estimate and apportionment in any city having such a board, and also by the mayor.
In any city the question whether any proposed sale or lease of city real estate or of any franchise belonging to or under the control of the city shall be approved shall, upon a demand being filed, as hereinafter provided, be submitted to the voters of such city at a general or special election, after public notice to be published at least once each week for three weeks in the official paper or papers. Such demand shall be subscribed and acknowledged by voters of the city equal in number to at least ten per centum of the total number of votes cast in such city at the last preceding general election and shall be filed in the office of the clerk of such city before the adoption of an ordinance or resolution making or authorizing such sale or lease. If such demand is filed, as aforesaid, such sale or lease of real estate or such franchise shall not take effect unless in addition to the foregoing requirements a majority of the electors voting thereon at such election shall vote in the affirmative.
No, it's not quite as exciting as it looks.
Clearly, Mayoral Candidate Conroy is correct. Three-fourths (or 2.5 hectares) of the City Council must approve the sale of City Hall. Or not.
For you see, local municipalities may enact local laws governing the sale of real property that supersede the General Cities Law. It's not polite and it hurts the feelings of the General Cities Law, but it can be done. And Troy may have done just that.
Walk with us. We're heading over to The City Charter/Code. But watch your step. Now, lets see. Where did we put that.....ah, here it is.
§ C-73. Purchasing procedures.
B. Sale of real property no longer needed for City purposes. Whenever the City Council shall by ordinance determine that any real property owned by the City is no longer needed for City purposes, it may direct that said real property shall be sold, leased, space therein leased, or otherwise disposed of in the form of a franchise or license to particular purchaser for a stipulated sum and may not be sold, leased, space therein leased, or otherwise disposed of in the form of a franchise or license if said bid is less than its fair market value and upon such other terms and conditions as it may determine appropriate, excepting that before park property is sold there must be legislative approval by the State of New York.
But, wait. Why do it that way when you can have City Hall declared surplus property?
"The city published a finding Tuesday that City Hall and its parking structure are surplus buildings and should be demolished to maximize redevelopment." - The Times Union *
What the hell is that all about, you ask? After all, how surplus is City Hall when people are still going to work there every day?
Next time, we'll discuss "Surplus Property": How to identify it, who to call and what to do when you see it.
* Actaully it's a revised report. The original report accidently declared Tutunjian and Crawley surplus property that should be demolished.