Concerned about the potential for corruption, Thousand Oaks Councilwoman Jaime Zukowski has pushed the council to formalize its process of selling city-owned property.
The council asked the city attorney Tuesday to draw up guidelines for property transactions after Zukowski insisted that the current process can be abused.
“I’m concerned that there is no safeguard in place to look out for the city, the property buyer and the public trust,” Zukowski said.
She said her concern stemmed from the city’s sale of a 7,200-square-foot parcel on East Hillcrest Drive. That sale was made privately to two local businessmen, despite the fact that other parties expressed interest in the property, she said.
“I think we should make it clear exactly what we need to do when selling property and make certain that the council is kept appraised of which properties are considered surplus,” Zukowski said.
Other council members said they saw no evidence that the process could lead to favoritism for some buyers. But they agreed to ask the city attorney to draw up guidelines.
“If formalizing the process will give everyone a greater sense of security, then I don’t see why we shouldn’t do it,” Councilwoman Judy Lazar said.
Zukowski had also pushed the council to consider changing the city’s policy toward appraisals. She said more than one appraisal of city-owned parcels would help the city avoid bad deals.
But Councilman Alex Fiore said the city’s track record of making profitable land deals proved that multiple appraisals would not be needed.
Added City Atty. Mark Sellers: “That would be a waste of city money. I just don’t think it’s necessary.”